Posts Tagged ‘Catholicjules.net’


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
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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
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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
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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
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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.’


Who is ‘baal’ in our lives? Our careers? Wealth? Honour? Fame? Sexual gratification? That we will go all out in obtaining what we desire? Be it hobbling or hurting ourselves in desperation when we don’t get enough of what we seek? We seem to have voracious insatiable appetites! We live disordered lives in disarray and despair. When will we finally realise that all we will ever need is Jesus?We have Him, when our lives are ordered towards the love of God our Father. When we repent of our sins and are obedient to His statutes and commandments. Then the peace, love and joy of our risen Lord will reign in our hearts.You are faithful and loving O Lord, be with me always. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 18:20-39 ·
Elijah vanquishes the priests of BaalAhab called all Israel together and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah stepped out in front of all the people. ‘How long’ he said ‘do you mean to hobble first on one leg then on the other? If the Lord is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.’ But the people never said a word. Elijah then said to them, ‘I, I alone, am left as a prophet of the Lord, while the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty. Let two bulls be given us; let them choose one for themselves, dismember it and lay it on the wood, but not set fire to it. I in my turn will prepare the other bull, but not set fire to it. You must call on the name of your god, and I shall call on the name of mine; the god who answers with fire, is God indeed.’ The people all answered, ‘Agreed!’ Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one bull and begin, for there are more of you. Call on the name of your god but light no fire.’ They took the bull and prepared it, and from morning to midday they called on the name of Baal. ‘O Baal, answer us!’ they cried, but there was no voice, no answer, as they performed their hobbling dance round the altar they had made. Midday came, and Elijah mocked them. ‘Call louder,’ he said ‘for he is a god: he is preoccupied or he is busy, or he has gone on a journey; perhaps he is asleep and will wake up.’ So they shouted louder and gashed themselves, as their custom was, with swords and spears until the blood flowed down them. Midday passed, and they ranted on until the time the offering is presented; but there was no voice, no answer, no attention given to them.
Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come closer to me’, and all the people came closer to him. He repaired the altar of the Lord which had been broken down. Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, ‘Israel shall be your name’, and built an altar in the name of the Lord. Round the altar he dug a trench of a size to hold two measures of seed. He then arranged the wood, dismembered the bull, and laid it on the wood. Then he said, ‘Fill four jars with water and pour it on the holocaust and on the wood’; this they did. He said, ‘Do it a second time’; they did it a second time. He said, ‘Do it a third time’; they did it a third time. The water flowed round the altar and the trench itself was full of water. At the time when the offering is presented, Elijah the prophet stepped forward. ‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel,’ he said ‘let them know today that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, that I have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, the Lord, are God and are winning back their hearts.’
Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the holocaust and wood and licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this they fell on their faces. ‘The Lord is God,’ they cried, ‘the Lord is God.’

Gospel

Matthew 5:17-19
I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to complete themJesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.’


Fear of the unknown, of what might happen to us is often what prevents us from fully living in the grace and mercy of our most loving, merciful and generous Lord. So what do we do? We hoard for ourselves and for our family disregarding the needs of those of our brethren in need. We keep our gifts and talents only for those who employ us. Why should we waste time with church work unless there is a tax deduction of sorts. Why risk losing face in doing something out of my comfort zone for the Church?Are we then living a pseudo Christian identity and returning to a semblance of faith when encountering difficult, trying moments in our lives? How then are we witnesses to the love of God our Father who sent His only Begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ; to save us from sin so that we might have life to the full in Him? Do we not realise that all we have even the comforts we now experience comes from the Lord our God?Lord Jesus heal our hearts, restore in us what was lost through our sinfulness and self centredness. Grant us the grace to be powerful witnesses to Your love and that Your glory will shine brightly in the sight of all who look upon us. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 17:7-16 ·
The widow gives food to Elijah, and is fedThe stream in the place where Elijah lay hidden dried up, for the country had no rain. And then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, ‘Up and go to Zarephath, a Sidonian town, and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to give you food.’ So he went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks; addressing her he said, ‘Please bring me a little water in a vessel for me to drink.’ She was setting off to bring it when he called after her. ‘Please’ he said ‘bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.’ ‘As the Lord your God lives,’ she replied ‘I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.’ But Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son. For thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel:“Jar of meal shall not be spent,
jug of oil shall not be emptied,
before the day when the Lord sends
rain on the face of the earth.”’The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son. The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.

Gospel

Matthew 5:13-16
Your light must shine in the sight of menJesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.
‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’


A simple way of looking at and understanding the beautitudes is that they are beautiful guides in which we live our lives. It gives us assurance, strength and comfort to live Holy lives in the peace and love of the Lord our God. It reminds us to be outward looking to live not for ourselves but to reach out to those in need.Then we will live in God’s providence and love. In difficult times He will make a way for us, such that even ravenous birds might offer up their spoils for us. When we thirst we will find streams of living water. We need only follow His direction and Will for us. If we fall asleep, then we will sleep in His loving embrace. When we rise we will rise to new life in Him. Amen

First reading

1 Kings 17:1-6 ·
The Lord sends Elijah into the wildernessElijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord lives, the God of Israel whom I serve, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years except at my order.’
The word of the Lord came to him, ‘Go away from here, go eastwards, and hide yourself in the wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan. You can drink from the stream, and I have ordered the ravens to bring you food there.’ He did as the Lord had said; he went and stayed in the wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan. The ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening, and he quenched his thirst at the stream.

Gospel

Matthew 5:1-12
How happy are the poor in spiritSeeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:‘How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle: they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn: they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart: they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:theirs is the kingdom of heaven.‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven: this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.’

Trinity Sunday

Posted: June 6, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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How God Loves: Scott Hahn Reflects on Trinity Sunday

Readings:

Exodus 34:4–6, 8–9
Daniel 3:52–56
2 Corinthians 13:11–13
John 3:16–18

We often begin Mass with the prayer from today’s Epistle: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” We praise the God who has revealed Himself as a Trinity, a communion of persons.
Communion with the Trinity is the goal of our worship—and the purpose of the salvation history that begins in the Bible and continues in the Eucharist and sacraments of the Church.
We see the beginnings of God’s self-revelation in today’s First Reading, as He passes before Moses and cries out His holy name. Israel had sinned in worshipping the golden calf (see Exodus 32). But God does not condemn them to perish. Instead, He proclaims His mercy and faithfulness to His covenant.

God loved Israel as His firstborn son among the nations (see Exodus 4:22). Through Israel—heirs of His covenant with Abraham—God planned to reveal Himself as the Father of all nations (see
Genesis 22:18).

The memory of God’s covenant testing of Abraham—and Abraham’s faithful obedience—lies behind today’s Gospel.
In commanding Abraham to offer his only beloved son (see Genesis 22:2, 12, 16), God was preparing us for the fullest possible revelation of His love for the world.

As Abraham was willing to offer Isaac, God did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all (see Romans 8:32).

In this, He revealed what was only disclosed partially to Moses—that His kindness continues for a thousand generations, that He forgives our sin, and that He takes us back as His very own people (see Deuteronomy 4:20; 9:29).
Jesus humbled himself to die in obedience to God’s will. And for this, the Spirit of God raised Him from the dead (see Romans 8:11), and gave Him a name above every name (see Philippians 2:8–10).

This is the name we glorify in today’s Responsorial—the name of our Lord, the God who is Love (see 1 John 4;8, 16).


Of my heart I give my all to You, O Lord.I have been childish, unfaithful, seeking honour, affirmation and self pleasures. Have mercy and set Your servant free.Of my heart I offer my all to You O Lord.Instead of being bold in standing up for the truth, I have chosen to be silent in the face of injuctices. Thinking that it is someone else’s fight not mine! Instead of correcting errors I have chosen to keep the peace, to live and let live. I was blind to the fact that souls were at stake. Awake in me Lord a zeal in any and every situation to do Your Will always.Of my heart I offer my all to You O Lord.I have been impatient with those who refuse to grow in their faith and relationship with You. With those who are slow to learn Your ways and those who have set their hearts on the ways of the world. Lord teach me Your patience for if You were not patient with me, my soul would be lost for all eternity.Of my heart I offer my all to You O Lord.
Of my heart I offer my all to You O Lord.
Of my heart I offer my all to You O Lord. Amen

First reading

2 Timothy 4:1-8 ·
I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; it is time for me to be goneBefore God and before Christ Jesus who is to be judge of the living and the dead, I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience – but do all with patience and with the intention of teaching. The time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then, instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths. Be careful always to choose the right course; be brave under trials; make the preaching of the Good News your life’s work, in thoroughgoing service.
As for me, my 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.

Gospel

Mark 12:38-44
This poor widow has put in more than allIn his teaching Jesus said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’
He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’


There is nothing new in the world today or tomorrow in which the living Word of God cannot answer, council and guide us. Whether it is about the pandemic, the rioting and looting, wars, global warming, secularism even atheism. The one and only answer we will ever need is in the way, the Truth and life itself, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Through His Word we are set free, through His Word we can live life to the full in Him.St Paul teaches us that our love and dedication to the Lord our God comes from the wisdom of knowing His Will for us through His Word. It is how we become fully equipped and ready for service of brethren and of Him. It is also how we prepare ourselves to face the challenges and trials that await us.Jesus, Son of the living God, be with us, teach us to fall more deeply in love with Your Word which gives life. Amen

First reading

2 Timothy 3:10-17 ·
Anyone who tries to live in devotion to Christ will be attackedYou know what I have taught, how I have lived, what I have aimed at; you know my faith, my patience and my love; my constancy and the persecutions and hardships that came to me in places like Antioch, Iconium and Lystra – all the persecutions I have endured; and the Lord has rescued me from every one of them. You are well aware, then, that anybody who tries to live in devotion to Christ is certain to be attacked; while these wicked impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and deceived themselves.
You must keep to what you have been taught and know to be true; remember who your teachers were, and how, ever since you were a child, you have known the holy scriptures – from these you can learn the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy. This is how the man who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work.

Gospel

Mark 12:35-37
‘David himself calls him Lord’At that time while teaching in the Temple, Jesus said, ‘How can the scribes maintain that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, moved by the Holy Spirit, said:The Lord said to my Lord:
Sit at my right hand. and I will put your enemies under your feet.David himself calls him Lord, in what way then can he be his son?’ And the great majority of the people heard this with delight.

Posted: June 4, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Have you died with Christ Jesus your Lord? Having been inserted into His life, death and Resurrection at our baptism was only the beginning. To truly be alive in Him as scripture says is having to die with Him.Let’s explore this dying with Him in a different way. Instead of dying let’s use the words ‘not living’ instead. Hence our deeper reflection will be as follows :-To live in Christ I shall not live loving anyone or anything first other than loving the Lord my God above all.
To live in Christ, I shall not live in sin.
To live in Christ, I shall not live the ways of the world.
To live in Christ, I shall not live for myself but for the good (betterment) of my brethren.O Faithful ever living God our Father, we adore and love You with all our heart, all our hearts, minds, souls and strength. We thank You for Jesus, for by His life, death and Resurrection; we have hope of eternal life with You. Now and forever. Amen

First reading

2 Timothy 2:8-15 ·
If we have died with Christ then we shall live with ChristRemember the Good News that I carry, ‘Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David’; it is on account of this that I have my own hardships to bear, even to being chained like a criminal – but they cannot chain up God’s news. So I bear it all for the sake of those who are chosen, so that in the end they may have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus and the eternal glory that comes with it.
Here is a saying that you can rely on:If we have died with him, then we shall live with him. If we hold firm, then we shall reign with him. If we disown him, then he will disown us. We may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful, for he cannot disown his own self.Remind them of this; and tell them in the name of God that there is to be no wrangling about words: all that this ever achieves is the destruction of those who are listening. Do all you can to present yourself in front of God as a man who has come through his trials, and a man who has no cause to be ashamed of his life’s work and has kept a straight course with the message of the truth.

Gospel

Mark 12:28-34
‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.


The blood of the Martyrs the seed of Christians! Today is the memorial of St Charles Lwanga and his 21 companions who died along with him for their faith and love of our Lord Jesus Christ and His church.The question for me is can I even die to my sins let alone lay down my life for someone else or my faith? Self mastery, self control over my temper, my dealings with others and my body! How can I? If I am not steadfast in my reading and reflection of the Word, in having constant prayer times and being present in my community to serve for the greater glory of the Lord my God.For indeed, God’s gift to all of us is not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control. And by His grace we are able to be ‘martyrs’ or rather witnesses to our Lord Jesus Christ by our faith in Him through the hardships and challenges we bear for His namesake. We will surely be fertile and yield a great harvest for Him. AmenSt Charles Lwanga and companions pray for us…

First reading

2 Timothy 1:1-3,6-12 ·God’s gift is the Spirit of power, love and self-controlFrom Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus in his design to promise life in Christ Jesus; to Timothy, dear child of mine, wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.Night and day I thank God, keeping my conscience clear and remembering my duty to him as my ancestors did, and always I remember you in my prayers. That is why I am reminding you now to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy – not because of anything we ourselves have done but for his own purpose and by his own grace. This grace had already been granted to us, in Christ Jesus, before the beginning of time, but it has only been revealed by the Appearing of our saviour Christ Jesus. He abolished death, and he has proclaimed life and immortality through the Good News; and I have been named its herald, its apostle and its teacher.It is only on account of this that I am experiencing fresh hardships here now; but I have not lost confidence, because I know who it is that I have put my trust in, and I have no doubt at all that he is able to take care of all that I have entrusted to him until that Day.

Gospel

Mark 12:18-27The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob is the God of the livingSome Sadducees – who deny that there is a resurrection – came to him and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a wife and then died leaving no children. The second married the widow, and he too died leaving no children; with the third it was the same, and none of the seven left any children. Last of all the woman herself died. Now at the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?’Jesus said to them, ‘Is not the reason why you go wrong, that you understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising again, have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the Bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is God, not of the dead, but of the living. You are very much mistaken.’


We cannot outthink, outsmart or fool the Lord our God so why then do we still continue to try by hiding our sins from Him? or in thinking we have to perfect excuse not to act on His Will for us which often takes us out of our comfort zones. All glory belongs to God, we belong to God, why then can we not strive to give glory to God by the way we live our lives?Peace, love and joy is ours to have, simply by striving to live our lives in holiness according to the will of God our Father. And He wills that we share in the love, peace and joy we receive with all our brothers and sisters, His children. As we await the new heaven and the new earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

First reading

2 Peter 3:11-15,17-18 ·
We are waiting for the new heaven and the new earthYou should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace. Think of our Lord’s patience as your opportunity to be saved. You have been warned about this, my friends; be careful not to get carried away by the errors of unprincipled people, from the firm ground that you are standing on. Instead, go on growing in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory, in time and in eternity. Amen.

Gospel

Mark 12:13-17
Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to GodThe chief priests and the scribes and the elders sent to Jesus some Pharisees and some Herodians to catch him out in what he said. These came and said to him, ‘Master, we know you are an honest man, that you are not afraid of anyone, because a man’s rank means nothing to you, and that you teach the way of God in all honesty. Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay, yes or no?’ Seeing through their hypocrisy he said to them, ‘Why do you set this trap for me? Hand me a denarius and let me see it.’ They handed him one and he said, ‘Whose head is this? Whose name?’ ‘Caesar’s’ they told him. Jesus said to them, ‘Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’ This reply took them completely by surprise.


Today we celebrate the memorial of Mary mother of the Church. How fitting indeed it is on the day after Pentecost; the birth of our Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We are reminded that the spouse of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus gave to be our Mother, continues to love and embrace all her children throughout the world.She wants us to share in her purity of mind and of heart so that we might all draw ever closer to the heart of her son Jesus Christ our Lord. So that through her son we might one day be reunited in heaven.Dearest mother, obtain for us the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we may be wise with your wisdom, understand with your understanding, know with your knowledge, prudent with your prudence, patient with your patience, courageous with your fortitude and desire justice ardently for everyone with the all consuming desire of the Sacred Heart of Jesus your Son. AmenMary mother of the Church pray for us….

First reading

Genesis 3:9-15,20 ·
‘The offspring of the woman will crush your head’After Adam had eaten of the tree the Lord God called to him. ‘Where are you?’ he asked. ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman replied, ‘The serpent tempted me and I ate.’
Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this,‘Be accursed beyond all cattle, all wild beasts. You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust
every day of your life. I will make you enemies of each other: you and the woman,
your offspring and her offspring.
It will crush your head and you will strike its heel.’The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live.

Gospel

John 19:25-34
‘Behold your son. Behold your mother.’Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.
After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said, ‘I am thirsty.’
A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said, ‘It is accomplished’; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.
It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water.


Does the Lord our God love you more than He loves me? Why then do I have more hardships and challenges than you? Do we not hear similar undertones when Martha spoke to Jesus about Mary? When the disciples question who among them was the greatest? Or here when Peter questions Jesus on the fate of John?If we strive to live in the Spirit and seek only to be guided by the spirit of truth then we already know the answer. God our Father loves all His children equally and has no favourites. Through His son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ we have been redeemed. Some of us are called to suffer a little more than others because we have been blessed to be able to handle more and because of our resolute faith in our Risen Lord we have been given the opportunity to glorify Him either in this life or in death that comes for a spell, before we fully rise with and in Him.Led by the Holy Spirit I shall be life-giving to others. Amen

First reading

Acts 28:16-20,30-31 ·
In Rome, Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God without hindrance from anyoneOn our arrival in Rome Paul was allowed to stay in lodgings of his own with the soldier who guarded him.
After three days he called together the leading Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, ‘Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. They examined me and would have set me free, since they found me guilty of nothing involving the death penalty; but the Jews lodged an objection, and I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation to make against my own nation. That is why I have asked to see you and talk to you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear this chain.’
Paul spent the whole of the two years in his own rented lodging. He welcomed all who came to visit him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete freedom and without hindrance from anyone.

Gospel

John 21:20-25
This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and we know that his testimony is truePeter turned and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them – the one who had leaned on his breast at the supper and had said to him, ‘Lord, who is it that will betray you?’ Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me.’ The rumour then went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus had not said to Peter, ‘He will not die’, but, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come.’
This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down, and we know that his testimony is true.
There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.


Loving You in my heart Lord is not enough. For anyone can love and honour You by their lips. I know I am being challenged to prove my love for You by feeding Your lambs. Not only by feeding your lambs but looking after and feeding Your sheep.

Where are your lambs Lord? Are they to be found in the toddlers, the young, the youths of my community? What shall I nurture them with? How shall I guide them? Shall I teach them that they should lead chaste, Holy lives? That loving You is to love Your Word which gives us life to the full. Shall I teach them to pray so that they might enter into Your presence and fall into Your loving embrace? How different should I care for Your sheep? Likewise and more? Shall I seek out Your other sheep not of our flock? In order to feed both Your lambs and sheep I must ensure they are well and healthy enough to be fed, which means tending to the sick and those who cannot care for themselves.

It is indeed a daunting task that lies ahead; Still if You lead me Lord, I will follow. Amen

First reading

Acts 25:13-21 ·
‘I ordered Paul to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar’King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus. Their visit lasted several days, and Festus put Paul’s case before the king. ‘There is a man here’ he said ‘whom Felix left behind in custody, and while I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews laid information against him, demanding his condemnation. But I told them that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering any man, until the accused confronts his accusers and is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charge. So they came here with me, and I wasted no time but took my seat on the tribunal the very next day and had the man brought in. When confronted with him, his accusers did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected; but they had some argument or other with him about their own religion and about a dead man called Jesus whom Paul alleged to be alive. Not feeling qualified to deal with questions of this sort, I asked him if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there on this issue. But Paul put in an appeal for his case to be reserved for the judgement of the august emperor, so I ordered him to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar.’

Gospel

John 21:15-19
Feed my lambs, feed my sheepJesus showed himself to his disciples, and after they had eaten he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.‘I tell you most solemnly, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you
and take you where you would rather not go.’In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’


Why do we allow our differences to divide us? Salt and pepper are vastly different and yet when put together they bring about a flavourful excellence. We are so much more than that! We are all God our Father’s children regardless of race, culture, language, financial status and so on. Our uniqueness and the gifts we possess when brought together for love one another, are that which give Him glory.And through the power of our resurrected Lord who died for our sins, we are able to be completely united as One with and in Him. Let us therefore unite ourselves more fully with our Lord Jesus Christ and always be ready to share His love and mercy with one another. Amen

First reading

Acts 22:30,23:6-11 ·‘You have borne witness in Jerusalem: now you must do the same in Rome’Since the tribune wanted to know what precise charge the Jews were bringing, he freed Paul and gave orders for a meeting of the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin; then he brought Paul down and stood him in front of them. Now Paul was well aware that one section was made up of Sadducees and the other of Pharisees, so he called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘Brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of Pharisees. It is for our hope in the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.’ As soon as he said this a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was split between the two parties. For the Sadducees say there is neither resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, while the Pharisees accept all three. The shouting grew louder, and some of the scribes from the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested strongly, ‘We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit has spoken to him, or an angel?’ Feeling was running high, and the tribune, afraid that they would tear Paul to pieces, ordered his troops to go down and haul him out and bring him into the fortress.Next night, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘Courage! You have borne witness for me in Jerusalem, now you must do the same in Rome.’

Gospel

John 17:20-26Father, may they be completely oneJesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:‘Holy Father, I pray not only for these,but for those also who through their words will believe in me.May they all be one.Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.I have given them the glory you gave to me,that they may be one as we are one.With me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one that the world will realise that it was you who sent me and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.Father, I want those you have given meto be with me where I am, so that they may always see the glory you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.Father, Righteous One, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me.I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them.’


Whether we are lost or not is our choice. For our Lord Jesus Christ wills that not one of us is lost. All of us have been consecrated to the truth, the way and the life by our baptism. And our calling is lead Holy sanctified lives to the full in the love and mercy of Christ our Saviour.St Paul reminds us therefore to remain steadfast and rooted to the word of God; to the word of His grace that has power to build us up and to give us our inheritance among all the sanctified. This is how we will stand fortified against the evil that seeks to rob us while we are making our pilgrim journey back home to our Heavenly Father.Come Holy Spirit come! Be our guide, our ally! Grant us what we need to be powerful Evangelisers of the love of God and the joys, peace and love of living the Gospel truths. Amen

First reading

Acts 20:28-38 ·
I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, and its powerPaul addressed these words to the elders of the church of Ephesus:
‘Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood. I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering how night and day for three years I never failed to keep you right, shedding tears over each one of you. And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified.
‘I have never asked anyone for money or clothes; you know for yourselves that the work I did earned enough to meet my needs and those of my companions. I did this to show you that this is how we must exert ourselves to support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”’
When he had finished speaking he knelt down with them all and prayed. By now they were all in tears; they put their arms round Paul’s neck and kissed him; what saddened them most was his saying they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.

Gospel

John 17:11-19
Father, keep those you have given me true to your nameJesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:‘Holy Father,
keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.
While I was with them, I kept those you had given me true to your name.
I have watched over them and not one is lost except the one who chose to be lost, and this was to fulfil the scriptures.
But now I am coming to you and while still in the world I say these things to share my joy with them to the full.
I passed your word on to them, and the Holy world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world.
I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one.
They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’


Have you prepared your farewell speech before passing on? Would you even have to? Or would the way you lived your life speak volumes for you? Have you glorified the Lord Your God by your life? Have you suffered for Christ’s namesake? Or has it only been about you and your own sufferings? How many souls have You saved? How many strays have you brought back home to God Your Heavenly Father? How many have experienced your acts of love and mercy?

Jesus loves and prays for you. He wants you to be the best version of yourself for you and for others. Listen to Him speaking to you in today’s Gospel. Replace the word ‘them’ with your own name and see just how much the Lord our God loves you! Amen

St Philip Neri pray for us….

First reading

Acts 20:17-27 ·
I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose

From Miletus Paul sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they arrived he addressed these words to them:
‘You know what my way of life has been ever since the first day I set foot among you in Asia, how I have served the Lord in all humility, with all the sorrows and trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I have not hesitated to do anything that would be helpful to you; I have preached to you, and instructed you both in public and in your homes, urging both Jews and Greeks to turn to God and to believe in our Lord Jesus.
‘And now you see me a prisoner already in spirit; I am on my way to Jerusalem, but have no idea what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit, in town after town, has made it clear enough that imprisonment and persecution await me. But life to me is not a thing to waste words on, provided that when I finish my race I have carried out the mission the Lord Jesus gave me – and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God’s grace.
‘I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so here and now I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose.’

Gospel

John 17:1-11
Father, it is time for you to glorify me

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son
so that your Son may glorify you; and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him, let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.
And eternal life is this: to know you,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do.
Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me
with that glory I had with you before ever the world was.
I have made your name known to the men you took from the world to give me.
They were yours and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now at last they know that all you have given me comes indeed from you; for I have given them the teaching you gave to me, and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me.
I pray for them; I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me,
because they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified.
I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.’


Jesus has conquered the world! Do we realise how awesome this is and what it means for us? Yes we have it in mind that Jesus died for us to save us from sins and that we have hope of eternal life with Him. However we often overlook the fact that because Jesus conquered the world, we too can conquer the world through Him! This means we can live fully liberated in His love and in the spirit of truth.Our call then as children of God our Father is to live Holy chaste lives. While not all of us will be chosen to have anointed venerable hands like our shepherds in Holy orders; we are all chosen people, a royal priesthood! And so are called to lead others into a deeper conversion, by their repentance and reconciliation to God our Heavenly Father. Those of us who are willing to sacrifice for our Lord’s namesake and for our brethren will be given the grace to lay hands amongst other things. For our Lord promised “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.” John 14:12 Amen

First reading

Acts 19:1-8 ·
The moment Paul laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on themWhile Apollos was in Corinth, Paul made his way overland as far as Ephesus, where he found a number of disciples. When he asked, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ they answered, ‘No, we were never even told there was such a thing as a Holy Spirit.’ ‘Then how were you baptised?’ he asked. ‘With John’s baptism’ they replied. ‘John’s baptism’ said Paul ‘was a baptism of repentance; but he insisted that the people should believe in the one who was to come after him – in other words, Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, and the moment Paul had laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them, and they began to speak with tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of these men.
He began by going to the synagogue, where he spoke out boldly and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. He did this for three months.

Gospel

John 16:29-33
Be brave, for I have conquered the worldHis disciples said to Jesus, ‘Now you are speaking plainly and not using metaphors! Now we see that you know everything, and do not have to wait for questions to be put into words; because of this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them:‘Do you believe at last?
Listen; the time will come – in fact it has come already – when you will be scattered,
each going his own way and leaving me alone.
And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world.’

Seventh Sunday in Easter

Posted: May 24, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

Knowing God: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventh Sunday in Easter

Readings:

Acts 1:12—14
Psalm 27:1, 4, 7—8
1 Peter 4:13—16
John 17:1—11

Jesus has been taken up into heaven as we begin today’s First Reading. His disciples—including the Apostles and Mary—return to the upper room where He celebrated the Last Supper (see Luke 22:12).
There, they devote themselves with one accord to prayer, awaiting the Spirit that He promised would come upon them (see Acts 1:8).
The unity of the early Church at Jerusalem is a sign of the oneness that Christ prays for in today’s Gospel. The Church is to be a communion on earth that mirrors the glorious union of Father, Son, and Spirit in the Trinity.

Jesus has proclaimed God’s name to His brethren (see Hebrews 2:12; Psalm 22:23). The prophets had foretold this revelation—a new covenant by which all flesh would have knowledge of the Lord (see Jeremiah 31:33–34; Habakkuk 2:14).

By the new covenant made in His blood and remembered in every Eucharist, we know God as our Father. This is the eternal life Jesus promises. And this is the light and salvation we sing of in today’s Psalm.

As God made light to shine out of darkness when the world began, He has enlightened us in Baptism, making us new creations (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), giving us knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (see Hebrews 10:32; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

Our new life is a gift of “the Spirit of glory,” we hear in today’s Epistle (see John 7:38–39). Made one in His name, we are given a new name—“Christians”—a name used only here and in two other places in the Bible (see Acts 11:16; 26:28). We are to glorify God, though we will be insulted and suffer because of this name.

But as we share in His sufferings, we know we will overcome (see Revelation 3:12) and rejoice when His glory is once more revealed. And we will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives.


I believe my biggest misconception was that I needed to ‘do’ certain things and wait for an appropriate date and time for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in order to experience a renewal or a more in depth faith experience. When in actual fact it has always been about my very own personal relationship with the Lord my God. I had already received the Holy Spirit at my baptism where I was confirmed a child of God our Father for all eternity. Through prayer and knowing His will for me through His Word, I am living in the Spirit. And so if there are times when I lack the confidence to share about a certain faith topic, reading, or faith formation, I simply pray for guidance from the Holy spirit and start speaking. He will take all I had prepared to yet another level! He fills the gaps and the void.So sisters and brothers in Christ let us start this very day in building and strengthening our relationship with our one triune God; through constant prayer, scripture and being docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to put mercy and love in action for the least of our brethren. Amen

First reading

Acts 18:23-28 ·
Apollos demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the ChristPaul came down to Antioch, where he spent a short time before continuing his journey through the Galatian country and then through Phrygia, encouraging all the followers.
An Alexandrian Jew named Apollos now arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, with a sound knowledge of the scriptures, and yet, though he had been given instruction in the Way of the Lord and preached with great spiritual earnestness and was accurate in all the details he taught about Jesus, he had only experienced the baptism of John. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak boldly in the synagogue, they took an interest in him and gave him further instruction about the Way.
When Apollos thought of crossing over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote asking the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived there he was able by God’s grace to help the believers considerably by the energetic way he refuted the Jews in public and demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Gospel

John 16:23-28
The Father loves you for loving me and believing that I came from GodJesus said to his disciples:‘I tell you most solemnly,
anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name.
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.
I have been telling you all this in metaphors,
the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in metaphors; but tell you about the Father in plain words.
When that day comes you will ask in my name; and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father himself loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I leave the world to go to the Father.’


Why do we allow ourselves to be silenced when sharing the joy of our faith with others? Especially with family members? I am not suggesting that we should ‘force’ them to listen when they shut their ears. But why are we even reluctant to try or even proceed with the norms of our very own homes when we have guests? What do I mean? Well for instance if we decided to invite folks over for a dinner in our homes for Easter and the guests include a few who are not Christians or are Christians of a different denomination. Why are many uncomfortable to proceed with grace before meals? And if they do decide to pray, why do they not begin with the sign of the cross? Why are they unwilling to share the joy of having the risen Lord in their lives in conversation or to share why is Easter special and why do we celebrate it over fifty days??Is the same Risen Lord not present with us today as He was with St Paul? Why are we fearful of being seen as Holy? Are we afraid that by being seen as holy men and women we give the impression we are not fun loving or are suddenly stiff necked? If we are seen as such then perhaps it is because we are not living fully ourselves in the presence of our Risen Lord through prayer and His Word. We have not grown in our own relationship with Him. Perhaps we have not been outward reaching in our faith by being prepared to suffer for Him and for the least of our brethren? For if we are living fully in the presence of our living Lord and God then everyone we meet should see the joy on our faces which reflect what is in our hearts. They will experience our Lord Jesus Christ, His love and mercy through us. Amen

First reading

Acts 18:9-18 ·
‘I have many people on my side in this city’At Corinth one night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you. I have so many people on my side in this city that no one will even attempt to hurt you.’ So Paul stayed there preaching the word of God among them for eighteen months.
But, while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a concerted attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. ‘We accuse this man’ they said ‘of persuading people to worship God in a way that breaks the Law.’ Before Paul could open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘Listen, you Jews. If this were a misdemeanour or a crime, I would not hesitate to attend to you; but if it is only quibbles about words and names, and about your own Law, then you must deal with it yourselves – I have no intention of making legal decisions about things like that.’ Then he sent them out of the court, and at once they all turned on Sosthenes, the synagogue president, and beat him in front of the court house. Gallio refused to take any notice at all.
After staying on for some time, Paul took leave of the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut off, because of a vow he had made.

Gospel

John 16:20-23
Your hearts will be full of joy that no-one will take from youJesus said to his disciples:‘I tell you most solemnly, you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.
A woman in childbirth suffers, because her time has come; but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering in her joy that a man has been born into the world.
So it is with you: you are sad now, but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you.
When that day comes, you will not ask me any questions.’