Posts Tagged ‘Catholicjules.net’


Today and everyday the Lord makes all things new. For those who have trust and faith in Him, they will have their vindication. They will walk blameless in His sight. He will bring about physical as well as spiritual healing. Having received His loving touch shall we not praise and glorify His name? Shall we not do the same by our actions? Shall we not likewise touch the lives of others so that they too might see Him through us?

Yet those who are in power and have misused it to oppress, who turn God our Father’s children away from Him should cower in fear. Likewise those who gossip, for these murderous lot have killed the reputation of many and have always thought themselves innocent shall be held accountable by the Lord our God! Repent! Seek His forgiveness, wisdom and His Will for you; while the Lord is still patient and merciful, for there will soon come a time that you will remain in permanent darkness.

Open my eyes to see You Lord, now and forever. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 29:17-24 ·
In a very short time, the deaf will hear and the eyes of the blind will see

The Lord says this:

In a short time, a very short time,
shall not Lebanon become fertile land
and fertile land turn into forest?
The deaf, that day, will hear the words of a book and, after shadow and darkness,
the eyes of the blind will see.

But the lowly will rejoice in the Lord even more and the poorest exult in the Holy One of Israel; for tyrants shall be no more, and scoffers vanish, and all be destroyed who are disposed to do evil: those who gossip to incriminate others, those who try at the gate to trip the arbitrator and get the upright man’s case dismissed for groundless reasons.

Therefore the Lord speaks, the God of the House of Jacob,
Abraham’s redeemer:
No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale, for he shall see what my hands have done in his midst, he shall hold my name holy.
They will hallow the Holy One of Jacob, stand in awe of the God of Israel.
Erring spirits will learn wisdom and murmurers accept instruction.



Gospel
Matthew 9:27-31
‘Take care that no-one learns about this’

As Jesus went on his way two blind men followed him shouting, ‘Take pity on us, Son of David.’ And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with him and he said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ They said, ‘Sir, we do.’ Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you.’ And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, ‘Take care that no one learns about this.’ But when they had gone, they talked about him all over the countryside.


Many of us are a fickle, stubborn lot. While it is our desire to grow in holiness, in our prayer life and so on. We often say we will do it!… But maybe tomorrow, or we might start working at it then give up quite readily after a few days. Are we not the folks in Today’s Gospel going, “Lord, Lord,”? How will we ever hope to remain steadfast in our faith especially in times of great struggles and challenges? When we will not start building our relationship upon the solid foundation of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ!

It is only through our righteousness and fidelity to the Word and Will of God our Heavenly Father, that we will enter into His Kingdom. So let us dear sisters and brothers in Christ, having entered into the new liturgical year this Advent; build upon our Rock Jesus! Having tasted His living water, we will not want (for anything). Amen

First Reading
Isaiah 26:1-6 ·
Open the gates; let the upright nation come in


That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city; to guard us he has set
wall and rampart about us.
Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in, she, the faithful one whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace, because she trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord for ever, for the Lord is the everlasting Rock; he has brought low those who lived high up in the steep citadel;
he brings it down, brings it down to the ground, flings it down in the dust:
the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor trample on it.


Gospel
Matthew 7:21,24-27
The wise man built his house on a rock

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 2, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Can I a Christian claim that I do not what the good news is? Or that I do not what or how to share it with others? Listen with your heart the message of the good news revealed to us through the prophet. And again the full revelation of the good news in Mathew’s Gospel to be found in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Jesus was the hope of all nations in the thousand years of ‘Advent’ leading to His birth what we now call Christmas. The light which dispels the darkness! The bondage of sin and death broken through our journey of ‘Lent’ leading to His Resurrection which we now call Easter. Our Lord God came and dwelled among us. In His mercy, grace and love; He healed, liberated us from us all sin, brought everlasting peace, love and joy into our hearts. Through the most precious gift of Himself in Holy Eucharist He eleavates us through His divinity to be One in full communion with Him.

Is this not above and beyond ‘Good News’. This is the truth we must share with one and all! Amen

First reading
Isaiah 25:6-10 ·
The Lord will prepare a banquet for every nation

On this mountain,
the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples
a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.
On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations, he will destroy Death for ever.
The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek; he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for the Lord has said so.
That day, it will be said: See, this is our God
in whom we hoped for salvation; the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.
We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us; for the hand of the Lord rests on this mountain.


Gospel
Matthew 15:29-37
The crowds praised the God of Israel

Jesus reached the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and he went up into the hills. He sat there, and large crowds came to him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight, and they praised the God of Israel.
    But Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, they might collapse on the way.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this deserted place to feed such a crowd?’ Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said ‘and a few small fish.’ Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and he gave thanks and broke them and handed them to the disciples, who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: December 1, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Jesus is inviting us once again to enter into that deep personal, intimate relationship He has with God our Heavenly Father. To be One with Him, to see as He sees, to hear as He hears. We had first responded to this invitation through our baptism where we had been bestowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit as we entered into sonship and daughterhood. In this first week of Advent we are invited to enter into a deeper loving relationship. What is your response?

Thank You Lord for loving me. Guide and teach me Your ways. That I may love You and my brethren in the same way that You love me. Amen

First reading
Isaiah 11:1-10 ·
A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse


A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse,
a scion thrusts from his roots:
on him the spirit of the Lord rests,
a spirit of wisdom and insight,
a spirit of counsel and power,
a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
(The fear of the Lord is his breath.)
He does not judge by appearances,
he gives no verdict on hearsay,
but judges the wretched with integrity,
and with equity gives a verdict for the poor of the land.
His word is a rod that strikes the ruthless,
his sentences bring death to the wicked.

Integrity is the loincloth round his waist,
faithfulness the belt about his hips.

The wolf lives with the lamb,
the panther lies down with the kid,
calf and lion feed together,
with a little boy to lead them.
The cow and the bear make friends,
their young lie down together.
The lion eats straw like the ox.
The infant plays over the cobra’s hole;
into the viper’s lair
the young child puts his hand.
They do no hurt, no harm,
on all my holy mountain,
for the country is filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters swell the sea.

That day, the root of Jesse
shall stand as a signal to the peoples.
It will be sought out by the nations
and its home will be glorious.


Gospel
Luke 10:21-24
No-one knows who the Son is except the Father

Filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, Jesus said:
    ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
    Then turning to his disciples he spoke to them in private, ‘Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’


You would expect that being invited to a Christian home, that would be grace before and after meals. Then during the meal or at some point of having drinks later there will surely be talk of Jesus, His Word and how He is wonderfully present in the lives of those gathered. This is often and Very often I might add not the case! Why? “Oh guests might be uncomfortable, don’t want others to think that we are ‘holier than thou’, this is a gathering to catch up with friends and family not for churchy stuff” How is this not the same as leaving Jesus outside of the door knocking? How can we be ready to greet Him when He comes? How are we ever going to share Him with others who do not yet know Him? Will we be shocked when we knock at our Lord’s door saying,  ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you. 

We need to take the love we profess for Him to the next level! We need to fall deeply in love with Him by not just wanting to but actually making time to be in His presence, listening to Him speak to us through His Word, increasing and deepening our prayer life. Because the simple truth is this, if we cannot openly speak about our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ then we do not truly love Him. If we do not truly love Him how will we ever share Him with others?

Jesus my Lord, I love You and I am here to follow You. Lead me Lord. Amen

St Andrew pray for us…

First reading
Romans 10:9-18 ·
Faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ

If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved. When scripture says: those who believe in him will have no cause for shame, it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask his help, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
    But they will not ask his help unless they believe in him, and they will not believe in him unless they have heard of him, and they will not hear of him unless they get a preacher, and they will never have a preacher unless one is sent, but as scripture says: The footsteps of those who bring good news are a welcome sound. Not everyone, of course, listens to the Good News. As Isaiah says: Lord, how many believed what we proclaimed? So faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ. Let me put the question: is it possible that they did not hear? Indeed they did; in the words of the psalm, their voice has gone out through all the earth, and their message to the ends of the world.


Gospel
Matthew 4:18-22
‘I will make you fishers of men’

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they left their nets at once and followed him. Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

First Sunday of Advent

Posted: November 28, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Watch for Him: Scott Hahn Reflects on the First Sunday of Advent

Readings:
Isaiah 63:16–17, 19
Psalm 80:2–3, 15–16, 18–19
1 Corinthians 1:3–9
Mark 13:33–37

The new Church year begins with a plea for God’s visitation. “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,” the prophet Isaiah cries in today’s First Reading.

In today’s Psalm, too, we hear the anguished voice of Israel, imploring God to look down from His heavenly throne—to save and shepherd His people.

Today’s readings are relatively brief. Their language and “message” are deceptively simple. But we should take note of the serious mood and penitential aspect of the Liturgy today—as the people of Israel recognize their sinfulness, their failures to keep God’s covenant, their inability to save themselves.

And in this Advent season, we should see our own lives in the experience of Israel. As we examine our consciences, can’t we, too, find that we often harden our hearts, refuse His rule, wander from His ways, withhold our love from Him?

God is faithful, Paul reminds us in today’s Epistle. He is our Father. He has hearkened to the cry of His children, coming down from heaven for Israel’s sake and for ours to redeem us from our exile from God, to restore us to His love.

In Jesus, we have seen the Father (see John 14:8–9). The Father has let His face shine upon us. He is the good shepherd (see John 10:11–15) come to guide us to the heavenly kingdom. No matter how far we have strayed, He will give us new life if we turn to Him, if we call upon His holy name, if we pledge anew never again to withdraw from Him.

As Paul says today, He has given us every spiritual gift—especially the Eucharist and penance—to strengthen us as we await Christ’s final coming. He will keep us firm to the end—if we let Him.

So, in this season of repentance, we should heed the warning—repeated three times by our Lord in today’s Gospel—to be watchful, for we know not the hour when the Lord of the house will return.


The readings of the ‘end times’ as we journey towards the start of Advent is not meant to fill our hearts with doom and gloom. It is to awaken us from our slumber and call us to action. We are afterall children of the Resurrection, the light!

Have we allowed our light to grow dim? To be snuffed out by the cares and worries of the world? Have we concerned ourselves with things that will not last? Or as children of the light, we have heard our call to holiness and are journeying in the love of God our Father; saving souls as we go along and leading them to our eternal rest with Him?

In our lifetime we were blessed to have witnessed the lives of our fellow saints living in the light of the Resurrection; Pope John Paul II, Theresa of calcutta, Carlo Acutis to name a few. These were ordinary men and women transfigured by living in the presence of our Lord according to His Word and Will for them. You and I should desire to live likewise.

Lord Jesus be with me Amen

First reading
Apocalypse 20:1-4,11-21:2
The book of life was opened, and the dead were judged

I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven with the key of the Abyss in his hand and an enormous chain. He overpowered the dragon, that primeval serpent which is the devil and Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and shut the entrance and sealed it over him, to make sure he would not deceive the nations again until the thousand years had passed. At the end of that time he must be released, but only for a short while.
    Then I saw some thrones, and I saw those who are given the power to be judges take their seats on them. I saw the souls of all who had been beheaded for having witnessed for Jesus and for having preached God’s word, and those who refused to worship the beast or his statue and would not have the brand-mark on their foreheads or hands; they came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. In his presence, earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of his throne, while the book of life was opened, and other books opened which were the record of what they had done in their lives, by which the dead were judged.
    The sea gave up all the dead who were in it; Death and Hades were emptied of the dead that were in them; and every one was judged according to the way in which he had lived. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the burning lake. This burning lake is the second death; and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was thrown into the burning lake.
    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband.


Gospel
Luke 21:29-33
My words will never pass away

Jesus told his disciples a parable: ‘Think of the fig tree and indeed every tree. As soon as you see them bud, you know that summer is now near. So with you when you see these things happening: know that the kingdom of God is near. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.’


Evil has no hold over us, for victory is ours through our Lord Jesus Christ! Happy are we who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

We have no time to mope and complain of how difficult our life is and to make excuses for our inertia. Neither have we the luxury of looking to our distractions from the burden of carrying our cross to follow our Lord. For if we continue to behave this way, then the choices we make will leave us behind in desolation!

Arise and stay awake! Prepare for His coming! Then we will take our rightful place together with the Angels and the Saints praising God our Heavenly Father.

For Evil has no hold over us, victory is ours through our Lord Jesus Christ! Happy are we who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb. Amen Alleluia!

First reading
Apocalypse 18:1-2,21-23,19:1-3,9
Babylon the Great has fallen

I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven, with great authority given to him; the earth was lit up with his glory. At the top of his voice he shouted, ‘Babylon has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, and has become the haunt of devils and a lodging for every foul spirit and dirty, loathsome bird.’ Then a powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone, and as he hurled it into the sea, he said, ‘That is how the great city of Babylon is going to be hurled down, never to be seen again.

Never again in you, Babylon,
will be heard the song of harpists and minstrels,
the music of flute and trumpet;
never again will craftsmen of every skill be found
or the sound of the mill be heard;
never again will shine the light of the lamp,
never again will be heard
the voices of bridegroom and bride.
Your traders were the princes of the earth,
all the nations were under your spell.

After this I seemed to hear the great sound of a huge crowd in heaven, singing, ‘Alleluia! Victory and glory and power to our God! He judges fairly, he punishes justly, and he has condemned the famous prostitute who corrupted the earth with her fornication; he has avenged his servants that she killed.’ They sang again, ‘Alleluia! The smoke of her will go up for ever and ever.’ The angel said, ‘Write this: Happy are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb’, and he added, ‘All the things you have written are true messages from God.’


Gospel
Luke 21:20-28
There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you must realise that she will soon be laid desolate. Then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it. For this is the time of vengeance when all that scripture says must be fulfilled. Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come!
    ‘For great misery will descend on the land and wrath on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every pagan country; and Jerusalem will be trampled down by the pagans until the age of the pagans is completely over.
    ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 25, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Is it easy to remain steadfast and to grow in holiness everyday? No It is not! Not even if you were saintly, maybe even worse for you if you were. I for one struggle each and every day because there are distractions everywhere and innate desires within that when left unchecked can grow out of control. Loved ones and often it is those closest to me are the ones who will try my patience and my faith in my Lord. So why even bother when it is so much easier to do as I please? Well simply put, it is because I have had a foretaste of the kingdom of God, of walking in His presence, living in His peace and love. And there is nothing more precious in this world!

So even when I fall and I do so many times! Wanting to kick myself for repeating the same mistakes; I pick myself up and fall on my knees before my Lord, plead for forgiveness and the grace to do better. Then I continue strive each time to improve. It is a marathon and as the Lord reminds us today, endurance will win us eternal life with Him.

Lord forgive me a sinner, help me to remain steadfast in Your love and in your presence. Teach and guide me in all that I must say and do. Amen

First reading
Apocalypse 15:1-4 ·
The victors sang the hymn of Moses and of the Lamb

What I, John, saw in heaven was a great and wonderful sign: seven angels were bringing the seven plagues that are the last of all, because they exhaust the anger of God. I seemed to see a glass lake suffused with fire, and standing by the lake of glass, those who had fought against the beast and won, and against his statue and the number which is his name. They all had harps from God, and they were singing the hymn of Moses, the servant of God, and of the Lamb:

‘How great and wonderful are all your works,
Lord God Almighty;
just and true are all your ways,
King of nations.
Who would not revere and praise your name, O Lord?
You alone are holy,
and all the pagans will come and adore you
for the many acts of justice you have shown.’


Gospel
Luke 21:12-19
Your endurance will win you your lives

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’


Imagine hearing the same message Jesus spoke to those gathered round admiring their temple of worship, that not a single stone will be left on another. But this time hear the same words spoken about your very own parish! The beautifully adorned tabernacle, the gorgeous altar with relics of the Saints, the arches, stained glass and so on. All gone!

Then remember all the times you took your Holy place of worship for granted. Thinking it’s ok to miss one Sunday, in fact I don’t have to attend every week, the Lord will understand. Or we don’t have anything to worry for surely our prayers to give us our daily bread will be answered! Then covid 19 came and left us empty for a very long time. We should be relieved in a sense that it is not something permanent. But then again have we allowed our very own temples to be destroyed? left empty? Have we decided that spiritual communion is good enough? It is now the ‘new normal’? And so we make no effort to attend the Eucharistic Celebration in Church. If spiritual communion were enough Jesus would not have instituted the Holy Eucharist. He knew we need to receive Him, body blood soul and divinity into our very being so that we can overcome sin and temptation; to live fully in His love and to be beacons of His light in the world. The real catastrophe in the world is not from natural disasters, wars and such. It is a world absent of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ!

Let me never take Your love for me for granted Lord, forgive me for the many times that I have done so. Let me live in your presence and in Your love. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Apocalypse 14:14-19 ·
The harvest and the vintage of the earth are ripe

In my vision I, John, saw a white cloud and, sitting on it, one like a son of man with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the sanctuary, and shouted aloud to the one sitting on the cloud, ‘Put your sickle in and reap: harvest time has come and the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ Then the one sitting on the cloud set his sickle to work on the earth, and the earth’s harvest was reaped.
    Another angel, who also carried a sharp sickle, came out of the temple in heaven, and the angel in charge of the fire left the altar and shouted aloud to the one with the sharp sickle, ‘Put your sickle in and cut all the bunches off the vine of the earth; all its grapes are ripe.’ So the angel set his sickle to work on the earth and harvested the whole vintage of the earth and put it into a huge winepress, the winepress of God’s anger.


Gospel
Luke 21:5-11
The destruction of the Temple foretold

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’
    ‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 23, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We who are baptised are in a Holy war against evil. And victory is ours to have since the lamb of God, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ is on our side. Do we still count the cost of discipleship in carrying our cross to follow Him?

How much have we offered up to the Lord our God and for our brethren? Do we trust in Jesus to give our everything?

Lord, make us ready now to share this meal
Sign of our life in you. Amen

First reading
Apocalypse 14:1-5

The redeemed have Christ and his Father’s name written on their foreheads
In my vision I, John, saw Mount Zion, and standing on it a Lamb who had with him a hundred and forty-four thousand people, all with his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound coming out of the sky like the sound of the ocean or the roar of thunder; it seemed to be the sound of harpists playing their harps. There in front of the throne they were singing a new hymn in the presence of the four animals and the elders, a hymn that could only be learnt by the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the world; they follow the Lamb wherever he goes; they have been redeemed from amongst men to be the first-fruits for God and for the Lamb. They never allowed a lie to pass their lips and no fault can be found in them.

Gospel
Luke 21:1-4
The widow’s mite

As Jesus looked up, he saw rich people putting their offerings into the treasury; then he happened to notice a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins, and he said, ‘I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in more than any of them; for these have all contributed money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in all she had to live on.’

Solemnity of Christ the King

Posted: November 21, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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When the End Comes: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Solemnity of Christ the King

Readings:
Ezekiel 34:11–1215–17
Psalm 23:1–35–6
1 Corinthians 15:20–2628
Matthew 25:31–46

The Church year ends today with a vision of the end of time. The scene in the Gospel is stark and resounds with Old Testament echoes.

The Son of Man is enthroned over all nations and peoples of every language (see Daniel 7:13–14). The nations have been gathered to see His glory and receive His judgment (see Isaiah 66:18Zephaniah 3:8). The King is the divine shepherd Ezekiel foresees in today’s First Reading, judging as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.
Each of us will be judged upon our performance of the simple works of mercy we hear in the Gospel today.

These works, as Jesus explains today, are reflections or measures of our love for Him, our faithfulness to His commandment that we love God with all our might and our neighbor as ourselves (see Matthew 22:36–40).

Our faith is dead, lifeless, unless it be expressed in works of love (see James 2:20Galatians 5:6). And we cannot say we truly love God, whom we cannot see, if we don’t love our neighbor, whom we can (see 1 John 4:20).

The Lord is our shepherd, as we sing in today’s Psalm. And we are to follow His lead, to imitate His example (see 1 Corinthians 1:11Ephesians 5:1).

He healed our sickness (see Luke 6:19), freed us from the prison of sin and death (see Romans 8:221), welcomed us who were once strangers to His covenant (see Ephesians 2:1219). He clothed us in baptism (see Revelation 3:52 Corinthians 5:3–4), and feeds us with the food and drink of His own body and blood.

At “the end,” He will come again to hand over His kingdom to His Father, as Paul says in today’s Epistle.

Let us strive to be following Him in right paths, that this kingdom might be our inheritance, that we might enter into the eternal rest promised for the people of God (see Hebrews 4:19–11).


Listen, believe in Jesus and be saved!

How long shall we close our ears to the call of the prophets amongst us? How long must the Lord our God wait for us to respond to His call for repentance and growth in Holiness? Why do we look for happiness among the dead in spirit? How many souls are lost by our inaction to love as we are called to love?

We are children of an almighty and ever living God our Heavenly Father! Through the blood of the lamb, His only Begotten Son, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ we have been redeemed! We are able to live liberated lives in the light of the Resurrection and the life!

I consecrate my life to You my Lord Jesus Christ. In body, mind and soul let the work that I do, flow as ceaseless praise of You. As I endeavour each and every day to love my brethren as You love me. Amen alleluia!

First reading
Apocalypse 11:4-12 ·
The prophets will die who have been a plague to the world

I, John, heard a voice saying: ‘These, my two witnesses, are the two olive trees and the two lamps that stand before the Lord of the world. Fire can come from their mouths and consume their enemies if anyone tries to harm them; and if anybody does try to harm them he will certainly be killed in this way. They are able to lock up the sky so that it does not rain as long as they are prophesying; they are able to turn water into blood and strike the whole world with any plague as often as they like. When they have completed their witnessing, the beast that comes out of the Abyss is going to make war on them and overcome them and kill them. Their corpses will lie in the main street of the Great City known by the symbolic names Sodom and Egypt, in which their Lord was crucified. Men out of every people, race, language and nation will stare at their corpses, for three-and-a-half days, not letting them be buried, and the people of the world will be glad about it and celebrate the event by giving presents to each other, because these two prophets have been a plague to the people of the world.’
    After the three-and-a-half days, God breathed life into them and they stood up, and everybody who saw it happen was terrified; then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, ‘Come up here’, and while their enemies were watching, they went up to heaven in a cloud.


Gospel
Luke 20:27-40
In God all men are alive

Some Sadducees – those who say that there is no resurrection – approached Jesus and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, that if a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers. The first, having married a wife, died childless. The second and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died. Now, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?’
    Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive.’
    Some scribes then spoke up. ‘Well put, Master’ they said – because they would not dare to ask him any more questions.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 20, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We must desire change within us, to be purged of all impurities; so as to walk in the presence of our Lord in Holiness and in love.   It is only through active attentive listening to His Word and Will for us then we can be transfigured through His mercy and grace. Such transformation is akin to firing clay in a kiln. It undergoes several physical changes before coming out strong and durable.
By His great love for us we are able to receive the Word made flesh in Holy Communion and we become One with Him.

We are then ready to go out to prophesy and share His mercy and love with others. So that they too can be transformed to live in His peace and love. Amen

First reading
Apocalypse 10:8-11 ·
I was told to swallow the scroll, and to prophesy

I, John, heard the voice I had heard from heaven speaking to me again. ‘Go,’ it said ‘and take that open scroll out of the hand of the angel standing on sea and land.’ I went to the angel and asked him to give me the small scroll, and he said, ‘Take it and eat it; it will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.’ So I took it out of the angel’s hand, and swallowed it; it was as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, ‘You are to prophesy again, this time about many different nations and countries and languages and emperors.’

Gospel
Luke 19:45-48
You have turned God’s house into a robbers’ den

Jesus went into the Temple and began driving out those who were selling. ‘According to scripture,’ he said ‘my house will be a house of prayer. But you have turned it into a robbers’ den.’
    He taught in the Temple every day. The chief priests and the scribes, with the support of the leading citizens, tried to do away with him, but they did not see how they could carry this out because the people as a whole hung on his words.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 19, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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As we draw closer to the end of the liturgical year we hear more and more about the end times. Yes it is a stark reminder that have passed on. Those who have gone back home to our creator are praying and waiting for our safe return as well. It can either fill our heart with gloom and doom; or hope and light depending on our relationship with the Lord our God.

For those of us who are sleepy yet striving to stay awake for our Lord, we live in the hope of eternal life with Him. For our victorious Lord and saviour Jesus Christ had conquered death for us. And so the end times points us to new beginnings with Christ the King! Let us then stir in one another a rousing of the Holy Spirit within us to grow in Holiness as we stand ready to greet our Lord when He comes again. Amen

First reading
Apocalypse 5:1-10 ·
The blood of the Lamb bought men for God

I, John, saw that in the right hand of the One sitting on the throne there was a scroll that had writing on back and front and was sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a powerful angel who called with a loud voice, ‘Is there anyone worthy to open the scroll and break the seals of it?’ But there was no one, in heaven or on the earth or under the earth, who was able to open scroll and read it. I wept bitterly because there was nobody fit to open the scroll and read it, but one of the elders said to me, ‘There is no need to cry: the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed, and he will open the scroll and the seven seals of it.’
    Then I saw, standing between the throne with its four animals and the circle of the elders, a Lamb that seemed to have been sacrificed; it had seven horns, and it had seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits God has sent out all over the world. The Lamb came forward to take the scroll from the right hand of the One sitting on the throne, and when he took it, the four animals prostrated themselves before him and with them the twenty-four elders; each one of them was holding a harp and had a golden bowl full of incense made of the prayers of the saints. They sang a new hymn:

‘You are worthy to take the scroll
and break the seals of it,
because you were sacrificed, and with your blood you bought men for God of every race, language, people and nation and made them a line of kings and priests, to serve our God and to rule the world.’


Gospel
Luke 19:41-44
Jesus sheds tears over the coming fate of Jerusalem

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem and came in sight of the city he shed tears over it and said, ‘If you in your turn had only understood on this day the message of peace! But, alas, it is hidden from your eyes! Yes, a time is coming when your enemies will raise fortifications all round you, when they will encircle you and hem you in on every side; they will dash you and the children inside your walls to the ground; they will leave not one stone standing on another within you – and all because you did not recognise your opportunity when God offered it!’


How nicely we have adjusted and now lead somewhat comfortable lives in the ‘new normal’ heading towards what we hope will be a post pandemic era. Some have become ‘rich’ and spoilt for choice in attending online masses when it suits them best and in the comfort of their homes. All we need now is spiritual communion? How connected are we really with our Lord? Have we lost the desire to receive Jesus fully in Holy Communion? Is it now too much of a hassle? How long are we going to enjoy rich food and company now that many more places are opened? Have we forgotten about our brethren who have lost their jobs? Those who are poor and have become poorer? The elderly who can hardly move now due to a ‘forced’ sedentary life? How have we helped them so that they can lead somewhat normal lives with dignity?

Even if you have soiled yourselves with sin, in what you have done and in what you have **failed to do** our merciful Lord stands at your door knocking. You can choose to continue ignoring Him till it is too late or you can invite Him into your Home to stay.

Jesus my Lord, my God come dine with me, come dwell in my home and in my heart. Amen

First reading
Apocalypse 3:1-6,14-22 ·
If one of you hears me calling, I will come in to share his meal

I, John, heard the Lord saying to me: ‘Write to the angel of the church in Sardis and say, “Here is the message of the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know all about you: how you are reputed to be alive and yet are dead. Wake up; revive what little you have left: it is dying fast. So far I have failed to notice anything in the way you live that my God could possibly call perfect, and yet do you remember how eager you were when you first heard the message? Hold on to that. Repent. If you do not wake up, I shall come to you like a thief, without telling you at what hour to expect me. There are a few in Sardis, it is true, who have kept their robes from being dirtied, and they are fit to come with me, dressed in white. Those who prove victorious will be dressed, like these, in white robes; I shall not blot their names out of the book of life, but acknowledge their names in the presence of my Father and his angels. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
    ‘Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea and say, “Here is the message of the Amen, the faithful, the true witness, the ultimate source of God’s creation: I know all about you: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth. You say to yourself, ‘I am rich, I have made a fortune, and have everything I want’, never realising that you are wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too. I warn you, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you really rich, and white robes to clothe you and cover your shameful nakedness, and eye ointment to put on your eyes so that you are able to see. I am the one who reproves and disciplines all those he loves: so repent in real earnest. Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him. Those who prove victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I was victorious myself and took my place with my Father on his throne. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”’


Gospel
Luke 19:1-10
Salvation comes to the house of Zacchaeus

Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’


All too often we are plunged into darkness when we sin and yet we cannot seem to figure out why emptiness grows within us. Evil seeds are planted in our heads and we start forming conspiracy theories, “everyone is against me,” “seems like others are more privileged than me and my family.” The voices that tells us not to cry out to Jesus become louder than our own conscience and so we remain quiet and fade away into further darkness. We forget how to love as we should and the distance between us and our Lord only widens!


Take courage and cry out to Jesus as we should and He will invite us to come back to Him. He will set us free to live fully in His love. His light will once again shine upon us and then we will be able to carry His light within us to others. Heart, mind and soul are opened to glorify Him by our love put into action for others.


Therefore sister and brothers, as we draw closer to the start of Advent. Let our hearts yearn to be fully reconciled with Jesus the light of all nations. Strive to do what we must by seeking the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation often, so that filled with His grace we become beacons of light for others. Amen

First reading Apocalypse 1:1-4,2:1-5

Think what you were before you fell, and repent
This is the revelation given by God to Jesus Christ so that he could tell his servants about the things which are now to take place very soon; he sent his angel to make it known to his servant John, and John has written down everything he saw and swears it is the word of God guaranteed by Jesus Christ. Happy the man who reads this prophecy, and happy those who listen to him, if they treasure all that it says, because the Time is close. From John, to the seven churches of Asia: grace and peace to you from him who is, who was, and who is to come, from the seven spirits in his presence before his throne. I heard the Lord saying to me: ‘Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus and say, “Here is the message of the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who lives surrounded by the seven golden lamp-stands: I know all about you: how hard you work and how much you put up with. I know you cannot stand wicked men, and how you tested the impostors who called themselves apostles and proved they were liars. Know, too, that you have patience, and have suffered for my name without growing tired. Nevertheless, I have this complaint to make; you have less love now than you used to. Think where you were before you fell; repent, and do as you used to at first.”’

Gospel Luke 18:35-43

‘Son of David, have pity on me’
As Jesus drew near to Jericho there was a blind man sitting at the side of the road begging. When he heard the crowd going past he asked what it was all about, and they told him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by. So he called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.’ The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to him, and when he came up, asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Sir,’ he replied ‘let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.’ And instantly his sight returned and he followed him praising God, and all the people who saw it gave praise to God for what had happened.

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: November 14, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Settling Accounts: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Proverbs 31:10–1319–2030–31
Psalm 128:1–5
1 Thessalonians 5:1–6
Matthew 25:14–30
 
The day of the Lord is coming, Paul warns in today’s Epistle. What matters isn’t the time or the season, but what the Lord finds us doing with the new life, the graces He has given to us.

This is at the heart of Jesus’ parable in today’s Gospel. Jesus is the Master. Having died, risen, and ascended into heaven, He appears to have gone away for a long time.
By our Baptism, He has entrusted to each of us a portion of His “possessions,” a share in His divine life (see 2 Peter 1:4). He has given us talents and responsibilities, according to the measure of our faith (see Romans 12:38).

We are to be like the worthy wife in today’s First Reading and the faithful man we sing of in today’s Psalm. Like them, we should walk in the “fear of the Lord”—in reverence, awe, and thanksgiving for His marvelous gifts. This is the beginning of wisdom (see Acts 9:31Proverbs 1:7).

This is not the “fear” of the useless servant in today’s parable. His is the fear of a slave cowering before a cruel master, the fear of one who refuses the relationship that God calls us to.

God has called us to be trusted servants, fellow workers (see 1 Corinthians 3:9), using our talents to serve one another and His kingdom as good stewards of His grace (see 1 Peter 4:10).
In this, we each have a different part to play.

Though the good servants in today’s parable were given different numbers of talents, each “doubled” what he was given. And each earned the same reward for his faithfulness—greater responsibilities and a share of the master’s joy.

So let us resolve again in this Eucharist to make much of what we’ve been given, to do all for the glory of God (see 1 Corinthians 10:31). That we, too, may approach our Master with confidence and love when He comes to settle accounts.


We are one Body In Christ, therefore we are all responsible for how well and how far the message of His love is spread across all nations. We must all contribute to the share of the work for the truth which is found in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Some of us are called to mission for Him, others to offer support of that mission through various forms of love offerings. This includes our perseverance in prayer, for united as one in our endeavour we are united with Him. It is with this faith that draws our Lord to us in a loving embrace. He is our shepherd we shall not want!

Never forget that you are child, so loved by  God Your Heavenly Father. So loved that He gave us His only Begotten Son. That whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Amen Alleluia!

First reading
3 John 5-8 ·
It is our duty to welcome missionaries and contribute our share to their work

My friend, you have done faithful work in looking after these brothers, even though they were complete strangers to you. They are a proof to the whole Church of your charity and it would be a very good thing if you could help them on their journey in a way that God would approve. It was entirely for the sake of the name that they set out, without depending on the pagans for anything; it is our duty to welcome men of this sort and contribute our share to their work for the truth.


Gospel
Luke 18:1-8
The parable of the unjust judge

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. ‘There was a judge in a certain town’ he said ‘who had neither fear of God nor respect for man. In the same town there was a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, “I want justice from you against my enemy!” For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, “Maybe I have neither fear of God nor respect for man, but since she keeps pestering me I must give this widow her just rights, or she will persist in coming and worry me to death.”’
    And the Lord said ‘You notice what the unjust judge has to say? Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 13, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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As we draw closer to Advent we are reminded to stay awake as disciples of our Lord, to remain steadfast in our faith and to love one another in His love.

There is a danger of seeking spiritual highs and looking for new varied forms of attaining them rather than to remain in the peace which is found in Christ Jesus alone. Going beyond what was taught by the word of God made flesh only leads to emptiness and void.

Let us choose to be fully alive and awake in the presence of our Lord and saviour Jesus, seeking to love in His love from the moment we wake, to the time we fall asleep. So then come what may, we stand ready to meet Him when He comes again. Amen

First reading
2 John 4-9 ·
The commandment which you have heard since the beginning is to live a life of love

It has given me great joy to find that your children have been living the life of truth as we were commanded by the Father. I am writing now, dear lady, not to give you any new commandment, but the one which we were given at the beginning, and to plead: let us love one another.
    To love is to live according to his commandments: this is the commandment which you have heard since the beginning, to live a life of love.
    There are many deceivers about in the world, refusing to admit that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. They are the Deceiver; they are the Antichrist. Watch yourselves, or all our work will be lost and not get the reward it deserves. If anybody does not keep within the teaching of Christ but goes beyond it, he cannot have God with him: only those who keep to what he taught can have the Father and the Son with them.

Gospel
Luke 17:26-37
When the day comes for the Son of Man to be revealed

Jesus said to the disciples:
    ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it also be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating and drinking, marrying wives and husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same as it was in Lot’s day: people were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but the day Lot left Sodom, God rained fire and brimstone from heaven and it destroyed them all. It will be the same when the day comes for the Son of Man to be revealed.
    ‘When that day comes, anyone on the housetop, with his possessions in the house, must not come down to collect them, nor must anyone in the fields turn back either. Remember Lot’s wife. Anyone who tries to preserve his life will lose it; and anyone who loses it will keep it safe. I tell you, on that night two will be in one bed: one will be taken, the other left; two women will be grinding corn together: one will be taken, the other left.’ The disciples interrupted. ‘Where, Lord?’ they asked. He said, ‘Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 12, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Year after year many of us are still striving to become better disciples of our Lord Jesus and seeking His kingdom. In doing so we have failed our mission, our call as true disciples of ours Lord. For our Lord never commanded us to be better disciples although that is a given, He commanded us to…. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

So today how many have you helped groom into becoming disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ? How many have been freed to live in His peace, mercy and love? To become a dear sister and brother in Christ Jesus our Lord? To the awareness that the Kingdom of the Lord our God is among us! To likewise be sent to welcome others into His kingdom as children of God our loving Father.

Grant me Lord a disciple’s heart, mind, tongue, courage and humility to make better disciples than myself; more importantly disciples worthy of your Kingdom. For Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Philemon 7-20 ·
He is a slave no longer, but a dear brother in the Lord

I am so delighted, and comforted, to know of your love; they tell me, brother, how you have put new heart into the saints.
    Now, although in Christ I can have no diffidence about telling you to do whatever is your duty, I am appealing to your love instead, reminding you that this is Paul writing, an old man now and, what is more, still a prisoner of Christ Jesus. I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while wearing these chains: I mean Onesimus. He was of no use to you before, but he will be useful to you now, as he has been to me. I am sending him back to you, and with him – I could say – a part of my own self. I should have liked to keep him with me; he could have been a substitute for you, to help me while I am in the chains that the Good News has brought me. However, I did not want to do anything without your consent; it would have been forcing your act of kindness, which should be spontaneous. I know you have been deprived of Onesimus for a time, but it was only so that you could have him back for ever, not as a slave any more, but something much better than a slave, a dear brother; especially dear to me, but how much more to you, as a blood-brother as well as a brother in the Lord. So if all that we have in common means anything to you, welcome him as you would me; but if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, then let me pay for it. I am writing this in my own handwriting: I, Paul, shall pay it back – I will not add any mention of your own debt to me, which is yourself. Well then, brother, I am counting on you, in the Lord; put new heart into me, in Christ.


Gospel
Luke 17:20-25

Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, Jesus gave them this answer, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no one to say, “Look here! Look there!” For, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you.’
    He said to the disciples, ‘A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man and will not see it. They will say to you, “Look there!” or, “Look here!” Make no move; do not set off in pursuit; for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of Man when his day comes. But first he must suffer grievously and be rejected by this generation.’


One of the most difficult things for many to control is their mouths. They are quick to find fault, criticise, put down, even slander. Too juicy to resist and so much time and effort goes into gossiping! Selection of targets are wide and varied but often those in leadership, foreigners, aliens or simply anyone in the outer circle. Were their accusers ever blameless themselves? How does Jesus our Lord fit into their lives? How does the words that come out of our mouths give Him praise and glory? If our words kill the spirit of another, are we not murderers? Do we continue to say we have not broken our Lord’s commandment, “Thou shall not kill!”

Jesus came to save us all! Yes everyone of all nations, race and culture. Today’s Gospel is another example of this. All ten were cleansed but ironically only the foreigner from ‘far away’ was closest to the heart of God. For he got down to worship the Lord God and his heart cried out in thanksgiving and praise of Him.  Through His faith in Jesus he was not only granted healing but eternal salvation.

Jesus my Lord, let the words that come out of my mouth words be Yours so that it may be life giving to all. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Titus 3:1-7
It was purely by his own compassion that God saved us

Remind your people that it is their duty to be obedient to the officials and representatives of the government; to be ready to do good at every opportunity; not to go slandering other people or picking quarrels, but to be courteous and always polite to all kinds of people. Remember, there was a time when we too were ignorant, disobedient and misled and enslaved by different passions and luxuries; we lived then in wickedness and ill-will, hating each other and hateful ourselves.
    But when the kindness and love of God our saviour for mankind were revealed, it was not because he was concerned with any righteous actions we might have done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own compassion that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our saviour. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.


Gospel
Luke 17:11-19
No-one has come back to praise God, only this foreigner

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.’ When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ Now as they were going away they were cleansed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, ‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’


We all have different roles or rather we wear different hats as we go about each day. Yet in each of them we must clothe ourselves in Christ. For each and everyone of us have a higher calling to live Holy lives as children of God our Heavenly Father. We therefore embrace first the Holy will of God for us. We do so by carrying our cross and following after our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

How are we obedient to the will of God for us if we refuse to be in humble service to our brethren? We hide behind terms like equal rights, human dignity and so on when it is simply our empty pride that prevents us from getting our hands and feet dirty to wash, clean, feed and serve the least of our brethren. We even fail to see the that the ‘least of our brethren’ can be our very own spouse, child or aged parent. Let us open our minds hearts to learn how to love as Jesus did….

For He laid down His life for us not that we took it from Him. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant. At supper one evening He took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He then said to His disciples, “Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.

Grant me a servant’s heart Lord that I may serve You and my brethren faithfully. Amen

First reading
Titus 2:1-8,11-14 ·
You must preach the behaviour which goes with healthy doctrine

It is for you to preach the behaviour which goes with healthy doctrine. The older men should be reserved, dignified, moderate, sound in faith and love and constancy. Similarly, the older women should behave as though they were religious, with no scandal-mongering and no habitual wine-drinking – they are to be the teachers of the right behaviour and show the younger women how they should love their husbands and love their children, how they are to be sensible and chaste, and how to work in their homes, and be gentle, and do as their husbands tell them, so that the message of God is never disgraced. In the same way, you have got to persuade the younger men to be moderate and in everything you do make yourself an example to them of working for good: when you are teaching, be an example to them in your sincerity and earnestness and in keeping all that you say so wholesome that nobody can make objections to it; and then any opponent will be at a loss, with no accusation to make against us. You see, God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the Appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.

Gospel
Luke 17:7-10
You are merely servants

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, “Come and have your meal immediately”? Would he not be more likely to say, “Get my supper laid; make yourself tidy and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink yourself afterwards”? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.”’


Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matt 16:18

What is Church for us? Is it a beautiful, majestic building dedicated to the Lord our God in which we honour, praise and worship Him? The holy of holies in which Jesus resides in the tabernacle? One in which the Holy sacrifice unites us fully with our Lord through Holy Communion? One in which living waters flow out into the world? Or are we the children of God our Heavenly Father, Church? Holy temples of the Holy Spirit in which God dwells? Holy tabernacles of Jesus going forth so that whole world can encounter and experience His great love and mercy?

It is not one or the other but the sum of all, built upon our rock, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ! We are one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Amen

First reading
Ezekiel 47:1-2,8-9,12 ·
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. 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 2:13-22
Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up

Just before the Jewish Passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting at their counters there. Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money changers’ coins, knocked their tables over and said to the pigeon-sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market.’ Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: Zeal for your house will devour me. The Jews intervened and said, ‘What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?’ Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary: are you going to raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 7, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Money in itself is neither good or evil. That being said, due to our fallen nature it can become a powerful temptation in which we might be stripped of our virtues and Holiness. This often happens when greed, lust and love for money creeps in. What should be used for good becomes twisted and for one’s personal gain.

It we could discipline ourselves to use it for our basic necessities, sustenance and the bulk of it to glorify the Lord our God we will do wonders for ourselves, our families and our brethren. Have we not come to the realisation that even the money we have is through God’s providence? How are we managing it as His stewards? Holy mother does not run on air but likewise through God’s providence, how many souls then are saved as a result of it being put to use to build His Kingdom! Lord thy kingdom come, thy will be done!

Lord Jesus my saviour, in good times and in bad for better or for worse let me be one with You. Now and forever. Amen

First reading
Philippians 4:10-19 ·
With the help of the One who gives me strength, there is nothing I cannot master

It is a great joy to me, in the Lord, that at last you have shown some concern for me again; though of course you were concerned before, and only lacked an opportunity. I am not talking about shortage of money: I have learnt to manage on whatever I have, I know how to be poor and I know how to be rich too. I have been through my initiation and now I am ready for anything anywhere: full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty. There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength. All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships. In the early days of the Good News, as you people of Philippi well know, when I left Macedonia, no other church helped me with gifts of money. You were the only ones; and twice since my stay in Thessalonika you have sent me what I needed. It is not your gift that I value; what is valuable to me is the interest that is mounting up in your account. Now for the time being I have everything that I need and more: I am fully provided now that I have received from Epaphroditus the offering that you sent, a sweet fragrance – the sacrifice that God accepts and finds pleasing. In return my God will fulfil all your needs, in Christ Jesus, as lavishly as only God can.


Gospel
Luke 16:9-15
Use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?
    ‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’
    The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and laughed at him. He said to them, ‘You are the very ones who pass yourselves off as virtuous in people’s sight, but God knows your hearts. For what is thought highly of by men is loathsome in the sight of God.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 6, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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I have always been perplexed by Today’s Gospel reading. If the Master in the Gospel refers to the Lord our God, then why would He praise the astuteness of a ‘cunning’ Steward? It does make it any easier when we cannot fully grasp the actual meaning behind the words used due to translation. Hence was the Steward really dishonest? Or was he lazy or simply did not care enough to be meticulous in the handling of his master’s property?

Upon deep personal reflection, the message I get from our Lord is a prompting to ask myself; how faithful a Steward have I been for Him? If I were faithful then by my love for Him had I taken extra care so as not to mismanage what He has entrusted me with?  If I can be fearful about losing my job at the office and so give my best, then am I doing likewise and more for my Lord? How have I used the spiritual gifts He had bestowed upon me and entrusted me with to build His Kingdom? How many souls have I won back for Him through through my zeal of love for Him and my brethren? How many more have I led to greater holiness by my own example?

Lord I embrace my cross with a deep desire to faithfully follow after You. Transfigure me my sweet Saviour, that all I say and do will ever be pleasing to You my God. Amen

First reading
Philippians 3:17-4:1 ·
Our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes Christ to transfigure us

My brothers, be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this and study them as you used to study us. I have told you often, and I repeat it today with tears, there are many who are behaving as the enemies of the cross of Christ. They are destined to be lost. They make foods into their god and they are proudest of something they ought to think shameful; the things they think important are earthly things. For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.
    So then, my brothers and dear friends, do not give way but remain faithful in the Lord. I miss you very much, dear friends; you are my joy and my crown.



Gospel
Luke 16:1-8
The master praised the dishonest servant

Jesus said to his disciples:
    ‘There was a rich man and he had a steward denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.” Then the steward said to himself, “Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.”
    Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, “How much do you owe my master?” “One hundred measures of oil” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty.” To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond and write eighty.”
    ‘The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.’


Well some of us might have inkling of how it feels having lost some one dear to us momentarily or at a length of time. The panic, the anxiety, all the numerous played out scenarios that goes on in our mind. Where do we go? What should we do? How can we find aand lead them home? Whom do we turn to for help? Then when they are found and come back to us safe and sound, joy fills our heart! What euphoria!
Perhaps through this, we can understand a little better as we glimpse into just how much God our Father truly loves us individually and uniquely? While we cannot fully fathom at this time, the joy and rejoicing that goes on in heaven for one who was lost but now is found again; we can relate through our own experience of such elation!

That is why we must rid ourselves of empty pride or any disillusionment that we are self made men and women and turn to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ with grateful hearts; for in His great love and mercy for us, He has reconciled us to God our Heavenly Father. Through Him alone we have life to the full!

Who am I Lord that You are mindful of me? Thank You for loving me so. Amen

First reading
Philippians 3:3-8 ·
I was faultless according to the Law; but without knowing Christ I was nothing

We are the real people of the circumcision, we who worship in accordance with the Spirit of God; we have our own glory from Christ Jesus without having to rely on a physical operation. If it came to relying on physical evidence, I should be fully qualified myself. Take any man who thinks he can rely on what is physical: I am even better qualified. I was born of the race of Israel and of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents, and I was circumcised when I was eight days old. As for the Law, I was a Pharisee; as for working for religion, I was a persecutor of the Church; as far as the Law can make you perfect, I was faultless. But because of Christ, I have come to consider all these advantages that I had as disadvantages. Not only that, but I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.


Gospel
Luke 15:1-10
There will be rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:
    ‘What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me,” he would say “I have found my sheep that was lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance.
    ‘Or again, what woman with ten drachmas would not, if she lost one, light a lamp and sweep out the house and search thoroughly till she found it? And then, when she had found it, call together her friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me,” she would say “I have found the drachma I lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 4, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Over the years we have learnt that anything worth doing is going to be challenging, difficult and in some cases really tough. That is why the ‘worth’ or rather the value of it, is the sense of accomplishment, the victory won! Through the blood, sweat and tears figuratively or not.   Often enough when we look back at the beginning of it all, we will recall just how reluctant we were to even take up the challenge. After weighing the pros over the cons and counting the costs it often did not add up. But we decided to give it a shot nonetheless. So then how is our call to discipleship any different?

We know for fact that discipleship in Christ Jesus is going to be very challenging, difficult and very tough if not tougher than most challenges that we face in our lives! Our Lord Himself has said so, and when he said to us ‘take up your cross and follow me’ it was not a suggestion but a call for us to do. Great as the challenge is, greater still the reward! What greater reward is there than that of eternal life with God our Heavenly Father. The peace, love and joy of living to the full in His love now and forever! St Paul experienced this truth in his life and therefore could say with utter conviction of faith in our Lord that he would gladly lay down his life for his brethren. For he faced all the challenges of carrying his cross head on; to obediently follow his dearly beloved Lord and God, even unto death.

Make me a disciple after Your own heart Lord. I want to do Your Will. Amen

St Charles Borromeo pray for us….

First reading
Philippians 2:12-18 ·
Work for your salvation, for God is working in you

My dear friends, continue to do as I tell you, as you always have; not only as you did when I was there with you, but even more now that I am no longer there; and work for your salvation ‘in fear and trembling.’ It is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you. Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life. This would give me something to be proud of for the Day of Christ, and would mean that I had not run in the race and exhausted myself for nothing. And then, if my blood has to be shed as part of your own sacrifice and offering – which is your faith – I shall still be happy and rejoice with all of you, and you must be just as happy and rejoice with me.


Gospel
Luke 14:25-33
Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple

Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them. ‘If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
    ‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of him and saying, “Here is a man who started to build and was unable to finish.” Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: November 3, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Are we any closer in our desire to be more like our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ? Have we emptied ourselves of the cares of the world so as to be filled with His grace, His Holy presence? Have we invited the Lord of Lords, King of Kings to come dwell in our hearts through our prayers at first light to the dead of night?

Or do we still behave as though we are entitled? We believe that we are good and holier than most, in that we attend Sunday Mass and do not intentionally hurt anyone. And so the Lord understands and gives us an open invitation so we can choose at anytime when we are ready to turn back from any and all sinful ways, to enter the wedding feast of the Lord. We still have lots of time, so for now our careers and our way of life takes priority. How foolish indeed! For greater Sinners from far and wide, who have chosen to believe and follow Jesus by responding to His call in the here and now, are living in His presence and receiving full communion with Him at His table. They are already living in His peace, love, joy and to the full! Let us not tarry any longer, for tomorrow may not come for some of us.

O Holy Spirit draw me ever close to You. Let me seek first the kingdom of my Lord and God this day and everyday. Amen

First reading
Philippians 2:5-11 ·
Christ humbled himself but God raised him high

In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:

His state was divine, yet he did not cling
to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.
But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Gospel
Luke 14:15-24
‘Not one of those who were invited shall have a taste of my banquet’

One of those gathered round the table said to Jesus, ‘Happy the man who will be at the feast in the kingdom of God!’ But he said to him, ‘There was a man who gave a great banquet, and he invited a large number of people. When the time for the banquet came, he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, “Come along: everything is ready now.” But all alike started to make excuses. The first said, “I have bought a piece of land and must go and see it. Please accept my apologies.” Another said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen and am on my way to try them out. Please accept my apologies.” Yet another said, “I have just got married and so am unable to come.”
    ‘The servant returned and reported this to his master. Then the householder, in a rage, said to his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” “Sir” said the servant “your orders have been carried out and there is still room.” Then the master said to his servant, “Go to the open roads and the hedgerows and force people to come in to make sure my house is full; because, I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall have a taste of my banquet.

ALL SOULS DAY

Posted: November 2, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Yesterday we rejoiced as we celebrated the joy of having all our sisters and brothers fully alive in Christ Jesus praising our Heavenly Father in His Kingdom. Through Holy Eucharist we united ourselves with them as with one voice we acclaimed Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!

And so how can we be mournful the very next day when we we recall the family members, sisters and brothers in Christ, the dearly departed who have returned to their eternal rest with God our Heavenly Father? For it is not some wishful thinking on our part but a living hope of the reality of a resurrected life with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ! God so loved the world that He gave us His only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall have eternal life. And so we say Amen! Alleluia!

May our almighty and ever living God be praised now and forever more. Amen

First reading
Wisdom 3:1-9 ·
The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God


The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them.
In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster, their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are in peace.
If they experienced punishment as men see it, their hope was rich with immortality;
slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be.
God has put them to the test and proved them worthy to be with him; he has tested them like gold in a furnace, and accepted them as a holocaust.
When the time comes for his visitation they will shine out; as sparks run through the stubble, so will they.
They shall judge nations, rule over peoples,
and the Lord will be their king for ever.
They who trust in him will understand the truth, those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.


Second reading
Romans 5:5-11 ·
Now we have been reconciled by the death of his Son, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son

Hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us. We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men. It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son? Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.


Gospel
Matthew 11:25-30
You have hidden these things from the wise and revealed them to little children

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 31, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Unspoken pride and want of honour and affirmation.

Our Lord who sees and knows everything that goes on in our hearts teaches us a great lesson in today’s Gospel that our humility before God is reflected in our humility before whom we should be serving at all times.

Have we been a little annoyed that having been invited to attend a wedding dinner of close friends or relatives, we were shown to a table at an obscure location at the very end of the ball room? Or having paid to attend a church dinner, we were seated somewhere where we could not see centrestage and with folks we were not familiar with? These and many like these are not only missed but wasted opportunities, if we do not have a clear vision of our mission to bring the love of Christ to others. For no matter where we are or in any situation, if go in Christ then we are living the joy of the Gospel. For our conversations, our whole demeanour will be focused on bringing forth and sharing in the peace, love and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We begin to understand and even relate to the good struggle St Paul speaks about in the first reading. Of wanting to fully unite ourselves with Christ Jesus our Lord in death, yet compelled to glorify Him by our lives in service of our dearly beloved brethren imparting the hope we have in Him. Amen

First reading
Philippians 1:18-26 ·
Life to me is Christ; but death would bring me more

Christ is proclaimed; and that makes me happy; and I shall continue being happy, because I know this will help to save me, thanks to your prayers and to the help which will be given to me by the Spirit of Jesus. My one hope and trust is that I shall never have to admit defeat, but that now as always shall have the courage for Christ to be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more; but then again, if living in this body means doing work which is having good results – I do not know what I should choose. I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and be with Christ, which would be very much the better, but for me to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need for your sake. This weighs with me so much that I feel sure I shall survive and stay with you all, and help you to progress in the faith and even increase your joy in it; and so you will have another reason to give praise to Christ Jesus on my account when I am with you again.


Gospel
Luke 14:1,7-11
Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled

Now on a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. He then told the guests a parable, because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this, ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, “Give up your place to this man.” And then, to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.” In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’


Love not just for ourselves but love that wills the good of and in another. This kind of extraordinary love does not exist simply in one’s own family since a family generally is one unit in itself; but in community. It is only in a community of disciples in our Lord Jesus Christ that such love is nurtured, flourishes and eventually overflows out into the world! For such love is built upon the rock where living waters flow.

See and feel the love for yourselves in today’s First Reading. Hear the affection the apostle of Christ, St Paul has for His beloved community of disciples who lifts him up just as he lifts them up through Christ our Lord. Do you belong to such a loving community? If you do not then why not? Do they not exist where you’re at? Or rather have you kept yourself away from them? If you are in such a community then how welcoming are you of others as a community, when someone in search of one approaches? Does your community proactively reach out to others?

Sweet saviour grant me a disciple’s heart after Your own, let me to tend to my sister or by brother in need swiftly. Just as You make haste to help me in my need. Amen

First reading
Philippians 1:1-11
Greeting and thanksgiving

From Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus, together with their presiding elders and deacons. We wish you the grace and peace of God our Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    I thank my God whenever I think of you; and every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present. I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes. It is only natural that I should feel like this towards you all, since you have shared the privileges which have been mine: both my chains and my work defending and establishing the gospel. You have a permanent place in my heart, and God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you. My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.


Gospel
Luke 14:1-6
‘Is it against the law to cure a man on the sabbath?’

Now on a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. There in front of him was a man with dropsy, and Jesus addressed the lawyers and Pharisees. ‘Is it against the law’ he asked ‘to cure a man on the sabbath, or not?’ But they remained silent, so he took the man and cured him and sent him away. Then he said to them, ‘Which of you here, if his son falls into a well, or his ox, will not pull him out on a sabbath day without hesitation?’ And to this they could find no answer.


Every day is a challenge and yet it is one that we must face head on if we are to be victorious in our fight against satan, all his works and empty promises.

And so it is not so much as us putting on the breastplate of our personal integrity but rather the-Lord-our-integrity! We carry His truth round us as we go forth into the world as redeemed children so loved by God our Heavenly Father! Our hearts are moved to share His love and the joy of the Gospel with one and all!

I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God! Amen Alleluia

First reading
Ephesians 6:10-20 ·
Put on God’s armour and resist the devil

Grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his power. Put God’s armour on so as to be able to resist the devil’s tactics. For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and the Powers who originate the darkness in this world, the spiritual army of evil in the heavens. That is why you must rely on God’s armour, or you will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens, or have enough resources to hold your ground.
So stand your ground, with truth buckled round your waist, and integrity for a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to put out the burning arrows of the evil one. And then you must accept salvation from God to be your helmet and receive the word of God from the Spirit to use as a sword.
Pray all the time, asking for what you need, praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all the saints; and pray for me to be given an opportunity to open my mouth and speak without fear and give out the mystery of the gospel of which I am an ambassador in chains; pray that in proclaiming it I may speak as boldly as I ought to.

Gospel
Luke 13:31-35
It would not be right for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem

Some Pharisees came up to Jesus. ‘Go away’ they said. ‘Leave this place, because Herod means to kill you.’ He replied, ‘You may go and give that fox this message: Learn that today and tomorrow I cast out devils and on the third day attain my end. But for today and tomorrow and the next day I must go on, since it would not be right for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem.
‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused! So be it! Your house will be left to you. Yes, I promise you, you shall not see me till the time comes when you say:

‘Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 28, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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It is not enough to live as saints or to be saints for others but to be Saint makers ourselves! What do I mean? Simply this, by virtue of our baptism we are called to holiness not just individually but collectively hence the deeper expression ‘communion of Saints’; we must strive therefore to lead one another into greater Holiness. We do this by our own example of our love for Christ Jesus our Lord put into action for others. We endeavour each day to embrace Him through holy communion, by listening to His word and will for us at His feet.

In this day and age we have fight extra hard to avoid sin and temptation. Because the devil too or rather evil at its core uses the new ‘tools’ available. Mobile phones, tablets and so forth are easy access to portals of sin and debauchery! Pornography, or the simple lure to immodesty are at your fingertips. Openly as well hidden behind popular apps and games! Do we continue then to allow ourselves to be tempted? Or do we fight the battle head on by ensuring that our devices are ‘sacramentals’ used towards our desire to grow in holiness by removing all that might lead us astray. And thereafter do we use them to communicate the truth to be found in our Lord Jesus Christ or do we use them for gossip, to spread propaganda, fake news, or anything contrary to our faith?

Lord Jesus it is my desire to be your beacon of light this and everyday. Help me therefore to live always in Your light. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, now and forever. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 2:19-22 ·
In Christ you are no longer aliens, but citizens like us

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

Gospel
Luke 6:12-16
Jesus chooses his twelve apostles

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 27, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Never mind that the word ‘Love’ in the English language falls very short in conveying what it means even in the context that it is used. It can be filled with emotion or totally devoid of it! How then can we possibly speak to the magnitude, depth, breadth and height of God’s love. Love which is self giving, nurturing and Wills the good of others. It grows beyond itself and increases in depth the more it is given away. If we have an inkling of understanding of His love for us and what is means to live as One in His love; then we might begin to see that the Kingdom of God is built upon the foundation of love and in the realm of His love.

And If we cherish and embrace the fact that the Word of God is life giving. How then can the words that come out from our own mouths be any less life giving? Are we not living as His Children created in His likeness and image? Just as Christ in His great love, laid down His life for His bride, let us love one another as He loved us. It is our call as husbands and wives to lead one another to greater Holiness as we journey together onwards into Heaven. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 5:21-33 ·
Give way to one another in obedience to Christ

Give way to one another in obedience to Christ. Wives should regard their husbands as they regard the Lord, since as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife; and as the Church submits to Christ, so should wives to their husbands, in everything. Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy. He made her clean by washing her in water with a form of words, so that when he took her to himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless. In the same way, husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies; for a man to love his wife is for him to love himself. A man never hates his own body, but he feeds it and looks after it; and that is the way Christ treats the Church, because it is his body – and we are its living parts. For this reason, a man must leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one body. This mystery has many implications; but I am saying it applies to Christ and the Church. To sum up; you too, each one of you, must love his wife as he loves himself; and let every wife respect her husband.


Gospel
Luke 13:18-21
The kingdom of God is like the yeast that leavened three measures of flour

Jesus said, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it with? It is like a mustard seed which a man took and threw into his garden: it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air sheltered in its branches.’
    Another thing he said, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God with? It is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’


Holiness for us is not something we strive for some of the time, on Sundays or at certain times, but at all times every day. And on our journey towards greater holiness we must be life giving in all aspects our lives. In our words, deeds even in our sexuality. Sex in itself is pure, a gift to further life. It encourages and gives life. Like all things when not ordered towards the Lord our God can be distorted! Therefore we are reminded in today’s first reading that we must order our lives such that we live as children of light in our Lord Jesus Christ. To honour God our Heavenly Father by living in His love always.

We have a loving saviour who seeks to free us from all our bondages of sin and evil. Christ our Lord, will always restore us to fullness of life in Him whenever we turn our hearts towards Him. By His loving example in Today’s Gospel, there is no good time to do good; we must do good all the time and at every opportunity. Afterall God is good all the time! Amen

First reading
Ephesians 4:32-5:8
Follow Christ by loving as he loved you

Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.
    Try, then, to imitate God as children of his that he loves and follow Christ loving as he loved you, giving himself up in our place as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God. Among you there must be not even a mention of fornication or impurity in any of its forms, or promiscuity: this would hardly become the saints! There must be no coarseness, or salacious talk and jokes – all this is wrong for you; raise your voices in thanksgiving instead. For you can be quite certain that nobody who actually indulges in fornication or impurity or promiscuity – which is worshipping a false god – can inherit anything of the kingdom of God. Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments: it is for this loose living that God’s anger comes down on those who rebel against him. Make sure that you are not included with them. You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light.


Gospel
Luke 13:10-17
Was it not right to untie this woman’s bonds on the sabbath day?

One sabbath day Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who for eighteen years had been possessed by a spirit that left her enfeebled; she was bent double and quite unable to stand upright. When Jesus saw her he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are rid of your infirmity’ and he laid his hands on her. And at once she straightened up, and she glorified God.
    But the synagogue official was indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, and he addressed the people present. ‘There are six days’ he said ‘when work is to be done. Come and be healed on one of those days and not on the sabbath.’ But the Lord answered him. ‘Hypocrites!’ he said ‘Is there one of you who does not untie his ox or his donkey from the manger on the sabbath and take it out for watering? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan has held bound these eighteen years – was it not right to untie her bonds on the sabbath day?’ When he said this, all his adversaries were covered with confusion, and all the people were overjoyed at all the wonders he worked.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 24, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Indeed we must always remember that we are all children of God our Heavenly Father so loved by Him. But we cannot simply remain as obstinate children refusing to grow in our faith and love of Him and for one another. We cannot play the ‘I don’t know’ game any longer. If we say we have no special or unique gifts how then are we truly reflecting the love God our Father has for us? It is time for us to stop, reflect and discern through deep prayer.  Where are we in our faith? How many lives have we touched as instruments of grace for love of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Holy Spirit Lord, help me mature more fully in my faith. Help me grow in my love such that the love for my Lord is outpoured through all my actions for Him and to all that I meet. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 4:7-16 ·
By grace, we shall not be children any longer

Each one of us has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it. It was said that he would:

When he ascended to the height, he captured prisoners, he gave gifts to men.

When it says, ‘he ascended’, what can it mean if not that he descended right down to the lower regions of the earth? The one who rose higher than all the heavens to fill all things is none other than the one who descended. And to some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ. In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.
    Then we shall not be children any longer, or tossed one way and another and carried along by every wind of doctrine, at the mercy of all the tricks men play and their cleverness in practising deceit. If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow in all ways into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each separate part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up, in love.


Gospel
Luke 13:1-9
‘Leave the fig tree one more year’

Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’
    He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 23, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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It is our Christian call to live our lives in unity with One spirit, in Holiness through our Lord Jesus Christ. By living in His love we can bear all Him and our brethren.

We will seek out every opportunity to forgive and to ask for forgiveness for our own shortcomings. For reconciliation with brother or sister means full communion with God our Heavenly Father. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 4:1-6 ·
One Body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God

I, the prisoner in the Lord, implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all.


Gospel
Luke 12:54-59
Do you not know how to interpret these times?

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘When you see a cloud looming up in the west you say at once that rain is coming, and so it does. And when the wind is from the south you say it will be hot, and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the face of the earth and the sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?
    ‘Why not judge for yourselves what is right? For example: when you go to court with your opponent, try to settle with him on the way, or he may drag you before the judge and the judge hand you over to the bailiff and the bailiff have you thrown into prison. I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny.’


O my Lord my God I love because You first loved me. Even before I came to be in my mother’s womb You knew me.

In knowing Your great love for me Lord Jesus, may I love my brethren!

Disunity, dismissiveness and scattering comes from the evil one. Give me the courage and strength to always strive for unity in Your love. For it You Lord who gathers Your flock.

In knowing Your great love for me Lord Jesus, may I love my brethren!

The right way to love my neighbour as myself, is by loving You with all my heart, mind and soul. It is through that same love I can truly love; family, friends and strangers.

In knowing Your great love for me Lord Jesus, may I love my brethren! Amen

First reading
Ephesians 3:14-21
A prayer that faithful may know the love of Christ

This is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name:
    Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.
    Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.


Gospel
Luke 12:49-53
How I wish it were blazing already!

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over!
    ‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’


Yes there are indeed mysteries of our faith not yet revealed and whether or not they will be, we simply do not know. Why did the Lord our God choose to reveal Himself to the Jews? Why was Jesus born a Jew? Why not an Asian? European? And so on.. Why did God not choose to reveal Himself to all of us, all at once? We can go on asking many more questions, but I suppose the fundamental ones would be why would we want to question the infinite wisdom of the Lord our God? Who chose Jesus to be the Light for all nations not just the Jews. His dying on the cross was for the salvation of the world! The lamb of God slain for us so that we might live free from sin in His love. God became man so that man can become more like God in every way. We are united perfectly with Him through Holy Communion.

So then while we are on the journey back to Him. We are called to take up our cross and follow Him. To be good stewards for one another, to lead one another back to Him. Jesus came to serve and not to be served, can we do any less? The more we give off ourselves for Him and for brethren, the more we will receive from Him. He will never give us more than we can manage. We are made for more and more we shall be through Him, with Him and in Him. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 3:2-12 ·
The pagans now share the same inheritance

You have probably heard how I have been entrusted by God with the grace he meant for you, and that it was by a revelation that I was given the knowledge of the mystery, as I have just described it very shortly. If you read my word you will have some idea of the depths that I see in the mystery of Christ. This that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ, through the gospel. I have been made the servant of that gospel by a gift of grace from God who gave it to me by his own power. I, who am less than the least of all the saints have been entrusted with this special grace, not only of proclaiming to the pagans the infinite treasure of Christ but also of explaining how the mystery is to be dispensed. Through all the ages, this has been kept hidden in God, the creator of everything. Why? So that the Sovereignties and Powers should learn only now, through the Church, how comprehensive God’s wisdom really is, exactly according to the plan which he had had from all eternity in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is why we are bold enough to approach God in complete confidence, through our faith in him.


Gospel
Luke 12:39-48
The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect

Jesus said to his disciples:
    ‘You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’
    Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.
    The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’


There was a time when I was little envious of the catechumens on the journey to their baptism. Those who were properly catechised and instructed seemed to have a fire burning within them by the time they are baptised into the church. They who have come from different walks of life, cultures, race, beliefs were now united as One with me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Once sinners now saints, children of God our Heavenly Father so loved by Him on the journey to greater Holiness with and in Him. Why then did my fire only start burning later on in my life when I was born into our faith and brought up in it? Why did I not feel any fraternal love for my brethren from the very beginning?

The answers are found in today’s Gospel. I was asleep! I was too comfortable with inertia and so stubbornly refused to be dressed for action. The wick of my lamp was made damp by my worldly ways and attachments. All these changed, when I finally responded to my Lord’s call and decided to follow Him with all my heart. I was made new once again through His mercy, love and grace. This renewal, this transfiguration in me is not a one time thing for me, for you or even the neophytes! We have to consecrate ourselves daily to the sacred heart of Jesus. We have to commit to knowing His Word and will for us and living it out in our lives. Only then do we stand ready, dressed for action with our lamps lit; ready to greet Him when He returns. Amen Alleluia!

First reading
Ephesians 2:12-22 ·
In Christ you are no longer aliens, but citizens like us

Do not forget that you had no Christ and were excluded from membership of Israel, aliens with no part in the covenants with their Promise; you were immersed in this world, without hope and without God. But now in Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law. This was to create one single New Man in himself out of the two of them and by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single Body and reconcile them with God: in his own person he killed the hostility. Later he came to bring the good news of peace, peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near at hand. Through him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father.
    So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.


Gospel
Luke 12:36-38
Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit

Jesus said to his disciples:
    ‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready.’


Don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait for the day to stop talking about this pandemic or use the proper name Co-vid 19 for a long, long time. When will it be become a history lesson for us? And just like every history lesson in the past, what would the take away be?

For many life is resuming to what it was before, and so have already started living as though ‘history’ had already begun. Pity if this rare God-given opportunity and time to draw even closer to Him is simply squandered away. Back to our worldly self centred lives of desiring and seeking more opportunities for ourselves and to have more only ‘me’ and ‘family’ time! ‘The Lord our God will understand”,’ afterall He knows how much we suffered.” “Our community, ministry, our brethren too can wait a little while more, there is always tomorrow!” Are we really that shallow in our faith? How foolish indeed are we to take all that we have for granted once again!

O dearest Lord Jesus I thank God our Father for the opportunity to draw even closer to You and Him during this challenging times. My heart so yearned for the gifts of Your Sacraments of Love for which I had taken for granted. It leapt for joy when I could once again partake in Your loving embrace through them. You showed us that You had never left us and provided for us new ways to gather in Your love as a community. You filled us with Your ever loving presence in our prayer meetings whether its was via Zoom, Google-meet, hangout, Skype etc.  Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit we pray to remain steadfast in our desire to grow in Holiness and in our love for You and for one another. Your Will be done now and forever. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 2:1-10 ·
Sinners are saved in Christ Jesus

You were dead through the crimes and the sins in which you used to live when you were following the way of this world, obeying the ruler who governs the air, the spirit who is at work in the rebellious. We all were among them too in the past, living sensual lives, ruled entirely by our own physical desires and our own ideas; so that by nature we were as much under God’s anger as the rest of the world. But God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ – it is through grace that you have been saved – and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus.
    This was to show for all ages to come, through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus, how infinitely rich he is in grace. Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit. We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it.


Gospel
Luke 12:13-21
Fool! This very night your soul will be demanded of you

A man in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.’ ‘My friend,’ he replied, ‘who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.’
    Then he told them a parable: ‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, “What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.” But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?” So it is when a man stores up treasure for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 17, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Start Date    : Today
End Date     : To be advised
Destination : Heaven

Day 1 > 24hr plan

Have you planned your itinerary yet? Has it started? How many hours in a day do you spend in the presence of our Lord since your goal is to be with Him? How many hours in a day do you sacrifice and toil for love of family, brethren, for your community, ministry, Holy mother Church?

Was my declaration to take up my cross and follow my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ only lip service? How have I laid down my life for Him or my brethren? How have I loved them as He loved me?

Transfigure me Lord that I may glorify You by my body, mind and soul all the days of my life now and forever. Amen

St ignatius of Antioch pray for us…

First reading
Philippians 3:17-4:1 ·
Our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes Christ to transfigure us

My brothers, be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this and study them as you used to study us. I have told you often, and I repeat it today with tears, there are many who are behaving as the enemies of the cross of Christ. They are destined to be lost. They make foods into their god and they are proudest of something they ought to think shameful; the things they think important are earthly things. For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.
    So then, my brothers and dear friends, do not give way but remain faithful in the Lord. I miss you very much, dear friends; you are my joy and my crown.


Gospel
John 12:24-26
If a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it yields a rich harvest

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you, most solemnly, unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me,
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 16, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Shall we continue with the illusion of thinking we are only accountable to the laws of the land? That we will be judged accordingly only to what can be proven by way of physical evidence? Have we put aside God’s law and commandments? Have we somehow forgotten that the Lord our God sees and knows everything? Perhaps we have taken His love, mercy and patience for granted! “Out of sight, out of mind?!” “There is always tomorrow?!”

Come now brethren let us be mindful that our Heavenly inheritance is not our birthright or entitlement but a gift of love by way of our response to our Lord’s invitation to remain forever in perfect union with Him. Such is His love for us that we can already experience a foretaste of it in the present, in living and loving in His presence. Glory to God in the highest!

O Holy Spirit guide me in my every thought, word and action. Amen

First reading
Ephesians 1:11-14 ·
You have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit


It is in Christ that we were claimed as God’s own, chosen from the beginning, under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things as he decides by his own will;
chosen to be, for his greater glory, the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came.
Now you too, in him, have heard the message of the truth and the good news of your salvation, and have believed it; and you too have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit of the Promise, the pledge of our inheritance which brings freedom for those whom God has taken for his own, to make his glory praised.


Gospel
Luke 12:1-7
Not one sparrow is forgotten in God’s sight

The people had gathered in their thousands so that they were treading on one another. And Jesus began to speak, first of all to his disciples. ‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees – that is, their hypocrisy. Everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. For this reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places will be proclaimed on the housetops.
    ‘To you my friends I say: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. I will tell you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Can you not buy five sparrows for two pennies? And yet not one is forgotten in God’s sight. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. There is no need to be afraid: you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.’


Indeed we groan, oh how we groan! As time goes by, our bodies remind us through pains that we might be closer than we think to returning home to our Heavenly Father. We are made to witness the desparture of friends, family and greatly loved ones who have gone ahead before us.

Through our conviction of faith we thank and praise God our Heavenly Father! For in His great love for us we have hope of eternal life with Him through His son our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. How do we know this for sure? For the Spirit speaks this unwavering truth deep into our hearts. And so we wait in eager anticipation for our reunion with those who had returned to our true home.

Even as we wait patiently, our sweet and loving saviour the source of all life invites us to remain connected with Him at all times. Through Him we are nourished, renewed, invigorated to share in His love. Such that we live not for ourselves but for one another. This is what it means to be in communion, this is what it means to bear fruit for the glory of God. Amen

St Theresa of Avila pray for us….

First reading
Romans 8:22-27 ·
The Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words

From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free. For we must be content to hope that we shall be saved – our salvation is not in sight, we should not have to be hoping for it if it were – but, as I say, we must hope to be saved since we are not saved yet – it is something we must wait for with patience.
    The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.

Gospel
John 15:1-8
I am the vine, you are the branches

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 14, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Let us not make anymore excuses saying we are only human, are frail and prone to making mistakes. Do we say it over and over without ever striving to overcome once and for all, our habitual sins? Have we convinced ourselves that we somehow have two opposing spirits within us?

What we have is one Spirit, that is holy and desires to be ever holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. We have free will to choose to remain holy and strive for greater holiness. Or we can choose to be self indulgent and dabble with that which is unholy; evil as its source. So what does fire do when stoked? It spreads! Such is the nature of evil which not only spreads like wild fire but it scatters!

We cannot live our lives in duality for we are made to be One with Him, through Him and in Him; our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. So let us consecrate ourselves this day to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. To glorify our One triune God by our lives now and forever. Amen

First reading
Galatians 5:18-25 ·
To belong to Christ, crucify all self-indulgence

If you are led by the Spirit, no law can touch you. When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: fornication, gross indecency and sexual irresponsibility; idolatry and sorcery; feuds and wrangling, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels; disagreements, factions, envy; drunkenness, orgies and similar things. I warn you now, as I warned you before: those who behave like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. There can be no law against things like that, of course. You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.
    Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.


Gospel
Luke 11:42-46
You overlook justice and the love of God

The Lord said to the Pharisees: ‘Alas for you Pharisees! You who pay your tithe of mint and rue and all sorts of garden herbs and overlook justice and the love of God! These you should have practised, without leaving the others undone. Alas for you Pharisees who like taking the seats of honour in the synagogues and being greeted obsequiously in the market squares! Alas for you, because you are like the unmarked tombs that men walk on without knowing it!
    A lawyer then spoke up. ‘Master,’ he said ‘when you speak like this you insult us too.’
    ‘Alas for you lawyers also,’ he replied ‘because you load on men burdens that are unendurable, burdens that you yourselves do not move a finger to lift.’


O Jesus my Lord rebuke my selfish, self centred heart! For I know it is for love of me that You seek to correct the errors of my waywardness and thoughts. Change my heart O Lord, make me more like You.

Through Your eyes I now see that my service in Church and outside was serving my own need to do so. For were I serving in faith and love of You; then there would be no impatience, no hidden want of affirmation or gratitude, no fear of lack of funds or support, no judgement on the attitude of others and so on. Change my heart O Lord, make me more like You.

May my faith in You Lord, be seen, heard and felt through my love put into action for You and my brethren. Amen

First reading
Galatians 5:1-6 ·
It is faith, not the Law, that justifies us

When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. It is I, Paul, who tell you this: if you allow yourselves to be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all. With all solemnity I repeat my warning: Everyone who accepts circumcision is obliged to keep the whole Law. But if you do look to the Law to make you justified, then you have separated yourselves from Christ, and have fallen from grace. Christians are told by the Spirit to look to faith for those rewards that righteousness hopes for, since in Christ Jesus whether you are circumcised or not makes no difference – what matters is faith that makes its power felt through love.


Gospel
Luke 11:37-41
Give thanks for what you have and it will all be clean

Jesus had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. He went in and sat down at the table. The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal. But the Lord said to him, ‘Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too? Instead, give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you.’


Why do many of us return or even remain yoked to slavery of sin? Is it simply the familiarity of habit? Are we content with its fleeting comforts if any? Can we claim it is a victory of choice rather than one made from our insecurities? Do we continue to hide our guilt and emptiness? We might convince ourselves we have none of the former but the latter is impossible to fill. Have we not realised by now that being yoked to sin is not simply a bad habit, but that we are yoked to evil? Who then is our master?

Let us choose instead this day, to always remember the great an everlasting love of God our Heavenly Father. As we gaze upon that very sign of His great love for us; our crucified redeemer who hung and died on the Cross that we might live free from the bondage of sin. Let turn to Him in our struggles and moments of weakness so that we draw strength and the needed grace to overcome it. Let us choose to walk in His light and as we live in the joy of our resurrected Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading
Galatians 4:22-24,26-27,31-5:1
Christ freed us: do not submit again to slavery

The Law says, if you remember, that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave-girl, and one by his free-born wife. The child of the slave-girl was born in the ordinary way; the child of the free woman was born as the result of a promise. This can be regarded as an allegory: the women stand for the two covenants. The first who comes from Mount Sinai, and whose children are slaves, is Hagar. The Jerusalem above, however, is free and is our mother, since scripture says: Shout for joy, you barren women who bore no children! Break into shouts of joy and gladness, you who were never in labour. For there are more sons of the forsaken one than sons of the wedded wife. So, my brothers, we are the children, not of the slave-girl, but of the free-born wife.
    When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.


Gospel
Luke 11:29-32
As Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be a sign

The crowds got even bigger, and Jesus addressed them:
    ‘This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here.’

Twenty Eight Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: October 10, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Dressing for the Feast: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:
Isaiah 25:6–10
Psalm 23:1–6
Philippians 4:12–14, 19–20
Matthew 22:1–14
 
Our Lord’s parable in today’s Gospel is again a fairly straightforward outline of salvation history.

God is the king (see Matthew 5:35), Jesus the bridegroom (see Matthew 9:15), the feast is the salvation and eternal life that Isaiah prophesies in today’s First Reading. The Israelites are those first invited to the feast by God’s servants, the prophets (see Isaiah 7:25). For refusing repeated invitations and even killing His prophets, Israel has been punished, its city conquered by foreign armies.

Now, Jesus makes clear, God is sending new servants, His apostles, to call not only Israelites, but all people—good and bad alike—to the feast of His kingdom. This an image of the Church, which Jesus elsewhere compares to a field sown with both wheat and weeds, and a fishing net that catches good fish and bad (see Matthew 13:24–43, 47–50).

We have all been called to this great feast of love in the Church, where, as Isaiah foretold, the veil that once separated the nations from the covenants of Israel has been destroyed, where the dividing wall of enmity has been torn down by the blood of Christ (see Ephesians 2:11–14).

As we sing in today’s Psalm, the Lord has led us to this feast, refreshing our souls in the waters of Baptism, spreading the table before us in the Eucharist. As Paul tells us in today’s Epistle, in the glorious riches of Christ, we will find supplied whatever we need.

And in the rich food of His body, and the choice wine of His blood, we have a foretaste of the eternal banquet in the heavenly Jerusalem, when God will destroy death forever (see Hebrews 12:22–24).

But are we dressed for the feast, clothed in the garment of righteousness (see Revelation 19:8)? Not all who have been called will be chosen for eternal life, Jesus warns. Let us be sure that we’re living in a manner worthy of the invitation we’ve received (see Ephesians 4:1).


I have no memory of suckling at my mother’s breast, but I do vaguely remember drinking from a bottle later on in my years. What a Blessing it has been for me to have watched all three of my kids suckling at their mother’s breast. While it was truly a joy for me, I could not help feel a little envious; having witnessed such intimacy, warmth and love all bundled into one. The shared bond of a mother nursing her baby lying next to her is  a breathtaking sight and I can only imagine the feeling of such an intimate, loving act.

How did I miss all those years that the Lord my God wants to share that very nature of an intimate bond with me? How He seeks every morning and as many times in the day to hold me close to His bosom and nourish me with His Word. That I may always remain grafted to my Lord, the source of all life. How He truly wants for me a joy filled live of keeping His word deep within me. God my Heavenly Father truly loves me and He loves His children of all nations the same way!

Dearest Blessed Mother of the Word incarnate, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Pray for us…..

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Isaiah 49:15 AMEN, ALLELUIA!

First reading
Galatians 3:22-29 ·
There are no more distinctions: all are one in Christ Jesus

Scripture makes no exceptions when it says that sin is master everywhere. In this way the promise can only be given through faith in Jesus Christ and can only be given to those who have this faith.
    Before faith came, we were allowed no freedom by the Law; we were being looked after till faith was revealed. The Law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian, and you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised.


Gospel
Luke 11:27-28
‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’

As Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’ But he replied, ‘Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!’