Posts Tagged ‘Catholicjules.net’


Am I not a false prophet? When I preach mercy and love of God, but am far from merciful and loving in my dealings with others? When I assure others that the Lord God will understand if there are good and valid reasons to go for an abortion, in vitro fertilisation, for unmarried couples to engage in premarital sex, for our young teens to cohabit and experiment. Assisted suicide is OK for terminally ill patients. Single sex marriages is allowed under special circumstances. or when I quote scripture and use my influence over others for a personal agenda or for personal glory.Yes indeed it can be quite challenging and trying at times, when we are caught in having to choose between the ways of the world and the ways of the Lord our God. However we must remain steadfast in our faith and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ especially in stormy, turbulent times. He will find a way for us! Even if it is not the way we expect or want, but a way which is best for us. He will even make what is impossible for us, possible! For He is truly the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, He is our Lord and God.Jesus I trust in You. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 28:1-17Jeremiah and the lying prophet HananiahAt the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, a Gibeonite, spoke as follows to Jeremiah in the Temple of the Lord in the presence of the priests and of all the people. ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, says this, “I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. In two years’ time I will bring back all the vessels of the Temple of the Lord which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon carried off from this place and took to Babylon. And I will also bring back Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles of Judah who have gone to Babylon – it is the Lord who speaks. Yes, I am going to break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”’ The prophet Jeremiah then replied to the prophet Hananiah in front of the priests and all the people there in the Temple of the Lord. ‘I hope so’ the prophet Jeremiah said. ‘May the Lord do so. May he fulfil the words that you have prophesied and bring the vessels of the Temple of the Lord and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon. Listen carefully, however, to this word that I am now going to say for you and all the people to hear: From remote times, the prophets who preceded you and me prophesied war, famine and plague for many countries and for great kingdoms; but the prophet who prophesies peace can only be recognised as one truly sent by the Lord when his word comes true.’ The prophet Hananiah then took the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it. In front of all the people Hananiah then said, ‘The Lord says this, “This is how, two years hence, I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and take it off the necks of all the nations.”’ At this, the prophet Jeremiah went away. After the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke which he had taken off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah the word of the Lord was addressed to Jeremiah, ‘Go to Hananiah and tell him this, “The Lord says this: You can break wooden yokes? Right, I will make them iron yokes instead! For the Lord Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: An iron yoke is what I now lay on the necks of all these nations to subject them to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. They will be subject to him; I have even given him the wild animals.”’ The prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, ‘Listen carefully, Hananiah: the Lord has not sent you; and thanks to you this people are now relying on what is false. Hence – the Lord says this, “I am going to throw you off the face of the earth: you are going to die this year since you have preached apostasy from the Lord.”’ The prophet Hananiah died the same year, in the seventh month.

Gospel

Matthew 14:22-36Jesus walks on the waterJesus 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 not guilty of innocent blood? When we relay unsubstantiated ‘truths’ about others through gossip or even in passing. When we are unfaithful to family, friends even acquaintances by speaking against them when they are absent. When we pass judgement on others without proper discernment, prayer and seeking the will of God in that given situation.

We can only be free of innocent blood when we walk in the light of the Lord. When in all that we say and do, we strive to glorify Him. Let us then be Holy as He is Holy, let us be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who has been sent to guide us. Let us speak the truth of the Lord always. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 26:11-16,24‘This man has spoken to us in the name of the Lord’The priests and prophets addressed the officials and all the people, ‘This man deserves to die, since he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.’ Jeremiah, however, replied to the as follows: ‘The Lord himself sent me to say all the things you have heard against this Temple and this city. So now amend your behaviour and actions, listen to the voice of the Lord your God: if you do, he will relent and not bring down on you the disaster he has pronounced against you. For myself, I am as you see in your hands. Do whatever you please or think right with me. But be sure of this, that if you put me to death, you will be bringing innocent blood on yourselves, on this city and on its citizens, since the Lord has truly sent me to you to say all these words in your hearing.’ The officials and all the people then said to the priests and prophets, ‘This man does not deserve to die: he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.’ Jeremiah had a protector in Ahikam son of Shaphan, so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.

Gospel

Matthew 14:1-12The beheading of John the BaptistHerod 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.


Today as I ponder His Word the message is not about the difficulty or challenge of being a prophet. Neither is it about Evangelisation or even the stubbornness, hard heartedness; nor about our refusal to listen to the call for repentance.

It is about our lack of faith or rather that we have made little or no progress in growing in our faith and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. On His part our loving and merciful Lord desires to do wonders in our lives. He wants to pour out His grace upon us such that we live the fullest of our lives in Him. But how can He do so? When He knocks on our door we do not open our hearts fully to receive Him? When we refuse to increase our prayer life or to dwell longer in His Word and in His presence. When we do not strive for Holiness but give in to our impatience and haughtiness in thinking we know better?

Jesus I open my heart and mind to You. Come dwell in me. Amen

St Ignatius of Loyola pray for us…

First reading

Jeremiah 26:1-9 ·Jeremiah preaches in the Temple of the Lord and is threatened with deathAt the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord, ‘The Lord says this: Stand in the court of the Temple of the Lord. To all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the Temple of the Lord you must speak all the words I have commanded you to tell them; do not omit one syllable. Perhaps they will listen and each turn from his evil way: if so, I shall relent and not bring the disaster on them which I intended for their misdeeds. Say to them, “The Lord says this: If you will not listen to me by following my Law which I put before you, by paying attention to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send so persistently to you, without your ever listening to them, I will treat this Temple as I treated Shiloh, and make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.”’ The priests and prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah say these words in the Temple of the Lord. When Jeremiah had finished saying everything that the Lord had ordered him to say to all the people, the priests and prophets seized hold of him and said, ‘You shall die! Why have you made this prophecy in the name of the Lord, “This Temple will be like Shiloh, and this city will be desolate, and uninhabited”?’ And the people were all crowding round Jeremiah in the Temple of the Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 13:54-58A prophet is only despised in his own countryComing 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.


The Old Testament reveals the new and the New testament unveils the Old. Both are the living Word of God for us. A love letter from the Lord our God that is ever green as it is perennial!

A disciple holds both close to His heart just as He remembers and contemplates the love of God in his/her past present and future.We are uniquely and individually loved just as we were uniquely and individually molded, sculptured. The lessons, trials and challenges we face in His name is the burning furnace of His love which purifies, strengthens; and that which gives us our stature.

Thank you Lord for loving me. Mould me according to Your Will that I might have eternal life with You. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 18:1-6When the clay goes wrong, the potter starts afreshThe word that was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord, ‘Get up and make your way down to the potter’s house; there I shall let you hear what I have to say.’ So I went down to the potter’s house; and there he was, working at the wheel. And whenever the vessel he was making came out wrong, as happens with the clay handled by potters, he would start afresh and work it into another vessel, as potters do. Then this word of the Lord was addressed to me, ‘House of Israel, can not I do to you what this potter does? – it is the Lord who speaks. Yes, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so you are in mine, House of Israel.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:47-53The fishermen collect the good fish and throw away those that are no useJesus said to the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. ‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’


Living a Christian life and being true to our faith is a constant struggle. We can frown upon how much easier it is for us if we were not Catholic let alone Christian! No need to stress over being called to a higher standard or in another word higher calling. No need for uncomfortable conversations with non believers about our faith. We only need to abide but the laws of the land and be ‘free’ to live according to our whims and fancies.

If we possess such thoughts then it only means one thing. We have not encountered our Risen Lord! We do not have a deep personal relationship with Him such that our hearts pines for His presence. In trusting and knowing with certainty that He stands with us in every struggle and difficulty we may face. Our heart aches if we do not speak about Him with family, friends even strangers for love of Him; far more than any rejection we might receive from doing so. We strive for Holiness because we have received the grace of His peace, love and joy in our hearts and we want to be more like Him in every way. Let us acclaim with wholehearted conviction as Martha did, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’ Amen, alleluia!

St Martha pray for us…

First reading

Jeremiah 15:10,16-21 ·
They will not overcome you, because I am with you‘Woe is me, my mother, for you have borne me to be a man of strife and of dissension for all the land. I neither lend nor borrow,
yet all of them curse me.‘When your words came, I devoured them:
your word was my delight and the joy of my heart; for I was called by your name,
Lord, God of Hosts.
I never took pleasure in sitting in scoffers’ company; with your hand on me I held myself aloof, since you had filled me with indignation.
Why is my suffering continual, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Do you mean to be for me a deceptive stream
with inconstant waters?’To which the Lord replied, ‘If you come back, I will take you back into my service;
and if you utter noble, not despicable, thoughts, you shall be as my own mouth.
They will come back to you, but you must not go back to them. I will make you a bronze wall fortified against this people.
They will fight against you but they will not overcome you, because I am with you
to save you and to deliver you – it is the Lord who speaks.
I mean to deliver you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the clutches of the violent.’

Gospel

John 11:19-27
I am the resurrection and the lifeMany Jews had come to Martha and Mary to sympathise with them over their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:‘I am the resurrection and the life.
If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 28, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Yes indeed the Lord our God is merciful, loving, patient and kind. He is the purest form of love. In His great love for us, He has given us His children free will to choose whether or not to love Him and live in His love. When we choose to stray from Him, He gently urges us to come back to Him, for left to our devices the consequences of our actions will only lead us to certain death. There is however a time limit!

Think of it this way…….. When there is a lightning storm outside, the Lord urges to stay inside with Him where it is safe and warm. When it is bright and sunny, we can go outside and bask in His love for in our faithfulness and obedience He walks with us. However if we choose to play outside in the lightning storm and refuse to heed His warnings to turn back to Him, then we will have to face the consequences of our choice which could ultimately lead to an untimely demise. Our decision and consequence thereafter will be final.

Jesus I choose life with You, now and forever. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 14:17-22
We confess our wickedness; you, God, are our hopeThe Lord said to me:Say this word to the people:
‘Tears flood my eyes night and day, unceasingly, since a crushing blow falls on the daughter of my people, a most grievous injury.
If I go into the countryside, there lie men killed by the sword; if I go into the city,
I see people sick with hunger; even prophets and priests plough the land: they are at wit’s end.’‘Have you rejected Judah altogether?
Does your very soul revolt at Zion?
Why have you struck us down without hope of cure?
We were hoping for peace – no good came of it!
For the moment of cure – nothing but terror!
Lord, we do confess our wickedness and our fathers’ guilt: we have indeed sinned against you.
For your name’s sake do not reject us, do not dishonour the throne of your glory.
Remember us; do not break your covenant with us. Can any of the pagan Nothings make it rain?
Can the heavens produce showers? No, it is you, Lord. O our God, you are our hope,
since it is you who do all this.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:36-43
As the darnel is gathered up and burnt, so it will be at the end of timeLeaving the crowds, Jesus went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.’ He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!’


Are we growing in our faith? Have we fallen deeper in love with Lord our God? From the very beginning God our Father has desired an intimate relationship with us His children. Such that He made it possible through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ for us to share in an intimate union with Him. How have we repaid His loving kindness, mercy and love? By ingratitude? By continuing to put our ‘idols’ and cares of the world above Him? We will indeed reap what we sow!

There is nothing hidden from us His faithful for we live to love and glorify Him with all our hearts. We live in the mystery revealed to us and that which will be revealed in its fullness in His time. Indeed our tiny hearts have grown for His kingdom reigns in it. We live and love in His presence, our families, our communities, our church and our brethren His children. And it is our ongoing mission to grow in His love and to be fruitful, for His Kingdom come, His Will be done. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 13:1-11
Let this evil people become good for nothingThe Lord said this to me, ‘Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it round your waist. But do not dip it in water.’ And so, as the Lord had ordered, I bought a loincloth and put it round my waist. A second time the word of the Lord was spoken to me, ‘Take the loincloth that you have bought and are wearing round your waist; up! Go to the Euphrates and hide it in a hole in the rock.’ So I went and hid it near the Euphrates as the Lord had ordered me. Many days afterwards the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go to the Euphrates and fetch the loincloth I ordered you to hide there.’ So I went to the Euphrates, and I searched, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. The loincloth was spoilt, good for nothing. Then the word of the Lord was addressed to me, ‘Thus says the Lord: In the same way I will spoil the arrogance of Judah and Jerusalem. This evil people who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the dictates of their own hard hearts, who have followed alien gods, and served them and worshipped them, let them become like this loincloth, good for nothing. For just as a loincloth clings to a man’s waist, so I had intended the whole House of Judah to cling to me – it is the Lord who speaks – to be my people, my glory, my honour and my boast. But they have not listened.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:31-35
The smallest of all seeds grows into the biggest shrub of allJesus put a parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’
He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’
In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:I will speak to you in parables
and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.


Treasures of the Kingdom: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

1 Kings 3:5, 7–12
Psalm 119:57, 72, 76–77, 127–130
Romans 8:28–30
Matthew 13:44–52

What is your new life in Christ worth to you?
Do you love His words more than gold and silver, as we sing in today’s Psalm? Would you, like the characters in the Gospel today, sell all that you have in order to possess the kingdom He promises to us? If God were to grant any wish, would you follow Solomon’s example in today’s First Reading—asking not for a long life or riches, but for wisdom to know God’s ways and to desire His will?

The background for today’s Gospel, as it has been for the past several weeks, is the rejection of Jesus’ preaching by Israel. The kingdom of heaven has come into their midst, yet many cannot see that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises, a gift of divine compassion given that they—and we—might live.
We too must ever discover the kingdom anew, to find it as a treasure—a pearl of great price. By comparison with the kingdom, we must count all else as rubbish (see Philippians 3:8). And we must be willing to give up all that we have—all our priorities and plans—in order to gain it.

Jesus’ Gospel discloses what Paul, in today’s Epistle, calls the purpose of God’s plan (see Ephesians 1:4). That purpose is that Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers.
His words give understanding to the simple, the childlike. As Solomon does today, we must humble ourselves before God, giving ourselves to His service. Let our prayer be for an understanding heart, one that desires only to do His will.

We are called to love God, to delight in His law, and to forsake every false way. And we are to conform ourselves daily ever more closely to the image of His Son.

If we do this, we can approach His altar as a pleasing sacrifice, confident that all things work for the good—that we whom He has justified will also one day be glorified.


Want of the best testimonies of living in the faith and hope of our Lord Jesus Christ can be found in today’s first reading as we celebrate the feast day of St James the Apostle. And a nicely worded reminder of the humility we must embrace as true disciples of Christ. We are mere earthenware jars that can fully hold the treasure to be found in our relationship with Him. Not leaky cisterns that hold no water! But filled with the presence of the Lord our God.

And like our master who came not to be served but who served with love, mercy and compassion for the greater glory of God His Father; we too must follow in His footsteps. Then we can be assured that we will rest with Him in Paradise for ever. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 4:7-15 ·
Such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us

We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us. We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are consigned to our death every day, for the sake of Jesus, so that in our mortal flesh the life of Jesus, too, may be openly shown. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
But as we have the same spirit of faith that is mentioned in scripture – I believed, and therefore I spoke – we too believe and therefore we too speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us. You see, all this is for your benefit, so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.

Gospel

Matthew 20:20-28
‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’

The mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus answered. ‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ ‘Very well,’ he said ‘you shall drink my cup, but as for seats at my right hand and my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted by my Father.’
When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’


O loving Father in Heaven how often must You plead with me to come back fully to You? Why are You so patient with me? You have chosen not to disown me even though I had let You down time and time again! You have given me the greatest gift of Your Only Begotten Son, my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, so that through Him I might be saved.

Jesus my Lord I come before You with a contrite spirit, plant in me Your living Word. Till the soil of my heart and nourish it so that Your Word will take deep root and be fruitful for Your greater glory. Now and forever, Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 3:14-17Come back, my disloyal childrenCome back, disloyal children – it is the Lord who speaks – for I alone am your Master. I will take one from a town, two from a clan, and bring you to Zion. I will give you shepherds after my own heart, and these shall feed you on knowledge and discretion. And when you have increased and become many in the land, then – it is the Lord who speaks – no one will ever say again: Where is the ark of the covenant of the Lord? There will be no thought of it, no memory of it, no regret for it, no making of another. When that time comes, Jerusalem shall be called: The Throne of the Lord; all the nations will gather there in the name of the Lord and will no longer follow the dictates of their own stubborn hearts.

Gospel

Matthew 13:18-23The man who hears the word and understands it yields a rich harvestJesus said to his disciples: ‘You are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.’


Two Sundays ago we identified ourselves as seed having fallen perhaps not so much on rocks, since we have encountered the Lord and He has a special place in our heart; but more so like seed having fallen on some soil, thorns and so on such that time and time again we are robbed of His Word and Will for us. Are we not as correctly pointed out in today’s first reading ‘leaky cisterns that hold no water.’ Are we not tired of thinking and behaving as ‘darnel weed’ when we should be majestic ‘Wheat’? Has our Lord not been patient enough waiting for us to grow up as mature children of God our Father?

We need to wake up from our slumber and make a decision to plug the gaps in our lives. We need to fill them up with the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through His Word, prayer and desiring to live in His presence. Then we will be healed! Such that we can boldly declare that we are happy that our eyes see, our ears hear! For many prophets and holy men longed to see what we see, and never saw it; to hear what we hear, and never heard it. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 2:1-3,7-8,12-13 ·I brought you to a fertile country and you defiled itThe word of the Lord was addressed to me, saying, ‘Go and shout this in the hearing of Jerusalem:‘“The Lord says this:I remember the affection of your youth,the love of your bridal days:you followed me through the wilderness,through a land unsown.Israel was sacred to the Lord,the first-fruits of his harvest;anyone who ate of this had to pay for it,misfortune came to them –it is the Lord who speaks.”‘I brought you to a fertile country to enjoy its produce and good things; but no sooner had you entered than you defiled my land, and made my heritage detestable.The priests have never asked, “Where is the Lord?”Those who administer the Law have no knowledge of me.The shepherds have rebelled against me;the prophets have prophesied in the name of Baal, following things with no power in them.‘You heavens, stand aghast at this,stand stupefied, stand utterly appalled– it is the Lord who speaks.Since my people have committed a double crime: they have abandoned me,the fountain of living water, only to dig cisterns for themselves, leaky cisterns that hold no water.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:10-17Prophets and holy men longed to hear what you hearThe disciples went up to Jesus and asked, ‘Why do you talk to them in parables?’ ‘Because’ he replied, ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them. For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled:You will listen and listen again, but not understand, see and see again, but not perceive. For the heart of this nation has grown coarse, their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, for fear they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed by me.‘But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear! I tell you solemnly, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’


He who is forgiven more loves more! Such was the love of Mary Magdalene for her saviour her Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. She was completely liberated from all purest forms of evil through His mercy and love. And she lived and loved in His presence throughout. She was there at His crucifixion and again at His resurrection. It is therefore not surprising that she was the first to witness her resurrected saviour and blessed with the opportunity to be the first to bear witness to her brethren.

We too who have been greatly forgiven, must likewise bear witness to the love and mercy of our Risen Lord! For the overwhelming joy that wells up from within us should not be contained; it should move us to clap and dance, raise our hands in praise and worship. To boldly proclaim the reign and kingdom of the Lord our God. Amen

St Mary Magdalene pray for us….

First reading

Song of Songs 3:1-4 ·I found him whom my heart lovesThe bride says this:On my bed, at night, I sought himwhom my heart loves.
I sought but did not find him.
So I will rise and go through the City;
in the streets and in the squares
I will seek him whom my heart loves.
I sought but did not find him.
The watchmen came upon me
on their rounds in the City:
‘Have you seen him whom my heart loves?’
Scarcely had I passed them
when I found him whom my heart loves.

Gospel

John 20:1-2,11-18‘Mary, go and find the brothers and tell them’It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’ Meanwhile Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.


How strong are your familial ties at home? Is there love and mutual respect? Are you a family that eats and prays together? Do you honour your Father and Mother?Jesus is inviting us today to think about our very own relationship with God our Heavenly Father. For if we truly love Him then as His loving children we will honour Him by being obedient to His Will for us. It is through our familial ties with Him that our whole family is Blessed.Ever loving and faithful Father in Heaven, through Your Son my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, I will faithfully do Your Will for me. Amen

First reading

Micah 7:14-15,18-20 ·Have pity on us one more timeWith shepherd’s crook, O Lord, lead your people to pasture, the flock that is your heritage, living confined in a forestwith meadow land all around.Let them pasture in Bashan and Gileadas in the days of old. As in the days when you came out of Egypt grant us to see wonders.What god can compare with you: taking fault away, pardoning crime, not cherishing anger for ever but delighting in showing mercy?Once more have pity on us, tread down our faults, to the bottom of the sea throw all our sins.Grant Jacob your faithfulness, and Abraham your mercy, as you swore to our fathersfrom the days of long ago.

Gospel

Matthew 12:46-50My mother and my brothers are anyone who does the will of my Father in heavenJesus was speaking to the crowds when his mother and his brothers appeared; they were standing outside and were anxious to have a word with him. But to the man who told him this Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 20, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Like many, I am quite certain, I am able to act justly. But to love tenderly and to walk humbly is a challenge. Yet all three is what the Lord our God asks of us. It is certainly not impossible otherwise He would not have commanded it of us. We on our part must desire to do His Will for us and through Jesus our Lord; we will most certainly be able to overcome all the obstacles either we have placed before us ourselves or placed by others.

I know deep within that I can certainly love more tenderly and walk more humbly if I put in more more effort on my part to grow more deeply in my relationship with my Lord through His Word and walking more often in His presence through prayer. I must simply overcome the inertia and pure laziness on my part and stop looking to the distractions of the world!

Lord Jesus Christ You alone are the sign of God our Father’s love for me and You are all I will ever need. Draw me closer to You this day and everyday. Amen

First reading

Micah 6:1-4,6-8 ·

The Lord asks only this: to act justly, to love tenderly, to walk humbly

Listen to what the Lord is saying:

Stand up and let the case begin in the hearing of the mountains and let the hills hear what you say.

Listen, you mountains, to the Lord’s accusation, give ear, you foundations of the earth, for the Lord is accusing his people, pleading against Israel:

My people, what have I done to you, how have I been a burden to you? Answer me.

I brought you out of the land of Egypt, I rescued you from the house of slavery; I sent Moses to lead you, with Aaron and Miriam.

– ‘With what gift shall I come into the Lord’s presence and bow down before God on high?

Shall I come with holocausts, with calves one year old?

Will he be pleased with rams by the thousand, with libations of oil in torrents?

Must I give my first-born for what I have done wrong, the fruit of my body for my own sin?’

– What is good has been explained to you, man; this is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.

Gospel

Matthew 12:38-42

There is something greater than Solomon here

Some of the scribes and Pharisees spoke up. ‘Master,’ they said ‘we should like to see a sign from you.’ He replied, ‘It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the sea-monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.’


Of Wheat and Weeds: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Wisdom 12:13, 16–19
Psalm 86:5–6, 9–10, 15–16
Romans 8:26–27
Matthew 13:24–43

God is always teaching His people, we hear in today’s First Reading.

And what does He want us to know? That He has care for all of us, that though He is a God of justice, even those who defy and disbelieve Him may hope for His mercy if they turn to Him in repentance.

This divine teaching continues in the three parables that Jesus tells in the Gospel today. Each describes the emergence of the kingdom of God from the seeds sown by His works and preaching. The kingdom’s growth is hidden—like the working of yeast in bread; it’s improbable, unexpected—as in the way the tall mustard tree grows from the smallest of seeds.

Again this week’s readings sound a note of questioning: Why does God permit the evil to grow alongside the good? Why does He permit some to reject the Word of His kingdom?

Because, as we sing in today’s Psalm, God is slow to anger and abounding in kindness. He is just, Jesus assures us—evildoers and those who cause others to sin will be thrown into the fiery furnace at the end of the age. But by His patience, God is teaching us—that above all He desires repentance, and the gathering of all nations to worship Him and to glorify His name.

Even though we don’t know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit will intercede for us, Paul promises in today’s Epistle. But first we must turn and call upon Him, we must commit ourselves to letting the good seed of His Word bear fruit in our lives.

So we should not be deceived or lose heart when we see weeds among the wheat, truth and holiness mixed with error, injustice and sin.

For now, He makes His sun rise on the good and the bad (see Matthew 5:45). But the harvest draws near. Let’s work that we might be numbered among the righteous children—who will shine like the sun in the kingdom of the Father.


Everyday there is an on going battle between good and evil. And whether we like it, want it or not this very battle lies within us. Indeed we have the appetite and strength to do evil if we so choose, but we who strive for holiness, to live as children of God our Father; know that nothing on this earth is worth more than our relationship with our loving Father in heaven. And for us the battle is already won for we have our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ who lives and reigns in our hearts.

Gentle, loving and patient is He who comes to give us life to the full. To save us from the crushing weight and burden of our sins when we turn to Him with contrite hearts. Let us then share the hope we have of eternal life with Him with all who will listen. Amen

First reading

Micah 2:1-5 ·The plotters of evil will not escapeWoe to those who plot evil, who lie in bed planning mischief!No sooner is it dawn than they do it – their hands have the strength for it.Seizing the fields that they covet, they take over houses as well, owner and house they confiscate together, taking both man and inheritance.So the Lord says this: Now it is I who plotsuch mischief against this breed as your necks will not escape; nor will you be able to walk proudly, so evil will the time be.On that day they will make a satire on you,sing a dirge and say, ‘We are stripped of everything; my people’s portion is measured out and shared, no one will give it back to them, our fields are awarded to our despoiler.’Therefore you will have no one to measure out a share in the community of the Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 12:14-21He cured them all but warned them not to make him knownThe Pharisees went out and began to plot against Jesus, discussing how to destroy him. Jesus knew this and withdrew from the district. Many followed him and he cured them all, but warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:Here is my servant whom I have chosen,my beloved, the favourite of my soul.I will endow him with my spirit, and he will proclaim the true faith to the nations.He will not brawl or shout, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.He will not break the crushed reed, nor put out the smouldering wick till he has led the truth to victory: in his name the nations will put their hope.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 17, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Not being able to go for the Sacrament of reconciliation due to the pandemic has been frustrating. I use to go regularly at least once fortnightly simply because I wanted to remain in full communion with my Lord. Especially after having given in to sin through temptation. Having attended Holy Eucharist regularly as well, I was able to resist sinning for much longer. However when access to the sacraments was taken away from us I was mortified! As far as I could tell I never took the sacraments for granted but perhaps this was a lesson for me in that I should never take the Lord my God for granted by giving in too easily to temptations and sin. With the new situation that arose, I had to double my effort to resist sin. I had to double my efforts to be patient, loving and kind.

Also it is not about how often I went to church, neither is it about how many community meetings I attended, how many prayer meetings I’ve led. But simply how merciful and loving I have been after the heart of my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Was I inward looking concern only for my welfare and well being, sticking strictly to rules without considering the ‘heart’ behind them? Or have I been outward looking as I should be, practising both corporal and spiritual acts of mercy!

Lord Jesus let me be merciful to others as You O Lord have been merciful to me. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 38:1-6,21-22,7-8
The Lord hears Hezekiah’s prayer and heals him

Hezekiah fell ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, ‘The Lord says this, “Put your affairs in order, for you are going to die, you will not live.”’ Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and addressed this prayer to the Lord, ‘Ah, Lord, remember, I beg you, how I have behaved faithfully and with sincerity of heart in your presence and done what is right in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah shed many tears.
Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, ‘Go and say to Hezekiah, “The Lord, the God of David your ancestor, says this: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will cure you: in three days’ time you shall go up to the Temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. I will save you from the hands of the king of Assyria, I will protect this city.”’
‘Bring a fig poultice,’ Isaiah said, ‘apply it to the ulcer and he will recover.’ Hezekiah said, ‘What is the sign to tell me that I shall be going up to the Temple of the Lord?’ ‘Here’ Isaiah replied ‘is the sign from the Lord that he will do what he has said. Look, I shall make the shadow cast by the declining sun go back ten steps on the steps of Ahaz.’ And the sun went back the ten steps by which it had declined.

Gospel

Matthew 12:1-8
The Son of Man is master of the sabbath

Jesus took a walk one sabbath day through the cornfields. His disciples were hungry and began to pick ears of corn and eat them. The Pharisees noticed it and said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing something that is forbidden on the sabbath.’ But he said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God and how they ate the loaves of offering which neither he nor his followers were allowed to eat, but which were for the priests alone? Or again, have you not read in the Law that on the sabbath day the Temple priests break the sabbath without being blamed for it? Now here, I tell you, is something greater than the Temple. And if you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’


Until the day we are fully united with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, our bodies and minds will groan as if in labour. We will have to constantly battle to resist sin and temptation. We will have to face the challenges of growing pains as well as the pains of growing old; of losing mental acuity and physical degradation. We will have to face hardships in carrying our cross as disciples of Christ.

So we must make a decision today and everyday on whose yoke do we want to carry or yoke ourselves to for that matter? Do we yoke ourselves to the world and all it has to offer? Or our very own yoke which we nicely carve out for ourselves? Or do we yoke ourselves to Christ who will see us through it all and will be with us to the very end and beyond!

As for me and my home, we choose Jesus Christ! Amen

First reading

Isaiah 26:7-9,12,16-19 ·
‘Awake and exult, all you who lie in the dust’The path of the upright man is straight,
you smooth the way of the upright.
Following the path of your judgements,
we hoped in you, O Lord, your name, your memory are all my soul desires.At night my soul longs for you and my spirit in me seeks for you; when your appear on earth the inhabitants of the world learn the meaning of integrity.O Lord, you are giving us peace, since you treat us as our deeds deserve.Distressed, we search for you, O Lord; the misery of oppression was your punishment for us.
As a woman with child near her time
writhes and cries out in her pangs, so are we, O Lord, in your presence: we have conceived, we writhe as if we were giving birth; we have not given the spirit of salvation to the earth, no more inhabitants of the world are born.Your dead will come to life, their corpses will rise; awake, exult, all you who lie in the dust, for your dew is a radiant dew and the land of ghosts will give birth.

Gospel

Matthew 11:28-30
My yoke is easy and my burden lightJesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’


It is not about giving up our autonomy neither is it about relinquishing our self reliance but rather acknowledging and embracing the fact that we have a loving God who is infinitely wiser and only wants what is best for us; for great love of us. What was the sin of Adam and Eve? With their little knowledge they thought they knew better than the Lord their God. They desired to be His equal if not then better. And through their disobedience the floodgates of sin was opened on humanity.

When we embrace the fact that we are children of God our Father so loved by Him then we will seek His will for us, we will seek His wisdom and grace. And we will be Blessed by Him as we have Blessed Him by our sole desire to glorify Him by our lives. We have a semblance understanding of this in our own relationships with our children. When they honour us with their obedience and rely on our wisdom to guide and counsel them.

God our loving Father, Your will be done now and forever. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 10:5-7,13-16 ·
Assyria’s arrogance and coming ruinThe Lord of hosts says this:Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger, the club brandished by me in my fury!
I sent him against a godless nation; I gave him commission against a people that provokes me, to pillage and to plunder freely and to stamp down like the mud in the streets.
But he did not intend this, his heart did not plan it so. No, in his heart was to destroy,
to go on cutting nations to pieces without limit.For he has said:‘By the strength of my own arm I have done this and by my own intelligence, for understanding is mine; I have pushed back the frontiers of peoples and plundered their treasures.
I have brought their inhabitants down to the dust. As if they were a bird’s nest, my hand has seized the riches of the peoples.
As people pick up deserted eggs I have picked up the whole earth, with not a wing fluttering, not a beak opening, not a chirp.’Does the axe claim more credit than the man who wields it, or the saw more strength than the man who handles it?
It would be like the cudgel controlling the man who raises it, or the club moving what is not made of wood!
And so the Lord of Hosts is going to send a wasting sickness on his stout warriors;
beneath his plenty, a burning will burn
like a consuming fire.

Gospel

Matthew 11:25-27
You have hidden these things from the wise and revealed them to little childrenJesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’


Many will read today’s reading and Gospel with a sense of doom and gloom. However if you open your heart to listen and see through the eyes of the Lord our God; then you will find Him constantly praying for you and I. Where else can we find an almighty God who has no need of anything or anyone, lovingly lamenting even weeping over His creation? Of whom many remain obstinate, refusing to respond to His call, refusing to accept His love. Refusing to be reconciled to our loving God, choosing sin and total self reliance! Then there are many, who choose to remain lukewarm in their faith, thinking there will always be enough time for change!

Well the reminder for today is that we should rethink our strategy if we have one for living as children of God our Father. Yes indeed we have a loving and merciful God who is patiently waiting for our conversion of heart, to return fully unto Him. To be fully united with us as we are in Him. That being said we will have to face the consequences of our choice, even inactions when our time runs out!

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

First reading

Isaiah 7:1-9 ·
Isaiah tells the king not to fearIn the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Razon the king of Aram went up against Jerusalem with Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, to lay siege to it; but he was unable to capture it.
The news was brought to the House of David. ‘Aram’ they said ‘has reached Ephraim.’ Then the heart of the king and the hearts of the people shuddered as the trees of the forest shudder in front of the wind. The Lord said to Isaiah, ‘Go with your son Shear-jashub, and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the Fuller’s Field road, and say to him:‘“Pay attention, keep calm, have no fear,
do not let your heart sink because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands,
or because Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah have plotted to ruin you, and have said:
Let us invade Judah and terrorise it and seize it for ourselves, and set up a king there, the son of Tabeel.
The Lord says this:
It shall not come true; it shall not be. The capital of Aram is Damascus, the head of Damascus, Razon; the capital of Ephraim, Samaria, the head of Samaria, the son of Remaliah. Six or five years more and a shattered Ephraim shall no longer be a people. But if you do not stand by me,
you will not stand at all.”’

Gospel

Matthew 11:20-24
It will not go as hard with Sodom on Judgement Day as with youJesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.
‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 13, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: , ,

We cannot buy our way into heaven, neither can we pay our way out for having sinned through love offerings, candles, donations and so on. The only way we are saved is through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Therefore only a contrite heart desiring to place Jesus above all will allow us full reconciliation and communion with Him.

Because the Lord our God who loves us ever so dearly gives us His all, He likewise demands we give Him our all. It is in this mutual exchange that we truly have life to the full. Being in full union with Him therefore also means we must be in full union with one another. Afterall we are One Body In Him. This is adds a greater dimension for us, when the Lord says, ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.

‘Lord Jesus You are my all in all. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 1:10-17 ·Take your wrongdoing out of my sightHear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the command of our God,you people of Gomorrah.‘What are your endless sacrifices to me?says the Lord. I am sick of holocausts of rams and the fat of calves.The blood of bulls and of goats revolts me.When you come to present yourselves before me, who asked you to trample over my courts?Bring me your worthless offerings no more,the smoke of them fills me with disgust.New Moons, sabbaths, assemblies – I cannot endure festival and solemnity.Your New Moons and your pilgrimages I hate with all my soul. They lie heavy on me,I am tired of bearing them. When you stretch out your hands I turn my eyes away.You may multiply your prayers, I shall not listen. Your hands are covered with blood,wash, make yourselves clean.‘Take your wrong-doing out of my sight.
Cease to do evil.Learn to do good, search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:34-11:1It is not peace I have come to bring, but a swordJesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be those of his own household. ‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me. ‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man will have a holy man’s reward. ‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’ When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.


The Word’s Return: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Isaiah 55:10–11 Psalm 65:10–14 Romans 8:18–23 Matthew 13:1–23
Today’s readings, like last week’s, ask us to meditate on Israel’s response to God’s Word—and our own. Why do some hear the word of the kingdom, yet fail to accept it as a call to conversion and faith in Jesus? That question underlies today’s Gospel, especially.

Again we see, as we did last week, that the kingdom’s mysteries are unfolded to those who open their hearts, making of them a rich soil in which the Word can grow and bear fruit.

As we sing in today’s Psalm, in Jesus, God’s Word has visited our land, to water the stony earth of our hearts with the living waters of the Spirit (see John 7:38; Revelation 22:1).

The firstfruit of the Word is the Spirit of love and adoption poured into our hearts in Baptism, making us children of God, as Paul reminds us in today’s Epistle (see Romans 5:5; 8:15–16). In this, we are made a “new creation” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), the firstfruits of a new heaven and a new earth (see 2 Peter 3:13).

Since the first humans rejected God’s Word, creation has been enslaved to futility (see Genesis 3:17–19; 5:29). But God’s Word does not go forth only to return to Him void, as we hear in today’s First Reading.

His Word awaits our response. We must show ourselves to be children of that Word. We must allow that Word to accomplish God’s will in our lives. As Jesus warns today, we must take care lest the devil steal it away or lest it be choked by worldly concerns.

In the Eucharist, the Word gives Himself to us as bread to eat. He does so that we might be made fertile, yielding fruits of holiness.

And we await the crowning of the year, the great harvest of the Lord’s Day (see Mark 4:29; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 1:10)—when His Word will have achieved the end for which it was sent.


Seek to know the heart of the Lord our God. Seek His wisdom and understanding. Do this by dwelling on His Word and in His presence and you will discern His Will, His mission for you.

There will be absolutely no need to worry about receiving rewards, for being in full communion with Him is our greatest reward! For we rest in His peace and joy forever.

Lord it is Your Kingdom alone that I seek. Show me the way Lord. Amen

First reading

Proverbs 2:1-9Apply your heart to truthMy son, if you take my words to heart, if you set store by my commandments, tuning your ear to wisdom, and applying your heart to truth: yes, if your plea is for clear perception, if you cry out for discernment, if you look for it as if it were silver, and search for it as for buried treasure, you will then understand what the fear of the Lord is, and discover the knowledge of God.For the Lord himself is giver of wisdom, from his mouth issue knowledge and discernment.He keeps his help for honest men, he is the shield of those whose ways are honourable;he stands guard over the paths of justice, he keeps watch on the way of his devoted ones.Then you will understand what virtue is, justice, and fair dealing, all paths that lead to happiness.

Gospel

Matthew 19:27-29They will be repaid a hundred times over and inherit eternal lifePeter spoke to Jesus. ‘What about us?’ he said. ‘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.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 10, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

How wonderful it would be to face anything or anyone unafraid. To know that we are never alone as we are one in communion with our Heavenly Father. Whatever we might say especially to those who oppose us, will be through the spirit of God our Father. And so His constant peace and love reigns in our hearts.

Many who think this is simply a foolhardy thought venture, has obviously not experienced the depths of God’s love personally. How could they? If they continue to refuse His love by clinging to the wiles of the world. To seek shortlived ‘happiness’ through iniquity and giving in to wanton desires.

Let us walk then in the footsteps of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, who glorified His Heavenly in all He did. His Father’s Will be done always. Amen

First reading

Hosea 14:2-10The Lord says this:Israel, come back to the Lord your God;your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.Provide yourself with words and come back to the Lord.Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away so that we may have happiness again and offer you our words of praise.Assyria cannot save us, we will not ride horses any more, or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made, for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’– I will heal their disloyalty, I will love them with all my heart, for my anger has turned from them.I will fall like dew on Israel. He shall bloom like the lily, and thrust out roots like the poplar, his shoots will spread far; he will have the beauty of the olive and the fragrance of Lebanon.They will come back to live in my shade;they will grow corn that flourishes, they will cultivate vines
m as renowned as the wine of Helbon.What has Ephraim to do with idols anymore when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?I am like a cypress ever green, all your fruitfulness comes from me.Let the wise man understand these words.Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.For the ways of the Lord are straight, and virtuous men walk in them, but sinners stumble.

Gospel

Matthew 10:16-23Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves. ‘Beware of men: they will hand you over to sanhedrins and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you. ‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved. If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. I tell you solemnly, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’


As a father of three, two boys and a girl. I’ve had to discipline my children from time to time over the years. I am not proud to say that I have dealt rather harshly with the boys on some of those occasions. Although I definitively could have handled the situation better, it was still purely out of love for them that I took action. I did not want any of them to go wayward and land themselves in situations which my affect their future.

The first reading shows us a glimpse into God our Father’s heart. While I can relate being a father myself, at the same time I am far from able to conceive the depth of His love. How often have we betrayed Him and been disobedient; yet in His mercy and love He waits patiently to turn back to Him. It is therefore to our own detriment if we mistakenly think that we have all the time in the world to have a change of heart. For it is in our final moment that our fate is sealed, our free will in rejecting Him has caused our eternal separation or eternal death.

Let us strive by our Lord’s grace to lead as many souls, as and while we can, into His Kingdom. Amen

First reading

Hosea 11:1-4,8-9 ·I am the Holy One in your midst and have no wish to destroyThus says the Lord:When Israel was a child I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt.But the more I called to them, the further they went from me; they have offered sacrifice to the Baals and set their offerings smoking before the idols.I myself taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in my arms; yet they have not understood 0that I was the one looking after them. I led them with reins of kindness, with leading-strings of love.I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek; stooping down to him I gave him his food.Ephraim, how could I part with you?Israel, how could I give you up?How could I treat you like Admah, or deal with you like Zeboiim?My heart recoils from it, my whole being trembles at the thought.I will not give rein to my fierce anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again, for I am God, not man: I am the Holy One in your midst and have no wish to destroy.

Gospel

Matthew 10:7-15You received without charge: give without chargeJesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep. ‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town.’


Are we living only for ourselves with no regard for others let alone the Lord our God? If we continue this way in our journey then eventually we will lose all that we hold dear to us. More importantly we will lose our connection with God our loving Father who provides all that we have.

Today is a stark reminder that we must seek the Lord constantly in our lives. And with integrity we will reap a harvest of kindness. For by seeking our Lord we find ourselves on a love mission for Him. To lead all that we meet into His loving arms and His kingdom.

In Your service Lord I stand ready. Amen

First reading

Hosea 10:1-3,7-8,12 Israel was a luxuriant vine yielding plenty of fruit.The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; the richer his land became, the richer he made the sacred stones.Their heart is a divided heart; very well, they must pay for it: the Lord is going to break their altars down and destroy their sacred stones.Then they will say, ‘We have no king because we have not feared the Lord.’But what can a king do for us?Samaria has had her day.Her king is like a straw drifting on the water.The idolatrous high places shall be destroyed –that sin of Israel; thorn and thistle will grow on their altars. AThen they will say to the mountains, ‘Cover us!’ and to the hills, ‘Fall on us!’Sow integrity for yourselves, reap a harvest of kindness, break up your fallow ground:it is time to go seeking the Lord until he comes to rain salvation on you.

Gospel

Matthew 10:1-7‘Go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel’Jesus summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’


Many of us have led sinful lives such that we could not praise and worship the Lord our God. We could not hear His voice or be at peace with anything spiritual. In His mercy and love He came looking for us and by His grace we were set free! We began singing His praises as we basked in His love, peace and joy.

Why is the harvest rich but the labourers few today? Well many of us whose lives have been enriched by Him, do not see it as our duty as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ to labour in love for the rest of our brethren. Not experienced enough, not knowledgeable enough or simply not enough time are the excuses we give. When it is He our Lord Himself who qualifies us and provides all that we need for our mission of love. All we have to do is to respond with a resounding Yes Lord send me!

Lord Jesus here I am to do Your Will. Amen

First reading

Hosea 8:4-7,11-13 ·
They have sown the wind; they will reap the whirlwindThus says the Lord:They have set up kings, but not with my consent, and appointed princes, but without my knowledge.
Out of their own silver and gold they have made idols, which are doomed to destruction.
I spurn your calf, Samaria, my anger blazes against it.
(How long will it be before they purge themselves of this, the sons of Israel?)
A workman made the thing, this cannot be God!
Yes, the calf of Samaria shall go up in flames. They sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind; their wheat will yield no ear,
the ear will yield no flour, or, if it does, foreigners will swallow it.Ephraim has built altar after altar, they have only served him as occasion for sin.
Were I to write out the thousand precepts of my Law for him, they would be paid no more attention than those of a stranger.
They love sacrificing; right, let them sacrifice!
They love meat; right, let them eat it! The Lord takes no pleasure in these.
He is now going to remember their iniquity
and punish their sins; they will have to go back to Egypt.

Gospel

Matthew 9:32-37
The harvest is rich but the labourers are fewA man was brought to Jesus, a dumb demoniac. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb man spoke and the people were amazed. ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel’ they said. But the Pharisees said, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts out devils.’
Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’


How often have we been unfaithful to the Lord our God? When we lose our tempers easily and snap at others. When we desire and give in to the lure of unspiritual things. When we put our children, family, work above Him. Do we then continue to allow sin to dominate and drain us out of our lives?

Let us turn to our Lord in faith, hope and in His mercy He will heal and set us free. For He desires to embrace us in His love; to have a deep on going personal relationship with each and everyone of us. He wants to restore us to where we should be, and that is living life to the full in His love. Amen

First reading

Hosea 2:16,17-18,21-22 ·
I will betroth you to myself and you will come to know the name of the LordIt is the Lord who speaks:I am going to lure her and lead her out into the wilderness and speak to her heart.
I am going to give her back her vineyards,
and make the Valley of Achor a gateway of hope.
There she will respond to me as she did when she was young, as she did when she came out of the land of Egypt.When that day comes – it is the Lord who speaks – she will call me, ‘My husband’,
no longer will she call me, ‘My Baal.’ I will betroth you to myself for ever, betroth you with integrity and justice, with tenderness and love; I will betroth you to myself with faithfulness, and you will come to know the Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 9:18-26
‘Your faith has restored you to health’While Jesus was speaking, up came one of the officials, who bowed low in front of him and said, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved.’ Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him. Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again.’ Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.’ And from that moment the woman was well again.
When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep.’ And they laughed at him. But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up. And the news spread all round the countryside.


A Yoke for the Childlike: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Zechariah 9:9–10
Psalm 145:1–2, 8–11, 13–14
Romans 8:9, 11–13
Matthew 11:25–30

Jesus is portrayed in today’s Gospel as a new and greater Moses.

Moses, the meekest man on earth (see Numbers 12:3), was God’s friend (see Exodus 34:12, 17). Only he knew God “face to face” (see Deuteronomy 34:10). And Moses gave Israel the yoke of the Law,
through which God first revealed Himself and how we are to live (see Jeremiah 2:20; 5:5).

Jesus too is meek and humble. But He is more than God’s friend. He is the Son who alone knows the Father. He is more also than a law-giver, presenting Himself today as the yoke of a new Law, and as the revealed Wisdom of God.

As Wisdom, Jesus was present before creation as the firstborn of God, the Father and Lord of heaven and earth (see Proverbs 8:22; Wisdom 9:9). And He gives knowledge of the holy things of the kingdom of God (see Wisdom 10:10).

In the gracious will of the Father, Jesus reveals these things only to the “childlike”—those who humble themselves before Him as little children (see Sirach 2:17). These alone can recognize and receive Jesus as the just savior and meek king promised to daughter Zion, Israel, in today’s First Reading.

We too are called to childlike faith in the Father’s goodness, as sons and daughters of the new kingdom, the Church.

We are to live by the Spirit we received in Baptism (see Galatians 5:16), putting to death our old ways of thinking and acting, as Paul exhorts in today’s Epistle. Our “yoke” is to be His new law of love (see John 13:34), by which we enter into the “rest” of His kingdom.

As we sing in today’s Psalm, we joyously await the day when we will praise His name forever in the kingdom that lasts for all ages. This is the sabbath rest promised by Jesus—first anticipated by Moses (see Exodus 20:8–11), but which still awaits the people of God (see Hebrews 4:9).


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Jn 14:27

This wonderful gift which the Lord bestows on us is priceless! In His mercy and love He restores all that was lost. Brings order into chaos and from it a bountiful harvest. Yet we on our own must continue to strive to live in His peace and in His Word. We learn to love and embrace both the old testament as well as the new, for our whole salvation history are to be found.

We come often into His presence through prayer, Holy mass and community. Through Him we are transformed and made new. To be beacons of His light. Amen

First reading

Amos 9:11-15 ·
I will restore the fortunes of my people IsraelIt is the Lord who speaks:‘That day I will re-erect the tottering hut of David,
make good the gaps in it, restore its ruins
and rebuild it as it was in the days of old,
so that they can conquer the remnant of Edom and all the nations that belonged to me.’It is the Lord who speaks, and he will carry this out.‘The days are coming now – it is the Lord who speaks – when harvest will follow directly after ploughing, the treading of grapes soon after sowing, when the mountains will run with new wine and the hills all flow with it.
I mean to restore the fortunes of my people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them, plant vineyards and drink their wine, dig gardens and eat their produce.
I will plant them in their own country, never to be rooted up again out of the land I have given them, says the Lord, your God.’

Gospel

Matthew 9:14-17
When the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fastJohn’s disciples came to him and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunken cloth on to an old cloak, because the patch pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; if they do, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are lost. No; they put new wine into fresh skins and both are preserved.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 3, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Have you ever pondered over what or how does a believer of our Lord Jesus Christ look like? Does your family, colleagues, classmates or anyone else for that matter look upon you and say, “There goes true believer in Jesus!” or in the least they might call you a Christian.

Truly this is not impossible or an insurmountable achievement. Afterall we are all saints in the making, a work in progress. The great St Thomas whose feast we celebrate today had flaws and imperfections. He too did not start out with unwavering faith, but just him we too can be perfected in Christ.

Whom do we know today who is not perfect but walks gently, humbly and even boldly shares the love of Jesus with everyone he meets? I thank God for Pope Francis who is, and the many Popes before him who were shining examples of what it means to be Christians; a true believer of and in Christ.

Lord do thou increase my faith. Amen

First reading

Ephesians 2:19-22 ·

In Christ you are no longer aliens, but citizens like usYou are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.

Gospel

John 20:24-29

My Lord and my God!’Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:‘You believe because you can see me.Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’


How obedient are we to the Lord’s call? And how much trust do we have in Him? That He will equip us with all that we need and provide what is necessary for us to carry out our mission? Or do we allow fear and our feelings of inadequacy cripple us?

Another thing that leaves us frozen, immobile spiritually and often times physically from glorifying the Lord by our lives is sin!

Today’s Gospel reading reminds us that the Son of the living God, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ has come to save us from our sins. He will forgive and heal us if we turn to Him. So let us be glad and rejoice as we go forth to love and serve Him and our brethren. Amen

First reading

Amos 7:10-17 ·
The Lord took me from herding the flock and sent me to prophesy

Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel as follows. ‘Amos is plotting against you in the heart of the House of Israel; the country can no longer tolerate what he keeps saying. For this is what he says, “Jeroboam is going to die by the sword, and Israel go into exile far from its country.”’ To Amos, Amaziah said, ‘Go away, seer;’ get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there. We want no more prophesying in Bethel; this is the royal sanctuary, the national temple.’ ‘I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets,’ Amos replied to Amaziah ‘I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was the Lord who took me from herding the flock, and the Lord who said, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” So listen to the word of the Lord.

‘You say:
‘“Do not prophesy against Israel,
utter no oracles against the House of Isaac.”

‘Very well, this is what the Lord says,
‘“Your wife will be forced to go on the streets, your sons and daughters will fall by the sword, your land be parcelled out by measuring line, and you yourself die on unclean soil and Israel will go into exile far distant from its own land.”’

Gospel

Matthew 9:1-8
‘Your sins are forgiven; get up and walk’

Jesus got in the boat, crossed the water and came to his own town. Then some people appeared, bringing him a paralytic stretched out on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.’ And at this some scribes said to themselves, ‘This man is blaspheming.’ Knowing what was in their minds Jesus said, ‘Why do you have such wicked thoughts in your hearts? Now, which of these is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralytic – ‘get up, and pick up your bed and go off home.’ And the man got up and went home. A feeling of awe came over the crowd when they saw this, and they praised God for giving such power to men.


What good is it if we dutifully attend Mass whether online or in person, give our weekly offerings but our hearts are NOT changed? If we continue to be impatient with family and friends. If we continue seeking pleasures the world has to offer. If we allow TV drama serials, games, social media to distract us completely from the Lord our God and our brethren in need. Today’s first reading is a reminder of what the Lord said to us in Matt 15:8 quoting Isaiah “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

So then do we stand as the people did in today’s Gospel imploring Him to leave us alone to our own devices? Do we not acknowledge Him as the Son of God sent for love of us to free us from the bondages of sin?

Lord Jesus come into my heart to stay! Amen

First reading

Amos 5:14-15,21-24
Seek good and not evil so that you may liveSeek good and not evil so that you may live,
and that the Lord, God of Hosts, may really be with you as you claim he is.Hate evil, love good, maintain justice at the city gate, and it may be that the Lord, God of Hosts, will take pity on the remnant of Joseph.I hate and despise your feasts, I take no pleasure in your solemn festivals. When you offer me holocaust, I reject your oblations,
and refuse to look at your sacrifices of fattened cattle.Let me have no more of the din of your chanting, no more of your strumming on harps. But let justice flow like water, and integrity like an unfailing stream.

Gospel

Matthew 8:28-34
The Gadarene swineWhen Jesus reached the country of the Gadarenes on the other side of the lake, two demoniacs came towards him out of the tombs – creatures so fierce that no one could pass that way. They stood there shouting, ‘What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the time?’ Now some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding, and the devils pleaded with Jesus, ‘If you cast us out, send us into the herd of pigs.’ And he said to them, ‘Go then’, and they came out and made for the pigs; and at that the whole herd charged down the cliff into the lake and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off and made for the town, where they told the whole story, including what had happened to the demoniacs. At this the whole town set out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw him they implored him to leave the neighbourhood.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 30, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: , ,

The stormy seas of life can just appear without so much as a warning, overwhelm us causing great anxiety and fear. Does moments such as this paralyse us? Whom is it that we turn to? How is it that we can be caught off guard? Is it possible to have stood ready come what may?Faith! Faith in our Lord of Lords, King of Kings. Our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ! Faith is the answer! Faith in the Lord our God who loves us so dearly that at times He exercises tough love in order that we awake from the stupor of having sinned against Him. A faith that demands loyalty, obedience and discipline for His greater glory. For we have an infinitely good and loving God who is faithful and loves us unconditionally. Faith in Him who commanded us to love one another as He loves us. Indeed possessing such faith enables us to stand still in His peace and in His presence, amidst any chaotic situation that may arise around us. Amen

First reading

Amos 3:1-8,4:11-12
It is for all your sins that I mean to punish youListen, sons of Israel, to this oracle the Lord speaks against you, against the whole family I brought out of the land of Egypt:You alone, of all the families of earth, have I acknowledged, therefore it is for all your sins that I mean to punish you.
Do two men take the road together if they have not planned to do so?
Does the lion roar in the jungle if no prey has been found?
Does the young lion growl in his lair if he has captured nothing?
Does the bird fall to the ground if no trap has been set?
Does the snare spring up from the ground if nothing has been caught?
Does the trumpet sound in the city without the populace becoming alarmed?
Does misfortune come to a city if the Lord has not sent it?
No more does the Lord do anything without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets.
The lion roars: who can help feeling afraid?
The Lord speaks: who can refuse to prophesy?I overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a brand snatched from the blaze; and yet you never came back to me. It is the Lord who speaks.This therefore, Israel, is what I plan to do to you, and because I am going to do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God!

Gospel

Matthew 8:23-27
Jesus rebuked the winds and the seas, and all was calmJesus got into the boat followed by his disciples. Without warning a storm broke over the lake, so violent that the waves were breaking right over the boat. But he was asleep. So they went to him and woke him saying, ‘Save us, Lord, we are going down!’ And he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?’ And with that he stood up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and all was calm again. The men were astounded and said, ‘Whatever kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him.’


As chosen disciples of our Lord we should never despair or give up hope but persist in our mission as we called to. For He will never abandon us and will make a way for us even when we see no way out. Even if some of us are called to lay down our lives for Him or our brethren it is in His time, He alone decides. So then what have we to fear? When we know that He had promised that we will rise with Him. Death has no power over us!

Both St Peter and St Paul had testified to the above truth by their own lives, death and new life with Jesus! Amen alleluia.

St Peter and St Paul pray for us….

First reading

Acts 12:1-11 ·
‘Now I know the Lord really did save me from Herod’King Herod started persecuting certain members of the Church. He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased the Jews he decided to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, and he put Peter in prison, assigning four squads of four soldiers each to guard him in turns. Herod meant to try Peter in public after the end of Passover week. All the time Peter was under guard the Church prayed to God for him unremittingly.
On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison. Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ‘Get up!’ he said ‘Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. The angel then said, ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ After he had done this, the angel next said, ‘Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.’ Peter followed him, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed through two guard posts one after the other, and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him. It was only then that Peter came to himself. ‘Now I know it is all true’ he said. ‘The Lord really did send his angel and has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were so certain would happen to me.’

Second reading

2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18 ·
All there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for meMy life is already being poured away as a libation, and the time has come for me to be gone. I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come now is the crown of righteousness reserved for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his Appearing.
The Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear; and so I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-19
You are Peter and on this rock I will build my ChurchWhen 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.’


How many of us can truly say that we are worthy for the Lord our God to come into our presence? Let alone ask Him for favours? And yet unworthy as we are it is He who loves us first even while we are sinners! He waits patiently for us to turn to Him with faith and contrite hearts; for He will surely heal us. He will answer our prayers even our petitions for others. So will He find in us, such faith and trust in Him today?

It is therefore fitting that having been healed by Him who loves us so; that we go on glorifying our Lord by our lives of service for Him, and our brethren. Amen

First reading

Lamentations 2:2,10-14,18-19
Cry aloud to the Lord, daughter of ZionThe Lord has pitilessly destroyed all the homes of Jacob; in his displeasure he has shattered the strongholds of the daughter of Judah; he has thrown to the ground, he has left accursed the kingdom and its rulers.Mutely they sit on the ground, the elders of the daughter of Zion; they have put dust on their heads, and wrapped themselves in sackcloth. The virgins of Jerusalem hang their heads down to the ground.My eyes wasted away with weeping, my entrails shuddered, my liver spilled on the ground at the ruin of the daughters of my people, as children, mere infants, fainted in the squares of the Citadel.They kept saying to their mothers, ‘Where is the bread?’ as they fainted like wounded men in the squares of the City, as they poured out their souls on their mothers’ breasts.How can I describe you, to what compare you, daughter of Jerusalem?
Who can rescue and comfort you, virgin daughter of Zion? For huge as the sea is your affliction; who can possibly cure you?The visions your prophets had on your behalf were delusive, tinsel things,
they never pointed out your sin, to ward off your exile. The visions they proffered you were false, fallacious, misleading.Cry aloud, then, to the Lord, groan, daughter of Zion let your tears flow like a torrent, day and night; give yourself no relief, grant your eyes no rest.Up, cry out in the night-time, in the early hours of darkness; pour your heart out like water before the Lord.
Stretch out your hands to him for the lives of your children who faint with hunger at the entrance to every street.

Gospel

Matthew 8:5-17
‘I am not worthy to have you under my roof: give the word, and my servant will be healed’When Jesus went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed, and in great pain.’ ‘I will come myself and cure him’ said Jesus. The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will 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 this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven; but the subjects of the kingdom will be turned out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’ And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go back, then; you have believed, so let this be done for you.’ And the servant was cured at that moment.
And going into Peter’s house Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
That evening they brought him many who were possessed by devils. He cast out the spirits with a word and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us.


If we reflect deeply on our lives what most of us will see is that our pride prevented us from entering into a deep personal relationship with Jesus. Pride which goes by many names, foolish, silly, empty, arrogant, narcissistic to name a few. We thought to ourselves, we have all the time in the world and If there is somehow a need for religion or faith we will explore that later in life. We thought we knew better than anyone and everyone else. Even in our darkest moments we might have said, “I will overcome this on my own, I don’t need anyone!” Are we to lose everything and all hope before we turn our sights to the Lord our God?

Let us humble ourselves today! And turn to the loving gaze of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Let us kneel as we cry out to Him,” Lord Jesus have mercy and heal us, take away our sins and make us whole.” For He who is loving and faithful will hear and answer our prayer. Amen

First reading

2 Kings 25:1-12 ·The sack of Jerusalem and the final deportationIn the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with his whole army to attack Jerusalem; he pitched camp in front of the city and threw up earthworks round it. The city lay under siege till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. In the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, when famine was raging in the city and there was no food for the populace, a breach was made in the city wall. At once, the king made his escape under cover of dark, with all the fighting men, by way of the gate between the two walls, which is near the king’s garden – the Chaldaeans had surrounded the city – and made his way towards the Arabah. The Chaldaean troops pursued the king and caught up with him in the plains of Jericho, where all his troops deserted. The Chaldaeans captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, who passed sentence on him. He had the sons of Zedekiah slaughtered before his eyes, then put out Zedekiah’s eyes and, loading him with chains, carried him off to Babylon.In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month – it was in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon – Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, an officer of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses in Jerusalem. The Chaldaean troops who accompanied the commander of the guard demolished the walls surrounding Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, deported the remainder of the population left behind in the city, the deserters who had gone over to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the common people. The commander of the guard left some of the humbler country people as vineyard workers and ploughmen.

Gospel

Matthew 8:1-4‘If you want to, you can cure me’After Jesus had come down from the mountain large crowds followed him. A leper now came up and bowed low in front of him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘if you want to, you can cure me.’ Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said, ‘Of course I want to! Be cured!’ And his leprosy was cured at once. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Mind you do not tell anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering prescribed by Moses, as evidence for them.’


Are we squandering away our Kingship or Queenship, by living self centred lives concerned only for ourselves and our families? Indeed by our baptism we have been chosen to become priests, prophet and King. However many perhaps have forgotten that we thrive as such, only under the reign of God and in His Kingdom!

How we govern ourselves and those placed under our care, must therefore be built upon the foundation of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Only through His reign in our hearts and minds can we hope to be all that we can be for ourselves and for others. Only then can we truly be the labourers in the vineyard for His glory.

Lord Jesus rule in me now and forever. Amen

First reading

2 Kings 24:8-17
The first deportation into captivity in BabylonJehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan, from Jerusalem. He did what is displeasing to the Lord, just as his father had done.
At that time the troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon himself came to attack the city while his troops were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin king of Judah surrendered to the king of Babylon, he, his mother, his officers, his nobles and his eunuchs, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner. This was in the eighth year of King Nebuchadnezzar.
The latter carried off all the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace, and broke up all the golden furnishings that Solomon king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of the Lord, as the Lord had foretold. He carried off all Jerusalem into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten thousand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalworkers; only the poorest people in the country were left behind. He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, as also the king’s mother, his eunuchs and the nobility of the country; he made them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon. All the men of distinction, seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, one thousand of them, all of them men capable of bearing arms, were led into exile in Babylon by the king of Babylon.
The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in succession to him, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Gospel

Matthew 7:21-29
The wise man built his house on a rockJesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!
‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’
Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.


All of us are uniquely and greatly loved by God our Heavenly Father. And just like our beloved Saint John the Baptist, we have been endowed with gifts specific for our mission. We therefore have the potential to be the best versions of ourselves according to God our Father’s intended plan for us.

How are we going to be that, if we are not obedient to the Lord our God? If we stubbornly refuse to use the gifts for the good of others and for the glory of God? If we not only claim we have no gifts but we don’t even know the Lord’s will for us? And how would we know His will for us if we will not spend time in prayer, on His word for us in His presence? How will we? If we constantly allow the cares and wiles of world overwhelm us?

Change my heart O Lord, that I may boldly go out to proclaim Your love and that Your Kingdom come, Your will be done. Let me be all that I am called to be according to Your will for me. Amen

St John the Baptist pray for us….

First reading

Isaiah 49:1-6 ·
I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earthIslands, listen to me, pay attention, remotest peoples. The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.He made my mouth a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me into a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel)
in whom I shall be glorified’; while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain, I have exhausted myself for nothing’;and all the while my cause was with the Lord, my reward with my God. I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord,
my God was my strength.And now the Lord has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him:‘It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Second reading

Acts 13:22-26 ·
Jesus, whose coming was heralded by JohnPaul said: ‘God deposed Saul and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”
‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you.’Gospel
Luke 1:57-66,80
‘His name is John’The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.
Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.
Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.


It is said that the toughest people to reach in sharing our faith and love for the Lord our God is family. Why so? Well for one, everyone in the family thinks they truly know all there is to know about us. Secondly everyone, expecially family should have their own choice on how they to live their lives. Third and finally perhaps there was no foundation laid down in the early years where family pays together and worship as one.

We are not called to lead ordinary Christian lives and values, we are called to lead extraordinary, exceptional Christian lives! We must live as our Lord lived, love as He loved and in a sense die as He willingly laid down His life for us. Only then will our families and our friends eyes be opened to see the wonders of His love through us by our whole life, lived in His presence.

Therefore whether it is family, close friend or an acquaintance, we must be very patient, gentle, loving and constantly keeping them in prayer. Lifting them up to the Lord and allowing Him to lead us; and for Him to provide an opportunity for us to share His love with them. All in His time…..

Lord Jesus I place all my trust in You. Amen

First reading

2 Kings 19:9-11,14-21,31-36
The Lord protects Jerusalem from Sennacherib and the AssyriansSennacherib, King of the Assyrians, sent messengers to Hezekiah saying, ‘Tell this to Hezekiah king of Judah, “Do not let your God on whom you are relying deceive you, when he says: Jerusalem shall not fall into the power of the king of Assyria. You have learnt by now what the kings of Assyria have done to every country, putting them all under the ban. Are you likely to be spared?”’
Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messenger and read it; he then went up to the Temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. Hezekiah said this prayer in the presence of the Lord, ‘O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, enthroned on the cherubs, you alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth, you have made heaven and earth.‘Give ear, Lord, and listen.
Open your eyes, Lord, and see.
Hear the words of Sennacherib
who has sent to insult the living God.‘It is true, O Lord, that the kings of Assyria have exterminated all the nations, they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, and hence they have destroyed them. But now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, I pray you, and let all the kingdoms of the earth know that you alone are God, the Lord.’
Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah. ‘The Lord, the God of Israel,’ he said, ‘says this, “I have heard the prayer you have addressed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria.” Here is the oracle that the Lord has pronounced against him:‘“She despises you, she scorns you,
the virgin, daughter of Zion;
she tosses her head behind you,
the daughter of Jerusalem.”
‘This, then, is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:
‘“He will not enter this city,
he will let fly no arrow against it,
confront it with no shield,
throw up no earthwork against it.
By the road that he came on he will return;
he shall not enter this city. It is the Lord who speaks.
I will protect this city and save it
for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”’That same night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib struck camp and left; he returned home and stayed in Nineveh.

Gospel

Matthew 7:6,12-14
Treat others as you would like them to treat youJesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.
‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.
‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’


We may stand and recite the creed wholeheartedly that we believe in one God and so on; but is He truly in our hearts and minds throughout the week? Do we spend time dwelling on His word for us, in His love and in His presence? Or do simply we go back into our daily routines of the world, our comfort zones, of work, school, games, television, drinking and merry making: striving hard to pursue our dreams of luxury and comforts. So the question really is where is God in our daily lives? Is He our God on weekends and the rest of the week we pursue our other Gods? Do we then turn back to Him to fill the void in our lives which we created? Or only in moments of great trials and challenges?

When the Lord our God is far from our lives, we seem to only see clearly the faults in others. We always think of ourselves as being smarter, more competent, of having very little if any faults. We will have the tendency to prejudge others or the situation they likely landed themselves without further question. Even the answers they might offer are likely to fall on deaf ears. It is only when we are in full communion with our loving Lord and God that we see ourselves more clearly through His eyes. We will look upon others with compassion and love just as we are looked upon by the tender heart of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus let me live more fully in Your love this day and everyday. Come dwell in my heart always. Amen

First reading

2 Kings 17:5-8,13-15,18 ·
There was none left, but the tribe of Judah onlyThe king of Assyria invaded the whole country and, coming to Samaria, laid siege to it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
This happened because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshipped other gods, they followed the practices of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed for them.
And yet through all the prophets and all the seers, the Lord had given Israel and Judah this warning, ‘Turn from your wicked ways and keep my commandments and my laws in accordance with the entire Law I laid down for your fathers and delivered to them through my servants the prophets.’ But they would not listen, they were more stubborn than their ancestors had been who had no faith in the Lord their God. They despised his laws and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the warnings he had given them. They pursued emptiness, and themselves became empty through copying the nations round them although the Lord had ordered them not to act as they did. For this, the Lord was enraged with Israel and thrust them away from him. There was none left but the tribe of Judah only.

Gospel

Matthew 7:1-5
Do not judge, and you will not be judgedJesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, “Let me take the splinter out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.’


O Immaculate heart of Mary my Mother pray for me.

That my mind, body and spirit be pure and spotless after your own heart.

O Immaculate heart of Mary my Mother pray for me.

That I may seek to always follow the Will of God my Heavenly Father.

O Immaculate heart of Mary my Mother pray for me.

That after your own most compassionate and loving heart, I may seek out the least of my brethren to love and care for them as you do.

O Immaculate heart of Mary my Mother pray for me.

That I may be courageous and zealous in sharing the joy of the Gospel with one and all.

O Immaculate heart of Mary my Mother pray for me.

That I may be made worthy of the promises of Christ Jesus your Son. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 61:9-11 ·
I exult for joy in the LordTheir race will be famous throughout the nations, their descendants throughout the peoples.
All who see them will admit that they are a race whom the Lord has blessed.‘I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation, he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity, like a bridegroom wearing his wreath, like a bride adorned in her jewels.‘For as the earth makes fresh things grow,
as a garden makes seeds spring up,
so will the Lord make both integrity and praise spring up in the sight of the nations.’

Gospel

Luke 2:41-51
Mary stored up all these things in her heartEvery year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.
Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’
‘Why were you looking for me?’ he replied. ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’ But they did not understand what he meant.
He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart.


O Sacred heart of Jesus why do You love me so?

I am but a sinner who frequently chooses sin over being obedient to You. I choose sinful distractions instead of turning to You for comfort and peace.

O Sacred heart of Jesus why do You love me so?I am petty, impatient and often inward looking. I am generous only when it suits me and far from humble in thoughts and in my words.

O Sacred heart of Jesus why do You love me so?

Still You never leave me to my own devices and always gently call me Home to You. You remind me then I am a child of God my Heavenly Father and so deeply loved. You Jesus my Lord have set me free from all sin so that Your peace and love can reign in my heart; and this new heart of flesh within me grows ever bigger for love of You and my brethren.

O Sacred heart of Jesus how I love you so! Amen

Let us pray….O Sacred Heart of Jesus, filled with immense Love; broken by our ingratitude and pierced by our sins; yet loving us still ; accept the consecration we make to You of all that we are and all that we have. Through me, may everyone I meet this day see You. Lord feel your presence and experience Your Love. May I serve You by serving others in Your Name making all that I do a gift of Love. Amen

First reading

Deuteronomy 7:6-11 ·
The Lord set his heart on you and chose youMoses said to the people: ‘You are a people consecrated to the Lord your God; it is you that the Lord our God has chosen to be his very own people out of all the peoples on the earth.
‘If the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, it was not because you outnumbered other peoples: you were the least of all peoples. It was for love of you and to keep the oath he swore to your fathers that the Lord brought you out with his mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know then that the Lord your God is God indeed, the faithful God who is true to his covenant and his graciousness for a thousand generations towards those who love him and keep his commandments, but who punishes in their own persons those that hate him. He is not slow to destroy the man who hates him; he makes him work out his punishment in person. You are therefore to keep and observe the commandments and statutes and ordinances that I lay down for you today.’

Second reading

1 John 4:7-16
Let us love one another, since love comes from GodMy dear people,
let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love.
God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son
so that we could have life through him;
this is the love I mean: not our love for God,
but God’s love for us when he sent his Son
to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.My dear people,
since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another.
No one has ever seen God; but as long as we love one another God will live in us
and his love will be complete in us.
We can know that we are living in him
and he is living in us because he lets us share his Spirit.
We ourselves saw and we testify that the Father sent his Son as saviour of the world.
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him, and he in God.
We ourselves have known and put our faith in God’s love towards ourselves.
God is love and anyone who lives in love lives in God and God lives in him.

Gospel

Matthew 11:25-30
You have hidden these things from the wise and revealed them to little childrenJesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’


It seems the hardest words to be uttered and said to one who has hurt us deeply is, “I forgive you.” And yet these are the very words we want to hear each and every time we have deeply hurt the Lord our God by our sins against Him and one another. In the most precious prayer Jesus taught us, the heart of God our Father’s mercy and love upon us is outpoured when we in turn are merciful and loving to others especially those who have sinned against us.

Why is this so? Why is forgiviness of others a condition or prerequisite? Well we know that the Lord our God is most Holy, all loving and merciful. The nature of God is love and His mercy springs forth from His love. How then can we expect to be in full union with Him if we refuse to be merciful, how then can we fully love ourselves let alone others?

Unforgiveness leads to hardening of our hearts such that we cannot fully love. It is an open door for sin to enter! Throughout salvation history, God our loving Father has sent mighthy prophets to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children; to restore His people. To turn hearts of stone back into flesh!Jesus lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Let us love one another as You have loved us and teach us to be merciful to one another as You have been merciful unto us. Amen

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 48:1-15
The spirit of Elijah fills ElishaThe prophet Elijah arose like a fire, his word flaring like a torch.
It was he who brought famine on the people, and who decimated them in his zeal.
By the word of the Lord, he shut up the heavens, he also, three times, brought down fire.
How glorious you were in your miracles, Elijah!
Has anyone reason to boast as you have? – rousing a corpse from death, from Sheol by the word of the Most High;
dragging kings down to destruction, and high dignitaries from their beds;
hearing reproof on Sinai, and decrees of punishment on Horeb; anointing kings as avengers, and prophets to succeed you;
taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses; designated in the prophecies of doom to allay God’s wrath before the fury breaks, to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children, and to restore the tribes of Jacob, Happy shall they be who see you, and those who have fallen asleep in love; for we too will have life.Elijah was shrouded in the whirlwind, and Elisha was filled with his spirit; throughout his life no ruler could shake him, and no one could subdue him.
No task was too hard for him, and even in death his body prophesied.
In his lifetime he performed wonders, and in death his works were marvellous.

Gospel

Matthew 6:7-15
How to prayJesus said to his disciples: ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:‘Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’


The path of authentic discipleship is not an easy one. To suffer in silence for Christ’s namesake so as to build His Kingdom. To do what needs to be done without fanfare, advertisement nor for want of affirmation or recognition. To own own up to our shortcomings, mistakes, impatience, so as to grow in humility. To be ever ready, quick to love and to forgive. We will then not need to think of rewards, for great rewards will already be upon us from our Heavenly who knows and sees everything.

Lord Jesus all I will ever need is You. Be with me always. Amen

First reading

2 Kings 2:1,6-14 ·
Elijah is taken up to heaven

This is what happened when the Lord took Elijah up to heaven in the whirlwind: Elijah and Elisha set out from Gilgal, Elijah said, ‘Elisha, please stay here, the Lord is only sending me to the Jordan.’ But he replied, ‘As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you!’ And they went on together.
Fifty of the brotherhood of prophets followed them, halting some distance away as the two of them stood beside the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water; and the water divided to left and right, and the two of them crossed over dry-shod. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Make your request. What can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ Elisha answered, ‘Let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ ‘Your request is a difficult one’ Elijah said. ‘If you see me while I am being taken from you, it shall be as you ask; if not, it will not be so.’ Now as they walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind. Elisha saw it, and shouted, ‘My father! My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!’ Then he lost sight of him, and taking hold of his clothes he tore them in half. He picked up the cloak of Elijah which had fallen, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.
He took the cloak of Elijah and struck the water. ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ he cried. He struck the water, and it divided to right and left, and Elisha crossed over.

Gospel

Matthew 6:1-6,16-18
Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’


Eternal Father whose mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us.Only one who has the heart of God could compose such a beautiful prayer which reveals the great depth of His mercy and love for us. For there is no sin too great that our loving Heavenly Father will not forgive when we turn our contrite hearts back to Him.The same extraordinary unconditional love and mercy extended to us is what is expected of us in our relationships with all others. For this is how we unite ourselves more fully in communion with the Lord our God and with one another. To become Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 21:17-29
The punishment of Ahab and Jezebel foretoldAfter the death of Naboth, the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Up! Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, in Samaria. You will find him in Naboth’s vineyard; he has gone down to take possession of it. You are to say this to him, “The Lord says this: You have committed murder; now you usurp as well. For this – and the Lord says this – in the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, the dogs will lick your blood too.”’
Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me out, O my enemy!’ Elijah answered, ‘I have found you out. For your double dealing, and since you have done what is displeasing to the Lord, I will now bring disaster down on you; I will sweep away your descendants, and wipe out every male belonging to the family of Ahab, fettered or free in Israel. I will treat your House as I treated the House of Jeroboam son of Nebat and of Baasha son of Ahijah, for provoking my anger and leading Israel into sin. (Against Jezebel the Lord spoke these words: The dogs will eat Jezebel in the Field of Jezreel.) Those of Ahab’s family who die in the city, the dogs will eat; and those who die in the open country, the birds of the air will eat.’
And indeed there never was anyone like Ahab for double dealing and for doing what is displeasing to the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the most abominable way, adhering to idols, just as the Amorites used to do whom the Lord had dispossessed for the sons of Israel.
When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put sackcloth next his skin and fasted; he slept in the sackcloth; he walked with slow steps. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; I will bring the disaster down on his House in the days of his son.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:43-48
Pray for those who persecute youJesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’


What happens when we allow covetousness or jealousy consume us? Apart from literally spiralling out of control, we might carry out evil conniving plans to attain what is not rightfully ours! Then there is also the insatiable desire for revenge when we fall prey to the devices of others. Many find it exciting even thrilling when watching it, play out in the movies or television series but all this can happen within our homes, our offices, among friends, even in our church communities!Therefore the Lord our God must always take first place in our hearts and in our minds. His Will be done in all things. Most of all His command to love our neighbour. Not some of the time, when it suits us, or only in good times but all the time. We must be quick and willing to extend mercy and charity first before receiving it. Only then can we truly declare that we are disciples after the heart of Jesus, our Lord and saviour. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 21:1-16 ·
Ahab covets Naboth’s vineyard and Jezebel has him killedNaboth of Jezreel had a vineyard close by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria, and Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard to be my vegetable garden, since it adjoins my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it or, if you prefer, I will give you its worth in money.’ But Naboth answered Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors!’
Ahab went home gloomy and out of temper at the words of Naboth of Jezreel, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.’ He lay down on his bed and turned his face away and refused to eat. His wife Jezebel came to him. ‘Why are you so dispirited’ she said ‘that you will not eat?’ He said, ‘I have been speaking to Naboth of Jezreel; I said: “Give me your vineyard either for money or, if you prefer, for another vineyard in exchange.” But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard.”’ Then his wife Jezebel said, ‘You make a fine king of Israel, and no mistake! Get up and eat; cheer up, and you will feel better; I will get you the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel myself.’
So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, sending them to the elders and nobles who lived where Naboth lived. In the letters she wrote, ‘Proclaim a fast, and put Naboth in the forefront of the people. Confront him with a couple of scoundrels who will accuse him like this, “You have cursed God and the king.” Then take him outside and stone him to death.’
The men of Naboth’s town, the elders and nobles who lived in his town, did what Jezebel ordered, what was written in the letters she had sent them. They proclaimed a fast and put Naboth in the forefront of the people. Then the two scoundrels came and stood in front of him and made their accusation, ‘Naboth has cursed God and the king.’ They led him outside the town and stoned him to death. They then sent word to Jezebel, ‘Naboth has been stoned to death.’ When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, ‘Get up! Take possession of the vineyard which Naboth of Jezreel would not give you for money, for Naboth is no longer alive, he is dead.’ When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel and take possession of it.

Gospel

Matthew 5:38-42
Offer the wicked man no resistanceJesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 13, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Am I truly a disciple of Christ Jesus my Lord? Am I prepared to leave everything behind to follow my Lord? To be His mouthpiece to share His Will and His love with others. Just as Elisha left everything to follow after Elijah, and as St Anthony left everything to follow after the heart of Jesus. Bringing comfort to the weary, the sick and tending to the poor. Proclaiming the kingdom of God to all who will listen and as they are led into the loving embrace of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.Just as to Jesus’s disciples were sent ahead of Him, to the places He was to go and visit; so too must we prepare the way for Him into the hearts of those who will encounter Him.O Loving Saint Anthony, who tenderly embraced the child Jesus in your loving arms. Grant me an eloquent disciple’s tongue after your own heart. So that I may praise God more profoundly as I lead His flock deeper into the heart of the Lord our God, so that they will experience His great love for them. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 61:1-3 ·
He has sent me to proclaim a year of favour from the LordThe spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives,
freedom to those in prison;
to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord, a day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all those who mourn and to give them for ashes a garland; for mourning robe the oil of gladness,
for despondency, praise.

Gospel

Luke 10:1-9
Your peace will rest on that manThe Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you.”’


Do we truly love the Lord our God? For if we truly loved Him will we let our eyes, mouth, hands and feet sin against Him? Will we succumb to temptations of the flesh? To our vainglory? Will we seek power, honour and recognition for ourselves?If we truly love Him, then we will constantly seek Him out in the quiet to be in His presence. To hear His word and will for us. As we listen out for His gentle voice speaking to us in our prayer. His peace and love will reign in our hearts. For Jesus our Lord is King in our minds and hearts. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 19:9,11-16
The Lord was not in the wind, or the earthquake, or the fireWhen Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of God, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ Then the Lord himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice came to him, which said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I am filled with jealous zeal for the Lord of Hosts, because the sons of Israel have deserted you, broken down your altars and put your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left and they want to kill me.’
‘Go,’ the Lord said, ‘go back by the same way to the wilderness of Damascus. You are to go and anoint Hazael as king of Aram. You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and to anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:27-32
If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it outJesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.
‘It has also been said: Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a writ of dismissal. But I say this to you: everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.’


Will others say this of you? He /she is a good person filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith? Such was thought of St Barnabas whose feast day we celebrate today. He was not only devout and humble but a great teacher of the faith. In addition though it is not often mentioned, he was a wonderful guide and mentor to St Paul or rather Saul at the time.He was faithful and obedient to Christ Jesus our saviour, who commanded him and all of us beloved disciples to proclaim God’s kingdom; to extend His love and mercy to all.St Barnabas pray for us…. Amen

First reading

Acts 11:21-26,13:1-3A great number believed and were converted to the Lord.
The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace, and this pleased him, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.
Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’
In the church at Antioch the following were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Gospel

Matthew 10:7-13
You received without charge: give without chargeJesus said to his apostles, ‘As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.
‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you.’