Posts Tagged ‘Catholicjules.net’


For quite a long while this pandemic robbed us of our places of worship! But just as in today’s reading our Lord, the God of Heaven had provided us ways of ‘rebuilding’ or rather adapting to new measures so that we can once come together to worship and receive Him sacramentally.  Indeed what marvels the Lord worked for us! Zoom and many other video conferencing software has united all of us around the world; such that Communion, our One Body with and in Him has greater depth for us.

And so are we grateful? Is the fire of our faith set aflame? Such that we have renewed zeal is to glorify the Lord, giving Him thanks and praise by shining His light for all to see. By our love and through our service of others!

Lord Jesus open our ears to hear Your soft promptings that we may live more fully,  according to Your will for us; as we seek always to glorify You by our lives. Amen

First reading

Ezra 1:1-6

Cyrus king of Persia frees the Jews to return to Jerusalem

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, to fulfil the word of the Lord that was spoken through Jeremiah, the Lord roused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation and to have it publicly displayed throughout his kingdom: ‘Thus speaks Cyrus king of Persia, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; he has ordered me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all his people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah to build the Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel – he is the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, wherever he lives, be helped by the people of that place with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, as well as voluntary offerings for the Temple of God which is in Jerusalem.”’

    Then the heads of families of Judah and of Benjamin, the priests and the Levites, in fact all whose spirit had been roused by God, prepared to go and rebuild the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem; and all their neighbours gave them every assistance with silver, gold, goods, cattle, quantities of costly gifts and with voluntary offerings of every kind.

Gospel

Luke 8:16-18

Anyone who has will be given more

Jesus said to the crowds:

    ‘No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or to put it under a bed. No, he puts it on a lamp-stand so that people may see the light when they come in. For nothing is hidden but it will be made clear, nothing secret but it will be known and brought to light. So take care how you hear; for anyone who has will be given more; from anyone who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.’

Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: September 18, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Servant of All: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Wisdom 2:12,17-20

Psalm 54:3-8

James 3:16-4:3

Mark 9:30-37

In today’s First Reading, it’s like we have our ears pressed to the wall and can hear the murderous grumblings of the elders, chief priests, and scribes—who last week Jesus predicted would torture and kill Him (see Mark 8:31; 10:33–34).

The liturgy invites us to see this passage from the Book of Wisdom as a prophecy of the Lord’s Passion. We hear His enemies complain that “the Just One” has challenged their authority, reproached them for breaking the law of Moses, for betraying their training as leaders and teachers.

And we hear chilling words that foreshadow how they will mock Him as He hangs on the Cross: “For if the Just One be the Son of God, He will . . . deliver Him . . . ” (compare Matthew 27:41–43).

Today’s Gospel and Psalm give us the flip side of the First Reading. In both, we hear of Jesus’ sufferings from His point of view. Though His enemies surround Him, He offers Himself freely in sacrifice, trusting that God will sustain Him.

But the Apostles today don’t understand this second announcement of Christ’s Passion. They begin arguing over issues of succession—over who among them is greatest, who will be chosen to lead after Christ is killed.

Again they are thinking not as God but as human beings (see Mark 8:33). And again Jesus teaches the Twelve—the chosen leaders of His Church—that they must lead by imitating His example of love and self-sacrifice. They must be “servants of all,” especially the weak and the helpless —symbolized by the child He embraces and places in their midst.

This is a lesson for us, too. We must have the mind of Christ, who humbled Himself to come among us (see Philippians 2:5–11). We must freely offer ourselves, making everything we do a sacrifice in praise of His name.

As James says in today’s Epistle, we must seek wisdom from above, desiring humility, not glory, and in all things be gentle and full of mercy.25


The key to unlock the treasure of today’s reading and Gospel is to be found in our response to the responsorial Psalm “How happy are the poor in Spirit; theirs is the Kingdom of God!”

For indeed in today’s Gospel we hear how the women who accompanied Jesus gave all they had to give out of their own resources. Women in that time had little or no standing yet they offered their all to Jesus and His Apostles. How blessed they were to be rich in the fullness of Christ! The Kingdom of God were theirs to be had.

Today’s first reading teaches us how we should remain steadfast to the Truth, the Way and the Life our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and to avoid being tempted by the riches of the world which corrupts. We should continue to strive for holiness, be filled with faith and love, patient and gentle.

Lord Jesus while we may be poor in Spirit, we are rich in Your love, peace and joy. Grant us the grace to lead one another into Your Kingdom by our love. Amen

First reading

1 Timothy 6:2-12

We brought nothing into the world and can take nothing out of it

This is what you are to teach the brothers to believe and persuade them to do. Anyone who teaches anything different, and does not keep to the sound teaching which is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, the doctrine which is in accordance with true religion, is simply ignorant and must be full of self-conceit – with a craze for questioning everything and arguing about words. All that can come of this is jealousy, contention, abuse and wicked mistrust of one another; and unending disputes by people who are neither rational nor informed and imagine that religion is a way of making a profit. Religion, of course, does bring large profits, but only to those who are content with what they have. We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it; but as long as we have food and clothing, let us be content with that. People who long to be rich are a prey to temptation; they get trapped into all sorts of foolish and dangerous ambitions which eventually plunge them into ruin and destruction. ‘The love of money is the root of all evils’ and there are some who, pursuing it, have wandered away from the faith, and so given their souls any number of fatal wounds.

    But, as a man dedicated to God, you must avoid all that. You must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses.

Gospel

Luke 8:1-3

The women who accompanied Jesus

Jesus made his way through towns and villages preaching, and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom of God. With him went the Twelve, as well as certain women who had been cured of evil spirits and ailments: Mary surnamed the Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and several others who provided for them out of their own resources.


We are all sinners in need of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for through Him alone we have hope of perfection and eternal salvation. And it is foolish of us if we should look upon the sins of others thinking we have not sinned as greatly and are more deserving of our Lord’s company. For even the tiniest speck of sin is great against the immaculate purity of our perfect Lord and God!

That is why all the Saints who have gone before us showed great love for Jesus and for their neighbour. They lived and breathed His commandments to love. For they were humbled in knowing without an inkling of doubt just how much they were loved and that their sins were forgiven by Him who died for love of them. They desired each day to wake and walk in the light of His Resurrection.

Let us therefore continue to strive and encourage one another to be Holy as the Lord our God is Holy. So that one day soon we will rejoice with the Saints in Heaven. Amen

Pope St Cornelius and St Cyprian pray for us.

First reading

1 Timothy 4:12-16

Be an example to all the believers

Do not let people disregard you because you are young, but be an example to the believers in the way you speak and behave, and in your love, your faith and your purity. Make use of the time until I arrive by reading to the people, preaching and teaching. You have in you a spiritual gift which was given to you when the prophets spoke and the body of elders laid their hands on you; do not let it lie unused. Think hard about all this, and put it into practice, and everyone will be able to see how you are advancing. Take great care about what you do and what you teach; always do this, and in this way you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.

Gospel

Luke 7:36-50

Her many sins have been forgiven, or she would not have shown such great love

One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisee’s house and took his place at table, a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town. She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment. She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.

    When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is that is touching him and what a bad name she has.’ Then Jesus took him up and said, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Speak, Master’ was the reply. ‘There was once a creditor who had two men in his debt; one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty. They were unable to pay, so he pardoned them both. Which of them will love him more?’ ‘The one who was pardoned more, I suppose’ answered Simon. Jesus said, ‘You are right.’

    Then he turned to the woman. ‘Simon,’ he said ‘you see this woman? I came into your house, and you poured no water over my feet, but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them away with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. For this reason I tell you that her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love. It is the man who is forgiven little who shows little love.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Those who were with him at table began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man, that he even forgives sins?’ But he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 15, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Let us start this day with prayer….

O God, who willed that, when your Son was lifted high on the Cross, his Mother should stand close by and share his suffering, grant that your Church, participating with the Virgin Mary in the Passion of Christ, may merit a share in his Resurrection. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

One God, for ever and ever. Amen

Yesterday we exalted the Holy Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was incarnate by the Holy Spirit, of the Holy Virgin Mary Mother of God and became Man. Who for love of us died on the Cross to redeem us of our sins. And at that very Cross in which our Saviour hung, stood Our Lady of Sorrows his mother. And once again for love of us he gave her to us to be our Mother! To nurture, guide and love us into Heaven. By her own deep sorrows she shows us how we can unite our very own sorrows and sufferings with her Son’s, for the redemption of the World. Mary our Mother, will never abandon us and continues to intercede for us, so that we might be made worthy of the promises of her Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Our Lady of Sorrows pray for us…

First reading

1 Timothy 3:14-16 ·

The mystery of our religion is very deep

At the moment of writing to you, I am hoping that I may be with you soon; but in case I should be delayed, I wanted you to know how people ought to behave in God’s family – that is, in the Church of the living God, which upholds the truth and keeps it safe. Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed:

He was made visible in the flesh,

attested by the Spirit,

seen by angels,

proclaimed to the pagans,

believed in by the world,

taken up in glory.

Gospel

John 19:25-27

‘Woman, this is your son’

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.


The Exaltation of the Holy Cross – Feast

Today we pause and ponder on the great love of God for us as we exalt the Holy Cross. For it was by the Holy Cross that the gates of Heaven were opened for us. Through the Holy Cross we have hope of eternal life, for our salvation was paid for by our loving Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who was crucified, died and was buried for love of us. On the third He rose again and took His seat at the right hand of God our Heavenly Father. God came down Himself as man, to lay His life down for love of us, so as to pay the debt we could not repay!

By this Holy Cross we can unite our sufferings for the redemption of souls as we are made whole, One with Him and in Him.

We adore You O Christ,

and we bless You;

Because by Your cross

You have redeemed the World. Amen

First reading

Numbers 21:4-9 ·

If anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked up at the bronze serpent and lived

On the way through the wilderness the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.’

    At this God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Intercede for us with the Lord to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people, and the Lord answered him, ‘Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.’ So Moses fashioned a bronze serpent which he put on a standard, and if anyone was bitten by a serpent, he looked at the bronze serpent and lived.

Gospel

John 3:13-17

God sent his Son so that through him the world might be saved

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘No one has gone up to heaven

except the one who came down from heaven,

the Son of Man who is in heaven;

and the Son of Man must be lifted up

as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,

so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,

so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost

but may have eternal life.

For God sent his Son into the world

not to condemn the world,

but so that through him the world might be saved.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 13, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Prayer is not simply intercession. There are many forms of prayer and ways to pray, but unless we know who we are and our place before an almighty living God, we make will make no headway in our spiritual journey.

Prayer is a means by which we enter into the presence of the Lord our God with complete trust and reverence. For the greater part it is  about listening to His Word and will for us. Filled with His immense love and peace for us, our hearts cry out in thanksgiving and praise as we honour and worship Him. We entrust our needs and the needs of others by laying them at the feet of Jesus, praying only that His will be done in all of them.  There are greater depths, insights and wonders to prayer, as we will discover onwards in our journey of faith.

Let us be mindful that it is the heart of Jesus that we desire each time we enter into prayer. And that we should seek to pray often together as One with and in Him. Amen

First reading

1 Timothy 2:1-8

Pray for everyone to God, who wants everyone to be saved

My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone – petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving – and especially for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet. To do this is right, and will please God our saviour: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time, and I have been named a herald and apostle of it and – I am telling the truth and no lie – a teacher of the faith and the truth to the pagans.

    In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.

Gospel

Luke 7:1-10

Give the word, and my servant will be healed

When Jesus had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he went into Capernaum. A centurion there had a servant, a favourite of his, who was sick and near death. Having heard about Jesus he sent some Jewish elders to him to ask him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus they pleaded earnestly with him. ‘He deserves this of you’ they said ‘because he is friendly towards our people; in fact, he is the one who built the synagogue.’ So Jesus went with them, and was not very far from the house when the centurion sent word to him by some friends: ‘Sir,’ he said ‘do not put yourself to trouble; because I am not worthy to have you under my roof; and for this same reason I did not presume to come to you myself; but give the word and let my servant be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’ When Jesus heard these words he was astonished at him and, turning round, said to the crowd following him, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith like this.’ And when the messengers got back to the house they found the servant in perfect health.

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 11, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Following the Messiah: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Isaiah 50:4-9

Psalm 116:1-6, 8-9

James 2:14-18

Mark 8:27-35

In today’s Gospel, we reach a pivotal moment in our walk with the Lord. After weeks of listening to His words and witnessing His deeds, along with the disciples we’re asked to decide who Jesus truly is.

Peter answers for them, and for us, too, when he declares: “You are the Messiah.” Many expected the Messiah to be a miracle worker who would vanquish Israel’s enemies and restore the kingdom of David (see John 6:15).

Jesus today reveals a different portrait. He calls Himself the Son of Man, evoking the royal figure Daniel saw in his heavenly visions (see Daniel 7:13–14). But Jesus’ kingship is not to be of this world (see John 18:36). And the path to His throne, as He reveals, is by way of suffering and death.

Jesus identifies the Messiah with the suffering servant that Isaiah foretells in today’s First Reading. The words of Isaiah’s servant are Jesus’ words—as He gives Himself to be shamed and beaten, trusting that God will be His help. We hear our Lord’s voice again in today’s Psalm, as He gives thanks that God has freed Him from the cords of death.

As Jesus tells us today, to believe that He is the Messiah is to follow His way of self-denial—losing our lives to save them in order to rise with Him to new life. Our faith, we hear again in today’s Epistle, must express itself in works of love (see Galatians 5:6).

Notice that Jesus questions the Apostles today “along the way.” They are on the way to Jerusalem, where the Lord will lay down His life. We, too, are on a journey with the Lord.

We must take up our cross, giving to others and enduring all our trials for His sake and the sake of the Gospel.

Our lives must be an offering of thanksgiving for the new life He has given us until that day when we reach our destination and walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 11, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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What many of us lack is discipline! Did know that the first seven letters of the word discipline is also used to spell Disciple? And for very good reason don’t you think? For how can we be disciples of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ if we lack self control, discipline to listen, be faithful and obey His Word for us.  Today the Lord reminds us, ‘Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord” and not do what I say? And what did Jesus say? What were His commandments? He told us that we must be fruitful and apart from loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul we must love one another as He loved us.

So what are we doing in order to be fruitful? Have we tilled and enriched the soil of our hearts? By daily, listening attentively to His Word and Will for us? By entering into His presence through prayer and communion? Are we  giving Him thanks and praise? Do we have kind words and thoughts which we share with our brethren? Are we building our relationship with Him and with one another upon our Rock, our Lord and Saviour?

Or are we instead tearing down foundations by our floods of emotions! With Anger, spitefulness, foul thoughts and vile language. Criticising and insulting others, murdering their spirit. Do we plant deceitful ideas against others to defame and destroy their reputations? Do we gossip in the guise of relieving our own stress? Do we then expect mercy when we are anything but merciful!

Yes the Lord our God is indeed patient, merciful and kind but do we really want to take Him for granted?! Woe to us if we do for we will have no peace, love or joy in our hearts.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God have mercy on me a sinner. Amen

First reading

1 Timothy 1:15-17

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners

Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life. To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel

Luke 6:43-49

Whoever hears me builds his house on a rock

Jesus said to his disciples:

    ‘There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again a rotten tree that produces sound fruit. For every tree can be told by its own fruit: people do not pick figs from thorns, nor gather grapes from brambles. A good man draws what is good from the store of goodness in his heart; a bad man draws what is bad from the store of badness. For a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart.

    ‘Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord” and not do what I say?

    ‘Everyone who comes to me and listens to my words and acts on them – I will show you what he is like. He is like the man who when he built his house dug, and dug deep, and laid the foundations on rock; when the river was in flood it bore down on that house but could not shake it, it was so well built. But the one who listens and does nothing is like the man who built his house on soil, with no foundations: as soon as the river bore down on it, it collapsed; and what a ruin that house became!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Let us spend this day reflecting on our own discipleship after our Master, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. For a true disciple of His is a maker of disciples, that is to say the mark of a true disciple is one who has discipled others into following Him. If I am holy then how many are now holy as a result of my holiness? If I am prayerful, how many have I led to prayerfulness? If I go out to the peripheries and seek out the poor and the downtrodden, how many are following in my stead?

Disciples of Christ may lead others, but knows deep in their hearts that they are being led by Him who loves them. While they in the knowledge of their imperfections, they strive for perfection through Him who perfects them. They act justly, love mercy and their greatest desire each day is to walk humbly with their God!

Open my eyes always Lord, to the wonders of Your love! Grant that in Your grace, I shall lead my brethren into walking in Your presence now and forever. Amen

First reading

1 Timothy 1:1-2,12-14 ·

I used to be a blasphemer, but the mercy of God was shown me

From Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus appointed by the command of God our saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, true child of mine in the faith; wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

    I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, and who judged me faithful enough to call me into his service even though I used to be a blasphemer and did all I could to injure and discredit the faith. Mercy, however, was shown me, because until I became a believer I had been acting in ignorance; and the grace of our Lord filled me with faith and with the love that is in Christ Jesus.

Gospel

Luke 6:39-42

Can the blind lead the blind?

Jesus told a parable to the disciples: ‘Can one blind man guide another? Surely both will fall into a pit? The disciple is not superior to his teacher; the fully trained disciple will always be like his teacher. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,” when you cannot see the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother’s eye.’


What can we learn from one another if we have egos larger than ourselves? When we think that wisdom comes with age and experience and the young has nothing to offer us? How are we to bear with one another and forgive when we let our pride and hurts rule our hearts? Who are our enemies? In many cases it is members of our own families, the very people that are hardest to love and yet we must love them! And the greatest enemy in opposition to love is ourselves!

I am an enemy of love when I cannot bear the humility of carrying the cross for Jesus who hung on the cross for love of me. He forgave me my many heinous sins from the cross, yet would I choose to withhold forgiveness for those who have sinned against me? I am an enemy of love when I judge, condemn and drive people far away from me. I am an enemy of love when I bear false witness, gossip and plant seeds of despair. I am an enemy of love when I cannot love my enemies. And so if God is love and I choose not to love, then I am an enemy of God!

Lord Jesus have mercy one me for the many times I have chosen not to love and forgive. Have mercy Lord on all those who have sinned against me. Through your mercy, love and grace I choose to forgive them with all my heart. Teach me how to love as You love me and my brethren. Amen

First reading

Colossians 3:12-17

Be clothed in love

You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.

    Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Gospel

Luke 6:27-38

Love your enemies

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To the man who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek too; to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks can you expect? For even sinners do that much. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

    ‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’


On this feast day of the Nativity of our Blessed Mother, whom we love and honour. We see that even today’s readings and Gospel, it shows us God our loving Father’s  plan for our salvation. The Word incarnate was brought forth through the immaculate womb of His chosen daughter, Blessed Virgin Mary our Mother.

God our Heavenly Father can draw straight with crooked lines. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9) And so by His guiding Hand our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. (Heb 5:9) If anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him (1 JN 2:5) For it is through Christ alone that we are made perfect.

Dearest Mother by your Immaculate Conception you were chosen to be mother of Christ and mother of us all. Intercede for us dear mother so that we might be perfected through Your Son our Lord Jesus and so be made worthy of His promises. Amen

First reading

Micah 5:1-4

He will stand and feed his flock with the power of the Lord

The Lord says this:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

the least of the clans of Judah,

out of you will be born for me

the one who is to rule over Israel;

his origin goes back to the distant past,

to the days of old.

The Lord is therefore going to abandon them

till the time when she who is to give birth gives birth.

Then the remnant of his brothers will come back

to the sons of Israel.

He will stand and feed his flock

with the power of the Lord,

with the majesty of the name of his God.

They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power

to the ends of the land.

He himself will be peace.

Gospel

Matthew 1:1-16,18-23

The ancestry and conception of Jesus Christ

A genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac,

Isaac the father of Jacob,

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,

Perez was the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram was the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

Salmon was the father of Boaz, Rahab being his mother,

Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother,

Obed was the father of Jesse;

and Jesse was the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

Solomon was the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,

Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,

Joram the father of Azariah,

Azariah was the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah;

and Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.

Then the deportation to Babylon took place.

After the deportation to Babylon:

Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,

Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,

Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud,

Abiud the father of Eliakim,

Eliakim the father of Azor,

Azor was the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Achim,

Achim the father of Eliud,

Eliud was the father of Eleazar,

Eleazar the father of Matthan,

Matthan the father of Jacob;

and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary;

of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son

and they will call him Emmanuel,

a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 7, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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See Jesus prayed and selected only twelve Apostles to be sent, these were consecrated men set apart to preach the Good news of the Gospel, to heal and cast our demons. They were special, Priests after the Lord’s own heart. I cannot do what they do! I am not so Holy as they were, only priests can follow in His footsteps!

By virtue of our very own baptism, we were consecrated, set apart. To be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. We are likewise sent into the world when we are confirmed! Sent to do what? Well to preach if not then to share the Good news of the Gospel, to heal and cast our demons even, if we are so empowered by Christ to do so. For nothing is impossible for the Lord our God. Do you think He loves His priests more than His flock or vice versa? All of us are called to carry our cross and to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And while we all possess different gifts and talents we all have the same mission!

Here I am Lord, I come to do Your Will! Amen

First reading

Colossians 2:6-15

The Lord has brought you to life with him

You must live your whole life according to the Christ you have received – Jesus the Lord; you must be rooted in him and built on him and held firm by the faith you have been taught, and full of thanksgiving.

    Make sure that no one traps you and deprives you of your freedom by some second-hand, empty, rational philosophy based on the principles of this world instead of on Christ.

    In his body lives the fullness of divinity, and in him you too find your own fulfilment, in the one who is the head of every Sovereignty and Power.

    In him you have been circumcised, with a circumcision not performed by human hand, but by the complete stripping of your body of flesh. This is circumcision according to Christ. You have been buried with him, when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead. You were dead, because you were sinners and had not been circumcised: he has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us all our sins.

    He has overridden the Law, and cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross; and so he got rid of the Sovereignties and the Powers, and paraded them in public, behind him in his triumphal procession.

Gospel

Luke 6:12-19

Jesus chooses his twelve apostles

Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them ‘apostles’: Simon whom he called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.

    He then came down with them and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon who had come to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. People tormented by unclean spirits were also cured, and everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 6, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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No one likes or wants to suffer but the fact is that throughout the centuries we are and always will be a suffering Church! For this it what it means to take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour who suffered, died and was buried for our sins and on the third day rose again so that we might have eternal life with Him. And so uniting our suffering with His redemptive suffering we are renewed and proclaim by our actions that we have chosen to remain in humble servitude of Him and one another. For our suffering if and when we must suffer is, for Love of Him and for His Holy Church made up of the Children of God.

In Today’s Gospel despite knowing he will face opposition, objections, rejection and even plots of death , Jesus chooses love above everything. He heals the man out of love and teaches by example that the choice to love must come first above all else.

Lord Jesus teach me to love above all. Amen

First reading

Colossians 1:24-2:3

God’s message was a mystery hidden for generations

It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. I became the servant of the Church when God made me responsible for delivering God’s message to you, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his saints. It was God’s purpose to reveal it to them and to show all the rich glory of this mystery to pagans. The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory: this is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ. It is for this I struggle wearily on, helped only by his power driving me irresistibly.

    Yes, I want you to know that I do have to struggle hard for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for so many others who have never seen me face to face. It is all to bind you together in love and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development, until you really know God’s secret in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.

Gospel

Luke 6:6-11

Is it against the law on the sabbath to save life?

On the sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching him to see if he would cure a man on the sabbath, hoping to find something to use against him. But he knew their thoughts; and he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up! Come out into the middle.’ And he came out and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, ‘I put it to you: is it against the law on the sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it?’ Then he looked round at them all and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so, and his hand was better. But they were furious, and began to discuss the best way of dealing with Jesus.

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: September 4, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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All Things Well: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Isaiah 35:4–7

Psalm 146:7–10

James 2:1–5

Mark 7:31–37

The incident in today’s Gospel is recorded only by Mark. The key line is what the crowd says at the end: “He has done all things well.” In the Greek, this echoes the creation story, recalling that God saw all the things He had done and declared them good (see Genesis 1:31).

Mark also deliberately evokes Isaiah’s promise, which we hear in today’s First Reading, that God will make the deaf hear and the mute speak. He even uses a Greek word to describe the man’s condition (mogilalon = “speech impediment”) that’s only found in one other place in the Bible—in the Greek translation of today’s Isaiah passage, where the prophet describes the “dumb” singing.

The crowd recognizes that Jesus is doing what the prophet had foretold. But Mark wants us to see something far greater—that, to use the words from today’s First Reading: “Here is your God.”

Notice how personal and physical the drama is in the Gospel. Our focus is drawn to a hand, a finger, ears, a tongue, spitting. In Jesus, Mark shows us, God has truly come in the flesh.

What He has done is to make all things new, a new creation (see Revelation 21:1–5). As Isaiah promised, He has made the living waters of Baptism flow in the desert of the world. He has set captives free from their sins, as we sing in today’s Psalm. He has come that rich and poor might dine together in the Eucharistic feast, as James tells us in today’s Epistle.

He has done for each of us what He did for that deaf mute. He has opened our ears to hear the Word of God and loosed our tongues that we might sing praises to Him.

Let us then give thanks to our glorious Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Let us say with Isaiah, “Here is our God, He comes to save us.” Let us be rich in faith, that we might inherit the kingdom promised to those who love Him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 4, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Observe a buffet spread at a retreat, how many will wait for children or the elderly to get their food first? Women then men? What about going up a tour bus? Have you seen folks scrambling to secure choicest seats near to the priest giving a talk in an auditorium?  Or wanting only to seat in pews right up front in a Sunday Mass shooing off the ushers? Or what happens when folks stroll in and find their regular seats taken? Have you witness folks making blind to the elderly tottering late into a jam packed Mass? Where is the love for neighbour? Where is the love for Christ? Whom is it that we love, honour and worship?

Are we persevering in our faith when there is bickering amongst ourselves? When we behave uncharitably towards one another? Is there love for the Lord our God in our every thought, word and action? How are we reflecting the love of our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us to that we are able to appear before Him holy, pure and blameless?

Change my heart oh God,

Make it ever true.

Change my heart oh God,

May I be like You. Amen

First reading

Colossians 1:21-23 ·

God has reconciled you by Christ’s death in his mortal body

Not long ago, you were foreigners and enemies, in the way that you used to think and the evil things that you did; but now he has reconciled you, by his death and in that mortal body. Now you are able to appear before him holy, pure and blameless – as long as you persevere and stand firm on the solid base of the faith, never letting yourselves drift away from the hope promised by the Good News, which you have heard, which has been preached to the whole human race, and of which I, Paul, have become the servant.

Gospel

Luke 6:1-5

The Son of Man is master of the sabbath

One sabbath Jesus happened to be taking a walk through the cornfields, and his disciples were picking ears of corn, rubbing them in their hands and eating them. Some of the Pharisees said, ‘Why are you doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath day?’ Jesus answered them, ‘So you have not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry how he went into the house of God, took the loaves of offering and ate them and gave them to his followers, loaves which only the priests are allowed to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’


Had we not adapted and moved with the changes then everything we held fast in the Church would have been swept away by the Pandemic. Yes many have indeed been swept away by its currents  and it is left to us disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, to constantly reach out to them and bring them safely back to shore.

We never took our focus off our Lord and Saviour whom we know with every fibre of our very being, He truly is Lord of all creation; and that through Him alone we shall have new life with and in Him. We the Church are His Body and He is our Head, and the gates of Hades will never prevail over it!

And so we shall suffer for His namesake if we must and face challenges of the world head on. As we persevere to serve Him and one another for His Glory. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Amen

First reading

Colossians 1:15-20 ·

All things were created through Christ and for Christ

Christ Jesus is the image of the unseen God

and the first-born of all creation,

for in him were created

all things in heaven and on earth:

everything visible and everything invisible,

Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers –

all things were created through him and for him.

Before anything was created, he existed,

and he holds all things in unity.

Now the Church is his body,

he is its head.

As he is the Beginning,

he was first to be born from the dead,

so that he should be first in every way;

because God wanted all perfection

to be found in him

and all things to be reconciled through him and for him,

everything in heaven and everything on earth,

when he made peace

by his death on the cross.

Gospel

Luke 5:33-39

When the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fast

The Pharisees and the scribes said to Jesus, ‘John’s disciples are always fasting and saying prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees too, but yours go on eating and drinking.’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely you cannot make the bridegroom’s attendants fast while the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come, the time for the bridegroom to be taken away from them; that will be the time when they will fast.’

    He also told them this parable, ‘No one tears a piece from a new cloak to put it on an old cloak; if he does, not only will he have torn the new one, but the piece taken from the new will not match the old.

    ‘And nobody puts new wine into old skins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and then run out, and the skins will be lost. No; new wine must be put into fresh skins. And nobody who has been drinking old wine wants new. “The old is good” he says.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 2, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The Lord calls all of us to discipleship,  which in essence is fidelity to His Word and Will for us. Do you remember your call to discipleship? How on many occasions you felt the Lord call you to a task and how you agonized over whether it was His call or your own mind playing tricks. But the call grew louder as your heart started thumping hard. You then decided to cast away your fears and feelings of inadequacy to move forward with His task for you. Then lo and behold, you look back and saw His grace upon everything. You were His partner, a powerful instrument of His grace in the lives of others! 

This is what happens when we place all our trust and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. He will make all things new! All we have to do is say Yes!

“Yes Lord I leave everything behind and I follow You. Lead me Lord.” Amen

First reading

Colossians 1:9-14 ·

God has taken us out of the power of darkness

Ever since the day we heard about you, we have never failed to pray for you, and what we ask God is that through perfect wisdom and spiritual understanding you should reach the fullest knowledge of his will. So you will be able to lead the kind of life which the Lord expects of you, a life acceptable to him in all its aspects; showing the results in all the good actions you do and increasing your knowledge of God. You will have in you the strength, based on his own glorious power, never to give in, but to bear anything joyfully, thanking the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light.

    Because that is what he has done: he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.

Gospel

Luke 5:1-11

They left everything and followed him

Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

    When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.

    When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 1, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How far are we from loving one another in the Spirit? The same love in the Spirit mentioned by St Paul at the tail end of today’s first reading? Do we see  such love present in our ministries? In our church communities? Our Parish councils? Our Executive committees? In our Priests for their Parishioners and vice versa? What about loving one another in the Spirit as a Parish community? Is love in the Spirit present in our own homes?

What does it look like? Well when we pray and give thanks to God our Father for one another. When we affirm one another’s faith and love in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. When we share our testimonies of the Word and presence of our Lord in our daily lives. When we attest to and recognise the gift and talents to be found in our community. When we zealously share the good news with all whom we meet by our love put into action, as well as in word. When we teach and pass on the faith, in discipling others as we have ourselves have been discipled.

Jesus my Lord,  I too must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to all others for You have sent me to do so. Grant me the grace to do so always in love and in the Spirit. Amen

First reading

Colossians 1:1-8

The message of the truth has reached you and is spreading all over the world

From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy to the saints in Colossae, our faithful brothers in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

    We have never failed to remember you in our prayers and to give thanks for you to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ever since we heard about your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you show towards all the saints because of the hope which is stored up for you in heaven. It is only recently that you heard of this, when it was announced in the message of the truth. The Good News which has reached you is spreading all over the world and producing the same results as it has among you ever since the day when you heard about God’s grace and understood what this really is. Epaphras, who taught you, is one of our closest fellow workers and a faithful deputy for us as Christ’s servant, and it was he who told us all about your love in the Spirit.

Gospel

Luke 4:38-44

He would not allow them to speak because they knew he was the Christ

Leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever and they asked him to do something for her. Leaning over her he rebuked the fever and it left her. And she immediately got up and began to wait on them.

    At sunset all those who had friends suffering from diseases of one kind or another brought them to him, and laying his hands on each he cured them. Devils too came out of many people, howling, ‘You are the Son of God.’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.

    When daylight came he left the house and made his way to a lonely place. The crowds went to look for him, and when they had caught up with him they wanted to prevent him leaving them, but he answered, ‘I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do.’ And he continued his preaching in the synagogues of Judaea


Jesus Unrolls the Book in the Synagogue James Tissot 1894

Many are fearful of death, they do not know what to expect and it is scary for them. What do they do with such thoughts and ideas about death which offers no solutions or comfort? Well dismiss them and never think about them again! Till of course they have no choice like when facing death due to grave illness.

Many still have not heard the wonderful good news that:-

Christ has died

Christ is Risen

Christ will come again!

And so we must be prepared to share this joy of what it means for us and for them who will come to believe. Why we live in the hope that we too will rise again in Christ. For the Lord our God has kept His promises throughout salvation history. We know with deep conviction that God so loved the world that He gave us His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life.

The Lord our God has no favourites, His message of love and His salvation is for all who will listen and come to believe in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life! And so even Christians who do not embrace His truth fully and choose to cherry pick what they want to believe will have no benefit over the unbeliever. Likewise those who reject the prophets of today sent to them to hear our Lord’s call for repentance.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

First reading

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Do not grieve about those who have died in Jesus

We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him. We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching, that any of us who are left alive until the Lord’s coming will not have any advantage over those who have died. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them; to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord for ever. With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.

Gospel

Luke 4:16-30

‘This text is being fulfilled today, even as you listen’

Jesus came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,

for he has anointed me.

He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,

to proclaim liberty to captives

and to the blind new sight,

to set the downtrodden free,

to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips. They said, ‘This is Joseph’s son, surely?’

    But he replied, ‘No doubt you will quote me the saying, “Physician, heal yourself” and tell me, “We have heard all that happened in Capernaum, do the same here in your own countryside.”’

    And he went on, ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.

    ‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’

    When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.

22nd Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: August 28, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Pure Religion: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Deuteronomy 4:1–2,6–8

Psalm 15:2–5

James 1:17–18, 21–22, 27

Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23

Today’s Gospel casts Jesus in a prophetic light as one having authority to interpret God’s law.

Jesus’ quotation from Isaiah today is ironic (see Isaiah 29:13). In observing the law, the Pharisees honor God by ensuring that nothing unclean passes their lips. In this, however, they’ve turned the law inside out, making it a matter of simply performing certain external actions.

The gift of the law, which we hear God giving to Israel in today’s First Reading, is fulfilled in Jesus’ Gospel, which shows us the law’s true meaning and purpose (see Matthew 5:17).

The law, fulfilled in the Gospel, is meant to form our hearts, to make us pure, able to live in the Lord’s presence. The law was given that we might live and enter into the inheritance promised to us—the kingdom of God, eternal life.

Israel, by its observance of the law, was meant to be an example to surrounding nations. As James tells us in today’s Epistle, the Gospel was given to us that we might have new birth by the Word of truth. By living the Word we’ve received, we’re to be examples of God’s wisdom to those around us, the “first fruits” of a new humanity.

This means we must be “doers” of the Word, not merely hearers of it. As we sing in today’s Psalm and hear again in today’s Epistle, we must work for justice, taking care of our brothers and sisters and living by the truth God has placed in our hearts.

The Word given to us is a perfect gift. We should not add to it through vain and needless devotions. Nor should we subtract from it by picking and choosing which of His laws to honor.

“Hear me,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel. Today, we’re called to examine our relationship to God’s law.

Is the practice of our religion a pure listening to Jesus, a humble welcoming of the Word planted in us and able to save our souls? Or are we only paying lip service?


“God will provide don’t worry.” “The Lord will surely send someone to right the wrong” “The Lord is close to the broken hearted, and He delivers those whose spirit has been crushed.” “Pray that the Lord will send labourers into His harvest.” “He tends his flock like a shepherd, He gathers the lambs in his arms, carries them close to his heart, and gently leads the mother sheep.” “He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.”

What if the Lord sends you in His stead? To provide for the poor, to defend the innocent, to deliver those whose spirit has been crushed and to comfort His people. What if you are the labourer He has sent into His harvest? To tend to His flock like a shepherd to love and care for them. To bring His healing grace to the broken hearted, to tend to the sick and bind the wounds of the wounded. Yes indeed He has sent you and me! For He has already given us all that we need and He will make up for all that we lack. What will we say to Him when He returns? How will we account for all that we have done for His Kingdom and all that we have failed to do? Can we hope to hear our Lord say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”

Let us pray…. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.

St Augustine pray for us…

First reading

1 Thessalonians 4:9-11 ·

You have learnt from God how to love one another

As for loving our brothers, there is no need for anyone to write to you about that, since you have learnt from God yourselves to love one another, and in fact this is what you are doing with all the brothers throughout the whole of Macedonia. However, we do urge you, brothers, to go on making even greater progress and to make a point of living quietly, attending to your own business and earning your living, just as we told you to.

Gospel

Matthew 25:14-30

You have been faithful in small things: come and join in your master’s happiness

Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like a man on his way abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one; each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out.

    ‘The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more. The man who had received two made two more in the same way. But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

    ‘Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.”

    ‘His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”

    ‘Next the man with the two talents came forward. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”

    ‘Last came forward the man who had the one talent. “Sir,” said he “I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back.” But his master answered him, “You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered? Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have recovered my capital with interest. So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents. For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 27, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We were sanctified at our Baptism, set apart to live in Holiness. To be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. St Paul in today’s reading is reminding us to ask ourselves, how have we grown in Holiness? How have we strived in this endeavor? Not something we can achieve on our own but through our love and relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. By being led by the Holy Spirit and obedient to His soft promptings. Not simply by avoiding sexual impurity which is a given, but all things of the flesh, the ways of the world. It is not simply about personal sanctification but Holiness which draws others to Holiness. What was the duty of the ten bridesmaids in today’s Gospel again? It was to usher their Lord from one home to the next, lighting his way and the way of the wedding party. So how prepared are we to light our Lord’s way on this long journey home? How many will we lead into the light of His Glory?

There is great comfort in the assurance of the Word of God found further in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (which was cut short from today’s first reading for practical reasons)  We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him. We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching, that any of us who are left alive until the Lord’s coming will not have any advantage over those who have died. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them; to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord for ever.  Amen!

St Monica pray for us…..

First reading

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 ·

What God wants is for you all to be holy

Brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.

    What God wants is for you all to be holy. He wants you to keep away from fornication, and each one of you to know how to use the body that belongs to him in a way that is holy and honourable, not giving way to selfish lust like the pagans who do not know God. He wants nobody at all ever to sin by taking advantage of a brother in these matters; the Lord always punishes sins of that sort, as we told you before and assured you. We have been called by God to be holy, not to be immoral; in other words, anyone who objects is not objecting to a human authority, but to God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Gospel

Matthew 25:1-13

The wise and foolish virgins

Jesus told this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven will be like this: Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: the foolish ones did take their lamps, but they brought no oil, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight there was a cry, “The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.” At this, all those bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” But they replied, “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves.” They had gone off to buy it when the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed. The other bridesmaids arrived later. “Lord, Lord,” they said “open the door for us.” But he replied, “I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.” So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.’


‘Stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming.’ The year is slowly drawing to a close what have done to build God’s Kingdom? How have we served our brethren entrusted to us as stewards of His?

This year alone I have had two brothers and a sister in Christ pass on. They were models of fidelity to our faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And their return to the Lord has left me mourning the loss of their friendship and warmth.  They had their own struggles and challenges but it was always a joy to be in their company. Their patience, love and humility in serving their families and their brethren is a testimony of their love for the Lord their God. I miss them fondly and can only hope that I too might one day be missed fondly, as someone who loved our Lord as His faithful servant; and loved my neighbour as I loved myself a child of God so loved by my Heavenly Father. Amen

First reading

1 Thessalonians 3:7-13 ·

Now we can breathe again, as you are still holding firm in the Lord

Brothers, your faith has been a great comfort to us in the middle of our own troubles and sorrows; now we can breathe again, as you are still holding firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you, for all the joy we feel before our God on your account? We are earnestly praying night and day to be able to see you face to face again and make up any shortcomings in your faith.

    May God our Father himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, make it easy for us to come to you. May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.

Gospel

Matthew 24:42-51

He is coming at an hour you do not expect

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

    ‘What sort of servant, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you solemnly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the dishonest servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time,” and sets about beating his fellow servants and eating and drinking with drunkards, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 25, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Perhaps many hearts remain unchanged in the world, because You and I are not living lives of authentic Christian discipleship. God’s message of love and salvation, not some human thinking! For if we  are then where is the transformative power among us that changes the lives of the souls that we meet? How have we brought them to the deep knowledge of Christ; in which they experience His peace, love and joy. How many of them are thankful to us for loving them as Jesus intended us to?

Lord take all distractions of the world away from me. Help me stay alert and focused on You and grant me the grace and courage to work tirelessly for the salvation of souls into Your Kingdom. Amen

First reading

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 ·

We slaved night and day so as not to be a burden on any one of you

Let me remind you, brothers, how hard we used to work, slaving night and day so as not to be a burden on any one of you while we were proclaiming God’s Good News to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, that our treatment of you, since you became believers, has been impeccably right and fair. You can remember how we treated every one of you as a father treats his children, teaching you what was right, encouraging you and appealing to you to live a life worthy of God, who is calling you to share the glory of his kingdom. Another reason why we constantly thank God for you is that as soon as you heard the message that we brought you as God’s message, you accepted it for what it really is, God’s message and not some human thinking; and it is still a living power among you who believe it.

Gospel

Matthew 23:27-32

You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets

Jesus said: ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of corruption. In the same way you appear to people from the outside like good honest men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

    ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who build the sepulchres of the prophets and decorate the tombs of holy men, saying, “We would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets, had we lived in our fathers’ day.” So! Your own evidence tells against you! You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets! Very well then, finish off the work that your fathers began.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 24, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Lord can you see me under the ‘fig tree’ ? Praying that You shall come again in Your glory. Sitting in Your presence dwelling on Your Word and Will for me.

Will You find my heart, honest and true? With integrity, incapable of deceit.  Will You find me as one after Your own heart, loving merciful and caring for the least of my brethren?

Lord it is my heartfelt desire to take up my cross and follow You, guide and lead me Lord. Let me be a powerful instrument of Your grace, to lead one and all to the Glory of Your Kingdom. Amen

Saint Bartholomew Pray for us….

First reading

Apocalypse 21:9-14 ·

He showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven

The angel came to speak to me, and said, ‘Come here and I will show you the bride that the Lamb has married.’ In the spirit, he took me to the top of an enormous high mountain and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven. It had all the radiant glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond. The walls of it were of a great height, and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; on the east there were three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Gospel

John 1:45-51

You will see heaven laid open, and the Son of Man

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote: he is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ ‘From Nazareth?’ said Nathanael ‘Can anything good come from that place?’ ‘Come and see’ replied Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael. ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’ Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 23, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We must be connected to our Lord and Saviour Jesus at all times through His Word, in body, mind and Spirit. That is why is not good enough to listen to His Word, we must dwell on it and allow our hearts to be filled with His presence and His grace.

We see the consequences of what happens in Today’s Gospel when there is a disconnect between our heads and our hearts. When we honour our Lord with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. We worship Him in vain; our teachings are merely human rules!

In the first reading of today however, we see the joys of living the Word and being fully connected to our Lord. How by being faithful and convicted the Word of God spread everywhere. And so like St Paul we must affirm one another, as we see, recognise and celebrate the good that we do and continue to do for the Lord our God and for our brethren. Amen

First reading

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5,8-10

You broke with idolatry when you were converted to God

From Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, to the Church in Thessalonika which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; wishing you grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    We always mention you in our prayers and thank God for you all, and constantly remember before God our Father how you have shown your faith in action, worked for love and persevered through hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    We know, brothers, that God loves you and that you have been chosen, because when we brought the Good News to you, it came to you not only as words, but as power and as the Holy Spirit and as utter conviction. And you observed the sort of life we lived when we were with you, which was for your instruction, since it was from you that the word of the Lord started to spread – and not only throughout Macedonia and Achaia, for the news of your faith in God has spread everywhere. We do not need to tell other people about it: other people tell us how we started the work among you, how you broke with idolatry when you were converted to God and became servants of the real, living God; and how you are now waiting for Jesus, his Son, whom he raised from the dead, to come from heaven to save us from the retribution which is coming.

Gospel

Matthew 23:13-22

Alas for you, blind guides!

Jesus said: ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who shut up the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces, neither going in yourselves nor allowing others to go in who want to.

    ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when you have him you make him twice as fit for hell as you are.

    ‘Alas for you, blind guides! You who say, “If a man swears by the Temple, it has no force; but if a man swears by the gold of the Temple, he is bound.” Fools and blind! For which is of greater worth, the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? Or else, “If a man swears by the altar it has no force; but if a man swears by the offering that is on the altar, he is bound.” You blind men! For which is of greater worth, the offering or the altar that makes the offering sacred? Therefore, when a man swears by the altar he is swearing by that and by everything on it. And when a man swears by the Temple he is swearing by that and by the One who dwells in it. And when a man swears by heaven he is swearing by the throne of God and by the One who is seated there.’

21st Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: August 21, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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A Choice to Make: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18

Psalm 34:2-3, 16-23

Ephesians 5:21-32

John 6:60-69

This Sunday’s Mass readings conclude a four-week meditation on the Eucharist.

The Twelve Apostles in today’s Gospel are asked to make a choice—either to believe and accept the New Covenant He offers in His Body and Blood or return to their former ways of life.

Their choice is prefigured by the decision Joshua asks the Twelve Tribes to make in today’s First Reading.

Joshua gathers them at Shechem—where God first appeared to their father Abraham promising to make his descendants a great nation in a new land (see Genesis 12:1–9). And he issues a blunt challenge: either renew their covenant with God or serve the alien gods of the surrounding nations.

We too are being asked today to decide whom we will serve. For four weeks we have been presented in the liturgy with the mystery of the Eucharist—a daily miracle far greater than those performed by God in bringing the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

He has promised us a new homeland and eternal life, offering us bread from heaven to strengthen us on our journey. He has told us that unless we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood we will have no life in us.

It is a hard saying, as many murmur in today’s Gospel. Yet He has given us the words of eternal life.

We must believe, as Peter says today, that He is the Holy One of God, who handed Himself over for us, who gave His flesh for the life of the world.

As we hear in today’s Epistle, Jesus did this that we might be sanctified, made holy, through the water and word of Baptism by which we enter into His new covenant. Through the Eucharist, He nourishes and cherishes us, making us His own flesh and blood, as husband and wife become one flesh.

Let us renew our covenant today, approaching the altar with confidence that, as we sing in today’s Psalm, the Lord will redeem the lives of His servants.


When God’s love is reflected in the love of others such love begets love. For God is love! If in humility and love for God, that we love our neighbour as we should, then we truly love God. And it is the surest and best form of evangelising the Good News of our salvation, through our ever loving and merciful Lord Jesus Christ.

See how love begets love in today’s first reading. When Ruth asked Boaz, ‘How have I so earned your favour that you take notice of me, even though I am a foreigner?’ Boaz replied, “‘I have been told all you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband’s death, and how you left your own father and mother and the land where you were born to come among a people whom you knew nothing about before you came here.’ And the Lord our God Blessed them with a child who would grow up to be the grandfather of King David!

Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel that true authentic love for God is loving humble servitude of Him and our brethren. And so let us pray earnestly to follow His Will for us, He has shown us what is required of us; that we should to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with the Lord our God. Amen

First reading

Ruth 2:1-3,8-11,4:13-17

Ruth gives birth to Obed, the grandfather of David

Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, well-to-do and of Elimelech’s clan. His name was Boaz.

    Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, ‘Let me go into the fields and glean among the ears of corn in the footsteps of some man who will look on me with favour.’ And she said to her, ‘Go, my daughter.’ So she set out and went to glean in the fields after the reapers. And it chanced that she came to that part of the fields which belonged to Boaz of Elimelech’s clan.

    Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Listen, my daughter, and understand this. You are not to glean in any other field, do not leave here but stay with my servants. Keep your eyes on whatever part of the field they are reaping and follow behind. I have ordered my servants not to molest you. And if you are thirsty, go to the pitchers and drink what the servants have drawn.’ Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground. And she said to him, ‘How have I so earned your favour that you take notice of me, even though I am a foreigner?’ And Boaz answered her, ‘I have been told all you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband’s death, and how you left your own father and mother and the land where you were born to come among a people whom you knew nothing about before you came here.’

    So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. And when they came together, the Lord made her conceive and she bore a son. And the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord who has not left the dead man without next of kin this day to perpetuate his name in Israel. The child will be a comfort to you and the prop of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you and is more to you than seven sons has given him birth.’ And Naomi took the child to her own bosom and she became his nurse.

    And the women of the neighbourhood gave him a name. ‘A son has been born for Naomi’ they said; and they named him Obed. This was the father of David’s father, Jesse.

Gospel

Matthew 23:1-12

They do not practise what they preach

Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.

    ‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’


I have always had a soft spot for today’s first reading as it goes a long way to show what Jesus means when He says we are to love neighbour as ourselves and that the second commandment resembles the first.

Generally at Wedding dinners or receptions you often hear the parents share with their guests wonderful heart warming declarations of love, which often include, “We are not losing our son or daughter, but gaining one into the family.” How wonderful indeed it would be, if it rang true all throughout their lives; in good times as well as in the bad, and worst of times! But instead we later hear terms like they are outlaws not in-laws! “Oh I dread visiting….or I dread a visit from..” Why? Perhaps simply put they do not love ‘family’ as they love themselves let alone neighbour.

See how the fidelity and love for family should be in today’s first reading and in the later chapters of Ruth.  Naomi never imposes her will on Ruth her daughter in-law, while Ruth honours and respects her mother in-law Naomi. Both love one another unconditionally.  Their love for the Lord their God is reflected in their love for one another.

Lord teach me to love as You do. Amen

First reading

Ruth 1:1,3-6,14-16,22

Ruth the Moabitess is brought to Bethlehem by Naomi

In the days of the Judges famine came to the land and a certain man from Bethlehem of Judah went – he, his wife and his two sons – to live in the country of Moab. Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died, and she and her two sons were left. These married Moabite women: one was named Orpah and the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died and the woman was bereft of her two sons and her husband. So she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and went back to her people. But Ruth clung to her.

    Naomi said to her, ‘Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her god. You must return too; follow your sister-in-law.’

    But Ruth said, ‘Do not press me to leave you and to turn back from your company, for

‘wherever you go, I will go,

wherever you live, I will live.

Your people shall be my people,

and your God, my God.’

This was how Naomi, she who returned from the country of Moab, came back with Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Gospel

Matthew 22:34-40

The commandments of love

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees they got together and, to disconcert him, one of them put a question, ‘Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’ Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’


We are all invited to the wedding feast of the lamb of God our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! We who are sinners not worthy in the least to be invited, but for love of us are called to attend. Shall we refuse this great opportunity of life to the full with and in Him? Can we pay lip service by promising that we will attend but later choose not to show up? Are we too busy about our lives to honour Him? Do we then show up indignant, defiant and clothed in unrepentance?

He is God of Love and mercy indeed but He is also God of justice and shall He not judge us according to what is in our hearts and minds?

With great love for her imprudent father and for the Lord their God the daughter of pure heart, mind and soul in today’s first reading gave herself up as a sacrifice. This this too was for her people whom the Lord had delivered.

Can we who are of sound body and mind, with great love for God our Heavenly Father offer up ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him? So as to truly honour and worship Him by our lives.

Here I am Lord, I come to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

Judges 11:29-39 ·

Jephthah sacrifices his daughter in fulfilment of a vow

The spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah, who crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through to Mizpah in Gilead, and from Mizpah in Gilead made his way to the rear of the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, ‘If you deliver the Ammonites into my hands, then the first person to meet me from the door of my house when I return in triumph from fighting the Ammonites shall belong to the Lord, and I will offer him up as a holocaust. Jephthah marched against the Ammonites to attack them, and the Lord delivered them into his power. He harassed them from Aroer almost to Minnith (twenty towns) and to Abel-keramim. It was a very severe defeat, and the Ammonites were humbled before the Israelites.

    As Jephthah returned to his house at Mizpah, his daughter came out from it to meet him; she was dancing to the sound of timbrels. This was his only child; apart from her he had neither son nor daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and exclaimed, ‘Oh my daughter, what sorrow you are bringing me! Must it be you, the cause of my ill-fortune! I have given a promise to the Lord, and I cannot unsay what I have said.’ She answered him, ‘My father, you have given a promise to the Lord; treat me as the vow you took binds you to, since the Lord has given you vengeance on your enemies the Ammonites.’ Then she said to her father, ‘Grant me one request. Let me be free for two months. I shall go and wander in the mountains, and with my companions bewail my virginity.’ He answered, ‘Go’, and let her depart for two months. So she went away with her companions and bewailed her virginity in the mountains. When the two months were over, she returned to her father, and he treated her as the vow that he had uttered bound him. She had never known a man.

Gospel

Matthew 22:1-14

Invite everyone you can to the wedding

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them. The king was furious. He despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’


The pandemic the world is facing has not let up! In fact in many parts of the world the numbers are still rising. While very few are moving gradually into the endemic phase. Like Gideon in today’s first reading we can easily ask this question of our Lord, “‘Forgive me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us, then why is it that all this is happening to us now?” or rather “Still happening to us now?”

We can assured that our Lord’s words spoken to Gideon speaks to our hearts today. His strength will uphold us, He will rescue us. And He is sending us to bring His salvation, peace, love and joy to all His people. We are not too small or too inadequate for we have a big and powerful God who is behind us every step of the way. All we need to is offer ourselves as living sacrifices for Him and for our brethren out in the world. And our Lord reassures us by saying to us ‘Peace be with you; have no fear; you will not die.’  For we who are last, will be first in His Kingdom and we shall have eternal life with Him. Alleluia!

Lord God almighty Father nothing is impossible for You. And through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ You make all things new. Renew the face of the earth Lord, and Bless us Your faithful. Amen

First reading

Judges 6:11-24 ·

‘Peace be with you; have no fear; you will not die’

The angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah which belonged to Joash of Abiezer. Gideon his son was threshing wheat inside the winepress to keep it hidden from Midian, when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘The Lord is with you, valiant warrior!’ Gideon answered him, ‘Forgive me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us, then why is it that all this is happening to us now? And where are all the wonders our ancestors tell us of when they say, “Did not the Lord bring us out of Egypt?” But now the Lord has deserted us; he has abandoned us to Midian.’

    At this the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength now upholding you, and you will rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Do I not send you myself?’ Gideon answered him, ‘Forgive me, my lord, but how can I deliver Israel? My clan, you must know, is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least important in my family.’ The Lord answered him, ‘I will be with you and you shall crush Midian as though it were a single man.’ Gideon said to him, ‘If I have found favour in your sight, give me a sign that it is you who speak to me. I beg you, do not go away until I come back. I will bring you my offering and set it down before you.’ And he answered, ‘I will stay until you return.’

    Gideon went away and prepared a young goat and made unleavened cakes with an ephah of flour. He put the meat into a basket and the broth into a pot, then brought it all to him under the terebinth. As he came near, the angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Take the meat and unleavened cakes, put them on this rock and pour the broth over them.’ Gideon did so. Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff in his hand and touched the meat and unleavened cakes. Fire sprang from the rock and consumed the meat and unleavened cakes, and the angel of the Lord vanished before his eyes. Then Gideon knew this was the angel of the Lord, and he said, ‘Alas, my Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!’ The Lord answered him, ‘Peace be with you; have no fear; you will not die.’ Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it The-Lord-is-Peace.

Gospel

Matthew 19:23-30

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you solemnly, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ When the disciples heard this they were astonished. ‘Who can be saved, then?’ they said. Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he told them ‘this is impossible; for God everything is possible.’

    Then Peter spoke. ‘What about us?’ he said to him ‘We have left everything and followed you. What are we to have, then?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I tell you solemnly, when all is made new and the Son of Man sits on his throne of glory, you will yourselves sit on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life.

    ‘Many who are first will be last, and the last, first.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 16, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Aren’t we quick to drop the ball? To lose focus and turn back to our old way of lives, our comforts, bad habits even sin! Are we not idolaters when we place priorities, persons or things above the Lord our God?

What are some of the ways? When life gets challenging or hard we turn to distractions such as pornography, incessant watching of tv serials, online shopping, alcohol, and others. We become too busy and preoccupied for family, community prayer or both! In ministry meetings its about the agenda and the tasks, short opening and closing prayers is more than enough. We have our monthly devotional prayer to keep us all spiritually grounded as One. When serving in church let us not lose focus it is about being there on time and getting ready for to move to our stations; we can spare maximum five to ten minutes for prayer or anything else.

If we think we are good and doing ok, then how are we striving to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect? Are we simply too inward looking? Such that we do not see the plight of others? When it is all about our own personal comforts! We simply refuse to sacrifice time, talent or make any effort to serve the needs of the least of our brethren or seek to build God’s Kingdom.

Lord forgive us for what we have done and for all that we have failed to do

according to Your Will for us. Grants us the grace and courage to be better disciples after Your own heart, as we go on to serve our brethren in Your most precious name. Amen

First reading

Judges 2:11-19

The Lord appoints judges to rescue the men of Israel

The sons of Israel did what displeases the Lord, and served the Baals. They deserted the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from the gods of the peoples round them. They bowed down to these; they provoked the Lord; they deserted the Lord to serve Baal and Astarte. Then the Lord’s anger flamed out against Israel. He handed them over to pillagers who plundered them; he delivered them to the enemies surrounding them, and they were not able to resist them. In every warlike venture, the hand of the Lord was there to foil them, as the Lord had warned, as the Lord had sworn to them. Thus he reduced them to dire distress.

    Then the Lord appointed judges for them, and rescued the men of Israel from the hands of their plunderers. But they would not listen to their judges. They prostituted themselves to other gods, and bowed down before these. Very quickly they left the path their ancestors had trodden in obedience to the orders of the Lord; they did not follow their example. When the Lord appointed judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and rescued them from the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived, for the Lord felt pity for them as they groaned under the iron grip of their oppressors. But once the judge was dead, they relapsed and behaved even worse than their ancestors. They followed other gods; they served them and bowed before them, and would not give up the practices and stubborn ways of their ancestors at all.

Gospel

Matthew 19:16-22

If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own

There was a man who came to Jesus and asked, ‘Master, what good deed must I do to possess eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is one alone who is good. But if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said, ‘Which?’ ‘These:’ Jesus replied ‘You must not kill. You must not commit adultery. You must not bring false witness. Honour your father and mother, and: you must love your neighbour as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these. What more do I need to do?’ Jesus said, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But when the young man heard these words he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.


Scott Hahn Reflects on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings:

Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6, 10

Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16

1 Corinthians 15:20-27

Luke 1:39-56

On this feast, we praise God who has taken the sinless Virgin Mary, body and soul, into His glory.

In our first reading, from Revelation, we find God’s temple in heaven opened and the Ark of the Covenant revealed. The most sacred item in Israel’s history, the Ark had been missing since the Temple’s destruction in 586 B.C. Thus, John reports some startling news. Even more startling is his revelation that the sacred vessel is now a woman, who is mother of the royal Son of David, the Messiah.

Of this woman, then, we sing to God as the ancient Israelites sang: “The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.” In the court of King Solomon, we glimpse Israel’s traditional arrangement: Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, takes her place at the king’s right hand (see 1 Kings 2:19).

At Mary’s Assumption, as we see in Revelation, the queen once again takes her place at the right hand of the Son of David.

Our second reading shows us why this is fitting: “in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order.” What is implicit in St. Paul’s statement is revealed in Revelation. The consummation of Christ’s work has begun, as is proper, with the Assumption of the queen mother.

John’s Apocalypse shows also the fulfillment of our Gospel. There, Mary, pregnant with Jesus, retraces the steps of David as he brought the Ark to Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 6). Mary “arose and went” into the hill country, just as David “arose and went” to that region. Upon Mary’s arrival, Elizabeth is awestruck, just as David was before the Ark. The encounter causes the baby John to leap with excitement, as David leapt before the Ark. And Mary stayed in the “house of Zechariah” for “three months,” as the Ark remained in the “house of Obed-edom” for the same period.

Mary is the vessel of God’s presence, and she is queen mother. She reigns now in splendor with Jesus in the heavenly Jerusalem.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 14, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We must all be young at heart! Not as an adult still wanting to be adventurous in trying things out we never got to try. Amorous or  mischievous! Not childish but certainly childlike.

Like a toddler, innocent of heart not weighed down by the world. A child ever willing to love and be loved, trusting wholeheartedly and faithful to those who brought him/her into the world. A cheerful child warm and welcoming of other children. This is what a son or daughter of God our Heavenly Father should be, for then the kingdom of Heaven belongs to us His children; just as we rightfully belong with our Heavenly Father.

Let us pray…

Father in Heaven, when the Spirit came down upon Jesus at His Baptism in the Jordan, You revealed Him as Your own Beloved Son. Keep me, Your child,

born of water and the Spirit, faithful to my calling. May I, who share in Your Life

as Your child through Baptism, follow in Christ’s path of service to people.

Let me become one in His Sacrifice and hear His Word with faith. May I live as Your child, following the example of Jesus.

First reading

Joshua 24:14-29

‘The Lord is a holy God, a jealous God’

Joshua said to all the people, ‘Fear the Lord and serve him perfectly and sincerely; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if you will not serve the Lord, choose today whom you wish to serve, whether the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living. As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord.’

    The people answered, ‘We have no intention of deserting the Lord and serving other gods! Was it not the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery, who worked those great wonders before our eyes and preserved us all along the way we travelled and among all the peoples through whom we journeyed? What is more, the Lord drove all those peoples out before us, as well as the Amorites who used to live in this country. We too will serve the Lord, for he is our God.’

    Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You cannot serve the Lord, because he is a holy God, he is a jealous God who will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you desert the Lord to follow alien gods he in turn will afflict and destroy you after the goodness he has shown you.’ The people answered Joshua, ‘No; it is the Lord we wish to serve.’ Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.’ They answered, ‘We are witnesses.’ ‘Then cast away the alien gods among you and give your hearts to the Lord the God of Israel!’ The people answered Joshua, ‘It is the Lord our God we choose to serve; it is his voice that we will obey.’

    That day, Joshua made a covenant for the people; he laid down a statute and ordinance for them at Shechem. Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a great stone and set it up there, under the oak in the sanctuary of the Lord, and Joshua said to all the people, ‘See! This stone shall be a witness against us because it has heard all the words that the Lord has spoken to us: it shall be a witness against you in case you deny your God.’ Then Joshua sent the people away, and each returned to his own inheritance.

    After these things Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died; he was a hundred and ten years old.

Gospel

Matthew 19:13-15

Do not stop the little children coming to me

People brought little children to Jesus, for him to lay his hands on them and say a prayer. The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way.


The sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman must be preserved for it was God’s design that a husband and a wife be perfectly united so as to procreate and bring forth children.

Fidelity to the Lord our God is to be One in Communion with Him.  And to be in Communion with Him is to be faithful to Him and to one another in word, body, mind and spirit. This must be so whether we are called to marriage, or to live chaste lives for the sake of His Kingdom. For His Kingdom come His Will be done on earth as in Heaven. 

God so loved the world that He gave us His only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. So in Christ we, though many, form One Body, and each member belongs to all the others. (rm12:5) The fullness of life and joy is found in Communion with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. And so through Him we are One Body in Him in full communion with the Holy Trinity with His angels and His Saints, Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Joshua 24:1-13

I gave you a land where you never toiled, vineyards and olive-groves you never planted

Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel together at Shechem; then he called the elders, leaders, judges and scribes of Israel, and they presented themselves before God. Then Joshua said to all the people:

    ‘The Lord, the God of Israel says this, “In ancient days your ancestors lived beyond the River – such was Terah the father of Abraham and of Nahor – and they served other gods. Then I brought your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan. I increased his descendants and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountain country of Seir as his possession. Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt. Then I sent Moses and Aaron and plagued Egypt with the wonders that I worked there. So I brought you out of it. I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and you came to the Sea; the Egyptians pursued your ancestors with chariots and horsemen as far as the Sea of Reeds. There they called to the Lord, and he spread a thick fog between you and the Egyptians, and made the sea go back on them and cover them. You saw with your own eyes the things I did in Egypt. Then for a long time you lived in the wilderness, until I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived beyond the Jordan; they made war on you and I gave them into your hands; you took possession of their country because I destroyed them before you. Next, Balak son of Zippor the king of Moab arose to make war on Israel, and sent for Balaam son of Beor to come and curse you. But I would not listen to Balaam; instead, he had to bless you, and I saved you from his hand.

    ‘“When you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, those who held Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites and Perizzites, the Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I put them all into your power. I sent out hornets in front of you, which drove the two Amorite kings before you; this was not the work of your sword or your bow. I gave you a land where you never toiled, you live in towns you never built; you eat now from vineyards and olive-groves you never planted.”’

Gospel

Matthew 19:3-12

Husband and wife are no longer two, but one body

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and to test him they said, ‘Is it against the Law for a man to divorce his wife on any pretext whatever?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body? They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’

    They said to him, ‘Then why did Moses command that a writ of dismissal should be given in cases of divorce?’ ‘It was because you were so unteachable’ he said ‘that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning. Now I say this to you: the man who divorces his wife – I am not speaking of fornication – and marries another, is guilty of adultery.’

    The disciples said to him, ‘If that is how things are between husband and wife, it is not advisable to marry.’ But he replied, ‘It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted. There are eunuchs born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs made so by men and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 12, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The pathway to crossover the ‘dry-shod’ of our lives into the Kingdom of Heaven is love and mercy. For the Lord Himself is present with us every step of the way and will clear any and all obstacles.  That is why there is great emphasis in today’s Gospel on forgiveness. For if there is forgiveness then there is true love.

Forgiveness is such that while it may be one of the most difficult to put into action, it liberates both the giver and the receiver. It frees us all not only from sinning by carrying unforgiveness in our heart, anger, hatred but also many ailments that arise from prolonged unforgiveness. Most wonderful thing about forgiveness is that by forgiving others we who are sinners ourselves are forgiven by the Lord our God.

Let us pray….

Lord, Father all-powerful, and ever-living God, I thank you, for even though I am a sinner in the kindness of your mercy you have fed me with the precious body and blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that this holy communion may not bring me condemnation and punishment but forgiveness and salvation. May it be a helmet of faith and a shield of goodwill. May it purify me from evil ways and put an end to my evil passions. May it bring me charity and patience, humility and obedience, and growth in power to do good.

May it be my strong defense against all my enemies, visible and invisible, and the perfect calming of all my evil impulses, bodily and spiritual. May it unite me more closely to you, the one true God and lead me safely through death to everlasting happiness with you. Lead me, a sinner, to the banquet, where you with your Son and Holy Spirit, there is true and perfect light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy, gladness without end and perfect happiness for your saints. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (St Thomas Aquinas)

First reading

Joshua 3:7-11,13-17 ·

The Israelites cross the Jordan dry-shod

The Lord said to Joshua, ‘This very day I will begin to make you a great man in the eyes of all Israel, to let them be sure that I am going to be with you even as I was with Moses. As for you, give this order to the priests carrying the ark of the covenant: “When you have reached the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you are to stand still in the Jordan itself”.’ Then Joshua said to the Israelites, ‘Come closer and hear the words of the Lord your God.’ Joshua said, ‘By this you shall know that a living God is with you and without a doubt will expel the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite and the Jebusite. Look, the ark of the Lord, the Lord of the whole earth, is about to cross the Jordan at your head. As soon as the priests with the ark of the Lord, the Lord of the whole earth, have set their feet in the waters of the Jordan, the upper waters of the Jordan flowing down will be stopped in their course and stand still in one mass.’

    Accordingly, when the people struck camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carried the ark of the covenant in front of the people. As soon as the bearers of the ark reached the Jordan and the feet of the priests who carried it touched the waters (the Jordan overflows the whole length of its banks throughout the harvest season) the upper waters stood still and made one heap over a wide space – from Adam to the fortress of Zarethan – while those flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah, that is, the Salt Sea, stopped running altogether. The people crossed opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood still on dry ground in mid-Jordan, and all Israel continued to cross dry-shod till the whole nation had finished its crossing of the river.

Gospel

Matthew 18:21-19:1

‘How often must I forgive my brother?’

Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.

    ‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’

    Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and he left Galilee and came into the part of Judaea which is on the far side of the Jordan.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 11, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We cannot hope of entering into our Heavenly inheritance if we have unforgiveness in our heart.  Jesus our Lord had told us in Matthew 9:13 “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” And by example He forgave us all our sins from the cross in which He hung for love of us.

Even if we are the ones who are wronged it falls on us to seek reconciliation. We offer our hurts and pain up to the Lord as a Holy sacrifice for the salvation of souls. And if we fully reconciled with our offending brother or sister whether by our own efforts, through the help of community or Church; it is cause for great celebration since it is a testimony of being One with Christ in Holy Communion.

What we offer at all times is our love and mercy, never judgement. And if we are rejected after all our efforts, we lift them up to the Lord. For He is always present with us, in our hearts and in our minds.

Father forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Amen

St Clare Pray for us….

First reading

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 ·

Moses dies and is buried

Leaving the plains of Moab, Moses went up Mount Nebo, the peak of Pisgah opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land; Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the stretch of the Valley of Jericho, city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, ‘This is the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying: I will give it to your descendants. I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you shall not cross into it.’ There in the land of Moab, Moses the servant of the Lord died as the Lord decreed; he buried him in the valley, in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but to this day no one has ever found his grave. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye undimmed, his vigour unimpaired. The sons of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days. The days of weeping for the mourning rites of Moses came to an end. Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. It was he that the sons of Israel obeyed, carrying out the order that the Lord had given to Moses.

    Since then, never has there been such a prophet in Israel as Moses, the man the Lord knew face to face. What signs and wonders the Lord caused him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh and all his servants and his whole land! How mighty the hand and great the fear that Moses wielded in the sight of all Israel!

Gospel

Matthew 18:15-20

If your brother listens to you, you have won back your brother

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you: the evidence of two or three witnesses is required to sustain any charge. But if he refuses to listen to these, report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.

    ‘I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.

    ‘I tell you solemnly once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Unless we are willing die to our own needs, wants, pride, greed, selfishness, amongst other things we will never be able to yield a rich harvest for our Lord and God. For even if in our minds we say we will die to self for others, we are more concerned about our own self preservation and perhaps that of our immediate family. Many are willing to donate a little sum of money leftover but not their time. Some a sparing short window of their time but not often as needed. Who then is at hand to help the many suffering in this time of the pandemic?

Thankfully we still do have martyrs in the world whose blood continues to testify to their faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And by their lived examples many million souls have been saved. There are also lots of unsung ones who may have not needed to spill blood for their faith, but by their ‘blood’ sweat and tears have served the least of our brethren and have guided their souls on to the path to our Heavenly inheritance.

Jesus our Lord tells us even today, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Let us in reply pray, “Jesus my Lord, send me!” Amen

St Lawrence pray for us…..

First reading

2 Corinthians 9:6-10

God loves a cheerful giver

Do not forget: thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver. And there is no limit to the blessings which God can send you – he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works. As scripture says: He was free in almsgiving, and gave to the poor: his good deeds will never be forgotten.

    The one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide you with all the seed you want and make the harvest of your good deeds a larger one.

Gospel

John 12:24-26

If a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it yields a rich harvest

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you, most solemnly,

unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,

it remains only a single grain;

but if it dies,

it yields a rich harvest.

Anyone who loves his life loses it;

anyone who hates his life in this world

will keep it for the eternal life.

If a man serves me, he must follow me,

wherever I am, my servant will be there too.

If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.’


How great indeed is our God?! He who created Heaven and Earth is almighty, merciful and loving. He loves us all with an endearing love, watches over the least of our brethren and seeks justice done for them. While our praise and thanksgiving does not nothing for Him, still we owe Him as much and much more for His great Blessings upon us.

Let us this day worship, praise and thank God our Heavenly for His enduring and patient love for us. Let show Him how much we love Him with all our heart, mind and soul by our obedience unto Him and how through this love we have for Him; we love and care for the least of our brethren seeking justice and equality for them.  Let us also obey the laws of our nation and pay our taxes as required for the Lord our God has truly Blessed our nation with unity, peace, prosperity and progress.

Glory and praise be to God our Heavenly Father, Jesus His only Begotten Son our Lord, and to the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen

First reading

Deuteronomy 10:12-22

The Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords

Moses said to the people:

    ‘Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you? Only this: to fear the Lord your God, to follow all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, to keep the commandments and laws of the Lord that for your good I lay down for you today.

    ‘To the Lord your God belong indeed heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth and all it contains; yet it was on your fathers that the Lord set his heart for love of them, and after them of all the nations chose their descendants, you yourselves, up to the present day. Circumcise your heart then and be obstinate no longer; for the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, triumphant and terrible, never partial, never to be bribed. It is he who sees justice done for the orphan and the widow, who loves the stranger and gives him food and clothing. Love the stranger then, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. It is the Lord your God you must fear and serve; you must cling to him; in his name take your oaths. He it is you must praise, he is your God: for you he has done these great and terrible things you have seen with your own eyes; and though your fathers numbered only seventy when they went down to Egypt, the Lord your God has made you as many as the stars of heaven.’

Gospel

Matthew 17:22-27

‘They will put the Son of Man to death’

One day when they were together in Galilee, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men; they will put him to death, and on the third day he will be raised to life again.’ And a great sadness came over them.

    When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel came to Peter and said, ‘Does your master not pay the half-shekel?’ ‘Oh yes’ he replied, and went into the house. But before he could speak, Jesus said, ‘Simon, what is your opinion? From whom do the kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from foreigners?’ And when he replied, ‘From foreigners’, Jesus said, ‘Well then, the sons are exempt. However, so as not to offend these people, go to the lake and cast a hook; take the first fish that bites, open its mouth and there you will find a shekel; take it and give it to them for me and for you.’


Take and Eat: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

1 Kings 19:4-8
Psalm 34:2-9
Ephesians 4:30-5:2
John 6:41-51

Sometimes we feel like Elijah in today’s First Reading. We want to lie down and die, keenly aware of our failures—that we seem to be getting no better at doing what God wants of us.

We can be tempted to despair, as the prophet was on his forty-day journey in the desert. We can be tempted to “murmur” against God, as the Israelites did during their forty years in the desert (see Exodus 16:2, 7, 8; 1 Corinthians 10:10).

The Gospel today uses the same word, “murmur,” to describe the crowds, who reenact Israel’s hardheartedness in the desert.
Jesus tells them that prophecies are being fulfilled in Him, that they are being taught by God. But they can’t believe it. They can only see His flesh, that He is the “son” of Joseph and Mary.
Yet if we believe, if we seek Him in our distress, He will deliver us from our fears, as we sing in today’s Psalm.
At the altar in every Eucharist, the angel of the Lord, the Lord himself (see Exodus 3:1–2), touches us. He commands us to take and eat His Flesh given for the life of the world (see Matthew 26:26).

This taste of the heavenly gift (see Hebrews 6:4–5) comes to us with a renewed command—to get up and continue on the journey we began in Baptism to the mountain of God, the kingdom of heaven. He will give us the bread of life, the strength and grace we need—as He fed our spiritual ancestors in the wilderness and Elijah in the desert.

So let us stop grieving the Spirit of God, as Paul says in today’s Epistle, in another reference to Israel in the desert (see Isaiah 63:10).

Let us say to God as Elijah did, “Take my life.” Not in the sense of wanting to die but in giving ourselves as a sacrificial offering—loving Him as He has loved us, on the Cross and in the Eucharist.


In a normal day how often do you think about the Lord Your God? Do you dwell upon how He has Blessed you this day and every day? Is His Word on Your mind and in your heart throughout the day? In trying moments and challenges in that very day, do you pause to enter into His presence; to seek His counsel, direction and peace? Do you see the opportunities that present itself in the day to love a neighbour? Be it simply with a smile or a kind word? Do you treasure Your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? For He did say to us, ” For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:21 Can we truly say then we love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength?

How then might we have the littlest of faith in Him that we shall move mountains? For if we truly love Him as we ought to and likewise love our neighbour as He our Lord loves us, then we will surely do all that is possible and witness the impossible being done in His name. For our Lord will be present with us in our every endeavour.

Jesus my Lord and God, I trust in You. Amen

First reading

Deuteronomy 6:4-13 ·

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart

Moses said to the people:

    ‘Listen, Israel: the Lord our God is the one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Let these words I urge on you today be written on your heart. You shall repeat them to your children and say them over to them whether at rest in your house or walking abroad, at your lying down or at your rising; you shall fasten them on your hand as a sign and on your forehead as a circlet; you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

    ‘When the Lord has brought you into the land which he swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that he would give you, with great and prosperous cities not of your building, houses full of good things not furnished by you, wells you did not dig, vineyards and olives you did not plant, when you have eaten these and had your fill, then take care you do not forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You must fear the Lord your God, you must serve him, by his name you must swear.’

Gospel

Matthew 17:14-20

If your faith were the size of a mustard seed, the mountain would move

A man came up to Jesus and went down on his knees before him. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘take pity on my son: he is a lunatic and in a wretched state; he is always falling into the fire or into the water. I took him to your disciples and they were unable to cure him.’ ‘Faithless and perverse generation!’ Jesus said in reply ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.’ And when Jesus rebuked it the devil came out of the boy who was cured from that moment.

    Then the disciples came privately to Jesus. ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ they asked. He answered, ‘Because you have little faith. I tell you solemnly, if your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move; nothing would be impossible for you.’


By Theophanes the Greek

On this feast day of the Transfiguration of our Lord we are reminded that all of us must lead transfigured lives in the Lord. That is we must live in the light of His Resurrection!

The Apostles who were with Him at the High Mountain were given a foretaste of Him, in all His glory and they were struck in awe. We on the other hand have the veil lifted and are able to live in the presence of our Resurrected Lord how are we not in awe of this revelation? How is it there is no deep conversion within us and we go on living our lives like dirty laundry? That is we soil ourselves over and over again then head into the washing machine come out clean and then repeat the whole cycle! It is no wonder many of us never overcome habitual sin. Why? Because we have shut our ears and cannot hear the booming voice of God our Heavenly Father say to us ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’

If and when we decide to be obedient to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by listening to His Word for us, by praying constantly and putting our Love for Him in action for others; only then will we experience a deep conversion. And after sometime of dutifully obeying Him, we will find ourselves truly leading lives in the light of His Resurrection and in His presence. Amen

First reading

Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 ·

His robe was white as snow

As I watched:

Thrones were set in place

and one of great age took his seat.

His robe was white as snow,

the hair of his head as pure as wool.

His throne was a blaze of flames,

its wheels were a burning fire.

A stream of fire poured out,

issuing from his presence.

A thousand thousand waited on him,

ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.

A court was held

and the books were opened.

I gazed into the visions of the night.

And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,

one like a son of man.

He came to the one of great age

and was led into his presence.

On him was conferred sovereignty,

glory and kingship,

and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.

His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty

which shall never pass away,

nor will his empire ever be destroyed.

Gospel

Mark 9:2-10

This is my Son, the Beloved

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.

    As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.


Lord, how often have I strayed to look to the world for pleasures that cannot satisfy? Food that perishes and drink that does not quench my insatiable thirst for more! I move in wide circles seeking to fill the void only to find it getting bigger! I grumble then curse, swear and shout still it brings not reprieve only grief!

Bless me Lord Jesus for I have sinned. I know now that You alone are the Rock where living waters flow and never runs dry.

All I will ever need or want is to be found in You alone! Have mercy on me Lord, wash me clean so that I may be white as snow. Let me be reconciled unto You and Your Holy Church so that I may walk blameless with Your flock. To love and serve You and my brethren with all my heart, mind, strength and soul.

Jesus my Lord I surrender my life to You and I am prepared to suffer for Your namesake as I carry my cross to follow You. Amen

First reading

Numbers 20:1-13 ·

Moses makes water flow from the rock at Meribah

The sons of Israel, the whole community, arrived in the first month at the desert of Zin. The people settled at Kadesh. It was there that Miriam died and was buried.

    There was no water for the community, and they were all united against Moses and Aaron. The people challenged Moses: ‘We would rather have died,’ they said ‘as our brothers died before the Lord! Why did you bring the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, only to let us die here, ourselves and our cattle? Why did you lead us out of Egypt, only to bring us to this wretched place? It is a place unfit for sowing, it has no figs, no vines, no pomegranates, and there is not even water to drink!’

    Leaving the assembly, Moses and Aaron went to the door of the Tent of Meeting. They threw themselves face downward on the ground, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘Take the branch and call the community together, you and your brother Aaron. Then, in full view of them, order this rock to give water. You will make water flow for them out of the rock, and provide drink for the community and their cattle.’

    Moses took up the branch from before the Lord, as he had directed him. Then Moses and Aaron called the assembly together in front of the rock and addressed them, ‘Listen now, you rebels. Shall we make water gush from this rock for you?’ And Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the branch; water gushed in abundance, and the community drank and their cattle too.

    Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe that I could proclaim my holiness in the eyes of the sons of Israel, you shall not lead this assembly into the land I am giving them.’

    These are the waters of Meribah, where the sons of Israel challenged the Lord and he proclaimed his holiness.

 

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-23

You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’ Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

    From that time Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. ‘Heaven preserve you, Lord;’ he said ‘this must not happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’


What or who are the giants in your life? That makes you fearful or perhaps dread that you cannot overcome on your own. Alcohol, substance, sexual addictions? Workaholism? Piles and piles of uncompleted work? Fear of stepping out of the house in light of the  pandemic? Sickness in the family? And there are still many more things in the world that can stress us out completely!

All would seem bleak and dark for us if we did not have our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! For we can turn to Him in our hour of darkness and He will lead us out into the light. All we need is to trust and have faith in our most loving, merciful Lord and God. For in His mercy and love He will grant us His peace. And according to His Will for us healing will begin even if we have not prayed for it for ourselves.

Let us pray this Healing Prayer of Surrender together…

Dear Lord Jesus, it is my will to surrender to you everything that I am and everything that I’m striving to be. I open the deepest recesses of my heart and invite your Holy Spirit to dwell inside of me.

I offer you my life, heart, mind, body, soul, spirit, all my hopes, plans and dreams. I surrender to you my past, present and future problems, habits, character defects, attitudes, livelihood, resources, finances, medical coverage, occupation and all my relationships.

I give you my health, physical appearance, disabilities, family, marriage, children and friendships. I ask you to take Lordship over every aspect of my life. I surrender to you all my hurt, pain, worry, doubt, fear and anxiety, and I ask you to wash me clean.

I release everything into your compassionate care. Please speak to me clearly, Lord. Open my ears to hear your voice. Open my heart to commune with you more deeply. I want to feel your loving embrace. Open the doors that need to be opened and close the doors that need to be closed. Please set my feet upon the straight and narrow road that leads to everlasting life. Amen.

First reading

Numbers 13:1-2,25-14:1,26-29,34-35

The spies return from Canaan

The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Paran and said, ‘Send out men, one from each tribe, to make a reconnaissance of this land of Canaan which I am giving to the sons of Israel. Send the leader of each tribe.’

    At the end of forty days, they came back from their reconnaissance of the land. They sought out Moses, Aaron and the whole community of Israel, in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They made their report to them, and to the whole community, and showed them the produce of the country.

    They told them this story, ‘We went into the land to which you sent us. It does indeed flow with milk and honey; this is its produce. At the same time, its inhabitants are a powerful people; the towns are fortified and very big; yes, and we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekite holds the Negeb area, the Hittite, Amorite and Jebusite the highlands, and the Canaanite the sea coast and the banks of the Jordan.’

    Caleb harangued the people gathered about Moses: ‘We must march in,’ he said ‘and conquer this land: we are well able to do it.’ But the men who had gone up with him answered, ‘We are not able to march against this people; they are stronger than we are.’ And they began to disparage the country they had reconnoitred to the sons of Israel, ‘The country we went to reconnoitre is a country that devours its inhabitants. Every man we saw there was of enormous size. Yes, and we saw giants there (the sons of Anak, descendants of the Giants). We felt like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’

    At this, the whole community raised their voices and cried aloud, and the people wailed all that night.

    The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said:

    ‘I have heard the complaints which the sons of Israel make against me. Say to them, “As I live – it is the Lord who speaks – I will deal with you according to the very words you have used in my hearing. In this wilderness your dead bodies will fall, all you men of the census, all you who were numbered from the age of twenty years and over, you who have complained against me. For forty days you reconnoitred the land. Each day shall count for a year: for forty years you shall bear the burden of your sins, and you shall learn what it means to reject me.” I, the Lord, have spoken: this is how I will deal with this perverse community that has conspired against me. Here in this wilderness, to the last man, they shall die.’

Gospel

Matthew 15:21-28

The Canaanite woman debates with Jesus and saves her daughter

Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.


Priests are consecrated men set apart to be shepherds of God our Father’s flock. And so who are we to question or speak ill against them? So long as what they say and teach is not against faith and morals then we must always be obedient. Yes even if we think we have a better way of doing things or felt inspired to do it and our priest does not agree we must remain obedient. There will be times we do not feel nourished spiritually or feel we are being deprived of the sacraments especially in this trying times and our parish priest had made a judgement call, still we must be obedient. All we should do is pray for them and help them if we are called to. For they will have to answer to the Lord their God just as we do for what we have done and what we have failed to do.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 The Lord our God can and does make our paths straight, but He often does it through what seems like a lot of crooked lines. Truly, God writes straight with crooked lines.

Let us remain steadfast and focussed on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and with His grace we too shall ‘walk on water!’ For He is our rock and our strength. And even if we should stumble and fall, we can cry out to Him for help and He will make haste to help us. This is our God! Alleluia!

Lord Jesus with contrition of heart, I cry out to You. Save me Lord from all my sins and shortcomings. Be with me Lord now and always. Amen

First reading

Numbers 12:1-13 ·

‘How have you dared to speak against my servant Moses?’

Miriam, and Aaron too, spoke against Moses in connexion with the Cushite woman he had taken. (For he had married a Cushite woman.) They said, ‘Has the Lord spoken to Moses only? Has he not spoken to us too?’

    The Lord heard this. Now Moses was the most humble of men, the humblest man on earth. Suddenly, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron and Miriam, ‘Come, all three of you, to the Tent of Meeting.’ They went, all three of them, and the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the Tent. He called Aaron and Miriam and they both came forward. The Lord said, ‘Listen now to my words: If any man among you is a prophet I make myself known to him in a vision, I speak to him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses: he is at home in my house; I speak with him face to face, plainly and not in riddles, and he sees the form of the Lord. How then have you dared to speak against my servant Moses?’

    The anger of the Lord blazed out against them. He departed, and as soon as the cloud withdrew from the Tent, there was Miriam a leper, white as snow! Aaron turned to look at her; she had become a leper.

    Aaron said to Moses: ‘Help me, my lord! Do not punish us for a sin committed in folly of which we are guilty. I entreat you, do not let her be like a monster, coming from its mother’s womb with flesh half corrupted.’

    Moses cried to the Lord, ‘O God,’ he said ‘please heal her, I beg you!’

Gospel

Matthew 14:22-36

Jesus walks on the water

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away. After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ It was Peter who answered. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘if it is you, tell me to come to you across the water.’ ‘Come’ said Jesus. Then Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink. ‘Lord! Save me!’ he cried. Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped. The men in the boat bowed down before him and said, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God.’

    Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the local people recognised him they spread the news through the whole neighbourhood and took all that were sick to him, begging him just to let them touch the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched it were completely cured.


Are we any different from the Israelites in the desert in today’s first reading?

“I would rather watch pornography at least it would lead to self gratification even though I am never satisfied” “I’d rather work 7 days a week in the office then to waste time praying or reading the bible I just have so much more to do!” “I need to garner as many ‘likes’ as I can everyday on social media and so I will post as many times in a day as I can, my friends are always there to affirm and make me feel good about myself” “Who cares about health and well being!  Life is too short and so I will eat and drink what I want and when I want!” “It’s not Gossiping! It’s just sharing of juicy truths and it is harmless. If they don’t want me to share then don’t give me things to share about them!”

How is being a slave to sin in all its varied forms better than living free to the full in peace, love and joy?

Our Lord knows our struggles and our challenges. Especially in this time of the pandemic where it never seems to end. And He knows that we are hungry and thirsty. He till never turn us away to fend for ourselves. He indeed will provide for all that we need. He is the way, the truth and the life! And He feeds us of Himself in Holy Eucharist so that we might be nourished, strengthened so as to remain steadfast in His love.

Lord Jesus we come before You for You have told us, ‘I am the bread of life.

He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.’ Amen Alleluia

First reading

Numbers 11:4-15

The sons of Israel complain in the desert

The sons of Israel began to wail, ‘Who will give us meat to eat?’ they said. ‘Think of the fish we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic! Here we are wasting away, stripped of everything; there is nothing but manna for us to look at!’

    The manna was like coriander seed, and had the appearance of bdellium. The people went round gathering it, and ground it in a mill or crushed it with a pestle; it was then cooked in a pot and made into pancakes. It tasted like cake made with oil. When the dew fell on the camp at night-time, the manna fell with it.

    Moses heard the people wailing, every family at the door of its tent. The anger of the Lord flared out, and Moses greatly worried over this. And he spoke to the Lord:

    ‘Why do you treat your servant so badly? Why have I not found favour with you, so that you load on me the weight of all this nation? Was it I who conceived all this people, was it I who gave them birth, that you should say to me, “Carry them in your bosom, like a nurse with a baby at the breast, to the land that I swore to give their fathers”? Where am I to find meat to give to all this people, when they come worrying me so tearfully and say, “Give us meat to eat”? I am not able to carry this nation by myself alone; the weight is too much for me. If this is how you want to deal with me, I would rather you killed me! If only I had found favour in your eyes, and not lived to see such misery as this!’

Gospel

Matthew 14:13-21

The feeding of the five thousand

When Jesus received the news of John the Baptist’s death he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick.

    When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they answered ‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.’ ‘Bring them here to me’ he said. He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves handed them to his disciples who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps remaining; twelve baskets full. Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, to say nothing of women and children.

18th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: July 31, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

Endurance Test: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Readings:

Exodus 16:2–4, 12–15

Psalm 78:3–4, 23–25, 54

Ephesians 4:17, 20–24

John 6:24–35

The journey of discipleship is a lifelong exodus from the slavery of sin and death to the holiness of truth on Mount Zion, the promised land of eternal life.

The road can get rough. And when it does, we can be tempted to complain like the Israelites in this week’s First Reading.

We have to see these times of hardship as a test of what is in our hearts, a call to trust God more and to purify the motives for our faith (Deuteronomy 8:2–3).

As Paul reminds us in this week’s Epistle, we must leave behind our old self-deceptions and desires and live according to the likeness of God in which we are made.

Jesus tells the crowd in this week’s Gospel that they are following Him for the wrong reasons. They seek Him because He filled their bellies. The Israelites, too, were content to follow God so long as there was plenty of food.

Food is the most obvious of signs—because it is the most basic of our human needs. We need our daily bread to live. But we cannot live by this bread alone. We need the bread of eternal life that preserves those who believe in Him (Wisdom 16:20, 26).

The manna in the wilderness, like the bread Jesus multiplied for the crowd, was a sign of God’s Providence—that we should trust that He will provide.

These signs pointed to their fulfillment in the Eucharist, the abundant bread of angels we sing about in this week’s Psalm.

This is the food that God longs to give us. This is the bread we should be seeking. But too often we don’t ask for this bread. Instead we seek the perishable stuff of our everyday wants and anxieties. In our weakness we think these things are what we really need.

We have to trust God more. If we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, all these things will be ours as well (Matthew 6:33).


What is it that you own if anything, that you can take to your grave with you? Everything that you have, gifts, talents or even worked so hard to achieve came from? Was it really all your personal achievement? Are you so naïve to believe that you did it all on your own? Okay so you acknowledge you had help, teachers, friends, colleagues, community and family? Who above all should you be thankful and grateful to? Prayerfully in all the years leading up to this current day you would have already come to the realisation that it was all because of God our Heavenly Father’s love for you!

As a child of God so loved by Your Heavenly Father what are others saying about you? Are you even in their thoughts and prayers? Well you may say who cares what other thinks about me? They either accept me for who I am or to they can go to ‘heaven’ (opposite *winks*) But here’s the thing, all the good that we think we do or say does not matter all. What truly matters is how our neighbours feel about us. After all are they not the ones we profess to love by the command of our Lord and Saviour Jesus. Are they being loved us by us as they should be?

Can you imagine being able to listen in to the conversations about you at your own funeral wake? What would you hope to hear? “Ah here lies a man after God’s heart!” ” She was a woman of faith always will to giver her all in all that she did.” “He was always cheerful and gentle in his ways, he brought joy to everyone.” ” She was always so loving and forgiving, she always chose to love first!” “He was always there when I needed him, in toughest moments in my life. He was there to comfort me and lift my spirits.” “If I ever needed prayers, I know I could count her, she was a light of Christ for me” “He truly loved me!” “She truly love me!” 

Perhaps then we would be able to hear the words we yearn the most….”‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ ‘Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Amen!

Saint Ignatius Loyola Pray for us…..

First reading

Leviticus 25:1,8-17

The law of the jubilee year

The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. He said:

    ‘You are to count seven weeks of years – seven times seven years, that is to say a period of seven weeks of years, forty-nine years. And on the tenth day of the seventh month you shall sound the trumpet; on the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout the land. You will declare this fiftieth year sacred and proclaim the liberation of all the inhabitants of the land. This is to be a jubilee for you; each of you will return to his ancestral home, each to his own clan. This fiftieth year is to be a jubilee year for you: you will not sow, you will not harvest the ungathered corn, you will not gather from the untrimmed vine. The jubilee is to be a holy thing to you, you will eat what comes from the fields.

    ‘In this year of jubilee each of you is to return to his ancestral home. If you buy or sell with your neighbour, let no one wrong his brother. If you buy from your neighbour, this must take into account the number of years since the jubilee: according to the number of productive years he will fix the price. The greater the number of years, the higher shall be the price demanded; the less the number of years, the greater the reduction; for what he is selling you is a certain number of harvests. Let none of you wrong his neighbour, but fear your God; I am the Lord your God.’

Gospel

Matthew 14:1-12

The beheading of John the Baptist

Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of Jesus, and said to his court, ‘This is John the Baptist himself; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’

    Now it was Herod who had arrested John, chained him up and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. For John had told him, ‘It is against the Law for you to have her.’ He had wanted to kill him but was afraid of the people, who regarded John as a prophet. Then, during the celebrations for Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and so delighted Herod that he promised on oath to give her anything she asked. Prompted by her mother she said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head, here, on a dish.’ The king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered it to be given her, and sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought in on a dish and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.


I am proud to be Catholic! I think we don’t say it enough or don’t even give it a second thought? Yes we are all Christians nonetheless but we Catholics,  have a rich history and wonderful traditions which are still intact over the centuries. Our roots trace back all the way to Christ Jesus our Lord who said to St Peter ,”And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Another great and wonderful thing to love about our Catholic Church is the rich Sacramental life we have and live. Through the liturgical calendar that we have in which we are given many opportunities throughout the year to celebrate the many feasts and solemnities of our One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. We come together as One in thanksgiving to worship, honour and praise God our Heavenly Father, His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Our Blessed Mother is with us too at every celebration to draw us ever closer to her Son. By and through our Faith in Him we are Blessed with many signs, wonders and miracles to this very day!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen

First reading

Leviticus 23:1,4-11,15-16,27,34-37

The law of the festivals of the Lord

The Lord spoke to Moses. He said:

    ‘These are the Lord’s solemn festivals, the sacred assemblies to which you are to summon the sons of Israel on the appointed day.

    ‘The fourteenth day of the first month, between the two evenings, is the Passover of the Lord; and the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of Unleavened Bread for the Lord. For seven days you shall eat bread without leaven. On the first day you are to hold a sacred assembly; you must do no heavy work. For seven days you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord. The seventh day is to be a day of sacred assembly; you must do no work.’

    The Lord spoke to Moses. He said:

    ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them:

    ‘“When you enter the land that I give you, and gather in the harvest there, you must bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest, and he is to present it to the Lord with the gesture of offering, so that you may be acceptable. The priest shall make this offering on the day after the sabbath.

    ‘“From the day after the sabbath, the day on which you bring the sheaf of offering, you are to count seven full weeks. You are to count fifty days, to the day after the seventh sabbath, and then you are to offer the Lord a new oblation.

    ‘“The tenth day of the seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. You are to hold a sacred assembly. You must fast, and you must offer a burnt offering to the Lord.

    ‘“The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of Tabernacles for the Lord, lasting seven days. The first day is a day of sacred assembly; you must do no heavy work. For seven days you must offer a burnt offering to the Lord. On the eighth day you are to hold a sacred assembly, you must offer a burnt offering to the Lord. It is a day of solemn meeting; you must do no heavy work.

    ‘“These are the solemn festivals of the Lord to which you are to summon the children of Israel, sacred assemblies for the purpose of offering burnt offerings, holocausts, oblations, sacrifices and libations to the Lord, according to the ritual of each day.”’

Gospel

Matthew 13:54-58

A prophet is only despised in his own country

Coming to his home town, Jesus taught the people in their synagogue in such a way that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? This is the carpenter’s son, surely? Is not his mother the woman called Mary, and his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? His sisters, too, are they not all here with us? So where did the man get it all?’ And they would not accept him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country and in his own house’, and he did not work many miracles there because of their lack of faith.