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22nd Sunday In Ordinary Time

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

Readings:

Deuteronomy 4:1–2,6–8

Psalm 15:2–5

James 1:17–18, 21–22, 27

Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

St Augustine pray for us…

First reading

1 Thessalonians 4:9-11 ·

You have learnt from God how to love one another

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

Gospel

Matthew 25:14-30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

St Monica pray for us…..

First reading

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 ·

What God wants is for you all to be holy

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 25:1-13

The wise and foolish virgins

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


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

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

First reading

1 Thessalonians 3:7-13 ·

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

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 24:42-51

He is coming at an hour you do not expect

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

First reading

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 ·

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 23:27-32

You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

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

Saint Bartholomew Pray for us….

First reading

Apocalypse 21:9-14 ·

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

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

Gospel

John 1:45-51

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

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

First reading

1 Thessalonians 1:1-5,8-10

You broke with idolatry when you were converted to God

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

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 23:13-22

Alas for you, blind guides!

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

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

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

21st Sunday In Ordinary Time

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

Readings:

Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18

Psalm 34:2-3, 16-23

Ephesians 5:21-32

John 6:60-69

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

First reading

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

Ruth gives birth to Obed, the grandfather of David

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

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

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

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 23:1-12

They do not practise what they preach

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

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


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

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

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

Lord teach me to love as You do. Amen

First reading

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

Ruth the Moabitess is brought to Bethlehem by Naomi

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

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

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

‘wherever you go, I will go,

wherever you live, I will live.

Your people shall be my people,

and your God, my God.’

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

Gospel

Matthew 22:34-40

The commandments of love

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


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

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

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

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

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

First reading

Judges 11:29-39 ·

Jephthah sacrifices his daughter in fulfilment of a vow

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 22:1-14

Invite everyone you can to the wedding

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


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

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

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

First reading

Judges 6:11-24 ·

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

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

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 19:23-30

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

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

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

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

First reading

Judges 2:11-19

The Lord appoints judges to rescue the men of Israel

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 19:16-22

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

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


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

Readings:

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

Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16

1 Corinthians 15:20-27

Luke 1:39-56

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

Let us pray…

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

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

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

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

First reading

Joshua 24:14-29

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 19:13-15

Do not stop the little children coming to me

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


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

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

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

First reading

Joshua 24:1-13

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

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

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 19:3-12

Husband and wife are no longer two, but one body

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

Let us pray….

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

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

First reading

Joshua 3:7-11,13-17 ·

The Israelites cross the Jordan dry-shod

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 18:21-19:1

‘How often must I forgive my brother?’

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

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

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

St Clare Pray for us….

First reading

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 ·

Moses dies and is buried

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 18:15-20

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

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

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

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

St Lawrence pray for us…..

First reading

2 Corinthians 9:6-10

God loves a cheerful giver

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

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

Gospel

John 12:24-26

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

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you, most solemnly,

unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,

it remains only a single grain;

but if it dies,

it yields a rich harvest.

Anyone who loves his life loses it;

anyone who hates his life in this world

will keep it for the eternal life.

If a man serves me, he must follow me,

wherever I am, my servant will be there too.

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


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

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

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

First reading

Deuteronomy 10:12-22

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

Moses said to the people:

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 17:22-27

‘They will put the Son of Man to death’

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

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


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

Readings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

First reading

Deuteronomy 6:4-13 ·

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart

Moses said to the people:

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 17:14-20

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

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

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


By Theophanes the Greek

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

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

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

First reading

Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 ·

His robe was white as snow

As I watched:

Thrones were set in place

and one of great age took his seat.

His robe was white as snow,

the hair of his head as pure as wool.

His throne was a blaze of flames,

its wheels were a burning fire.

A stream of fire poured out,

issuing from his presence.

A thousand thousand waited on him,

ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.

A court was held

and the books were opened.

I gazed into the visions of the night.

And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,

one like a son of man.

He came to the one of great age

and was led into his presence.

On him was conferred sovereignty,

glory and kingship,

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

His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty

which shall never pass away,

nor will his empire ever be destroyed.

Gospel

Mark 9:2-10

This is my Son, the Beloved

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

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


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

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

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

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

First reading

Numbers 20:1-13 ·

Moses makes water flow from the rock at Meribah

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gospel

Matthew 16:13-23

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

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

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


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

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

Let us pray this Healing Prayer of Surrender together…

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

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

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

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

First reading

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

The spies return from Canaan

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

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

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

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

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

    The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said:

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

Gospel

Matthew 15:21-28

The Canaanite woman debates with Jesus and saves her daughter

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


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

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

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

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

First reading

Numbers 12:1-13 ·

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 14:22-36

Jesus walks on the water

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

First reading

Numbers 11:4-15

The sons of Israel complain in the desert

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

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

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 14:13-21

The feeding of the five thousand

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

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

18th Sunday In Ordinary Time

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

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

 

Readings:

Exodus 16:2–4, 12–15

Psalm 78:3–4, 23–25, 54

Ephesians 4:17, 20–24

John 6:24–35

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Saint Ignatius Loyola Pray for us…..

First reading

Leviticus 25:1,8-17

The law of the jubilee year

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

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 14:1-12

The beheading of John the Baptist

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

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


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

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

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

First reading

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

The law of the festivals of the Lord

The Lord spoke to Moses. He said:

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

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

    The Lord spoke to Moses. He said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gospel

Matthew 13:54-58

A prophet is only despised in his own country

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


Are we prepared to receive the indwelling of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Are the tabernacles of our heart, mind and soul ready to receive Him? Have we walked the narrow path fighting with all our might against all sin and temptation? Are we fully reconciled with Him through the Sacrament He graced us with or have we at least made an act of contrition till we can do so? Do we stand ready and eager to hear and receive His Word daily deep into our very beings? And most of all are we equally if not more, hospitable to our brethren just as we would be our Lord?

Then surely like St Martha, we can expect our dear Lord to visit us, in our joys and in our sorrows. He will be present with us through it all.

Jesus come dwell in my heart for I am One with You as You are one with me. Amen

St Martha pray for us…..

First reading

Exodus 40:16-21,34-38 ·

The tabernacle is set up

Moses did exactly as the Lord had directed him. The tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year. Moses erected the tabernacle. He fixed the sockets for it, put up its frames, put its crossbars in position, set up its posts. He spread the tent over the tabernacle and on top of this the covering for the tent, as the Lord had directed Moses. He took the Testimony and placed it inside the ark. He set the shafts to the ark and placed the throne of mercy on it. He brought the ark into the tabernacle and put the screening veil in place; thus he screened the ark of the Lord, as the Lord had directed Moses.

    The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because of the cloud that rested on it and because of the glory of the Lord that filled the tabernacle.

    At every stage of their journey, whenever the cloud rose from the tabernacle the sons of Israel would resume their march. If the cloud did not rise, they waited and would not march until it did. For the cloud of the Lord rested on the tabernacle by day, and a fire shone within the cloud by night, for all the House of Israel to see. And so it was for every stage of their journey.

Gospel

John 11:19-27

I am the resurrection and the life

Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to sympathise with them over their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:

‘I am the resurrection and the life.

If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live,

and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

Do you believe this?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’


I have often marvelled on how those who walk in the presence of the Lord have a glow about them whether on their faces or their very hearts which sets ours aglow just by being around them or just seeing them from afar. It is always a joy to speak with them and simply to be around them. For me and in no particular order it would be Sister Rosa a nun, Henry a parishioner, St John Paul II, Father Terence, Ivan and Alve.

They have found their treasure in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, His Word is lamp unto their feet. And they carry Him with them from deep within yet His light shines forth through them! No they are far from perfect but they strive for perfection and Holiness  through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Can we be like them? Surely we can for we are all called by Jesus to be Holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. And if we love His Word and Will for us, and so desire to walk humbly in His presence, we too would have found the treasure and would leave everything behind to live in His Kingdom. We too shall be salt and light in the world. Amen

First reading

Exodus 34:29-35 ·

Moses passes on to the people the orders given by the Lord

When Moses came down from the mountain of Sinai – as he came down from the mountain, Moses had the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands – he did not know that the skin on his face was radiant after speaking with the Lord. And when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, the skin on his face shone so much that they would not venture near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron with all the leaders of the community came back to him; and he spoke to them. Then all the sons of Israel came closer, and he passed on to them all the orders that the Lord had given him on the mountain of Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever he went into the Lord’s presence to speak with him, Moses would remove the veil until he came out again. And when he came out, he would tell the sons of Israel what he had been ordered to pass on to them, and the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord.

Gospel

Matthew 13:44-46

He sells everything he owns and buys the field

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

    ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.’


We are truly a headstrong people, we want what we want and we want it now! Fast food, fast money, fast cars, faster more efficient!

Is there anything from stopping us from being headstrong for love of our Lord? From being faithful and obedient?

Today we learn the nature and essence of God our loving Father. He is God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness; for thousands he maintains his kindness, forgives faults, transgression, sin; yet he lets nothing go unchecked, punishing the father’s fault in the sons and in the grandsons to the third and fourth generation.’ In other words He is All loving, All merciful, All forgiving, All patient, gentle and kind. However He is no pushover for us; as there will be a day of reckoning for us who refuse to the very end, to listen His Word and live out His Will for us according to His commands and statutes

St Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that love is patient, love is kind. And we are so loved by God our Heavenly Father that He loves us even when we are sinners and had sent His only begotten Son to save us. He waits ever patiently for our hearts to turn back to Him. Are we grateful for such undeserving love on our part? If are grateful then how can we continue to be impatient and unloving towards our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ?

Let us strive to grow in Holiness, love and patience. So that we can walk humbly with the Lord our God and always be in His presence. Amen

First reading

Exodus 33:7-11,34:5-9,28

‘They are a headstrong people; but forgive us our faults’

Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside the camp, at some distance from the camp. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone who had to consult the Lord would go out to the Tent of Meeting, outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the Tent, all the people would rise. Every man would stand at the door of his tent and watch Moses until he reached the Tent; the pillar of cloud would come down and station itself at the entrance to the Tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. When they saw the pillar of cloud stationed at the entrance to the Tent, all the people would rise and bow low, each at the door of his tent. The Lord would speak with Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would turn back to the camp, but the young man who was his servant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the Tent.

    And the Lord descended in the form of a cloud, and Moses stood with him there.

    He called on the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness; for thousands he maintains his kindness, forgives faults, transgression, sin; yet he lets nothing go unchecked, punishing the father’s fault in the sons and in the grandsons to the third and fourth generation.’ And Moses bowed down to the ground at once and worshipped. ‘If I have indeed won your favour, Lord,’ he said ‘let my Lord come with us, I beg. True, they are a headstrong people, but forgive us our faults and our sins, and adopt us as your heritage.’

    Moses stayed there with the Lord for forty days and forty nights, eating and drinking nothing. He inscribed on the tablets the words of the Covenant – the Ten Words.

Gospel

Matthew 13:36-43

As the darnel is gathered up and burnt, so it will be at the end of time

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


How has our faith, love and relationship in the Lord our God grown such that it is shows our love put into action for others? How many have we lead to the wonders and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ? Who loved us when we were still sinners and had made atonement for our sins!  Have we placed our love for the Lord our God above all else and everyone?

Or have we allowed the busyness of living in this challenging world overrun our thoughts and beliefs? That we turn to our ‘golden calfs’ for relief and comforts? To fill the void in our lives? What are they? Sexual gratification? Recognition? Honour and fame? Wealth? Gaming? Gambling? Television drama serial after drama serial?

Only Jesus can fill any void we have or think we might have! He alone can give us the peace and love that we constantly seek to find in the world. And He gives it to us all freely when we turn to Him for He truly desires that we live our lives to the full. The Lord is our Shepherd there is truly nothing we shall want. Let us therefore by our Christian Spirit be a leaven in the world for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen!

St Joachim and St Anne pray for us….

First reading

Exodus 32:15-24,30-34

The golden calf

Moses made his way back down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, tablets inscribed on both sides, inscribed on the front and on the back. These tablets were the work of God, and the writing on them was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.

    Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting. ‘There is the sound of battle in the camp’, he told Moses. Moses answered him:

‘No song of victory is this sound,

no wailing for defeat this sound;

it is the sound of chanting that I hear.’

As he approached the camp and saw the calf and the groups dancing, Moses’ anger blazed. He threw down the tablets he was holding and broke them at the foot of the mountain. He seized the calf they had made and burned it, grinding it into powder which he scattered on the water; and he made the sons of Israel drink it. To Aaron Moses said, ‘What has this people done to you, for you to bring such a great sin on them?’ ‘Let not my lord’s anger blaze like this’ Aaron answered. ‘You know yourself how prone this people is to evil. They said to me, “Make us a god to go at our head; this Moses, the man who brought us up from Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So I said to them, “Who has gold?,” and they took it off and brought it to me. I threw it into the fire and out came this calf.’

    On the following day Moses said to the people, ‘You have committed a grave sin. But now I shall go up to the Lord: perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.’ And Moses returned to the Lord. ‘I am grieved,’ he cried ‘this people has committed a grave sin, making themselves a god of gold. And yet, if it pleased you to forgive this sin of theirs…! But if not, then blot me out from the book that you have written.’ The Lord answered Moses, “It is the man who has sinned against me that I shall blot out from my book. Go now, lead the people to the place of which I told you. My angel shall go before you but, on the day of my visitation, I shall punish them for their sin.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:31-35

The smallest of all seeds grows into the biggest shrub of all

Jesus put a parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’

    He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

    In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:

I will speak to you in parables

and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.


Are you good? YES for you are a wonderful child of God our Heavenly Father made in His image and likeness and so loved by Him.

Can you remain good? YES if you choose always do His Will and to remain steadfast in prayer, to listen to His Word, act justly, love mercy and walk humbly in His presence.

Can you turn bad? YES for we have all been given free will. This happens if we choose evil and sin over the love of our Lord and God.  If we choose to live in the world and succumb to the influence of those who ‘thrive’ in it.

The Good news for us is that the LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in mercy. (Ps 103:8) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, God, He will not despise. For He sent His only Begotten Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to reconcile the world unto Him. Yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. (num 14:18) Let us therefore hasten unto Him!

Jesus my Lord I turn to You, wash me clean in Your blood and I will be white as snow! Let me remain steadfast in Your love always. Amen

First reading

Exodus 24:3-8 ·

This is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you

Moses went and told the people all the commands of the Lord and all the ordinances. In answer, all the people said with one voice, ‘We will observe all the commands that the Lord has decreed.’ Moses put all the commands of the Lord into writing, and early next morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve standing-stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he directed certain young Israelites to offer holocausts and to immolate bullocks to the Lord as communion sacrifices. Half of the blood Moses took up and put into basins, the other half he cast on the altar. And taking the Book of the Covenant he read it to the listening people, and they said, ‘We will observe all that the Lord has decreed; we will obey.’ Then Moses took the blood and cast it towards the people. This’ he said ‘is the blood of the Covenant that the Lord has made with you, containing all these rules.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:24-30

Let them both grow till the harvest

Jesus put another parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’


Are the commandments difficult to follow? Is listening to the Word of God just as challenging for us? Let dwell on this a little in light of today’s readings…..

Why did the Lord our God give us His people the commandments if not for His great and utter love for us? So that we may lead ordered and meaningful lives as One in His love. Even His enriching and life giving Word is freely given to us hence we hear how the sower in the parable freely scatters the seed. In other words, like the commandments, His Word is not forced upon us. He gives freely in His love. How we receive both is key! The real question then is just how much do we truly love the Lord our God? 

If we assent to His Will for us then we acclaim Him our Lord and King. That we truly love Him with all our heart, mind, strength and soul. And that we love one another as He loves us. We have received both therefore in rich soil and it is only a matter of time before we will see a rich harvest!

Sweet Jesus my Lord, I love because You loved me first. Let me dwell always in Your love for me, that I may love others in that same love. Amen

First reading

Exodus 20:1-17

The Law given at Sinai

God spoke all these words. He said, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

    ‘You shall have no gods except me.

    ‘You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God and I punish the father’s fault in the sons, the grandsons, and the great-grandsons of those who hate me; but I show kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    ‘You shall not utter the name of the Lord your God to misuse it, for the Lord will not leave unpunished the man who utters his name to misuse it.

    ‘Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for the Lord your God. You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals nor the stranger who lives with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that these hold, but on the seventh day he rested; that is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it sacred.

    ‘Honour your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God has given to you.

    ‘You shall not kill.

    ‘You shall not commit adultery.

    ‘You shall not steal.

    ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

    ‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is his.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:18-23

The man who hears the word and understands it yields a rich harvest

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


Mary of Magdala truly loved her Lord and God; she grieved and pined for love of Him.  That His battered, torn body which had laid in the tomb would not be desecrated any further by the Sins of men and women alike. She braved standing close to Him at His crucifixion and she would be brave once again in her distress to look to find His body and take it back from those who took Him.

Her great love for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was rewarded for our Lord revealed His resurrected self first to her. She would be then sent to share the joy of His resurrection with the brothers, His beloved disciples.

Lord Jesus my love, let Your light shine through me. That I may share with all whom I meet, the love and joy of You my resurrected Lord and God. Amen

St Mary Magdalen Pray for us….

First reading

Song of Songs 3:1-4 ·

I found him whom my heart loves

The bride says this:

On my bed, at night, I sought him

whom my heart loves.

I sought but did not find him.

So I will rise and go through the City;

in the streets and in the squares

I will seek him whom my heart loves.

I sought but did not find him.

The watchmen came upon me

on their rounds in the City:

‘Have you seen him whom my heart loves?’

Scarcely had I passed them

when I found him whom my heart loves.

Gospel

John 20:1-2,11-18

‘Mary, go and find the brothers and tell them’

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 21, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Our Lord never left us as orphans, He is always with us whether or not we are able to attend Holy Eucharist to be physically in His presence during these trying times of the pandemic. We can always turn to Him and He will comfort us and fill us with His grace. He desires to speak with us daily through our prayer time especially through His Word.

How can we if we are too busy or willing to listen? If we refuse to take up our bibles or missals to dwell in His Word? To live it in our daily lives? How will His seed ever take root? What fruit can we bear for Him? To even have the opportunity to bear fruit, we must allow for a single seed to take root somewhere in our heart! Our merciful, gentle and patient Lord does not expect us to be successful, He simply wants us to be obedient and allow for Him to nurture the seed within us. It is through Him alone that we are fruitful.

Let us pray the words of the wonderful Gospel acclamation today….. The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower;

whoever finds this seed will remain for ever. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Exodus 16:1-5,9-15 ·

The Lord sends quails and manna from heaven

From Elim they set out, and the whole community of the sons of Israel reached the wilderness of Sin – between Elim and Sinai – on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt. And the whole community of the sons of Israel began to complain against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness and said to them, ‘Why did we not die at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we were able to sit down to pans of meat and could eat bread to our heart’s content! As it is, you have brought us to this wilderness to starve this whole company to death!’

    Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now I will rain down bread for you from the heavens. Each day the people are to go out and gather the day’s portion; I propose to test them in this way to see whether they will follow my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, this will be twice as much as the daily gathering.’

    Moses said to Aaron, ‘To the whole community of the sons of Israel say this, “Present yourselves before the Lord, for he has heard your complaints.”’ As Aaron was speaking to the whole community of the sons of Israel, they turned towards the wilderness, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the form of a cloud. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel. Say this to them, “Between the two evenings you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have bread to your heart’s content. Then you will learn that I, the Lord, am your God.”’ And so it came about: quails flew up in the evening, and they covered the camp; in the morning there was a coating of dew all round the camp. When the coating of dew lifted, there on the surface of the desert was a thing delicate, powdery, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When they saw this, the sons of Israel said to one another, ‘What is that?’ not knowing what it was. ‘That’ said Moses to them ‘is the bread the Lord gives you to eat.’

Gospel

Matthew 13:1-9

A sower went out to sow

Jesus left the house and sat by the lakeside, but such large crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat and sat there. The people all stood on the beach, and he told them many things in parables.

    He said, ‘Imagine a sower going out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on patches of rock where they found little soil and sprang up straight away, because there was no depth of earth; but as soon as the sun came up they were scorched and, not having any roots, they withered away. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on rich soil and produced their crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Listen, anyone who has ears!’


Just as the Lord our God liberated the Israelites from slavery and bondage; and stopped the pursuit of the Egyptian army eager to bring them back to their old way of life; so too does Jesus our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ free us from all sin and the evil that lurks to draw us back to a life of darkness!

We are free to do the Holy Will of God our Heavenly which leads us into greater sonship and daughterhood. Because we who seek first to do first His Will, are One with Him and live free in His Kingdom. We are free from empty pride, of wanting honour for ourselves, greed, and all that lead us astray and away from Him. We love because He loved us first and so we honour Him by loving freely and wholly all our brethren starting with the least. This is what it means to be a family in Christ Jesus, One with and in Him. Amen

First reading

Exodus 14:21-15:1 ·

The crossing of the Red Sea

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove back the sea with a strong easterly wind all night, and he made dry land of the sea. The waters parted and the sons of Israel went on dry ground right into the sea, walls of water to right and to left of them. The Egyptians gave chase: after them they went, right into the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

    In the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians from the pillar of fire and of cloud, and threw the army into confusion. He so clogged their chariot wheels that they could scarcely make headway. ‘Let us flee from the Israelites,’ the Egyptians cried. ‘The Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians!’

    ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea,’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘that the waters may flow back on the Egyptians and their chariots and their horsemen.’

    Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and, as day broke, the sea returned to its bed. The fleeing Egyptians marched right into it, and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the very middle of the sea. The returning waters overwhelmed the chariots and the horsemen of Pharaoh’s whole army, which had followed the Israelites into the sea; not a single one of them was left. But the sons of Israel had marched through the sea on dry ground, walls of water to right and to left of them.

    That day, the Lord rescued Israel from the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. Israel witnessed the great act that the Lord had performed against the Egyptians, and the people venerated the Lord; they put their faith in the Lord and in Moses, his servant.

    It was then that Moses and the sons sang this song in honour of the Lord:

Gospel

Matthew 12:46-50

My mother and my brothers are anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 19, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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If I were a sheep of my Good Shepherd’s flock will I need anything other than His love and to be in His loving care? Will I not be able to recognise His gentle voice and follow Him? What other wonders and signs would I ever need other then that my Lord pure, spotless victim took on my sins and died on the cross for me so that I may live in the light of His resurrection!

I am a child of an ever loving and merciful Father in Heaven. I only need to be still in His presence and all trials and tribulations will wash over me. For I am cradled close to His bosom, no evil shall I fear.

Therefore while I may live in this world, I am not of it and shall return to my Father in Heaven who reigns with His Son my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen

First reading

Exodus 14:5-18

Pharaoh sets out in pursuit of the sons of Israel

When Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was told that the Israelites had made their escape, he and his courtiers changed their minds about the people. ‘What have we done,’ they said ‘allowing Israel to leave our service?’ So Pharaoh had his chariot harnessed and gathered his troops about him, taking six hundred of the best chariots and all the other chariots in Egypt, each manned by a picked team. The Lord made Pharaoh, king of Egypt, stubborn, and he gave chase to the sons of Israel as they made their triumphant escape. So the Egyptians gave chase and came up with them where they lay encamped beside the sea – all the horses, the chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen, his army – near Pi-hahiroth, facing Baal-zephon. And as Pharaoh approached, the sons of Israel looked round – and there were the Egyptians in pursuit of them!

    The sons of Israel were terrified and cried out to the Lord. To Moses they said, ‘Were there no graves in Egypt that you must lead us out to die in the wilderness? What good have you done us, bringing us out of Egypt? We spoke of this in Egypt, did we not? Leave us alone, we said, we would rather work for the Egyptians! Better to work for the Egyptians than die in the wilderness!’

    Moses answered the people, ‘Have no fear! Stand firm, and you will see what the Lord will do to save you today: the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will do the fighting for you: you have only to keep still.’

    The Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me so? Tell the sons of Israel to march on. For yourself, raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and part it for the sons of Israel to walk through the sea on dry ground. I for my part will make the heart of the Egyptians so stubborn that they will follow them. So shall I win myself glory at the expense of Pharaoh, of all his army, his chariots, his horsemen. And when I have won glory for myself, at the expense of Pharaoh and his chariots and his army, the Egyptians will learn that I am the Lord.’

 

Gospel

Matthew 12:38-42

There is something greater than Solomon here

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

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: July 17, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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One Flock: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:


Jeremiah 23:1–16
Psalms 23:1–6
Ephesians 2:13–18
Mark 6:30–34


As the Twelve return from their first missionary journey in today’s Gospel, our readings continue to reflect on the authority and mission of the Church.


Jeremiah says in the First Reading that Israel’s leaders, through godlessness and fanciful teachings, had misled and scattered God’s people. He promises God will send a shepherd, a king and son of David, to gather the lost sheep and appoint for them new shepherds (see Ezekiel 34:23).


The crowd gathering on the green grass (see Mark 6:39) in today’s Gospel is the start of the remnant that Jeremiah promised would be brought back to the meadow of Israel. The people seem to sense that Jesus is the Lord, the good shepherd (see John 10:11), the king they’ve been waiting for (see Hosea 3:1–5).


Jesus is moved to pity, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd. This phrase was used by Moses to describe Israel’s need for a shepherd to succeed him (see Numbers 27:17). And as Moses appointed Joshua, Jesus appointed the Twelve to continue shepherding His people on earth.


Jesus had said there were other sheep who did not belong to Israel’s fold but would hear His voice and be joined to the one flock of the one shepherd (see John 10:16).


In God’s plan, the Church is to seek out first the lost sheep of the house of Israel and then to bring all nations into the fold (see Acts 13:36; Romans 1:16).


Paul, too, in today’s Epistle, sees the Church as a new creation, in which those nations who were once far off from God are joined as “one new person” with the children of Israel.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 17, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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What struck me to the heart in today’s first reading was not how many people had to pack up their lives to flee from slavery or the little time they had for food preparation and so on. But that the Lord kept vigil to bring them out.  How many can relate keeping vigil for a beloved one who is very sick. Or perhaps keeping vigil through the night so that loved ones can rest peacefully in strange surroundings and perhaps extreme weather conditions. The time slowly passes by as we watch attentively in prayer and often in great anxiety. The love of the Lord our God for all of us is immeasurable! He is with us in and all through our darkest moments.

He will not break the crushed reed, nor put out the smouldering wick. His mercy and love for us endures forever. All nations can put their hope and trust in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for He is our Shepherd we shall not want! Amen

O Blessed Mother pray for us…..

 

First reading

Exodus 12:37-42 ·

The sons of Israel leave Egypt hurriedly by night

The sons of Israel left Rameses for Succoth, about six hundred thousand on the march – all men – not counting their families. People of various sorts joined them in great numbers; there were flocks, too, and herds in immense droves. They baked cakes with the dough which they had brought from Egypt, unleavened because the dough was not leavened; they had been driven out of Egypt, with no time for dallying, and had not provided themselves with food for the journey. The time that the sons of Israel had spent in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And on the very day the four hundred and thirty years ended, all the array of the Lord left the land of Egypt. The night, when the Lord kept vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt, must be kept as a vigil in honour of the Lord for all their generations.

Gospel

Matthew 12:14-21

He cured them all but warned them not to make him known

The Pharisees went out and began to plot against Jesus, discussing how to destroy him.

    Jesus knew this and withdrew from the district. Many followed him and he cured them all, but warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:

Here is my servant whom I have chosen,

my beloved, the favourite of my soul.

I will endow him with my spirit,

and he will proclaim the true faith to the nations.

He will not brawl or shout,

nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.

He will not break the crushed reed,

nor put out the smouldering wick

till he has led the truth to victory:

in his name the nations will put their hope.


Never shall I take the celebration of the Holy Eucharist for granted especially on the Lord’s day. For it is on this day I remember just how much He loved me, that He would lay down His life for me; and by His resurrection I have hope of eternal life with Him. He feeds me of Himself in bread and wine that I may partake in His divinity and have life to the full! Spiritual communion is but a foretaste of receiving His divine presence fully and substantially!

So I make myself present to Him, body, mind and spirit. Eagerly awaiting the arrival of my bridegroom to receive Him wholly in nuptial embrace. He alone gives me life! No evil shall I fear for He is with me always.

Glory and praise to my Eucharistic Lord Jesus Christ now and forever! Amen

First reading

Exodus 11:10-12:14

The institution of the Passover

Moses and Aaron worked many wonders in the presence of Pharaoh. But the Lord made Pharaoh’s heart stubborn, and he did not let the sons of Israel leave his country.

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

    ‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled, but roasted over the fire, head, feet and entrails. You must not leave any over till the morning: whatever is left till morning you are to burn. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’

Gospel

Matthew 12:1-8

The Son of Man is master of the sabbath

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


“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Our names are written on palms of God our Father’s hands and He loves us all most tenderly, individually and collectively as One Body in Him.  Through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father shares an intimate relationship with us His children. Our names are uniquely special yet do we live up to our identity as His children?

Have we taken our names for granted like an email address simply identifiable and used to communicate with others.  Do others hear our name and say, hey that is a man after God’s heart? Or I  see Christ in her! Or has the world overwhelmed us and have we allowed it to turn us into something or someone we are NOT!

Let us hear the call of our Lord each and everyday to enter into His presence. He has promised that He will give us comfort and we can rest in His peace. He will free us from all sin so that we can live our lives to the full in His love.

Jesus I submit myself fully to Your Holy embrace. Amen

St Bonaventure pray for us…..

First reading

Exodus 3:13-20 ·

God reveals his name to Moses

Moses, hearing the voice of God coming from the middle of the bush, said to him, ‘I am to go, then, to the sons of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” But if they ask me what his name is, what am I to tell them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I Am who I Am. This’ he added ‘is what you must say to the sons of Israel: “I Am has sent me to you.”’ And God also said to Moses, ‘You are to say to the sons of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name for all time; by this name I shall be invoked for all generations to come.

    ‘Go and gather the elders of Israel together and tell them, “The Lord, the God of your fathers, has appeared to me, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and he has said to me: I have visited you and seen all that the Egyptians are doing to you. And so I have resolved to bring you up out of Egypt where you are oppressed, into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land where milk and honey flow.” They will listen to your words, and with the elders of Israel you are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has come to meet us. Give us leave, then, to make a three days’ journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifice to the Lord our God.” For myself, knowing that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is forced by a mighty hand, I shall show my power and strike Egypt with all the wonders I am going to work there. After this he will let you go.’

Gospel

Matthew 11:28-30

My yoke is easy and my burden light

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


The only way to hear God’s Will for us is to enter into His presence. Through His Word for us and prayer we enter can enter into a deep personal relationship with Him. For God our Heavenly Father desires an intimate relationship with all His Children. And all paths that lead to Him converge through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Formation is only useful information lest it is put into action. What good is it to know about Jesus if there is a disconnect between heart, mind and will? Only through an intimate relationship with Him can we say that we not only know about Him, but we are One with and in Him. And this is clearly seen in our love put into action for others.

Bless me Father with the wonders of Your love through Your Son Jesus who reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen

First reading

Exodus 3:1-6,9-12 ·

The burning bush

Moses was looking after the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, priest of Midian. He led his flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the shape of a flame of fire, coming from the middle of a bush. Moses looked; there was the bush blazing but it was not being burnt up. ‘I must go and look at this strange sight,’ Moses said, ‘and see why the bush is not burnt.’

    Now the Lord saw him go forward to look, and God called to him from the middle of the bush. ‘Moses, Moses!’ he said. ‘Here I am,’ Moses answered. ‘Come no nearer,’ he said. ‘Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers,’ he said, ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ At this Moses covered his face, afraid to look at God.

    And the Lord said, ‘The cry of the sons of Israel has come to me, and I have witnessed the way in which the Egyptians oppress them, so come, I send you to Pharaoh to bring the sons of Israel, my people, out of Egypt.’

    Moses said to God, ‘Who am I to go to Pharaoh and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?’ ‘I shall be with you,’ was the answer ‘and this is the sign by which you shall know that it is I who have sent you… After you have led the people out of Egypt, you are to offer worship to God on this mountain.’

Gospel

Matthew 11:25-27

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.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: July 13, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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We must never take the law or our sense of justice into our own hands and remain faithful to God our Father’s commands and statutes. Avoid any and all forms of sins, otherwise we find ourselves in exile searching for the peace, love and joy we had lost having entered into sin. If we place our faith and trust in the Lord our God He make a way for us. He will turn our curses into blessings. Look how having placed her faith and trust in God by surrendering her son into His hands Moses’s mother was reunited with her son and was able to suckle him!

O my Jesus my Lord, forgive my many sins against You and my brethren. Take away from me all that is not of You Lord. My sinful pride, any unforgiveness in my heart, and all that keeps me in exile from You. I repent of all my sins and offer up my contrite heart. Bless me and make me whole so that I may glorify You by my life. Amen

 

First reading

Exodus 2:1-15 ·

Pharaoh’s daughter finds Moses among the bulrushes

There was a man of the tribe of Levi who had taken a woman of Levi as his wife. She conceived and gave birth to a son and, seeing what a fine child he was, she kept him hidden for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him; coating it with bitumen and pitch, she put the child inside and laid it among the reeds at the river’s edge. His sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him.

    Now Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe in the river, and the girls attending her were walking along by the riverside. Among the reeds she noticed the basket, and she sent her maid to fetch it. She opened it and looked, and saw a baby boy, crying; and she was sorry for him. ‘This is a child of one of the Hebrews’ she said. Then the child’s sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and find you a nurse among the Hebrew women to suckle the child for you?’ ‘Yes, go,’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her; and the girl went off to find the baby’s own mother. To her the daughter of Pharaoh said, ‘Take this child away and suckle it for me. I will see you are paid.’ So the woman took the child and suckled it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter who treated him like a son; she named him Moses because, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’

    Moses, a man by now, set out at this time to visit his countrymen, and he saw what a hard life they were having; and he saw an Egyptian strike a Hebrew, one of his countrymen. Looking round he could see no one in sight, so he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. On the following day he came back, and there were two Hebrews, fighting. He said to the man who was in the wrong, ‘What do you mean by hitting your fellow countryman?’ ‘And who appointed you’ the man retorted, ‘to be prince over us, and judge? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Moses was frightened. ‘Clearly that business has come to light’ he thought. When Pharaoh heard of the matter he would have killed Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and made for the land of Midian.

Gospel

Matthew 11:20-24

It will not go as hard with Sodom on Judgement Day as with you

Jesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.

    ‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’


We often think that the atrocities of genocide, gender selection and other such terrors against humanity occurred only in recent centuries. But we can clearly see the very same things happening in today’s first reading of the Book of Exodus. What about in the very country that we live in today? Perhaps not in explicit forms but in some adulterated versions beginning with race, language and religious discrimination. What then about abortions and euthanasia!? What happened to the sanctity of life? Where is the Lord our God? Has He abandoned His people to their sins? 

Perhaps the mess, divisions, quarrels and unrest we face in our very own homes is the very result of an absence of our Lord? We had stubbornly refused to acknowledge our loving Lord Jesus as the Lord of our lives. And by refusing the deep personal relationship He wants us to have with Him, we have ultimately rejected the Prince of Peace! How then do we expect to have peace in our homes let alone peace of mind?

If God is with us and for us, who then can stand against us? So let us order our lives and place Him first above all! Let us turn back to Him with contrite hearts, so that we can once again dwell in Him as He will dwell in us and surely; His peace, love and joy will reign in our hearts, in our loved ones and in our brethren forevermore. Amen

First reading

Exodus 1:8-14,22 ·

The Egyptians force the sons of Israel into slavery

There came to power in Egypt a new king who knew nothing of Joseph. ‘Look,’ he said to his subjects ‘these people, the sons of Israel, have become so numerous and strong that they are a threat to us. We must be prudent and take steps against their increasing any further, or if war should break out, they might add to the number of our enemies. They might take arms against us and so escape out of the country.’ Accordingly they put slave-drivers over the Israelites to wear them down under heavy loads. In this way they built the store-cities of Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. But the more they were crushed, the more they increased and spread, and men came to dread the sons of Israel. The Egyptians forced the sons of Israel into slavery, and made their lives unbearable with hard labour, work with clay and with brick, all kinds of work in the fields; they forced on them every kind of labour.

    Pharaoh then gave his subjects this command: ‘Throw all the boys born to the Hebrews into the river, but let all the girls live.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:34-11:1

It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be those of his own household.

    ‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.

    ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.

    ‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.

    ‘If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.’

    When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.

15th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Posted: July 10, 2021 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
Tags: ,

The Church’s Mission: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

Amos 7:12–15

Psalms 85:9–14

Ephesians 1:3–14

Mark 6:7–13

In commissioning the Apostles in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives them, and us, a preview of His Church’s mission after the Resurrection.

His instructions to the Twelve echo those of God to the twelve tribes of Israel on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. The Israelites likewise were sent out with no bread and only one set of clothes, wearing sandals and carrying a staff (see Exodus 12:11; Deuteronomy 8:2–4). Like the Israelites, the Apostles are to rely solely on the providence of God and His grace.

Perhaps, also, Mark wants us to see the Apostles’ mission, the mission of the Church, as that of leading a new exodus—delivering people from their exile from God and bringing them to the promised land, the kingdom of heaven.

Like Amos in today’s First Reading, the Apostles are not “professionals” who earn their bread by prophesying. Like Amos, they are simply men (see Acts 14:15) summoned from their ordinary jobs and sent by God to be shepherds of their brothers and sisters.

Again this week, we hear the theme of rejection: Amos experiences it, and Jesus warns the Apostles that some will not welcome or listen to them. The Church is called not necessarily to be successful but only to be faithful to God’s command.

With authority and power given to her by Jesus, the Church proclaims God’s peace and salvation to those who believe in Him, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

This word of truth, this Gospel of salvation, is addressed to each of us, personally, as Paul proclaims in today’s Epistle. In the mystery of God’s will, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world—to be His sons and daughters, to live for the praise of His glory.

Let us, then, give thanks for the Church today, and for the spiritual blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us resolve to further the Church’s mission—to help others hear the call to repentance and welcome Christ into their lives.


Many have chosen to migrate for a better life and opportunities. And many hold dear to and freely encourage others with Matthew 10:19 on how we should not worry about how or what to say and that the Holy Spirit will guide us by speaking in us.  Both ring true only if we have a deep personal relationship the Lord our God and  if we discern, hear and follow His Will for us.

Not a two minute prayer telling Him what we want to do and ending with a thy will be done! Then going ahead with our own plans. But truly spending time seeking His Will for us. For He only wants what is best for us and for our family. And some times what is best for us is not going where we want to or some times not saying anything at that time.

However most of us do not include our Lord in our Holiday or vacation planning. Why? Perhaps it is not in our habit to do so or simply we think it is not a big enough deal? We might only include Him for live changing things such as job opportunities and such! What then is the extend of our relationship with Him?

Lord Jesus You are my all in all, let me dwell with and in You; as I seek to do Your Holy Will for me and my family always. Amen 

First reading

Genesis 46:1-7,28-30

‘I can die, now that I have seen you alive’

Israel left Canaan with his possessions, and reached Beersheba. There he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in a vision at night, ‘Jacob, Jacob’, he said. ‘I am here’, he replied. ‘I am God, the God of your father’, he continued. ‘Do not be afraid of going down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I myself will go down to Egypt with you. I myself will bring you back again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.’ Then Jacob left Beersheba. Israel’s sons conveyed their father Jacob, their little children and their wives in the waggons Pharaoh had sent to fetch him.

    Taking their livestock and all that they had acquired in the land of Canaan, they went to Egypt, Jacob and all his family with him: his sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his grand-daughters, in a word, all his children he took with him to Egypt.

    Israel sent Judah ahead to Joseph, so that the latter might present himself to him in Goshen. When they arrived in the land of Goshen, Joseph had his chariot made ready and went up to meet his father Israel in Goshen. As soon as he appeared he threw his arms round his neck and for a long time wept on his shoulder. Israel said to Joseph, ‘Now I can die, now that I have seen you again, and seen you still alive.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:16-23

The Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Remember, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be cunning as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.

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


What struck me in today’s readings which serves as great reminders, are that the Lord our God can turn any curse into a Blessing for His faithful and that we should depend solely on our ever generous and loving Father in Heaven.

Through his trials and challenges Joseph became some such a magnanimous leader after the heart of God that he was able to feed his family and his people in the terrible famine. Through our own trials and challenges the Lord our God will turn all curses into Blessings for us and perhaps we ourselves like Joseph will become Blessings for others through Him whom we love and serve.

We should resist with all our might the corrupting influence of fame, wealth and fortune in our service of others in His Holy name. For there are indeed many folks out there who touched by His word or His grace will offer generous love offerings to us. Many priests and pastors are loved and taken care of and for those who do not offer any resistance oftentimes fall into sin. We too are no exception and therefore should always look to God our Heavenly Father to provide what we need. And if He deems to provide through the generosity of others then we should only take what we need for our pilgrim journey to Glorify Him by our deeds in the service of others. Amen

First reading

Genesis 44:18-21,23-29,45:1-5

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers

Judah went up to Joseph and said, ‘May it please my lord, let your servant have a word privately with my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord questioned his servants, “Have you father or brother?” And we said to my lord, “We have an old father, and a younger brother born of his old age. His brother is dead, so he is the only one left of his mother, and his father loves him.” Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me that my eyes may look on him.” But you said to your servants, “If your youngest brother does not come down with you, you will not be admitted to my presence again.” When we went back to your servant my father, we repeated to him what my lord had said. So when our father said, “Go back and buy us a little food,” we said, “We cannot go down. If our youngest brother is with us, we will go down, for we cannot be admitted to the man’s presence unless our youngest brother is with us.” So your servant our father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two children. When one left me, I said that he must have been torn to pieces. And I have not seen him to this day. If you take this one from me too and any harm comes to him, you will send me down to Sheol with my white head bowed in misery.” If I go to your servant my father now, and we have not the boy with us, he will die as soon as he sees the boy is not with us, for his heart is bound up with him. Then your servants will have sent your servant our father down to Sheol with his white head bowed in grief.’

    Then Joseph could not control his feelings in front of all his retainers, and he exclaimed, ‘Let everyone leave me.’ No one therefore was present with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers, but he wept so loudly that all the Egyptians heard, and the news reached Pharaoh’s palace.

    Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?’ His brothers could not answer him, they were so dismayed at the sight of him. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come closer to me.’ When they had come closer to him he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not grieve, do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here, since God sent me before you to preserve your lives.’

Gospel

Matthew 10:7-15

You received without charge: give without charge

Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.

    ‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town.’