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On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 17, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Do not let your hearts be troubled for the prince of this world has no power over Jesus. We have been inserted into the life, death and resurrection of the Son of God our Heavenly Father through our baptism, therefore the prince of this world has no power over us too! For we are children of God our Heavenly Father so loved and protected by Him.

That is why even when St Paul was terribly beaten, stoned and left to die outside of town, he picked him himself up and went back to the very town that left him for dead! Unthinkable? Why would he do such a thing? How did he do it? Well he carried the peace, love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ with him! Recuperated and renewed by Jesus he went on with St. Barnabas to preach the Good News and put fresh heart into the disciples. For every disciple knows that before we enter the kingdom of God we will have face many hardships and persevere in our faith.

We can do so, because having searched the world over we know that only true peace and joy is to be found in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ alone. He is the way, the truth and the life. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 14:19-28 ·

They gave an account of how God had opened the door of faith to the pagans

Some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, and turned the people against the apostles. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the town, thinking he was dead. The disciples came crowding round him but, as they did so, he stood up and went back to the town. The next day he and Barnabas went off to Derbe.

    Having preached the Good News in that town and made a considerable number of disciples, they went back through Lystra and Iconium to Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith. ‘We all have to experience many hardships’ they said ‘before we enter the kingdom of God.’ In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.

    They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.

    On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans. They stayed there with the disciples for some time.

Gospel

John 14:27-31

A peace the world cannot give is my gift to you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,

a peace the world cannot give,

this is my gift to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.

If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,

for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this now before it happens,

so that when it does happen you may believe.

I shall not talk with you any longer,

because the prince of this world is on his way.

He has no power over me,

but the world must be brought to know

that I love the Father

and that I am doing exactly what the Father told me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 16, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Every level in our faith journey is a test of our faithfulness and love for our Lord, our saviour Jesus Christ.  For if we do bear fruit for Him we will often have an opportunity to witness these fruits in others. Many touched deeply by our Lord through us being instruments of His grace may shower us with fervour, gifts and affirmation. Be wary for the evil one lurks and is waiting to snare you and I! Many have fallen into believing that power and glory is theirs! Even if the Lord is added at the end of ” ‘I’ did this for the Lord!” By St Barnabas and St Paul’s example in today’s first reading, we too should be ‘tearing’ at our clothes at this juncture shouting ‘Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings like you. We have only come to share in the good news of the Gospel and to turn your hearts back to the Lord our God.

If we continue to let ourselves be deceived then will we not only lose our way but lead others to do likewise. We will begin to take shortcuts, cut corners and soon even irreverence for the Lord our God sets in as we declare “My Will be done!”

Lord Jesus help me to remain steadfast to Your Word and Will for me. Holy Spirit Lord, teach, counsel and guide me to the Way, the Truth and the life! Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 14:5-18

We have come with good news to turn you to the living God

Eventually with the connivance of the authorities a move was made by pagans as well as Jews to make attacks on the apostles and to stone them. When the apostles came to hear of this, they went off for safety to Lycaonia where, in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the surrounding country, they preached the Good News.

    A man sat there who had never walked in his life, because his feet were crippled from birth; and as he listened to Paul preaching, he managed to catch his eye. Seeing that the man had the faith to be cured, Paul said in a loud voice, ‘Get to your feet – stand up’, and the cripple jumped up and began to walk.

    When the crowd saw what Paul had done they shouted in the language of Lycaonia, ‘These people are gods who have come down to us disguised as men.’ They addressed Barnabas as Zeus, and since Paul was the principal speaker they called him Hermes. The priests of Zeus-outside-the-Gate, proposing that all the people should offer sacrifice with them, brought garlanded oxen to the gates. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening they tore their clothes, and rushed into the crowd, shouting, ‘Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings like you. We have come with good news to make you turn from these empty idols to the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that these hold. In the past he allowed each nation to go its own way; but even then he did not leave you without evidence of himself in the good things he does for you: he sends you rain from heaven, he makes your crops grow when they should, he gives you food and makes you happy.’ Even this speech, however, was scarcely enough to stop the crowd offering them sacrifice.

Gospel

John 14:21-26

The Advocate, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them

will be one who loves me;

and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father,

and I shall love him and show myself to him.’

Judas – this was not Judas Iscariot – said to him, ‘Lord, what is all this about? Do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus replied:

‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,

and my Father will love him,

and we shall come to him and make our home with him.

Those who do not love me do not keep my words.

And my word is not my own:

it is the word of the one who sent me.

I have said these things to you while still with you;

but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,

whom the Father will send in my name,

will teach you everything

and remind you of all I have said to you.’

5th Sunday Of Easter

Posted: May 14, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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New For All Ages: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday of Easter 

Readings:

Acts 14:21-27

Psalm 145:8-13

Revelation 21:1-5

John 13:31-35

By God’s goodness and compassion, the doors of His kingdom have been opened to all who have faith, Jew or Gentile.

That’s the good news Paul and Barnabas proclaim in today’s First Reading. With the coming of the Church—the new Jerusalem John sees in today’s Second Reading—God is “making all things new.”

In His Church, the “old order” of death is passing away and God for all time is making His dwelling with the human race, so that all peoples “will be His people and God Himself will always be with them.” In this the promises made through His prophets are accomplished (see Ezekiel 37:27; Isaiah 25:8; 35:10).

The Church is “the kingdom for all ages” that we sing of in today’s Psalm. That’s why we see the Apostles, under the guidance of the Spirit, ordaining “presbyters” or priests (see 1 Timothy 4:14; Titus 1:5).

Anointed priests and bishops will be the Apostles’ successors, ensuring that the Church’s “dominion endures through all generations” (see Philippians 1:1, note that the New American Bible translates episcopois, the Greek word for bishops, as “overseers”).

Until the end of time, the Church will declare to the world God’s mighty deeds, blessing His holy name and giving Him thanks, singing of the glories of His kingdom.

In His Church, we know ourselves as His “faithful ones,” as those Jesus calls “My little children” in today’s Gospel. We live by the new law, the “new commandment” that He gave in His final hours.

The love He commands of us is no human love but a supernatural love. We love each other as Jesus loved us in suffering and dying for us. We love in imitation of His love.

This kind of love is only made possible by the Spirit poured into our hearts at Baptism (see Romans 5:5), renewed in the sacrifice His priests offer in every Mass.

By our love we glorify the Father. And by our love all peoples will know that we are His people, that He is our God.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 14, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How much do we love one another as Jesus loved us? He loved us so much He was willing to sacrifice Himself by laying His life down for us? Are we will ever willing to do likewise for one another? For community? Our Church? For the love of our God?

What are you willing to sacrifice?

If you called to be a lector do you spend hours dwelling on the word that you are proclaiming? Yes proclaiming not reading out loud! Do you practice over and over making sure your diction and pronunciation is spot on? So that from your lips to the ears of those listening the Lord our God is glorified?

If you are a communion minister do you simply dispense with the communion hosts each mass? Or have you prepared your body, mind and spirit each time dwelling in His presence falling deeply in love with our Eucharistic Lord so that each time you raise the host up reverently and high enough for the communicant to see and respond to “The Body of Christ” they receive Him through the hands of a disciple?

If you are a warden, hospitality minister is your job simply to usher the parishioners to their seats? To ensure smooth parking? To ensure the safety of those you serve? Or are you the stewards of the banquet leading them all, the lame, the poor, the blind into the heavenly banquet of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Serving them with humility, patience and above all love!

Are you willing to sacrifice your time, to love those in your community by your presence? To break the word with your sisters and brothers in Christ, to share in His love and to lift one another up who are struggling with faith, challenges and trials. To be there to pray for one another and to lead one another into greater worship? Or have you simply been absent?

Let me be a servant to my brethren after Your own heart Lord, may I love them as You have loved me. Amen

First reading

Acts 1:15-17,20-26 ·

‘Let someone else take his office’

One day Peter stood up to speak to the brothers – there were about a hundred and twenty persons in the congregation: ‘Brothers, the passage of scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, foretells the fate of Judas, who offered himself as a guide to the men who arrested Jesus – after having been one of our number and actually sharing this ministry of ours. Now in the Book of Psalms it says:

Let his camp be reduced to ruin,

Let there be no one to live in it.

And again:

Let someone else take his office.

‘We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us – and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.’

    Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias, they prayed, ‘Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.’ They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.

Gospel

John 15:9-17

You are my friends if you do what I command you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me,

so I have loved you.

Remain in my love.

If you keep my commandments

you will remain in my love,

just as I have kept my Father’s commandments

and remain in his love.

I have told you this

so that my own joy may be in you

and your joy be complete.

This is my commandment:

love one another, as I have loved you.

A man can have no greater love

than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends,

if you do what I command you.

I shall not call you servants any more,

because a servant does not know

his master’s business;

I call you friends,

because I have made known to you

everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me:

no, I chose you;

and I commissioned you

to go out and to bear fruit,

fruit that will last;

and then the Father will give you

anything you ask him in my name.

What I command you

is to love one another.’

Posted: May 13, 2022 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures
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On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 13, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Why do we let our hearts be troubled by the cares and worries of the world? If we declare that Jesus our Lord is indeed the Way, the Truth and the Life then why do we not put all our faith and trust in Him? Why do we turn to vices and sin for distractions? Why do we look any else where for comfort? Why do we not hide in the shadow of His Wings for protection?

Since you and I have been brought back to true life with Christ, we must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Col3:1

Have mercy on me Lord for my many failings and shortcomings. I have sinned against heaven and against you. Forgive me your prodigal son, restore me with your loving embrace. Let me live in the light of Son’s resurrection. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 13:26-33 ·

God has fulfilled his promise by raising Jesus from the dead

Paul stood up in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:

    ‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you. What the people of Jerusalem and their rulers did, though they did not realise it, was in fact to fulfil the prophecies read on every sabbath. Though they found nothing to justify his death, they condemned him and asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out everything that scripture foretells about him they took him down from the tree and buried him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had accompanied him from Galilee to Jerusalem: and it is these same companions of his who are now his witnesses before our people.

    ‘We have come here to tell you the Good News. It was to our ancestors that God made the promise but it is to us, their children, that he has fulfilled it, by raising Jesus from the dead. As scripture says in the second psalm: You are my son: today I have become your father.’

Gospel

John 14:1-6

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Trust in God still, and trust in me.

There are many rooms in my Father’s house;

if there were not, I should have told you.

I am going now to prepare a place for you,

and after I have gone and prepared you a place,

I shall return to take you with me;

so that where I am

you may be too.

You know the way to the place where I am going.’

Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus said:

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

No one can come to the Father except through me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 12, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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What is passed on by word of mouth can be adulterated even forgotten. But the written word last lifetimes over! And so by the wisdom of the Lord our God, the whole of our salvation history is found in scripture. The Word made flesh, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ came so that liberated from our bondages of sin we can live free in His love. And at the very end of our lives here on earth we begin our new and everlasting life with Him.

This is our God! Our servant King who suffered and died for us so that we can live!

And returning to God our Heavenly Father He has not left us orphans. He had given us the Holy Spirit and still sends messengers of His love, peace and joy our way. When we welcome them we welcome Him!

Lord Jesus, let me be a messenger of Your love, peace and joy. Amen

First reading

Acts 13:13-25

God has raised up one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour

Paul and his friends went by sea from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia where John left them to go back to Jerusalem. The others carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the sabbath and took their seats. After the lessons from the Law and the Prophets had been read, the presidents of the synagogue sent them a message: ‘Brothers, if you would like to address some words of encouragement to the congregation, please do so.’ Paul stood up, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:

    ‘Men of Israel, and fearers of God, listen! The God of our nation Israel chose our ancestors, and made our people great when they were living as foreigners in Egypt; then by divine power he led them out, and for about forty years took care of them in the wilderness. When he had destroyed seven nations in Canaan, he put them in possession of their land for about four hundred and fifty years. After this he gave them judges, down to the prophet Samuel. Then they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. After forty years, he deposed him 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.”’

Gospel

John 13:16-20

Whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me

After he had washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus said to them:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

no servant is greater than his master,

no messenger is greater than the man who sent him.

‘Now that you know this, happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly. I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: Someone who shares my table rebels against me.

‘I tell you this now, before it happens,

so that when it does happen

you may believe that I am He.

I tell you most solemnly,

whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me,

and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 11, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus the light of the world has come so that we no longer need to hide in the shadows of the dark by our sins! He illumines our hearts, minds and bodies so that we too can be beacons of His light in the world.

How docile are we then to the promptings of the Holy Spirit? How many calls have we missed to go out into the areas we were called to go? Do we have belong to a community of disciples that affirms, discerns and lays hands according to the will of the Lord our God?

Here I am Lord, I have come to do Your Will. Lead, guide and show me the way that I must go. Amen

First reading

Acts 12:24-13:5 ·

‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart’

The word of God continued to spread and to gain followers. Barnabas and Saul completed their task and came back from Jerusalem, bringing John Mark with them.

    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.

    So these two, sent on their mission by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. They landed at Salamis and proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; John acted as their assistant.

Gospel

John 12:44-50

I, the light, have come into the world

Jesus declared publicly:

‘Whoever believes in me

believes not in me

but in the one who sent me,

and whoever sees me,

sees the one who sent me.

I, the light, have come into the world,

so that whoever believes in me

need not stay in the dark any more.

If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully,

it is not I who shall condemn him,

since I have come not to condemn the world,

but to save the world.

He who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already:

the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.

For what I have spoken does not come from myself;

no, what I was to say,

what I had to speak,

was commanded by the Father who sent me,

and I know that his commands mean eternal life.

And therefore what the Father has told me

is what I speak.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 10, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Can you be a Christian, a follower of Christ and yet do not hear His voice? If so then we have allowed the world to drown out His sweet voice! For Jesus says “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” He knows us all outside, inside, through and through! Because we have entered into a deep personal relationship with Him. And so we are docile to His soft promptings and we follow His word and will for us. This is why we must remain steadfast in prayer, daily entering into His presence to listen to His Word and to be in community. We must be Barnabas for one another!

What do I mean? He urged everyone to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion for he was a good man filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. If we read a few chapters earlier chapters of today’s first reading, we see how instrumental he was in bringing St Paul into the community of the Apostles who were wary of the great persecutor of Christians. St Barnabas affirmed and guided St Paul and welcomed him into the fold. Was it an easy feat? No! St Paul was a scholar, a high flyer if you will since he was educated under the famous Jewish teacher Gamaliel. He was known for his zeal in whatever he set out to do. Yet St Barnabas took charge of him and led him just like their shepherd, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And so let us be Barnabas for one another. Amen

First reading

Acts 11:19-26 ·

They started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Lord Jesus

Those who had escaped during the persecution that happened because of Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but they usually proclaimed the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, who came from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch where they started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them as well. The Lord helped them, and a 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.’

Gospel

John 10:22-30

The Father and I are one

It was the time when the feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, ‘How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus replied:

‘I have told you, but you do not believe.

The works I do in my Father’s name are my witness;

but you do not believe, because you are no sheep of mine.

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.

I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me.

The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father.

The Father and I are one.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 9, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Is your soul thirsting for God, the God of your life? For if it were you would naturally seek Him daily in His Word and in His presence ever eager to hear His Will for you. You have a deep connection with Him and though free as you are to live your life to the full; you listen out attentively to His voice to lead you through the day. Is it through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ alone that we will enter into our Heavenly inheritance, and even now we have entered into Heaven on earth through Him.

Lord I seek You alone today and every day, protect me from all evil. For my only desire is to be obedient and to remain steadfast in Your love. Amen Alleluia

First reading

Acts 11:1-18

God can grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life

The apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that the pagans too had accepted the word of God, and when Peter came up to Jerusalem the Jews criticised him and said, ‘So you have been visiting the uncircumcised and eating with them, have you?’ Peter in reply gave them the details point by point: ‘One day, when I was in the town of Jaffa,’ he began ‘I fell into a trance as I was praying and had a vision of something like a big sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners. This sheet reached the ground quite close to me. I watched it intently and saw all sorts of animals and wild beasts – everything possible that could walk, crawl or fly. Then I heard a voice that said to me, “Now, Peter; kill and eat!” But I answered: Certainly not, Lord; nothing profane or unclean has ever crossed my lips. And a second time the voice spoke from heaven, “What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane.” This was repeated three times, before the whole of it was drawn up to heaven again.

    ‘Just at that moment, three men stopped outside the house where we were staying; they had been sent from Caesarea to fetch me, and the Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going back with them. The six brothers here came with me as well, and we entered the man’s house. He told us he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, “Send to Jaffa and fetch Simon known as Peter; he has a message for you that will save you and your entire household.”

    ‘I had scarcely begun to speak when the Holy Spirit came down on them in the same way as it came on us at the beginning, and I remembered that the Lord had said, “John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” I realised then that God was giving them the identical thing he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and who was I to stand in God’s way?’

    This account satisfied them, and they gave glory to God. ‘God’ they said ‘can evidently grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life.’

Gospel

John 10:1-10

I am the gate of the sheepfold

Jesus said:

    ‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out. When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice. They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’

    Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them.

    So Jesus spoke to them again:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

I am the gate of the sheepfold.

All others who have come

are thieves and brigands;

but the sheep took no notice of them.

I am the gate.

Anyone who enters through me will be safe:

he will go freely in and out

and be sure of finding pasture.

The thief comes

only to steal and kill and destroy.

I have come

so that they may have life and have it to the full.’

4th Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 7, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Shepherd and the Lamb: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Easter 

Readings:

Acts 13:1443–52

Psalm 100:1–35

Revelation 7:914–17

John 10:27–30

Israel’s mission—to be God’s instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth (see Isaiah 49:6)—is fulfilled in the Church.

By the “Word of God” that Paul and Barnabas preach in today’s First Reading, a new covenant people is being born, a people who glorify the God of Israel as the Father of them all.

The Church for all generations remains faithful to the grace of God given to the Apostles, continues their saving work.

Through the Church, the peoples of every land hear the Shepherd’s voice, and follow Him (see Luke 10:16).

The Good Shepherd of today’s Gospel is the enthroned Lamb of today’s Second Reading. In laying down His life for His flock, the Lamb brought to pass a new Passover (see 1 Corinthians 5:7), by His blood freeing “every nation, race, people and tongue” from bondage to sin and death.

The Church is the “great multitude” John sees in his vision today. God swore to Abraham his descendants would be too numerous to count. And in the Church, as John sees, this promise is fulfilled (compare Revelation 7:9Genesis 15:5).

The Lamb rules from the throne of God, sheltering His flock, feeding their hunger with His own Body and Blood, leading them to “springs of life-giving waters” that well up to eternal life (see John 4:14).

The Lamb is the eternal Shepherd-King, the son of David foretold by the prophets. His Church is the Kingdom of all Israel that the prophets said would be restored in an everlasting covenant (see Ezekiel 34:23-3137:23-28).

It is not a kingdom any tribe or nation can jealously claim as theirs alone. The Shepherd’s Word to Israel is addressed now to all lands, calling all to worship and bless His name in the heavenly Temple.

This is the delight of the Gentiles—that we can sing the song that once only Israel could sing, today’s joyful Psalm: “He made us, His we are—His people, the flock He tends.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 7, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The sad truth today is that many have turned away from God because they think religion is a sham and only works for those who cannot face the reality of life! How many have left the church saying “How can and all loving and merciful God have allowed Covid-19 to overwhelm the whole world?” Such that we can no longer worship together and when we are allowed we are given so many other restrictions which most other churches do not have! How is it that the authorities have different guidelines for different churches? Where are our Shepherds when we need them?  

Do not lose focus or sight on what is truly important! Where is our Christian faith? Did we tire of doing good or giving to charity? Who is our Lord and Saviour? Who shall we go to?  

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life! For we believers know that He has the message of eternal life and He is the Holy One of God. For He has given us peace, love and joy like no other. And through His most precious name, healing, sights and wonders of God still take place this very day. What is done is done, let us move onward towards and encourage one another as we continue our pilgrim journey as One Body in Him. For the Spirit of life has been given to us by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen Alleluia! 

First reading 

Acts 9:31-42 · 

The churches grew and were filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit 

The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit. 

    Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to the saints living down in Lydda. There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and fold up your sleeping mat.’ Aeneas got up immediately; everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were all converted to the Lord. 

    At Jaffa there was a woman disciple called Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek, who never tired of doing good or giving in charity. But the time came when she got ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in a room upstairs. Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men with an urgent message for him, ‘Come and visit us as soon as possible.’ 

    Peter went back with them straightaway, and on his arrival they took him to the upstairs room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them. Peter sent them all out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said, ‘Tabitha, stand up.’ She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the saints and widows and showed them she was alive. The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord. 

Gospel 

John 6:60-69 

Who shall we go to? You are the Holy One of God 

After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before? 

‘It is the spirit that gives life, 

the flesh has nothing to offer. 

The words I have spoken to you are spirit 

and they are life. 

‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him. 

    Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’ 

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 6, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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You and I can be powerful instruments of the Lord our God’s grace. Question is how much are we willing to suffer for His namesake? To face our fears and go according to His Will for us. To carry our cross and follow after our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Couldn’t Saul’s sight be restored instantaneously without human intervention? Yet Ananias was called to face his fears and to go be an instrument of God’s grace for Saul. Likewise we know how Saul, later known as Paul will go on to be a powerful instrument of the Lord our God’s grace for the pagans and rest of the World. He suffered much but glorified our Lord all the more!

How did St Paul and many of the Saints before us push onward amidst trials, pains and challenges? Jesus Himself nourished them through the Holy Eucharist feeding them His body, blood, soul and divinity. He comforted and healed them; At the very end of their lives they went on to their eternal reward with Him.

Jesus my Eucharistic Lord and God I adore You! Amen

First reading

Acts 9:1-20 ·

This man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before the pagans

Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find.

    Suddenly, while he was travelling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ he asked, and the voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.’ The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink.

    A disciple called Ananias who lived in Damascus had a vision in which he heard the Lord say to him, ‘Ananias!’ When he replied, ‘Here I am, Lord’, the Lord said, ‘You must go to Straight Street and ask at the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, having had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.’

    When he heard that, Ananias said, ‘Lord, several people have told me about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your saints in Jerusalem. He has only come here because he holds a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.’ The Lord replied, ‘You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and at once laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way here so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately it was as though scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. So he was baptised there and then, and after taking some food he regained his strength.

    He began preaching in the synagogues, ‘Jesus is the Son of God.’

Gospel

John 6:52-59

My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink

The Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,

you will not have life in you.

Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood

has eternal life,

and I shall raise him up on the last day.

For my flesh is real food

and my blood is real drink.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood

lives in me

and I live in him.

As I, who am sent by the living Father,

myself draw life from the Father,

so whoever eats me will draw life from me.

This is the bread come down from heaven;

not like the bread our ancestors ate:

they are dead,

but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’

He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 5, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Imagine you are Philip in today’s reading and the Lord speaks to your heart to be ready to set out at noon. Then he tells you to meet a chariot in which an unusual character is seated reading a passage of scripture. What if you thought to yourself is this all in my head? What if you thought better and went a different way? Or decided it was too awkward to start a conversation with a total stranger. How would he react? What would he think of me? How then would the Eunuch have ever had a chance to understand what he read? Or to have encountered Jesus through the sharing of the Good News of Jesus? How could his life have changed such that he would rejoice for coming out of darkness into the light? How would he have eternal life when Jesus the bread of life is kept from him by our very own insecurities and unbelief?

Everyone who believes has eternal life! Do you truly believe? If you say you do then how many have you brought to Jesus? How many have heard the word of God today through you? How many are rejoicing in Jesus for having met you? Is Jesus really for everyone or do you pick and choose who to speak to about Him?

My Lord and my God! Forgive me my many shortcomings! Open my lips and I shall praise Your name. Amen

First reading

Acts 8:26-40

Philip baptizes a eunuch

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Be ready to set out at noon along the road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road.’ So he set off on his journey. Now it happened that an Ethiopian had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem; he was a eunuch and an officer at the court of the kandake, or queen, of Ethiopia, and was in fact her chief treasurer. He was now on his way home; and as he sat in his chariot he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and meet that chariot.’ When Philip ran up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ ‘How can I’ he replied ‘unless I have someone to guide me?’ So he invited Philip to get in and sit by his side. Now the passage of scripture he was reading was this:

Like a sheep that is led to the slaughter-house,

like a lamb that is dumb in front of its shearers,

like these he never opens his mouth.

He has been humiliated and has no one to defend him.

Who will ever talk about his descendants,

since his life on earth has been cut short!

The eunuch turned to Philip and said, ‘Tell me, is the prophet referring to himself or someone else?’ Starting, therefore, with this text of scripture Philip proceeded to explain the Good News of Jesus to him.

    Further along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘Look, there is some water here; is there anything to stop me being baptised?’ He ordered the chariot to stop, then Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water and Philip baptised him. But after they had come up out of the water again Philip was taken away by the Spirit of the Lord, and the eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found that he had reached Azotus and continued his journey proclaiming the Good News in every town as far as Caesarea.

Gospel

John 6:44-51

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘No one can come to me

unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me,

and I will raise him up at the last day.

It is written in the prophets:

They will all be taught by God,

and to hear the teaching of the Father,

and learn from it,

is to come to me.

Not that anybody has seen the Father,

except the one who comes from God:

he has seen the Father.

I tell you most solemnly,

everybody who believes has eternal life.

‘I am the bread of life.

Your fathers ate the manna in the desert

and they are dead;

but this is the bread that comes down from heaven,

so that a man may eat it and not die.

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.

Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;

and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,

for the life of the world.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 4, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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The Lord our God will never abandon us for even in our hour of great trial and suffering He is with us. For the Church He built is upon rock and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. Through His great love and mercy He has sent instruments of His grace to us, to heal us, bind up wounds and casts out evil.

We too can and should be instruments of His grace, by living first in the light of His resurrection. Choosing to love Him above all things, turning away from sin and temptation and being faithful to the Gospel. He has given us of Himself in Holy Eucharist for He is truly the bread of life! Then surely through the power of the Holy Spirit we will live grace filled lives bringing His hope, peace and love into the world. And He will raise all of us believers up on the last day. Amen

First reading

Acts 8:1-8

They went from place to place, preaching the Good News

That day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.

    There were some devout people, however, who buried Stephen and made great mourning for him.

    Saul then worked for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison.

    Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

Gospel

John 6:35-40

It is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son should have eternal life

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘I am the bread of life.

He who comes to me will never be hungry;

he who believes in me will never thirst.

But, as I have told you,

you can see me and still you do not believe.

All that the Father gives me will come to me,

and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away;

because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will,

but to do the will of the one who sent me.

Now the will of him who sent me

is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me,

and that I should raise it up on the last day.

Yes, it is my Father’s will

that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life,

and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 3, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Today as we celebrate the feast of St James and St Philip we are reminded that like them we too are chosen, just like these holy men by our Lord’s perfect love. And He gave them eternal glory and He offers us the same.

We must believe in the Gospel truths, that having died for our sins, Jesus rose from the dead so that we too might rise with Him in His eternal glory. And our believing  is shown in the way we live our lives to glorify Him. By our love for Him and for one another. For Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matt 25:40 and again “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” And in today’s Gospel it is clear whatever we do or don’t do for our brothers and sisters not only directly affects our relationship with Jesus but also with God our Heavenly Father. Can we then continue to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to those in need of our help?

Abba Father forgive me my many shortcomings. Help me overcome them, so that I may strengthen my relationship with You, and by Your love may I tend to my sisters and brothers according to Your will for me. Through Your Son, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Saints Philip and James, Apostles Pray for us 

First reading

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 ·

The Lord appeared to James, and then to all the apostles

Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you – believing anything else will not lead to anything.

    Well then, in the first place, I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; and that he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve. Next he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died; then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles; and last of all he appeared to me too; it was as though I was born when no one expected it.

Gospel

John 14:6-14

To have seen me is to have seen the father

Jesus said to Thomas:

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

No one can come to the Father except through me.

If you know me, you know my Father too.

From this moment you know him and have seen him.’

Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’

    ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him ‘and you still do not know me?

‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,

so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?

Do you not believe

that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself:

it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.

You must believe me when I say

that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;

believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.

I tell you most solemnly,

whoever believes in me

will perform the same works as I do myself,

he will perform even greater works,

because I am going to the Father.

Whatever you ask for in my name I will do,

so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If you ask for anything in my name,

I will do it.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 2, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How many brothers and sisters have you seen that when they speak appears to you like the face of angel? A messenger of God who speaks the truth and seems to lead you closer to Him? You are truly blessed if you have seen one because in this day and age it is indeed very rare! Why?

Because most prefer to engage in half-truths, or are very secretive about almost everything. Many seem to think that knowledge is power and to share it diminishes their power. They want to be in total control, for they alone can see the bigger picture, they know things that you do not. Then there are yet others who feel strongly that speaking the truth about our faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to dear friends and family of other faiths is just too uncomfortable and is sure to jeopardize the relationship with them. Really? Do they not want to see these very ‘loved’ ones reunited with them in heaven? Do we not profess our believe in One God every Sunday?

Yet we work hard for the latest in everything, mobile phones, Laptops, watches, bags, game consoles, buffet spreads, fine dining areas, Cruises, travel areas and so on! All that do not endure to eternal life!

Listen to what Jesus is offering you and me, for on Him the Father, God himself, has set his seal. That we must believe in the one He has sent for love of us; Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 6:8-15 ·

They could not get the better of Stephen because the Spirit prompted what he said

Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. So they procured some men to say, ‘We heard him using blasphemous language against Moses and against God.’ Having in this way turned the people against him as well as the elders and scribes, they took Stephen by surprise, and arrested him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. There they put up false witnesses to say, ‘This man is always making speeches against this Holy Place and the Law. We have heard him say that Jesus the Nazarene is going to destroy this Place and alter the traditions that Moses handed down to us.’ The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.

Gospel

John 6:22-29

Do not work for food that cannot last, but for food that endures to eternal life

After Jesus had fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’

    Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs

but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.

Do not work for food that cannot last,

but work for food that endures to eternal life,

the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you,

for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’

Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’

Third Sunday Of Easter

Posted: April 30, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Fire of Love: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 5:27–3240–41

Psalm 30:24–611–13

Revelation 5:11–14

John 21:1–19

There are two places in Scripture where the curious detail of a “charcoal fire” is mentioned.

One is in today’s Gospel, where the Apostles return from fishing to find bread and fish warming on the fire.

The other is in the scene in the High Priest’s courtyard on Holy Thursday, where Peter and some guards and slaves warm themselves while Jesus is being interrogated inside (see John 18:18).

At the first fire, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, as Jesus had predicted (see John 13:3818:15-1825-27). 

Today’s charcoal fire becomes the scene of Peter’s repentance, as three times Jesus asks him to make a profession of love. Jesus’ thrice repeated command “feed My sheep” shows that Peter is being appointed as the shepherd of the Lord’s entire flock, the head of His Church (see also Luke 22:32).

Jesus’ question: “Do you love me more than these?” is a pointed reminder of Peter’s pledge to lay down his life for Jesus, even if the other Apostles might weaken (see John 13:37Matthew 26:33Luke 22:33).

Jesus then explains just what Peter’s love and leadership will require, foretelling Peter’s death by crucifixion (“you will stretch out your hands”).

Before His own death, Jesus had warned the Apostles that they would be hated as He was hated, that they would suffer as He suffered (see Matthew 10:16-19,22John 15:18-2016:2).

We see the beginnings of that persecution in today’s First Reading. Flogged as Jesus was, the Apostles nonetheless leave “rejoicing that they have been found worthy to suffer.”

Their joy is based on their faith that God will change their “mourning into dancing,” as we sing in today’s Psalm. By their sufferings, the know, they will be counted worthy to stand in heaven before “the Lamb that was slain,” a scene glimpsed in today’s Second Reading (see also Revelation 6:9-11).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 29, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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When a reminder comes back to back, two days in a row then it is important we take heed. For our Lord and our God deigned that He should give us of Himself so we may partake of the Bread of life in Holy Eucharist. For we are on an arduous pilgrim journey back to our Heavenly inheritance and so He is ever present to nourish us on our way.

How have our faith and love in Him grown this Easter? Are we filled with joy and light of His resurrection?

Or are we still lukewarm in our faith and thin skinned that we will NOT have the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of His name. Therefore we will not affirm that He is truly present in Holy Eucharist and remind our fellow sisters and brothers that we should all return to Church to receive Him. We still lack the courage to share the good news of the Gospel, that is the love of God our Heavenly Father for all mankind!

JESUS! My Eucharistic Lord and my God! I do believe and trust in You. Amen

Saint Catherine of Siena Pray for us…. 

First reading

Acts 5:34-42 ·

They were glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name

One member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, who was a doctor of the Law and respected by the whole people, stood up and asked to have the apostles taken outside for a time. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin, ‘Men of Israel, be careful how you deal with these people. There was Theudas who became notorious not so long ago. He claimed to be someone important, and he even collected about four hundred followers; but when he was killed, all his followers scattered and that was the end of them. And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he got killed too, and all his followers dispersed. What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go. If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them, but you might find yourselves fighting against God.’

    His advice was accepted; and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.

    They preached every day both in the Temple and in private houses, and their proclamation of the Good News of Christ Jesus was never interrupted.

Gospel

John 6:1-15

The feeding of the five thousand

Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.

    Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 28, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We are all born of the earth and are therefore earthly in body and mind. Through our baptism we are infused with Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour and given new life through the Holy Spirit. We had become children of God our Heavenly Father.

We need spiritual nourishment if we are to remain steadfast to God our Father’s Will for us and for our fight against evil which prowls around the earth seeking the ruin of souls. Through our Lord’s divine providence we are given the supreme gift of the Holy Eucharist! The Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We are tapped directly into the Vine of life! How then can we remain at home seeking only Spiritual Communion? It is time to listen to our Lord’s call once again, “Come to me all you are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”

Obedience to God comes before obedience to men (our own thoughts and will). Amen

First reading

Acts 5:27-33 ·

We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit

When the officials had brought the apostles in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’

    This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.

Gospel

John 3:31-36

The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him

John the Baptist said to his disciples:

‘He who comes from above is above all others;

he who is born of the earth is earthly himself

and speaks in an earthly way.

He who comes from heaven

bears witness to the things he has seen and heard,

even if his testimony is not accepted;

though all who do accept his testimony

are attesting the truthfulness of God,

since he whom God has sent

speaks God’s own words:

God gives him the Spirit without reserve.

The Father loves the Son

and has entrusted everything to him.

Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life,

but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life:

the anger of God stays on him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 27, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In John 3:16 we hear simple yet profound words which every Christian should have memorized by now and kept like a treasure in their hearts that “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.” Then as His word for us goes on, we have blessed assurance that “God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.”

How then are we who are saved living? Are we living still living in the light of our Lord’s resurrection joy filled and hopeful? Or have we chosen to return to the darkness of sin by giving into temptation, being chained by habitual sin once again! If you are in latter group, stop throwing your life away and seek the mercy of Jesus who is waiting patiently to set your free.

Come let us share as One the joy of our new life in Christ Jesus, for that is His Will for all of us. That we who live by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what we do is done in God. Amen

First reading

Acts 5:17-26 ·

The men you imprisoned are in the Temple, preaching to the people

The high priest intervened with all his supporters from the party of the Sadducees. Prompted by jealousy, they arrested the apostles and had them put in the common gaol.

    But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison gates and said as he led them out, ‘Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new Life.’ They did as they were told; they went into the Temple at dawn and began to preach.

    When the high priest arrived, he and his supporters convened the Sanhedrin – this was the full Senate of Israel – and sent to the gaol for them to be brought. But when the officials arrived at the prison they found they were not inside, so they went back and reported, ‘We found the gaol securely locked and the warders on duty at the gates, but when we unlocked the door we found no one inside.’ When the captain of the Temple and the chief priests heard this news they wondered what this could mean. Then a man arrived with fresh news. ‘At this very moment’ he said, ‘the men you imprisoned are in the Temple. They are standing there preaching to the people.’ The captain went with his men and fetched them. They were afraid to use force in case the people stoned them.

Gospel

John 3:16-21

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

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

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

so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost

but may have eternal life.

For God sent his Son into the world

not to condemn the world,

but so that through him the world might be saved.

No one who believes in him will be condemned;

but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,

because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.

On these grounds is sentence pronounced:

that though the light has come into the world

men have shown they prefer darkness to the light

because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong

hates the light and avoids it,

for fear his actions should be exposed;

but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,

so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 26, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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It is indeed great and wonderful if we can have a group of believers united, heart and soul in everything. But this is not always the case is it?….For instance, if you we want to have a food drive and plan to pack and distribute food packages to the poor in the community. If everyone were focussed on Christ Jesus our Lord and single minded in serving the poor alone will there be squabbles among one another on who is in charge? Or who will take charge and be responsible? How heavy an individual package is? Will we be slip shod in our calculations, communications and handling of the packages? Will we make it difficult for one another because of disagreements? Will there be issues with timings and availability? Or even access to perform the works? Yes for every good work that needs to be done the evil one is lurking to sow discord and disharmony! All the more we must remain steadfast in Christ Jesus our Lord, to pray constantly and lift one another up in prayer. To be humble in all our dealings with one another and our endeavours.

We who are born in the Spirit through our baptism and confirmation must surely know that we have been inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore we strive for Holiness and unity for we are One Body in Him. For just as He was lifted high upon the Cross to save us; we too must likewise be willing to give our all for Him and one another. To die to ourselves so as to be raised through, with and in Him. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 4:32-37 ·

The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul

The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common.

    The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were all given great respect.

    None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them, and bring the money from them, to present it to the apostles; it was then distributed to any members who might be in need.

    There was a Levite of Cypriot origin called Joseph whom the apostles surnamed Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He owned a piece of land and he sold it and brought the money, and presented it to the apostles.

Gospel

John 3:7-15

No-one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man who has come down from heaven

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘Do not be surprised when I say:

You must be born from above.

The wind blows wherever it pleases;

you hear its sound,

but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.

That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’

‘How can that be possible?’ asked Nicodemus. ‘You, a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things!’ replied Jesus.

‘I tell you most solemnly,

we speak only about what we know

and witness only to what we have seen

and yet you people reject our evidence.

If you do not believe me when I speak about things in this world,

how are you going to believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things?

No one has gone up to heaven

except the one who came down from heaven,

the Son of Man who is in heaven;

and the Son of Man must be lifted up

as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 25, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Pre-Covid and a few years earlier, folks in our parish greeted one another with “Peace be with you” followed with a nice big hug. Needless to say this was already breaking the norms in an Asian country, yet this is how well formed we were in our faith and were growing towards greater discipleship. We were simply following the word of God mentioned in today’s first reading where it says greet one another with a kiss of love. While we will most certainly not kiss one another for it is just not culturally possible for the majority, regardless of race or language; We were already showing our love for one another putting not only into our words but by our action. Covid certainly put a damper on things like this, but as we all head towards a new normal once again, in the endemic phase; many of us are certainly looking toward reviving it in our parish. For it brought about a warm and loving atmosphere; You  could sense that we were growing closer to being One with and in Christ.

That being said it is time for us to be courageous and take a step out in greater faith to lay healing hands on the sick, cast our devils and much more. However if we feel we are not yet ready, then at the very least we can proclaim the Good News to all creation.

Saint Mark, Evangelist Pray for us….

O God, who raised up Saint Mark, your Evangelist, and endowed him with the grace to preach the Gospel, grant, we pray, that we may so profit from his teaching

as to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, (one) God, for ever and ever. Amen

First reading

1 Peter 5:5-14 ·

My son, Mark, sends you greetings

All wrap yourselves in humility to be servants of each other, because God refuses the proud and will always favour the humble. Bow down, then, before the power of God now, and he will raise you up on the appointed day; unload all your worries on to him, since he is looking after you. Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will see that all is well again: he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen.

    I write these few words to you through Silvanus, who is a brother I know I can trust, to encourage you never to let go this true grace of God to which I bear witness.

    Your sister in Babylon, who is with you among the chosen, sends you greetings; so does my son, Mark.

    Greet one another with a kiss of love.

Gospel

Mark 16:15-20

Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News

Jesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them:

    ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’

    And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.

2nd Sunday of Easter

Posted: April 23, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Breath of New Life: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Second Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 5:12–16

Psalm 118:2–413–1522–24

Revelation 1:9–1317–19

John 20:19–31

The prophet Daniel in a vision saw “One like the Son of Man” receive everlasting kingship (see Daniel 7:9–14). John is taken to heaven in today’s Second Reading where he sees Daniel’s prophecy fulfilled in Jesus, who appears as “One like a Son of Man.”

Jesus is clad in the robe of a High Priest (see Exodus 28:4Wisdom 18:24) and wearing the gold sash of a king (see 1 Maccabees 10:89). He has been exalted by the right hand of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

His risen body, which the Apostles touch in today’s Gospel, has been made a lifegiving Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 15:45).

As the Father anointed Him with the Spirit and power (see Acts 10:38), Jesus pours out that Spirit on the Apostles, sending them into the world “as the Father has sent Me.” Jesus “breathes” the Spirit of His divine life into the Apostles—as God blew the “breath of life” into Adam (see Genesis 2:7), as Elijah’s prayer returned “the life breath” to the dead child (see 1 Kings 17:21–23), and as the Spirit breathed new life into the slain in the valley of bones (see Ezekiel 37:9–10).

His creative breath unites the Apostles—His Church—to His body, and empowers them to breathe His life into a dying world, to make it a new creation.

In today’s Gospel and First Reading, we see the Apostles fulfilling this mission with powers only God possesses—the power to forgive sins and to work “signs and wonders,” a biblical expression only used to describe the mighty works of God (see Exodus 7:311:10Acts 7:36).

Thomas and the others saw “many other signs” after Jesus was raised from the dead. They saw and they believed.

They have been given His life, which continues in the Church’s Word and sacraments, so that we who have not seen might inherit His blessings and “have life in His name.”

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 23, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Unless I put my fingers into the holes of his hands and side I will not believe. Famous words of a skeptical disciple of Christ, yet this very disciple is the only one in the whole bible which comes to the perfect realisation of who Christ really is for him and for us all when he declares, “My Lord and My GOD!”

Unless we humbly surrender ourselves to Him, body, mind and spirit we will never His experience and even see our resurrected Lord as we ought to. And we can do so in…..

  • Fervent prayer and worship
  • Dwelling on the Word of God
  • At the Eucharistic Celebration
  • Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Community breaking and sharing of the Word
  • When we listen and sing along to praise and worship songs

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And so sisters and brothers we are the Blessed for we believe; and we shall go on sharing the Risen Lord with all whom we meet. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:13-21 ·

We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard

The rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer. So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’

    So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.

Gospel

Mark 16:9-15

Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News

Having risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him.

    After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either.

    Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 22, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus provides fish for the disciples
John 21:1 … After these things, Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, Im going fishing. They told him, We are also coming with you. They immediately went out, and entered into the boat. That night, they caught nothing.

4 But when day had already come, Jesus stood on the beach, yet the disciples didnt know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus therefore said to them, Children, have you anything to eat? They answered him, No. 6 He said to them, Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. They cast it therefore, and now they werent able to draw it in for the multitude of fish. 7 That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter, Its the Lord! So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around him (for he was naked), and threw himself into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from the land, but about two hundred cubits away), dragging the net full of fish.

9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, Bring some of the fish which you have just caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fish, one hundred fifty-three; and even though there were so many, the net wasnt torn.

12 Jesus said to them, Come and eat breakfast. None of the disciples dared inquire of him, Who are you? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus came and took the bread, gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus was revealed to his disciples, after he had risen from the dead.

Jesus saves! His very name in Hebrew means salvation! And that is why Jesus came down from Heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man. For God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life. John 3:16

So let us turn back this very day to the heart of Jesus, let our bodies, minds and spirits be cleansed from all forms of sin. So that we can live fully and free in His love. Such is the love of our Saviour that He seeks to dine with us. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. ” Rev 3:20

Filled with His presence, filled with joy, filled with the light of His resurrection let us go forth glorifying Him by our lives; declaring to one and all that Jesus lives! He is for you, me and everyone! Amen

First reading

Acts 4:1-12

The name of Jesus Christ is the only one by which we can be saved

While Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day. But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.

    The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families. They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

Gospel

John 21:1-14

Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

    It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.

    As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 20, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Not all of us have the faith it takes to perform miracles for our Lord and our brethren, but all of us can put His light and love into action can we not? We can help the blind men and women we chance upon to get from one point to another safely. We can help the elderly stand when they want to get up and even help if they need to use the washroom. We can offer kind words and joy filled greetings with all that we meet today and tomorrow. We can pause in our busyness to help someone who has a question or a need.

Or have we become blind, deaf and lame to the call of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to live in the light of His resurrection? Have we become inward looking only caring for ourselves? If so then we surely have not spent time at all in His presence listening to His Word and Will for us. W have refused to get up and go witness Him in the Blessed Sacrament? To receive Him in Holy Eucharist and to be received by Him in that very loving embrace?

Open my eyes Lord to see You! Amen

First reading

Acts 3:1-10 ·

I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus, walk!

Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.

Gospel

Luke 24:13-35

They recognised him at the breaking of bread

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.

    Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’

    Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

    When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

    They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 19, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Do not let sin rob you of the Easter joy which is yours to have! Do not let your guard down for the lion prowls looking for prey. Turn to Jesus who had conquered death and sin and He will set you free! Share this with your family and friends too so that they can be free to live in the light of His resurrection.

In our deepest pains and sorrows, Jesus stands in our midst. In a most soothing voice He will surely say to us, “Why are you weeping?” For no sorrow can stand against the power and love of our Lord’s resurrection as He embraces us in His loving arms. Amen

First reading

Acts 2:36-41 ·

You must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus

On the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the Jews: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’

    Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.

Gospel

John 20:11-18

‘I have seen the Lord and he has spoken to me’

Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 18, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Preserve me Lord, I take refuge in You. You will show me the path of life,  the fullness of joy in your presence, at your right hand happiness for ever. This if you are not aware is extracted from today’s responsorial Psalm and it encapsulates what the true joy of Easter is all about. It is about living in the presence of our resurrected Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Yesterday as we were reflecting on the Easter Sunday readings, I shared with my brother in Christ that just wishing one another ‘Happy Easter’ seemed rather superficial to me. What we all should be doing is living the joy of the resurrection in our lives! Such that when we look upon one another the light of Christ shines forth from us. For example at the Easter Eucharistic celebration I gazed upon the congregation and  my heart was filled with joy as I saw many familiar faces which shone with the light of Christ. My fellow brothers and sisters who had journeyed through Lent together, had come to this Celebration of celebrations renewed and fully alive in Him! Their hearts cried out to me, ‘Happy Easter!’

And so filled with awe and great joy let us go out to share the joy of our resurrected Lord with everyone by the way we live our lives. And when they ask us why we remain so joyful even amidst trials and challenges?  We can proclaim that Jesus lives in us now and forevermore. Amen

First reading

Acts 2:14,22-33

God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to this

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know. This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:

I saw the Lord before me always,

for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.

So my heart was glad

and my tongue cried out with joy;

my body, too, will rest in the hope

that you will not abandon my soul to Hades

nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.

You have made known the way of life to me,

you will fill me with gladness through your presence.

‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption. God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’

Gospel

Matthew 28:8-15

Tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee: they will see me there

Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.

    And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’

    While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’ The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.

Easter Greetings….

Posted: April 17, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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May the light of our Risen Lord glow within you and shine forth for the world to see. Happy Easter to you and all at home. Lots of love Julian & family ❤️

Easter Sunday 2022

Posted: April 16, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Seeing and Believing: Scott Hahn Reflects on Easter Sunday

Readings:

Acts 10:3437–43

Psalm 118:1–216–1722–23

Colossians 3:1–4

John 20:1–9

Jesus is nowhere visible. Yet today’s Gospel tells us that Peter and John “saw and believed.”

What did they see? Burial shrouds lying on the floor of an empty tomb. Maybe that convinced them that He hadn’t been carted off by grave robbers, who usually stole the expensive burial linens and left the corpses behind.

But notice the repetition of the word “tomb”—seven times in nine verses. They saw the empty tomb and they believed what He had promised: that God would raise Him on the third day.

Chosen to be His “witnesses,” today’s First Reading tells us, the Apostles were “commissioned . . . to preach . . . and testify” to all that they had seen—from His anointing with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan to the empty tomb. More than their own experience, they were instructed in the mysteries of the divine economy, God’s saving plan—to know how “all the prophets bear witness” to Him (see Luke 24:2744).

Now they could “understand the Scripture,” could teach us what He had told them—that He was “the Stone which the builders rejected,” that today’s Psalm prophesies His Resurrection and exaltation (see Luke 20:17Matthew 21:42Acts 4:11).

We are the children of the apostolic witnesses. That is why we still gather early in the morning on the first day of every week to celebrate this feast of the empty tomb, give thanks for “Christ our life,” as today’s Epistle calls Him.

Baptized into His death and Resurrection, we live the heavenly life of the risen Christ, our lives “hidden with Christ in God.” We are now His witnesses, too. But we testify to things we cannot see but only believe; we seek in earthly things what is above.

We live in memory of the Apostles’ witness, like them eating and drinking with the risen Lord at the altar. And we wait in hope for what the Apostles told us would come—the day when we too “will appear with Him in glory.”

Holy Saturday

Posted: April 16, 2022 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures, Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Good Friday

Posted: April 15, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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There is no Mass today. The readings given here are used in the afternoon celebration of the Lord’s Passion. But how can it be called a celebration? Well had Jesus our Lord not died for us upon the cross there will be no Easter, no resurrection, hence no life for us! We would simply die for our sins! Today therefore we celebrate God our Father’s endearing love for us; For He so loved the world He gave us His only begotten Son, so that anyone who believes in His shall not perish but have eternal life.

And so today is not a holiday for us but a day we take a hard look at ourselves. How have we crucified Him by our sins? “Surely not I?” you may say, but think hard again…perhaps here are some of the ways…

When you plotted an schemed with others on how to ‘pay’ someone ‘back’ who landed you in trouble? Or give them a taste of their own medicine!

When you lost your temper and laid hands on another causing hurt and pain.

Cursed, mocked or used vulgarities against another.

Lied, bore false witness against another.

Gossiped.

Cheated, stole even if it was just stationery from the office.

Lusted, masturbated, engaged in ‘harmless’ sexual banter or engaged in sexual activity outside of marriage.

Was blind and deaf to the needs of the poor and downtrodden.

Sin of omission.

Let us then crucify these all our other sins upon the cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who bore them for us. Turning away from them with contrition of heart let us then embrace and love Him with all our heart, mind and soul. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The servant of the Lord, an expiatory Sacrifice

See, my servant will prosper,

he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.

As the crowds were appalled on seeing him

– so disfigured did he look

that he seemed no longer human –

so will the crowds be astonished at him,

and kings stand speechless before him;

for they shall see something never told

and witness something never heard before:

‘Who could believe what we have heard,

and to whom has the power of the Lord been revealed?’

Like a sapling he grew up in front of us,

like a root in arid ground.

Without beauty, without majesty we saw him,

no looks to attract our eyes;

a thing despised and rejected by men,

a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering,

a man to make people screen their faces;

he was despised and we took no account of him.

And yet ours were the sufferings he bore,

ours the sorrows he carried.

But we, we thought of him as someone punished,

struck by God, and brought low.

Yet he was pierced through for our faults,

crushed for our sins.

On him lies a punishment that brings us peace,

and through his wounds we are healed.

We had all gone astray like sheep,

each taking his own way,

and the Lord burdened him

with the sins of all of us.

Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly,

he never opened his mouth,

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house,

like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers

never opening its mouth.

By force and by law he was taken;

would anyone plead his cause?

Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living;

for our faults struck down in death.

They gave him a grave with the wicked,

a tomb with the rich,

though he had done no wrong

and there had been no perjury in his mouth.

The Lord has been pleased to crush him with suffering.

If he offers his life in atonement,

he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life

and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.

His soul’s anguish over

he shall see the light and be content.

By his sufferings shall my servant justify many,

taking their faults on himself.

Hence I will grant whole hordes for his tribute,

he shall divide the spoil with the mighty,

for surrendering himself to death

and letting himself be taken for a sinner,

while he was bearing the faults of many

and praying all the time for sinners.

Second reading

Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9 ·

The Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us

Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.

    During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Gospel

John 18:1-19:42

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ

Key: N. Narrator. ✠ Jesus. O. Other single speaker. C. Crowd, or more than one speaker.

    N. Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kedron valley. There was a garden there, and he went into it with his disciples. Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he brought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. Knowing everything that was going to happen to him, Jesus then came forward and said,

    ✠ Who are you looking for?

    N. They answered,

    C. Jesus the Nazarene.

    N. He said,

    ✠ I am he.

    N. Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. When Jesus said, ‘I am he’, they moved back and fell to the ground. He asked them a second time,

    ✠ Who are you looking for?

    N. They said,

    C. Jesus the Nazarene.

    N. Jesus replied,

    ✠ I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go.

    N. This was to fulfil the words he had spoken, ‘Not one of those you gave me have I lost.’

    Simon Peter, who carried a sword, drew it and wounded the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter,

    ✠ Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?

    N. The cohort and its captain and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him. They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had suggested to the Jews, ‘It is better for one man to die for the people.’

    Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest’s palace, but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who was keeping the door and brought Peter in. The maid on duty at the door said to Peter,

    O. Aren’t you another of that man’s disciples?

    N. He answered,

    O. I am not.

    N. Now it was cold, and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves; so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others.

    The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered,

    ✠ I have spoken openly for all the world to hear; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews meet together: I have said nothing in secret. But why ask me? Ask my hearers what I taught: they know what I said.

    N. At these words, one of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying,

    O. Is that the way to answer the high priest?

    N. Jesus replied,

    ✠ If there is something wrong in what I said, point it out; but if there is no offence in it, why do you strike me?

    N. Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.

    As Simon Peter stood there warming himself, someone said to him,

    O. Aren’t you another of his disciples?

    N. He denied it, saying,

    O. I am not.

    N. One of the high priest’s servants, a relation of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said,

    O. Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?

    N. Again Peter denied it; and at once a cock crew.

    They then led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was now morning. They did not go into the Praetorium themselves or they would be defiled and unable to eat the passover. So Pilate came outside to them and said,

    O. What charge do you bring against this man?

    N. They replied,

    C. If he were not a criminal, we should not be handing him over to you.

    N. Pilate said,

    O. Take him yourselves, and try him by your own Law.

    N. The Jews answered,

    C. We are not allowed to put a man to death.

    N. This was to fulfil the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way he was going to die.

    So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him, and asked,

    O. Are you the king of the Jews?

    N. Jesus replied,

    ✠ Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?

    N. Pilate answered,

    O. Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?

    N. Jesus replied,

    ✠ Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.

    N. Pilate said,

    O. So you are a king, then?

    N. Jesus answered,

    ✠ It is you who say it. Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.

    N. Pilate said,

    O. Truth? What is that?

    N. and with that he went out again to the Jews and said,

    O. I find no case against him. But according to a custom of yours I should release one prisoner at the Passover; would you like me, then, to release the king of the Jews?

    N. At this they shouted:

    C. Not this man, but Barabbas.

    N. Barabbas was a brigand.

    Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged; and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him and saying,

    C. Hail, king of the Jews!

    N. and they slapped him in the face.

    Pilate came outside again and said to them,

    O. Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case.

    N. Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said,

    O. Here is the man.

    N. When they saw him the chief priests and the guards shouted,

    C. Crucify him! Crucify him!

    N. Pilate said,

    O. Take him yourselves and crucify him: I can find no case against him.

    N. The Jews replied,

    C. We have a Law, and according to that Law he ought to die, because he has claimed to be the Son of God.

    N. When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased. Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus

    O. Where do you come from?

    N. But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him,

    O. Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?

    N. Jesus replied,

    ✠ You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above; that is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.

    N. From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted,

    C. If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.

    N. Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated himself on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was Passover Preparation Day, about the sixth hour. Pilate said to the Jews,

    O. Here is your king.

    N. They said,

    C. Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!

    N. Pilate said,

    O. Do you want me to crucify your king?

    N. The chief priests answered,

    C. We have no king except Caesar.

    N. So in the end Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

    They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out of the city to the place of the skull or, as it was called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side with Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.’ This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was not far from the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate,

    C. You should not write ‘King of the Jews,’ but ‘This man said: “I am King of the Jews.”’

    N. Pilate answered,

    O. What I have written, I have written.

    N. When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another,

    C. Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.

    N. In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled:

    They shared out my clothing among them.

    They cast lots for my clothes.

This is exactly what the soldiers did.

    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.

    N. Then to the disciple he said,

    ✠ This is your mother.

    N. 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.

    N. 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;

    N. and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

    Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

    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. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:

    Not one bone of his will be broken;

and again, in another place scripture says:

    They will look on the one whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus – though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews – asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well – the same one who had first come to Jesus at night-time – and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was near at hand, they laid Jesus there.


Every year on this Holy Thursday of Thursdays we call to mind what the Lord has done for us….

  • He instituted the Priesthood so that for all time we would not be left as orphans.
  • He instituted the Holy Eucharist an eternal covenant uniting us One with Him through His Body, Blood, Soul and divinity.
  • He showed His love put into action by lowering himself to wash the feet of His disciples which prefigured how He who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross! Phil 2:6-11 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Jn 15:13 And so Jesus laid down His life for us.
  • He commanded us to love one another as He loved us. “You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.”

Great is Your love for us O Lord! Honour, glory and praise be to You our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen

(Maundy from the Latin word Mandatum which means command)

First reading

Exodus 12:1-8,11-14 ·

The Passover is a day of festival for all generations, for ever

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:

    ‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’

Second reading

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ·

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

Gospel

John 13:1-15

Now he showed how perfect his love was

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.

    They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’

    When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 13, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Do we listen as a disciple would each morning when we awake? Eager to be in the presence of our Lord as we pray and listen attentively to His Word and Will for us? Having done so are we not renewed, invigorated and ready to face unafraid the day the trials and challenges ahead?

Yes indeed if only we are steadfast in this endeavour day after day. And are aware that we need to remain connected and focused on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ throughout the day. To spend pockets of prayer time! Otherwise we will be tempted by the ‘Thirty silver pieces’ offered to sell away our faith and love of our Lord and to give in to our base desires and lusts!

Jesus my Lord, I call on You to help me remain faithful and attentive to Your will for me. Let me be a disciple always willing to take up my cross to follow after You. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 50:4-9 ·

Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me

The Lord has given me

a disciple’s tongue.

So that I may know how to reply to the wearied

he provides me with speech.

Each morning he wakes me to hear,

to listen like a disciple.

The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance,

neither did I turn away.

I offered my back to those who struck me,

my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;

I did not cover my face

against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help,

so that I am untouched by the insults.

So, too, I set my face like flint;

I know I shall not be shamed.

My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me?

Then let us go to court together.

Who thinks he has a case against me?

Let him approach me.

The Lord is coming to my help,

who will dare to condemn me?

Gospel

Matthew 26:14-25

‘The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will’

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.

    Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.

    When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 12, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Mark 14:66-72. Peter denies he knows the Lord Jesus ….

As Peter was in the courtyard below, one of the maids of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus! 68 But he denied it, saying, I neither know, nor understand what you are saying. He went out on the porch, and the rooster crowed. 69 The maid saw him, and began again to tell those who stood by, This is one of them. 70 But he again denied it.

After a little while again those who stood by said to Peter, You truly are one of them, for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it. 71 But he began to curse, and to swear, I don t know this man of whom you speak! 72 The rooster crowed the second time. Peter remembered the word, how that Jesus said to him, Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times. When he thought about that, he wept.

Even when Jesus knew Peter was going to deny him, he prayed for Peter. That through the guilt and shame of denying his master, humbled he will be renewed and strengthened to lead his brethren. After his denial, Peter gazed into the eyes of Jesus and saw that he was still very much loved and forgiven. Jesus the source of all life desires that we all should have life, life to the full! Hence He willing laid down His life and forgave us from the cross, to take away the sins of the world so that we can live free in His love.

Pity Judas turned away from Jesus instead of turning towards Him! Otherwise he too would have known his Saviour’s love and mercy for him. He would gained his life instead of taking it upon himself to end it.

We who have experienced the great mercy and love of our Lord Jesus Christ will eagerly share it with others, “My lips will tell of Your help (righteous deeds)” Ps 71;15

Lord let me be Your light in the world. Amen

 

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 earth

Islands, 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.’

Gospel

John 13:21-33,36-38

‘What you are going to do, do quickly’

While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.

    When he had gone Jesus said:

‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,

and in him God has been glorified.

If God has been glorified in him,

God will in turn glorify him in himself,

and will glorify him very soon.

‘My little children,

I shall not be with you much longer.

You will look for me,

And, as I told the Jews,

where I am going, you cannot come.’

Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 11, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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How can withhold the best of ourselves for the Lord? How can we not give Him the first fruits of the earth? The perfect offering from our flock? Gold, silver, frankincense and myrrh! Our talents and our gifts!

What did the Lord our God withhold from us? Nothing! Jesus, God our Father’s perfect offering, laid down His life for us. To pay off a debt that we could not repay. Great is His mercy and love for us that He chose to save us while we were sinners. While we were broken by sins, He could have let us perish, but instead came to bind up our wounds and heal us. While our love for Him wavered and waned He could easily have snuffed us out, instead He rekindled the fire of His love within us. We now are free to live life to the full in His love. We can love one another as we ought. All because He first loved us and gave His all for us. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 42:1-7 ·

Here is my chosen one in whom my soul delights

Here is my servant whom I uphold,

my chosen one in whom my soul delights.

I have endowed him with my spirit

that he may bring true justice to the nations.

He does not cry out or shout aloud,

or make his voice heard in the streets.

He does not break the crushed reed,

nor quench the wavering flame.

Faithfully he brings true justice;

he will neither waver, nor be crushed

until true justice is established on earth,

for the islands are awaiting his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,

he who created the heavens and spread them out,

who gave shape to the earth and what comes from it,

who gave breath to its people

and life to the creatures that move in it:

‘I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right;

I have taken you by the hand and formed you;

I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations,

‘to open the eyes of the blind,

to free captives from prison,

and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.’

Gospel

John 12:1-11

‘She had to keep this scent for the day of my burial’

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him – said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions. So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’

    Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday)

Posted: April 9, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Passion of the Christ: Scott Hahn Reflects on Passion Sunday

Readings:

Isaiah 50:4–7

Psalm 22:8–917–2023–24

Philippians 2:6–11

Luke 22:14–23:56

“What is written about Me is coming to fulfillment,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Luke 22:37).

Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.

By the close of today’s long Gospel, the work of our redemption will have been accomplished, the new covenant will be written in the blood of His broken body hanging on the Cross at the place called the Skull.

In His Passion, Jesus is “counted among the wicked,” as Isaiah had foretold (see Isaiah 53:12). He is revealed definitively as the Suffering Servant the prophet announced, the long-awaited Messiah whose words of obedience and faith ring out in today’s First Reading and Psalm.

The taunts and torments we hear in these two readings punctuate the Gospel as Jesus is beaten and mocked (see Luke 22:63–6523:10–1116), as His hands and feet are pierced (see Luke 23:33), as enemies gamble for His clothes (see Luke 23:34), and as three times they dare Him to prove His divinity by saving Himself from suffering (see Luke 23:353739).

He remains faithful to God’s will to the end, does not turn back in His trial. He gives Himself freely to His torturers, confident that, as He speaks in today’s First Reading: “The Lord God is My help . . . I shall not be put to shame.”

Destined to sin and death as children of Adam’s disobedience, we have been set free for holiness and life by Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will (see Romans 5:12–1417–19Ephesians 2:25:6).

This is why God greatly exalted Him. This is why we have salvation in His Name. Following His example of humble obedience in the trials and crosses of our lives, we know we will never be forsaken, that one day we too will be with Him in Paradise (see Luke 23:42).

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 9, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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As swiftly as when we first entered into Lent on Ash Wednesday, we are now fast entering into Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday.

And so through this Lenten journey of 2022 we need to reflect deeply to see if we are more united with Christ Jesus our Lord and with one another, then we have ever been!? Will we be a people welcoming Him, “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He comes in the name of the Lord.” Joyful that the Lord is present in our midst as we basked together as One in His love for Him and for one another.

Or will we be a people who shouts ,”Crucify him! Crucify Him! for we have refused to repent of our sins. Looking inwardly at ourselves, our wants, our desires. Community? What community?! Every man, woman, child for themselves! My journey, my choice!

Then just like Caiaphas himself, we will find that we have not grasped the situation at all! We have failed to see that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has sought through this Lent to gather all of us unto Himself. To renew, heal and transform us so that we can experience the depts of being One through Him, with Him and in Him. He wants to dwell in our hearts, for He is our God and we are His people.

Sanctify me Lord! That I may become Your Holy dwelling place. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 37:21-28 ·

I will bring them home and make them one nation

The Lord says this: ‘I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been guilty of; I shall cleanse them; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my observances, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord, the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.’

Gospel

John 11:45-56

Jesus was to die to gather together the scattered children of God

Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. ‘Here is this man working all these signs’ they said ‘and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.’ One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, ‘You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples.

    The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 8, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus does not want us to live a life of guilt and shame. To be ridiculed, mocked or burdened. On the contrary He calls out to each and everyone of us, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28 

In our moments of great difficulty and anguish we can cry out to Him with great confidence, “I love You, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Ps 18:1-2  And He will make haste to help us and deliver us from evil.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. And whoever believes in Jesus the Son of God, will not perish but have eternal life. Amen 

First reading

Jeremiah 20:10-13 ·

He has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men

Jeremiah said:

I hear so many disparaging me,

‘“Terror from every side!”

Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’

All those who used to be my friends

watched for my downfall,

‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error.

Then we will master him

and take our revenge!’

But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero;

my opponents will stumble, mastered,

confounded by their failure;

everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.

But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice,

who scrutinise the loins and heart,

let me see the vengeance you will take on them,

for I have committed my cause to you.

Sing to the Lord,

praise the Lord,

for he has delivered the soul of the needy

from the hands of evil men.

Gospel

John 10:31-42

They wanted to stone Jesus, but he eluded them

The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God.’ Jesus answered:

‘Is it not written in your Law:

I said, you are gods?

So the Law uses the word gods

of those to whom the word of God was addressed,

and scripture cannot be rejected.

Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world,

“You are blaspheming,”

because he says, “I am the son of God.”

If I am not doing my Father’s work,

there is no need to believe me;

but if I am doing it,

then even if you refuse to believe in me,

at least believe in the work I do;

then you will know for sure

that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’

They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them.

    He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to stay in the district where John had once been baptising. Many people who came to him there said, ‘John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true’; and many of them believed in him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 7, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Lord Jesus You who was in the beginning and will be at the very end, I prostrate myself in humble worship just as father Abraham did. I seek to follow after You in faithfulness and obedience. But I am sinner Lord often found wanting and in need of Your Grace. I fall into the doubt and despair turning to sinful desires looking searching for reprieve. Help me Lord to overcome such temptations which lead me away from You. Let me remain focused on You and Your Will for me, for I know that everything I will ever need or want is to be found in You.  Grant that I many glorify You all the days of my life by my service of You and of brethren.

Be near, O Lord, to those who plead before you, and look kindly on those who place their hope in your mercy, that, cleansed from the stain of their sins, they may persevere in holy living and be made full heirs of your promise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

 

First reading

Genesis 17:3-9 ·

Abraham, the father of a multitude of nations

Abram bowed to the ground and God said this to him, ‘Here now is my covenant with you: you shall become the father of a multitude of nations. You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I make you father of a multitude of nations. I will make you most fruitful. I will make you into nations, and your issue shall be kings. I will establish my Covenant between myself and you, and your descendants after you, generation after generation, a Covenant in perpetuity, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land you are living in, the whole land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity, and I will be your God.’

Gospel

John 8:51-59

Your father Abraham saw my Day and was glad

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

whoever keeps my word

will never see death.’

The Jews said, ‘Now we know for certain that you are possessed. Abraham is dead, and the prophets are dead, and yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never know the taste of death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? The prophets are dead too. Who are you claiming to be?’ Jesus answered:

‘If I were to seek my own glory

that would be no glory at all;

my glory is conferred by the Father,

by the one of whom you say, “He is our God”

although you do not know him.

But I know him,

and if I were to say: I do not know him,

I should be a liar, as you are liars yourselves.

But I do know him, and I faithfully keep his word.

Your father Abraham rejoiced

to think that he would see my Day;

he saw it and was glad.’

The Jews then said, ‘You are not fifty yet, and you have seen Abraham!’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

before Abraham ever was,

I Am.’

At this they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 6, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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There is but one voice which we should recognise, listen and be faithful to; for His Word alone sets us free. His way and His Truth gives life to the full. We profess that we believe in the One Triune God but whose voice is it to do we hear and follow? When we will not spend time with Him in prayer? When we will not dwell on His Word and Will for us?

The one we love, honour and obey, who is this God? When we engage in gossip, or when we engage in acts of violence all because we lose our temper? When we are vicious with our words and opinions of others? When we readily support abortion and same sex marriages? When we ignore the pleas of the poor, the downtrodden, the sick? When we choose war over peace? Hatred over love?

If we have not made His Word our home how can we claim to be disciples of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. Ps 119:103-106 Amen

First reading

Daniel 3:14-20,24-25,28

God has sent his angel to rescue his servants

King Nebuchadnezzar said, ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is it true that you do not serve my gods, and that you refuse to worship the golden statue I have erected? When you hear the sound of horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, or any other instrument, are you prepared to prostrate yourselves and worship the statue I have made? If you refuse to worship it, you must be thrown straight away into the burning fiery furnace; and where is the god who could save you from my power?’ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘Your question hardly requires an answer: if our God, the one we serve, is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace and from your power, O king, he will save us; and even if he does not, then you must know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the statue you have erected.’ These words infuriated King Nebuchadnezzar; his expression was very different now as he looked at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. He gave orders for the furnace to be made seven times hotter than usual, and commanded certain stalwarts from his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the burning fiery furnace.

    Then King Nebuchadnezzar sprang to his feet in amazement. He said to his advisers, ‘Did we not have these three men thrown bound into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ ‘But,’ he went on ‘I can see four men walking about freely in the heart of the fire without coming to any harm. And the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’

    Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: he has sent his angel to rescue the servants who, putting their trust in him, defied the order of the king, and preferred to forfeit their bodies rather than serve or worship any god but their own.’

Gospel

John 8:31-42

If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed

To the Jews who believed in him Jesus said:

‘If you make my word your home

you will indeed be my disciples,

you will learn the truth

and the truth will make you free.’

They answered, ‘We are descended from Abraham and we have never been the slaves of anyone; what do you mean, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

everyone who commits sin is a slave.

Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured,

but the son’s place is assured.

So if the Son makes you free,

you will be free indeed.

I know that you are descended from Abraham;

but in spite of that you want to kill me

because nothing I say has penetrated into you.

What I, for my part, speak of

is what I have seen with my Father;

but you, you put into action

the lessons learnt from your father.’

They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’ Jesus said to them:

‘If you were Abraham’s children,

you would do as Abraham did.

As it is, you want to kill me

when I tell you the truth

as I have learnt it from God;

that is not what Abraham did.

What you are doing is what your father does.’

‘We were not born of prostitution,’ they went on ‘we have one father: God.’ Jesus answered:

‘If God were your father, you would love me,

since I have come here from God;

yes, I have come from him;

not that I came because I chose,

no, I was sent, and by him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 5, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Palm Sunday is drawing near, then Good Friday and very soon it will be Easter! We need to ask ourselves how has Lenten journey been? Have we drawn ever closer to the Lord our God or has there been no change? Have we been steadfast in our Lenten observances or shrugged and have given up? Are we more patient, loving and charitable? Or are we still grumbling, complaining, angry and thinking to ourselves times are bad, charity begins at home!

It is not too late to have a change of heart, gaze upon a crucifix and see how the Lord our God has loved you since your birth. By dying on the cross for You, He has given You liberty from sins and life eternal with Him! Make the choice to turn your heart back to Him, and He will heal you from within give you His peace and love.

And together we can look forward to a wonderful Easter Celebration, fully renewed in His the light of His resurrection. Amen

First reading

Numbers 21:4-9 ·

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

The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt the land of Edom. On the way the people lost patience. They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this wilderness? For there is neither bread nor water here; we are sick of this unsatisfying food.’

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

Gospel

John 8:21-30

When you have lifted up the Son of Man then you will know that I am He

Jesus said to the Pharisees:

‘I am going away;

you will look for me

and you will die in your sin.

Where I am going, you cannot come.’

The Jews said to one another, ‘Will he kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?’ Jesus went on:

‘You are from below; I am from above.

You are of this world; I am not of this world.

I have told you already:

You will die in your sins.

Yes, if you do not believe that I am He,

you will die in your sins.’

So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus answered:

‘What I have told you from the outset.

About you I have much to say

and much to condemn;

but the one who sent me is truthful,

and what I have learnt from him

I declare to the world.’

They failed to understand that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus said:

‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man,

then you will know that I am He

and that I do nothing of myself:

what the Father has taught me is what I preach;

he who sent me is with me,

and has not left me to myself,

for I always do what pleases him.’

As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 4, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Everyday we face many distractions and challenges aimed at taking our focus off our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To thwart our pathway to our Heavenly inheritance!

What then must we do? Turn our eyes to Heaven! Just as Susanna did tearfully when she faced the prospect of an unjust death placing all her trust and confidence in the Lord our God. The two elders should have made every effort to turn their eyes heavenward instead of giving in to temptation. Likewise when we stumble upon pornographic images or things we know we should not see or hear whether on the internet, television or movies; we must turn our eyes to heaven!

For Jesus is the light of the World! When we turn our eyes to heaven we will see Him in His glory. We are reminded in today’s Gospel that anyone who follows our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will not be walking in the dark, but will have the light of life. Amen

First reading

Daniel 13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62

Susannah and the elders

In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim. He had married Susanna daughter of Hilkiah, a woman of great beauty; and she was God-fearing, because her parents were worthy people and had instructed their daughter in the Law of Moses. Joakim was a very rich man, and had a garden attached to his house; the Jews would often visit him since he was held in greater respect than any other man. Two elderly men had been selected from the people that year to act as judges. Of such the Lord said, ‘Wickedness has come to Babylon through the elders and judges posing as guides to the people.’ These men were often at Joakim’s house, and all who were engaged in litigation used to come to them. At midday, when everyone had gone, Susanna used to take a walk in her husband’s garden. The two elders, who used to watch her every day as she came in to take her walk, gradually began to desire her. They threw reason aside, making no effort to turn their eyes to heaven, and forgetting its demands of virtue. So they waited for a favourable moment; and one day Susanna came as usual, accompanied only by two young maidservants. The day was hot and she wanted to bathe in the garden. There was no one about except the two elders, spying on her from their hiding place. She said to the servants, ‘Bring me some oil and balsam and shut the garden door while I bathe.’

    Hardly were the servants gone than the two elders were there after her. ‘Look,’ they said ‘the garden door is shut, no one can see us. We want to have you, so give in and let us! Refuse, and we will both give evidence that a young man was with you and that was why you sent your maids away.’ Susanna sighed. ‘I am trapped,’ she said ‘whatever I do. If I agree, that means my death; if I resist, I cannot get away from you. But I prefer to fall innocent into your power than to sin in the eyes of the Lord.’ Then she cried out as loud as she could. The two elders began shouting too, putting the blame on her, and one of them ran to open the garden door. The household, hearing the shouting in the garden, rushed out by the side entrance to see what was happening; once the elders had told their story the servants were thoroughly taken aback, since nothing of this sort had ever been said of Susanna.

    Next day a meeting was held at the house of her husband Joakim. The two elders arrived, in their vindictiveness determined to have her put to death. They addressed the company: ‘Summon Susanna daughter of Hilkiah and wife of Joakim.’ She was sent for, and came accompanied by her parents, her children and all her relations. All her own people were weeping, and so were all the others who saw her. The two elders stood up, with all the people round them, and laid their hands on the woman’s head. Tearfully she turned her eyes to heaven, her heart confident in God. The elders then spoke. ‘While we were walking by ourselves in the garden, this woman arrived with two servants. She shut the garden door and then dismissed the servants. A young man who had been hiding went over to her and they lay down together. From the end of the garden where we were, we saw this crime taking place and hurried towards them. Though we saw them together we were unable to catch the man: he was too strong for us; he opened the door and took to his heels. We did, however, catch this woman and ask her who the young man was. She refused to tell us. That is our evidence.’

    Since they were elders of the people, and judges, the assembly took their word: Susanna was condemned to death. She cried out as loud as she could, ‘Eternal God, you know all secrets and everything before it happens; you know that they have given false evidence against me. And now have I to die, innocent as I am of everything their malice has invented against me?’

    The Lord heard her cry and, as she was being led away to die, he roused the holy spirit residing in a young boy named Daniel who began to shout, ‘I am innocent of this woman’s death!’ At which all the people turned to him and asked, ‘What do you mean by these words?’ Standing in the middle of the crowd he replied, ‘Are you so stupid, sons of Israel, as to condemn a daughter of Israel unheard, and without troubling to find out the truth? Go back to the scene of the trial: these men have given false evidence against her.’

    All the people hurried back, and the elders said to Daniel, ‘Come and sit with us and tell us what you mean, since God has given you the gifts that elders have.’ Daniel said, ‘Keep the men well apart from each other for I want to question them.’ When the men had been separated, Daniel had one of them brought to him. ‘You have grown old in wickedness,’ he said ‘and now the sins of your earlier days have overtaken you, you with your unjust judgements, your condemnation of the innocent, your acquittal of guilty men, when the Lord has said, “You must not put the innocent and the just to death.” Now then, since you saw her so clearly, tell me what tree you saw them lying under?’ He replied, ‘Under a mastic tree.’ Daniel said, ‘True enough! Your lie recoils on your own head: the angel of God has already received your sentence from him and will slash you in half.’ He dismissed the man, ordered the other to be brought and said to him, ‘Spawn of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you, lust has led your heart astray! This is how you have been behaving with the daughters of Israel and they were too frightened to resist; but here is a daughter of Judah who could not stomach your wickedness! Now then, tell me what tree you surprised them under?’ He replied, ‘Under a holm oak.’ Daniel said, ‘True enough! Your lie recoils on your own head: the angel of God is waiting, with a sword to drive home and split you, and destroy the pair of you.’

    Then the whole assembly shouted, blessing God, the saviour of those who trust in him. And they turned on the two elders whom Daniel had convicted of false evidence out of their own mouths. As prescribed in the Law of Moses, they sentenced them to the same punishment as they had intended to inflict on their neighbour. They put them to death; the life of an innocent woman was spared that day.

 

Gospel

John 8:12-20

‘I am the light of the world’

Jesus said to the Pharisees:

‘I am the light of the world;

anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark;

he will have the light of life.’

At this the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.’

    Jesus replied:

‘It is true that I am testifying on my own behalf,

but my testimony is still valid,

because I know

where I came from and where I am going;

but you do not know

where I come from or where I am going.

You judge by human standards;

I judge no one,

but if I judge, my judgement will be sound,

because I am not alone:

the one who sent me is with me;

and in your Law it is written

that the testimony of two witnesses is valid.

I may be testifying on my own behalf,

but the Father who sent me is my witness too.’

They asked him, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered:

‘You do not know me,

nor do you know my Father;

if you did know me,

you would know my Father as well.’

He spoke these words in the Treasury, while teaching in the Temple. No one arrested him, because his time had not yet come.

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Posted: April 2, 2022 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Something New: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Readings:

Isaiah 43:16–21

Psalm 126:1–6

Philippians 3:8–14

John 8:1–11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 2, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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‘Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten!’ ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? ‘You have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.’ Vicious? Vindictive? Spiteful? Mob mentality?

How about this then? “She thinks so highly of herself? let us take her down a peg or two!” “He thinks himself so holy moly, we don’t need him in our group let him be with his own kind!” “He is a layperson from which church again? How good can his talk be?” “Let us just ignore all she has to say, after all she wanted to be the leader right? Let’s see how she leads with everyone boycotting her!”

Is Jesus in our heart when we do and say things like that?

O Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence, who probe the loins and heart, have mercy on me a sinner. Help me renounce and overcome every form of hatred of heart so that I may love alone. Heal me and make me whole. Be my safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the evil one. Let me glorify and honour You all the days of my life in all that I say and do. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 11:18-20 ·

‘Let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten’

The Lord revealed it to me; I was warned. O Lord, that was when you opened my eyes to their scheming. I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter-house, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, ‘Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten!’

But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence,

who probe the loins and heart,

let me see the vengeance you will take on them,

for I have committed my cause to you.

Gospel

John 7:40-52

The Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without hearing him

Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, ‘Surely he must be the prophet’, and some said, ‘He is the Christ’, but others said, ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from the town of Bethlehem?’ So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.

    The police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, ‘Why haven’t you brought him?’ The police replied, ‘There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.’ ‘So’ the Pharisees answered ‘you have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.’ One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, ‘But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?’ To this they answered, ‘Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 1, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In the end we will all die, this is an undeniable fact. And so many do not even want to think let alone speak about death. Those who are young or younger always have the impression that it is a long way more to go for them. And so with this in mind we seek to live life to the fullest! Drinking, merry making, uninhibited sex whatever satisfies their desires. But is this really living? Does this lifestyle give you peace of mind? Do you not see that such desires are insatiable?

Yet there is only one way, truth and life to be found in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! He came so that we may life to the full! Free from all sin and debauchery!  For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall nor perish but have eternal life.

Our pilgrim journey back to Him is a gruelling marathon where we will have to fact many challenges, twists and turns. In our steadfastness, Jesus is with us every step of the way. And so together with St Paul we will be able to declare “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” Amen 2 Tim 4:7-8

First reading

Wisdom 2:1,12-22

Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man and condemn him to a shameful death

The godless say to themselves, with their misguided reasoning:

‘Our life is short and dreary,

nor is there any relief when man’s end comes,

nor is anyone known who can give release from Hades.

Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us

and opposes our way of life,

reproaches us for our breaches of the law

and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.

He claims to have knowledge of God,

and calls himself a son of the Lord.

Before us he stands, a reproof to our way of thinking,

the very sight of him weighs our spirits down;

his way of life is not like other men’s,

the paths he treads are unfamiliar.

In his opinion we are counterfeit;

he holds aloof from our doings as though from filth;

he proclaims the final end of the virtuous as happy

and boasts of having God for his father.

Let us see if what he says is true,

let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.

If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part

and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.

Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,

and thus explore this gentleness of his

and put his endurance to the proof.

Let us condemn him to a shameful death

since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

This is the way they reason, but they are misled,

their malice makes them blind.

They do not know the hidden things of God,

they have no hope that holiness will be rewarded,

they can see no reward for blameless souls.

Gospel

John 7:1-2,10,25-30

They would have arrested him, but his time had not yet come

Jesus stayed in Galilee; he could not stay in Judaea, because the Jews were out to kill him.

    As the Jewish feast of Tabernacles drew near, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went up as well, but quite privately, without drawing attention to himself. Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from.’

    Then, as Jesus taught in the Temple, he cried out:

‘Yes, you know me

and you know where I came from.

Yet I have not come of myself:

no, there is one who sent me

and I really come from him,

and you do not know him,

but I know him because I have come from him

and it was he who sent me.’

They would have arrested him then, but because his time had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 31, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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In most of our reflections on this passages we will look back to see what are the ‘golden calves’ in our lives. That in which we put priority above the Lord our God, that we ‘honour and worship’ with all our energy and time. And it can be literally anything which leads us away from prayer, His Word but most of all our familial relationship with Him.

Perhaps today we should look inwards to see how we are the ‘golden calves’ ourselves! When we put our thoughts above His thoughts, our ways above His ways. When we take shortcuts and refuse to carry our cross to follow after Him. When we take for granted what is sacred and trample over hallowed ground. Posting pictures of sacred places of worship for what? Likes on Social Media? By walking around the altar area with no reverence or thought for where we are? When we choose to wear what we like without a care, for instance what we would use to the beach or for a gym workout, we wear to Church for the Eucharistic Celebration. When we make decisions without proper prayer or discernment on matters concerning His Church and His flock. When we refuse to concern ourselves with the poor and those in need. When it is all about me, my preferences and my likes…. I am the golden calf!

Jesus Son of the living God most High, have mercy on me a sinner. Let me never lose my relationship with You. I surrender my all to You, Your Holy Will which is love and mercy itself. Amen

First reading

Exodus 32:7-14 ·

Moses pleads with the Lord his God to spare Israel

The Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostatised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice. “Here is your God, Israel,” they have cried “who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now, my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them; of you, however, I will make a great nation.’

    But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘why should your wrath blaze out against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Why let the Egyptians say, “Ah, it was in treachery that he brought them out, to do them to death in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth”? Leave your burning wrath; relent and do not bring this disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.’

    So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Gospel

John 5:31-47

You place your hopes on Moses but Moses will be your accuser

Jesus said to the Jews:

‘Were I to testify on my own behalf,

my testimony would not be valid;

but there is another witness who can speak on my behalf,

and I know that his testimony is valid.

You sent messengers to John,

and he gave his testimony to the truth:

not that I depend on human testimony;

no, it is for your salvation that I speak of this.

John was a lamp alight and shining

and for a time you were content to enjoy the light that he gave.

But my testimony is greater than John’s:

the works my Father has given me to carry out,

these same works of mine testify

that the Father has sent me.

Besides, the Father who sent me

bears witness to me himself.

You have never heard his voice,

you have never seen his shape,

and his word finds no home in you

because you do not believe in the one he has sent.

‘You study the scriptures,

believing that in them you have eternal life;

now these same scriptures testify to me,

and yet you refuse to come to me for life!

As for human approval, this means nothing to me.

Besides, I know you too well: you have no love of God in you.

I have come in the name of my Father

and you refuse to accept me;

if someone else comes in his own name

you will accept him.

How can you believe,

since you look to one another for approval

and are not concerned

with the approval that comes from the one God?

Do not imagine that I am going to accuse you before the Father:

you place your hopes on Moses,

and Moses will be your accuser.

If you really believed him

you would believe me too,

since it was I that he was writing about;

but if you refuse to believe what he wrote,

how can you believe what I say?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 30, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Today the Lord our God is reassuring us, giving us comfort and reminding us of His  great love and mercy for us. He says this to all of us, “Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb?” “Yet even if these forget,

I will never forget you.”

Many are afraid to surrender to their all to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ because they think they will become His puppets, to made to do things they don’t want to do! Yet the Lord reminds us that He knows the plans he has for us, not to do us harm but to prosper us. To give us hope and a future. Jer 29:11

Jesus has come so that we might have life to the full. Jn 10:10 He does not take our free will from us! Instead He gives us every opportunity to unite our wills with His so that we can live fully in His love. So sisters and brothers come to Him as you are, there is no sin too great that He will not forgive. Let Him transform, heal and set us free, to love and serve one another and glorify Him by our lives!

Jesus source of life dwell in me now and forever. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:8-15

On the day of salvation I will help you

Thus says the Lord:

At the favourable time I will answer you,

on the day of salvation I will help you.

(I have formed you and have appointed you

as covenant of the people.)

I will restore the land

and assign you the estates that lie waste.

I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out’,

to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

On every roadway they will graze,

and each bare height shall be their pasture.

They will never hunger or thirst,

scorching wind and sun shall never plague them;

for he who pities them will lead them

and guide them to springs of water.

I will make a highway of all the mountains,

and the high roads shall be banked up.

Some are on their way from afar,

others from the north and the west,

others from the land of Sinim.

Shout for joy, you heavens; exult, you earth!

You mountains, break into happy cries!

For the Lord consoles his people

and takes pity on those who are afflicted.

For Zion was saying, ‘The Lord has abandoned me,

the Lord has forgotten me.’

Does a woman forget her baby at the breast,

or fail to cherish the son of her womb?

Yet even if these forget,

I will never forget you.

Gospel

John 5:17-30

The dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and all who hear it will live

Jesus said to the Jews, ‘My Father goes on working, and so do I.’ But that only made them even more intent on killing him, because, not content with breaking the sabbath, he spoke of God as his own Father, and so made himself God’s equal.

    To this accusation Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

the Son can do nothing by himself;

he can do only what he sees the Father doing:

and whatever the Father does the Son does too.

For the Father loves the Son

and shows him everything he does himself,

and he will show him even greater things than these,

works that will astonish you.

Thus, as the Father raises the dead and gives them life,

so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses;

for the Father judges no one;

he has entrusted all judgement to the Son,

so that all may honour the Son

as they honour the Father.

Whoever refuses honour to the Son

refuses honour to the Father who sent him.

I tell you most solemnly,

whoever listens to my words,

and believes in the one who sent me,

has eternal life;

without being brought to judgement

he has passed from death to life.

I tell you most solemnly,

the hour will come – in fact it is here already –

when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,

and all who hear it will live.

For the Father, who is the source of life,

has made the Son the source of life;

and, because he is the Son of Man,

has appointed him supreme judge.

Do not be surprised at this,

for the hour is coming when the dead will leave their graves

at the sound of his voice:

those who did good will rise again to life;

and those who did evil, to condemnation.

I can do nothing by myself;

I can only judge as I am told to judge,

and my judging is just,

because my aim is to do not my own will,

but the will of him who sent me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 29, 2022 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Living waters flow from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ alone into our hearts, minds, our bodies into His One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. This healing, life giving grace began with our Baptism when we were anointed and sealed as children of God our Heavenly Father. We were attached to the living vine of love and life!

How then are we glorifying the Lord by our lives!? Are we bringing the peace, love and joy of the Gospel to all we meet? Especially the poor and all in need? Is our Churches teeming with life where we come together to worship and praise Him who has given us life to the full? Are we One in Holy Communion with Him and one another?

Or are we still mourning our many sins, counting the cost of carrying our cross! Complaining about the weight of our burden in reaching out and giving to those in need! Taking shortcuts by doing away with prayers and reflection of the Word! Who then are we serving if not ourselves?

Let your living waters flow through me I pray sweet Jesus, let me be a powerful instrument of Your grace for all. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 47:1-9,12 ·

Wherever the water flows, it will bring life and health

The angel brought me to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream came out from under the Temple threshold and flowed eastwards, since the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar. He took me out by the north gate and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side. The man went to the east holding his measuring line and measured off a thousand cubits; he then made me wade across the stream; the water reached my ankles. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across the stream again; the water reached my knees. He measured off another thousand and made me wade across again; the water reached my waist. He measured off another thousand; it was now a river which I could not cross; the stream had swollen and was now deep water, a river impossible to cross. He then said, ‘Do you see, son of man?’ He took me further, then brought me back to the bank of the river. When I got back, there were many trees on each bank of the river. He said, ‘This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome. Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the river flows. Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.’

Gospel

John 5:1-3,5-16

The healing at the pool of Bethesda

There was a Jewish festival, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now at the Sheep Pool in Jerusalem there is a building, called Bethzatha in Hebrew, consisting of five porticos; and under these were crowds of sick people – blind, lame, paralysed – waiting for the water to move. One man there had an illness which had lasted thirty-eight years, and when Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had been in this condition for a long time, he said, ‘Do you want to be well again?’ ‘Sir,’ replied the sick man ‘I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is disturbed; and while I am still on the way, someone else gets there before me.’ Jesus said, ‘Get up, pick up your sleeping-mat and walk.’ The man was cured at once, and he picked up his mat and walked away.

    Now that day happened to be the sabbath, so the Jews said to the man who had been cured, ‘It is the sabbath; you are not allowed to carry your sleeping-mat.’ He replied, ‘But the man who cured me told me, “Pick up your mat and walk.”’ They asked, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Pick up your mat and walk”?’ The man had no idea who it was, since Jesus had disappeared into the crowd that filled the place. After a while Jesus met him in the Temple and said, ‘Now you are well again, be sure not to sin any more, or something worse may happen to you.’ The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had cured him. It was because he did things like this on the sabbath that the Jews began to persecute Jesus.