Posts Tagged ‘discipleship’


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

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

In Your service Lord I stand ready. Amen

First reading

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

Gospel

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


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

First reading

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

Gospel

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


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

First reading

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

Gospel

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


Many of us are still living for ourselves and our loved ones. Very few if any are living as we are called to, that is a life of prayer and in the Spirit through a deep personal connection with our Lord Jesus Christ. Thereafter enlivened we would not delay in our mission to proclaim the Good News of our risen Lord. Hence we are not using the many gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us and that is why we are witnessing very few signs and wonders of God’s glory in our time.

It is truly the Spirit that gives live for it was sent by the source of life itself, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Let us therefore live in the Spirit and reclaim the gifts by which we will bring the light of Christ to those who live in darkness in these trying times.O Holy Spirit fall upon me and enkindle in my heart a Holy zeal for greater discipleship in my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Acts 9:31-42 ·
The churches grew and were filled with the consolation of the Holy SpiritThe churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to the saints living down in Lydda. There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and fold up your sleeping mat.’ Aeneas got up immediately; everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were all converted to the Lord.
At Jaffa there was a woman disciple called Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek, who never tired of doing good or giving in charity. But the time came when she got ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in a room upstairs. Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men with an urgent message for him, ‘Come and visit us as soon as possible.’
Peter went back with them straightaway, and on his arrival they took him to the upstairs room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them. Peter sent them all out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said, ‘Tabitha, stand up.’ She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the saints and widows and showed them she was alive. The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord.

Gospel

John 6:60-69
Who shall we go to? You are the Holy One of GodAfter hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.
Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’


We often tell ourselves that we don’t know enough of our faith neither are we eloquent enough to evangelise. Or that not all of us are equipped to do so and so it is far better for the rest of us to simply evangelise through actions of love for others. Not so for all of us were baptised in water and in the Spirit. Therefore all of us have received gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are Christians by our faith and relationship with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Whether we want to be acknowledged as such, we are all disciples of our Lord who commanded that we go make disciples of all nations.

What is it then do we fear? That those not in the faith will hear an incredulous story of our faith and laugh at us for our beliefs? Or that they will suddenly turn nasty and hurt us? If we have such fear in our hearts then the real question is how deep is our own faith and relationship we have in Jesus our redeemer, our Risen Lord? For while our faith may come across as an incredulous story it is nonetheless the truth and this very truth sets us free. The source of life itself had come to give us life and to the full! Therefore all of us have nothing to lose for through Jesus our Lord and saviour we will gain eternal life with God our Father.

Jesus bread of life, give me Your daily bread and I shall live forever in Your love. Amen

First reading

Acts 8:26-40
Philip baptizes a eunuch

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

Like a sheep that is led to the slaughter-house,
like a lamb that is dumb in front of its shearers,
like these he never opens his mouth.
He has been humiliated and has no one to defend him.
Who will ever talk about his descendants,
since his life on earth has been cut short!

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

Gospel

John 6:44-51
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘No one can come to me
unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it,
is to come to me.
Not that anybody has seen the Father,
except the one who comes from God: he has seen the Father.
I tell you most solemnly, everybody who believes has eternal life.

‘I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the desert
and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,
for the life of the world.’


Are you saying that it is difficult, especially this Easter with all that is going on in the world to experience the joy of the risen Lord? In other words to have Easter joy in your heart? Well then the crux of the matter is that you are still searching for Jesus in the tomb and that tomb may very well be your own. The one you’re very comfortable in, hiding away from the reality and hardship of life. The one that prevents us from answering the call to step up and remain steadfast disciples of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Your complaining, moaning and groaning only means one thing, you do not truly believe in the One, God our Father sent to save us from sin and grant us eternal life with Him.For if we were all true belivers in our Risen Lord and saviour Jesus Christ then His face will shine upon us. People will see Him in us even before we open our mouths to speak! And those gathered around us will perk their ears up eager to hear our testimony of the love of Jesus; for the Holy Spirit will be guiding our every thought, word and deed.So my dear sisters and brothers as we continue our journey in the third week of Easter, let us be sure to leave the tomb far behind us, as we rise up to new life in Jesus our Lord. Alleluia our Lord is Risen! Amen

First reading

Acts 6:8-15 ·
They could not get the better of Stephen because the Spirit prompted what he saidStephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. So they procured some men to say, ‘We heard him using blasphemous language against Moses and against God.’ Having in this way turned the people against him as well as the elders and scribes, they took Stephen by surprise, and arrested him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. There they put up false witnesses to say, ‘This man is always making speeches against this Holy Place and the Law. We have heard him say that Jesus the Nazarene is going to destroy this Place and alter the traditions that Moses handed down to us.’ The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.

Gospel

John 6:22-29
Do not work for food that cannot last, but for food that endures to eternal lifeAfter Jesus had fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’
Jesus answered:‘I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat. Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

There will always be those who will succumb to mob mentality. Afterall it is better to be part of the majority then to be treated as a social outcast. Such is the ‘power’ of the mob that they are inclined to take their notion of the law into their own hands. Ok so not everyone will be subject to such extreme pressure but what about subtle ones like gossip through peer pressure. Is it not partaking in character assassination?

We who identify ourselves as Christian will find ourselves in varied forms of ostracism or in some form of persecution for standing up for justice and truth. The Gospel values we cherish will be challenged for it is the way of the cross. We must likewise cling to the knowledge that we are not of this world, for we will all return to the bosom of our Heavenly Father.

We Adore You, O Christ, and We Praise You. Because by Your Holy Cross, You Have Redeemed the World. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 11:18-20 ·
‘Let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten’

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

But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence, who probe the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.

Gospel

John 7:40-52
The Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without hearing him

Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, ‘Surely he must be the prophet’, and some said, ‘He is the Christ’, but others said, ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from the town of Bethlehem?’ So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.
The police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, ‘Why haven’t you brought him?’ The police replied, ‘There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.’ ‘So’ the Pharisees answered ‘you have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.’ One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, ‘But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?’ To this they answered, ‘Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: March 11, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

What makes a Christian different from any other person of faith? Do they not all teach us to do good and engage in some form of social work? Do they not all have high moral standards to live by? To protect the sanctity of marriage and families? To contribute to the betterment of society and our nation? To promote justice and equality and so on? So regardless of race, language or religion; if we are all working towards the same goals then what makes Christians different? There is no difference! Other than the way we worship the Lord our God.

Unless…..we are truly living out our call to be true disciples of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. This means we take up our cross daily to follow Him. We understand that it is only through our sacrifice and sometimes extreme hardship that we can truly bring about the work of Christ, that is redemption for ourselves and for those whom we serve. And so it is our duty that we must always seek out and help the poor, the orphan, the challenged, those who lives at the peripheries of society. We never seek personal glory or affirmation, our joy is to see our Lord in the faces in whom we serve. And together we live in His peace, mercy and love. So then If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to our Lord Jesus Christ! This is what it means to be a follower of Christ, this is what it means to be called Christian.

Grant me the grace Lord, to never be lukewarm in my service or my faith. That I may serve my brethren with the same zeal You have always, to do Your Father’s will. Let Your will be done in my life. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 18:18-20
My enemies are digging a pit for me

‘Come on,’ they said, ‘let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah; the priest will not run short of instruction without him, nor the sage of advice, nor the prophet of the word. Come on, let us hit at him with his own tongue; let us listen carefully to every word he says.’

Listen to me, O Lord,
hear what my adversaries are saying.
Should evil be returned for good?
For they are digging a pit for me.
Remember how I stood in your presence
to plead on their behalf,
to turn your wrath away from them.

Gospel

Matthew 20:17-28
They will condemn the Son of Man to death

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


Our Lord Jesus Christ has come for me and you. To save us from our sins and to set us free. Let us listen to His call to follow Him. Have we already forgotten that by our baptism we have been anointed priest, prophet and King?

Yes we had been consecrated, set apart to light and guard, to rule and guide others unto Him. To build His Kingdom. Are we then living in the light of Christ? Are we then sharing His light with others? Proclaiming His love for one and all?

Thank You Jesus for in Your love, You have called me to follow You. You have healed and set me free. Let me be a disciple after Your own heart. Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 9:1-4,17-19,10:1 ·
The Lord chooses Saul as king; Samuel anoints him

Among the men of Benjamin there was a man named Kish son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah; a Benjaminite and a man of rank. He had a son named Saul, a handsome man in the prime of life. Of all the Israelites there was no one more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders taller than the rest of the people.Lord Jesus Christ has ch Now some of the she-donkeys of Saul’s father Kish had strayed, so Kish said to Saul, ‘My son, take one of the servants with you and be off; go and look for the she-donkeys.’ They passed through the highlands of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but did not find them; they passed through the land of Shaalim, they were not there; they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them.
When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, ‘That is the man of whom I told you; he shall rule my people.’ Saul accosted Samuel in the gateway and said, ‘Tell me, please, where the seer’s house is?’ Samuel replied to Saul, ‘I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place. You are to eat with me today. In the morning I shall take leave of you and tell you all that is in your heart.’
Samuel took a phial of oil and poured it on Saul’s head; then he kissed him, saying, ‘Has not the Lord anointed you prince over his people Israel? You are the man who must rule the Lord’s people, and who must save them from the power of the enemies surrounding them.’

Gospel

Mark 2:13-17

Jesus went out to the shore of the lake; and all the people came to him, and he taught them. As he was walking on he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus, sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.
When Jesus was at dinner in his house, a number of tax collectors and sinners were also sitting at the table with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many of them among his followers. When the scribes of the Pharisee party saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this he said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’


Fidelity to the Lord our God and our willingness to put all else aside to respond to His Will for us. This is our call today to greater discipleship.

Let us reflect on how faithful are we to the Lord our God? How often do we worship Him and give Him thanks for all His blessings upon us? Daily? Weekly? Annually? Are we hopeful and eager to bear fruit for our Lord? Are we willing to suffer taunts for His namesake? Do we love and revere Him above all? How wonderful to hear the loving voice of our bridegroom remind us; “Am I not more to You then anything or anyone else?” ”For I love you with an everlasting love.”

And so are we able to leave our life in the world behind to follow Him? To let go of any insecurities, perceived shortcomings so as to become instruments of His grace. For we trust and know that all things are possible through and with Him. And so we carry our cross to follow Him. As we cast the net of His Love far and wide to draw as many we can to Him. Amen

First reading

1 Samuel 1:1-8 ·
Hannah’s rival taunts her for being barren

There was a man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the highlands of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives, one called Hannah, the other Peninnah; Peninnah had children but Hannah had none. Every year this man used to go up from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of Hosts in Shiloh. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there as priests of
One day Elkanah offered sacrifice. He and used to give portions to Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; to Hannah, however, he would give only one portion, although he loved her more, since the Lord had made her barren. Her rival would taunt her to annoy her, because the Lord had made her barren. And this went on year after year; every time they went up to the temple of the Lord she used to taunt her. And so Hannah wept and would not eat. Then Elkanah her husband said to her, ‘Hannah, why are you crying and why are you not eating? Why so sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?’

Gospel

Mark 1:14-20
I will make you into fishers of men

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’
As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets. He called them at once and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.


Generally we are all very good at what we do for a living, for how can we not be when it is the bread and butter that our lives depend on. If fact in our daily dealings with others we have to be shrewd and often have to pick and choose our battles carefully. How did we get so good at it? Years of experience we might proudly declare!

How is it then that we do not seem to be equally if not more concern about the ‘bread and butter’ even milk and honey that our eternal lives depend on? Does not our all loving Lord and God who gave us all that we have deserve our commitment? Our faithfulness? To build upon our relationship with Him as to experience Him more profoundly? And through our deep encounter with Him, share our wonderful experience of His love with all that we meet. Not quite there yet? Well what are you doing different today to make it happen? After it is not everyone who says to Him, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of our Father who is in heaven. And the will of our Heavenly Father is that we should all be saved. Therefore our mission is make disciples of all nations.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. Amen

First reading

Romans 15:14-21 ·
My duty is to bring the Good News from God to the pagans

My brothers, I am quite certain that you are full of good intentions, perfectly well instructed and able to advise each other. The reason why I have written to you, and put some things rather strongly, is to refresh your memories, since God has given me this special position. He has appointed me as a priest of Jesus Christ, and I am to carry out my priestly duty by bringing the Good News from God to the pagans, and so make them acceptable as an offering, made holy by the Holy Spirit.
I think I have some reason to be proud of what I, in union with Christ Jesus, have been able to do for God. What I am presuming to speak of, of course, is only what Christ himself has done to win the allegiance of the pagans, using what I have said and done by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus all the way along, from Jerusalem to Illyricum, I have preached Christ’s Good News to the utmost of my capacity. I have always, however, made it an unbroken rule never to preach where Christ’s name has already been heard. The reason for that was that I had no wish to build on other men’s foundations; on the contrary, my chief concern has been to fulfil the text: Those who have never been told about him will see him, and those who have never heard about him will understand.

Gospel

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

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


Have you counted the cost of loving the Lord Your God and loving your neighbour thereafter? The cost of discipleship that demands we love God and others more than we love ourselves. The cost of loving without benefits only than to love. To carry our cross to follow after Jesus is to love as He does to the very end. So let us reflect on this a little more…

Do I truly love my spouse such that I would never look at anyone else lustfully let alone entertain the thought of adultery? Do I love my children with an endearing love that I should punish them when they do wrong with my Lord in mind and without starving them of my love? Do I love my aged parents tenderly even though I might struggle with the demands of my own life and family? Do I love my sisters and brothers in Christ inspite of their many faults and shortcomings, striving to be patient with them as my Lord was patient with me? Do I love the stranger that comes before me hoping only to see the face of Christ? Do I love such that my eyes are opened to see those who are poor, sick and in need, and do what I must to help them? Our only debt indeed as St Paul says, is the debt of mutual love. If we remember nothing else today, let us remember this… Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments. (Rm 13:10)

Lord Jesus I embrace my cross for love of You. Lead me to where You want me to go. Amen

First reading

Romans 13:8-10 ·
Your only debt should be the debt of mutual love

Avoid getting into debt, except the debt of mutual love. If you love your fellow men you have carried out your obligations. All the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and so on, are summed up in this single command: You must love your neighbour as yourself. Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour; that is why it is the answer to every one of the commandments.

Gospel

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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: October 17, 2019 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

What does it matter if we observe a fast or not when our hearts are not changed by our act? Whether we are veiled or unveiled? If we are generous with our money but uncharitable with our words putting others down? If we welcome our brethren with open arms but do nothing to lead them closer to Christ? If we embrace sinners but do nothing to help them overcome their sin and guide them towards reconciliation with the Lord our God? If we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, mind and strength but do nothing to share His love with those who do not yet know Him?

How heavy is the cross we are willing to bear for our Lord Jesus Christ? Are we living the beautitudes in our lives? Have we strived to perform corporal and spiritual acts of mercy? By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” says our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Jn 13:35

Teach me to love Lord as You love, to be merciful as You are merciful. Guide my every step so that I may live out my Christian vocation according to Your will. Amen

St Ignatius Pray for us….

First reading

Romans 3:21-30 ·
It is the same justice of God that comes to Jew and pagan alike

God’s justice that was made known through the Law and the Prophets has now been revealed outside the Law, since it is the same justice of God that comes through faith to everyone, Jew and pagan alike, who believes in Jesus Christ. Both Jew and pagan sinned and forfeited God’s glory, and both are justified through the free gift of his grace by being redeemed in Christ Jesus who was appointed by God to sacrifice his life so as to win reconciliation through faith. In this way God makes his justice known; first, for the past, when sins went unpunished because he held his hand, then, for the present age, by showing positively that he is just, and that he justifies everyone who believes in Jesus.
So what becomes of our boasts? There is no room for them. What sort of law excludes them? The sort of law that tells us what to do? On the contrary, it is the law of faith, since, as we see it, a man is justified by faith and not by doing something the Law tells him to do. Is God the God of Jews alone and not of the pagans too? Of the pagans too, most certainly, since there is only one God.

Gospel

Luke 11:47-54
You have not gone in yourselves and have prevented others who wanted to

Jesus said: ‘Alas for you who build the tombs of the prophets, the men your ancestors killed! In this way you both witness what your ancestors did and approve it; they did the killing, you do the building.
‘And that is why the Wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles; some they will slaughter and persecute, so that this generation will have to answer for every prophet’s blood that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the sanctuary.” Yes, I tell you, this generation will have to answer for it all.
‘Alas for you lawyers who have taken away the key of knowledge! You have not gone in yourselves, and have prevented others going in who wanted to.’
When he left the house, the scribes and the Pharisees began a furious attack on him and tried to force answers from him on innumerable questions, setting traps to catch him out in something he might say.


How do you change the hearts of those closest around you? How do you lead them closer to God our Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit our One triune God? Yes you very well know that those closest to you are the toughest to reach out to. Even your own ministry members are unlikely to listen to anyone, when they have this idea that they have come to ‘serve’ the Lord on their own terms. They are simply volunteers and so choose how, what and when they want to serve. And so afraid of losing them you may say Oh well in God’s time they will have a change of heart, afterall everyone’s journey is different.

That may very well be true, but does that mean you do nothing to lead them into discipleship? Yes the keyword is LEAD, that is to lead by your very example. Your committment, your integrity, your own desire to grow, change, and most important of all; it is by your love of God and for them that all will know that you are the Lord’s disciple.

We do this by honouring the Lord our God above all. We repent continuously of our sins and offer the best we have to offer of our lives for Him. By His grace, strength and through our very own witness; hearts and minds can and will be changed. For we have become beacons of His love and light by the way we lead our lives in Him.

Yes Jesus Himself did not work many miracles where the people were obstinate because of their lack of faith. But what about those whom He managed to work miracles in? For our Lord did say there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. That one repentant sinner filled with joy can touch a hundredfold times a hundredfold by His/Her own testimony as we have seen in the lives of St Paul, St Peter and literally too many others to mention.

O Lord my God help me, not to allow the lack of faith of others discourage me, but increase in me my very own faith, love and zeal to bear my cross to follow You always. 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.