Posts Tagged ‘discipleship’


Anyone who has encountered our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will attest to the life changing experience! When we were empty, restless, anxious about life; about who we are and where we are heading? Our Lord came and filled us with His peace, love and joy! Such that the world could not offer. We began to see our sister and brothers through His eyes and our hearts began to grow in greater love for them. Our eyes were opened to His miracles and wonders in our lives and in the lives of others. And if we had allowed ourselves to grow in spiritual maturity through humble service of brethren then we too would have experienced what St Paul talks about. That is of being content with our weaknesses and sufferings for Christ’s sake. For we know that our strength and all that we will ever need comes from Him.

He alone is our Master and we are His disciples. It is not that we throw caution to the wind or that we will ever do so, but we know that we serve an ever faithful loving God who watches over His flock and guides them to where they should be. And so we place all our faith and trust in Him. Glory and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ!

St Philip Minh and companions pray for us…..

First reading

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 ·

‘My power is at its best in weakness’

Must I go on boasting, though there is nothing to be gained by it? But I will move on to the visions and revelations I have had from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up – whether still in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – right into the third heaven. I do know, however, that this same person – whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – was caught up into paradise and heard things which must not and cannot be put into human language. I will boast about a man like that, but not about anything of my own except my weaknesses. If I should decide to boast, I should not be made to look foolish, because I should only be speaking the truth; but I am not going to, in case anyone should begin to think I am better than he can actually see and hear me to be.

    In view of the extraordinary nature of these revelations, to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud! About this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.’ So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.

Gospel

Matthew 6:24-34

Do not worry about tomorrow: your holy Father knows your needs

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.

    ‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: June 14, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

We all seem to have an inkling of what discipleship entails, yet how many of us can truly say we are living as disciples of Christ? If we give up too easily when demands are high, hard and challenging. We are impatient when we see little or no results. We demand respect and immediate justice when we are wronged. We are unable to face criticism as we are rarely, if ever wrong. And so what if we are wrong? Who are they to criticise us? Can they do what we do?…..Is this the attitude of a disciple after the heart of Christ Jesus?

Only when we are prepared and willing to suffer for His namesake and for love of our brethren, can we be called His disciples. For we follow after our Master and friend who was not only willing to but did lay down His life for us. And so the world will know that we are His disciples by our love for Him and for them. We strive therefore to always act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord our God.

Help me Jesus, to walk in Your light always so that I may lead my brethren on the same path to You. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 6:1-10 ·

How we prove that we are God’s servants

As his fellow workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.

    We do nothing that people might object to, so as not to bring discredit on our function as God’s servants. Instead, we prove we are servants of God by great fortitude in times of suffering: in times of hardship and distress; when we are flogged, or sent to prison, or mobbed; labouring, sleepless, starving. We prove we are God’s servants by our purity, knowledge, patience and kindness; by a spirit of holiness, by a love free from affectation; by the word of truth and by the power of God; by being armed with the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left, prepared for honour or disgrace, for blame or praise; taken for impostors while we are genuine; obscure yet famous; said to be dying and here are we alive; rumoured to be executed before we are sentenced; thought most miserable and yet we are always rejoicing; taken for paupers though we make others rich, for people having nothing though we have everything.

Gospel

Matthew 5:38-42

Offer the wicked man no resistance

Jesus 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.’


The greatest challenge for any disciple of Christ is not so much the humble servitude of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ but the humble servitude of family, friends and most of all strangers for His namesake.

Why? Because it is our fallen nature that we want to be recognised for our efforts.  Often times because of our hidden insecurities we ‘Lord ourselves over others’ and want them to feel that we are more knowledgeable or are superior over them. We may even adopt a ‘I am holier than thou’ attitude subtly disguised behind a false modesty.  Even if we convince ourselves that we are not like that at all, we must admit that at the very least we want to be affirmed by others. Once again we are simply living according to the identity we were born into and developed over the years!

For if we were living our true identity as a unique child of God so loved by our Heavenly Father then we shall not want or have need of anything. He has already given us the greatest gift of His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who suffered died and rose from the dead for us. In doing so He had taken upon Himself the sins of the World so that we can live free and blameless at His side. If we are truly disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we know that the way of the Cross is to be crucified with Him, so that He lives in us. The life we live in the body is lived by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave His life for us. Our Lord did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life for the ransom of many. And so this is what it means for us to be slave to all, for we will live free in His love.

Lord Jesus just as die with You, let me rise with You. Amen

St Philip Neri pray for us…..

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 36:1-2,5-7,13-19

Lord, let the nations acknowledge you

Have mercy on us, Master, Lord of all, and look on us,

    cast the fear of yourself over every nation.

Let them acknowledge you, just as we have acknowledged

    that there is no God but you, Lord.

Send new portents, do fresh wonders,

    win glory for your hand and your right arm.

Gather together all the tribes of Jacob,

    restore them their inheritance as in the beginning.

Have mercy, Lord, on the people who have invoked your name,

    on Israel whom you have treated as a first-born.

Show compassion on your holy city,

    on Jerusalem the place of your rest.

Fill Zion with songs of your praise,

    and your sanctuary with your glory.

Bear witness to those you created in the beginning,

    and bring about what has been prophesied in your name.

Give those who wait for you their reward,

    and let your prophets be proved worthy of belief.

Grant, Lord, the prayer of your servants,

    in accordance with Aaron’s blessing on your people,

so that all the earth’s inhabitants may acknowledge

    that you are the Lord, the everlasting God.

Gospel

Mark 10:32-45

The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many

The disciples were on the road, going up to Jerusalem; Jesus was walking on ahead of them; they were in a daze, and those who followed were apprehensive. Once more taking the Twelve aside he began to tell them what was going to happen to him: ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the pagans, who will mock him and spit at him and scourge him and put him to death; and after three days he will rise again.’

    James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’

    When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called 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 become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’


“Anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name.”

And what do we ask for? Do we ask to glorify His name by our lives? Do we ask for wisdom to know His Will? Do we ask for the courage, fortitude and strength to build His Kingdom? Do we ask for a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the conversion of sinners and the saving of souls? Do we ask for His guidance on how we can better love our brethren as we ought to? Are we then living our lives worthy of God our Father’s love who loves us for loving and believing in His Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Where is our discipleship?

The world has gone back to becoming both paganistic as well as hedonistic. How else do you account for the promotion of same sex ‘marriages’? And all the different sexual deviations that have risen to destroy family as well as social values. What about the resurfacing of ancient child sacrifices? No? What is abortion then if not the sacrificing of a child’s life for whatever personal reasons? What about the growing atrocities that goes on in the world devaluing human life and dignity?

How could we have allowed this to happen? Yes we allowed it to happen when we chose to be silent! When we keep thinking it is someone’s else’s responsibility so share the truths of the Gospel! When we think doing good deeds alone is enough to bring others into the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord and perhaps conversion. When we do not preach and teach the Kerygma. When we do not talk about repentance and the turning back of hearts to God our Heavenly Father. When we do not step up to serve Him and our brethren as we are called to do. When we refuse to renounce ourselves take up our cross to follow Jesus!

Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to renew and set our hearts ablaze, to empower us as we go forth to renew the whole world by His love! Amen Alleluia!

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. Amen

First reading

Acts 18:23-28 ·

Apollos demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ

Paul came down to Antioch, where he spent a short time before continuing his journey through the Galatian country and then through Phrygia, encouraging all the followers.

    An Alexandrian Jew named Apollos now arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, with a sound knowledge of the scriptures, and yet, though he had been given instruction in the Way of the Lord and preached with great spiritual earnestness and was accurate in all the details he taught about Jesus, he had only experienced the baptism of John. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak boldly in the synagogue, they took an interest in him and gave him further instruction about the Way.

    When Apollos thought of crossing over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote asking the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived there he was able by God’s grace to help the believers considerably by the energetic way he refuted the Jews in public and demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Gospel

John 16:23-28

The Father loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name.

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.

Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.

I have been telling you all this in metaphors,

the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in metaphors;

but tell you about the Father in plain words.

When that day comes you will ask in my name;

and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you,

because the Father himself loves you for loving me

and believing that I came from God.

I came from the Father and have come into the world

and now I leave the world to go to the Father.’


Did Jesus choose you? Did He command you to love one another as He loved you? Did He commission You to go out and bear fruit?

If not you then who? Only the Apostles? Are you not His friend but a mere servant? Or are you a complete stranger to Him?

Unless we embrace our baptism for what it truly is we will always think that the responsibility of evangelisation both of Word and in deed falls to another. Perhaps Priests, clergy and religious not so much the laity? Do we not share the same baptism as they do? We are all baptised in Christ, that is we have been inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, therefore we are all God our Father’s Children through baptism. Hence it is our duty to take up  our ‘office’ which is to live in and build His Kingdom!

Yes Lord I hear Your call. I will go! Amen Allelulia

St. Matthias Pray for us….

First reading

Acts 1:15-17,20-26 ·

‘Let someone else take his office’

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

Let his camp be reduced to ruin,

Let there be no one to live in it.

And again:

Let someone else take his office.

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

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

Gospel

John 15:9-17

You are my friends if you do what I command you

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘As the Father has loved me,

so I have loved you.

Remain in my love.

If you keep my commandments

you will remain in my love,

just as I have kept my Father’s commandments

and remain in his love.

I have told you this

so that my own joy may be in you

and your joy be complete.

This is my commandment:

love one another, as I have loved you.

A man can have no greater love

than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends,

if you do what I command you.

I shall not call you servants any more,

because a servant does not know

his master’s business;

I call you friends,

because I have made known to you

everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me:

no, I chose you;

and I commissioned you

to go out and to bear fruit,

fruit that will last;

and then the Father will give you

anything you ask him in my name.

What I command you

is to love one another.’


If we simply read today’s reading as a story, then how will we ever understand or be inspired by the courage, will and sheer determination of St Paul to bring the light of Christ and the joy of the Gospel into the hearts of all who would listen. How he carried  with him the peace of Christ in heart and was neither troubled or afraid

How then can we fully understand the message of the Apostles to persevere in the faith when they said ‘We all have to experience many hardships’. Or how can we share in such hardships so as to declare the reign of Christ in our own lives as we bring forth the fruits of our labour. When we choose to keep silent in our ministry, community, church and family meetings so as to keep the status quo. When we give too many excuses for our lack of action, “I’m too old it’s for the younger generation to take over” “I’m no St Paul, St Barnabas or St Barnabette!” “Let our spiritual director lead us in every aspect” “Everyone will change on their own in God’s time” Instead of allowing the powerful Word of God and the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord transform our every meeting so as to bring about greater discipleship for His glory! 

Let Your peace fill my heart O Lord, as I make known the glorious splendour of Your reign. Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 14:19-28 ·

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

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

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

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

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

Gospel

John 14:27-31

A peace the world cannot give is my gift to you

Jesus said to his disciples:

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

a peace the world cannot give,

this is my gift to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

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

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

for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this now before it happens,

so that when it does happen you may believe.

I shall not talk with you any longer,

because the prince of this world is on his way.

He has no power over me,

but the world must be brought to know

that I love the Father

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


Unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies it remains a single seed. But if it dies in produces many seeds.

If we say we have died to ourselves and have taken up our cross to follow Jesus then where are the many seeds we have produced? How many have we led to RCIA? How many have we touched and ministered to? How many have we led out of bondage and have set free through Christ our Lord? How many no longer hunger and thirst for they have experienced the living bread, the Bread of Life?

It is not about being thick skinned enough but rather how filled are You with the love of God our Heavenly Father? Have you not partaken of the Bread of Life yourself? Are you not nourished daily through His living Word? For if you were truly living as a child of God so loved by Your Heavenly Father and are a disciple of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; then you will not allow criticism, persecution or anything for that matter, get in the way of sharing His truth, way and life!

It is my Father’s will, says the Lord, that whoever believes in the Son shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day. Amen

Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 8:1-8

They went from place to place, preaching the Good News

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

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

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

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

 

Gospel

John 6:35-40

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

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘I am the bread of life.

He who comes to me will never be hungry;

he who believes in me will never thirst.

But, as I have told you,

you can see me and still you do not believe.

All that the Father gives me will come to me,

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

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

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

Now the will of him who sent me

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

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

Yes, it is my Father’s will

that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’


I used to love this proverb, ‘Speech is silver, silence is golden.’ Yes this helped me on many occasions when used together with ‘choose  your battles.’  However if I am truly a disciple of Christ, can I keep silent when souls are at stake? Even though I know that by speaking up, I would most certainly be ‘stoned’!

Can I keep silent…….? When my teenage son or daughter brings someone  they are sexually attracted to, home with them to stay over behind closed doors? When someone I know is contemplating abortion? When someone close to me is committing adultery with another? When my children refuses to go to the church?

Let me choose to look heavenward Lord Jesus to see Your glory! As I obey Your Holy Will to speak Your truth through the power of the Holy Spirit. And if I am thereafter scorned, mocked or put to death literally or otherwise. Lord Jesus into Your hands I commend my Spirit. For I know You will raise me up on the last day! Amen Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 7:51-8:1 ·

‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’

Stephen said to the people, the elders and the scribes: ‘You stubborn people, with your pagan hearts and pagan ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Can you name a single prophet your ancestors never persecuted? In the past they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, and now you have become his betrayers, his murderers. You who had the Law brought to you by angels are the very ones who have not kept it.’

    They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.

    But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and said aloud, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and with these words he fell asleep. Saul entirely approved of the killing.

Gospel

John 6:30-35

It is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven

The people said to Jesus, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’

    Jesus answered:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven,

it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven,

the true bread;

for the bread of God

is that which comes down from heaven

and gives life to the world.’

‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered:

‘I am the bread of life.

He who comes to me will never be hungry;

he who believes in me will never thirst.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: February 6, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: , ,

Let us sing our praises to the Lord our God accompanied by our acts of obedient love for Him and for brethren. This is what it means to offer Him an unending sacrifice of praise. For we have heard Him say to us, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” 1 Sam 15:22 and so we must always be attentive to obey His Will for us.  Our Lord had also instructed us, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matt 9:13 And our beloved Shepherd showed us how much He loved us, for in His mercy He sacrificed Himself by laying down His life for His sheep. So that we have hope of eternal life with God our Heavenly Father.

How merciful and loving then are we? How have we sacrificed ourselves for love of the Gospel? That we would do whatever it takes to share His message of love and mercy to all who will listen? Are we not called to likewise be Shepherds after His own heart in caring for His sheep? To teach them the ways of our Lord and to lead them into His heavenly fold. We can only do so if we are living His Word and journeying with Him, through Him and in Him. We therefore need to spend time in solitude and prayer, so as to be nurtured by Him; and filled with His grace we can then minister to His flock as we should.

You O Lord are my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. Amen

St Paul Miki and companions pray for us…..

First reading

Hebrews 13:15-17,20-21 ·

May God turn us all into whatever is acceptable to himself through Jesus Christ

Through Christ, let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise, a verbal sacrifice that is offered every time we acknowledge his name. Keep doing good works and sharing your resources, for these are sacrifices that please God.

    Obey your leaders and do as they tell you, because they must give an account of the way they look after your souls; make this a joy for them to do, and not a grief – you yourselves would be the losers. I pray that the God of peace, who brought our Lord Jesus back from the dead to become the great Shepherd of the sheep by the blood that sealed an eternal covenant, may make you ready to do his will in any kind of good action; and turn us all into whatever is acceptable to himself through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.

Gospel

Mark 6:30-34

They were like sheep without a shepherd

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: January 16, 2021 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Jesus lovingly seeks us sinners out, to offer us freedom from the bondages of sin and an opportunity to walk in His light. And the only response He requires from us is to follow Him; not simply in word but in action. That is to follow Him as His disciple so as to lead others to Him by our example.

How can we ask anyone to follow us if we lead lives of duality even duplicity?

We wear our Christian ‘hat’ in church and take it off to wear another outside of church. We lead double lives one for our church friends to see while another is seen by family and friends. We might again exhibit another different behaviour when it comes to strangers. We tend to forget that the Lord our God sees and knows everything! “No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.”

Let us simply be identified as a child of God so loved by our Heavenly Father to one and all. That we who are so loved by Him have been inserted into the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ by Baptism. We are therefore His One Body, His disciples on mission to make disciples of all nations. And such we are always confident in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from Him and find grace when we are in need of help. Amen. Allelulia!

First reading

Hebrews 4:12-16

Let us be confident in approaching the throne of grace

The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.

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

Gospel

Mark 2:13-17

Your light must shine in the sight of men

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.’

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

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

First reading
Apocalypse 14:1-5

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

Gospel
Luke 21:1-4
The widow’s mite

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Gospel
Luke 17:7-10
You are merely servants

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

On Today’s Gospel

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

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

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

St Charles Borromeo pray for us….

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

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


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

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

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: September 4, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Many of us baptized Christians fail to realise that having been baptized we have been inserted into the life, death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hence we have become stewards of God’s kingdom and for one another. It is our call therefore to faithfully love, serve the Lord our God
God and one another in holiness. Will we be found worthy of our Lord’s trust? Have we dwelled in and shared in His mysteries that had been entrusted to us?Are we therefore faithful to His living Word, listening to His voice to teach and show us new ways in reaching out to others in His love? Do we keep faith and hold fast to the traditions of Holy mother Church who through the guidance of the Holy Spirit has kept our faith alive and active through the seasons, through the ages and through to the hope filled future that awaits us. We therefore fast when it is time to fast and feast when it is time to feast all in our Lord’s good time. For through Advent we rejoice at Christmas, through Lent with rejoice at Easter. All glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen

First reading

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 ·The Lord alone is our judgePeople must think of us as Christ’s servants, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God. What is expected of stewards is that each one should be found worthy of his trust. Not that it makes the slightest difference to me whether you, or indeed any human tribunal, find me worthy or not. I will not even pass judgement on myself. True, my conscience does not reproach me at all, but that does not prove that I am acquitted: the Lord alone is my judge. There must be no passing of premature judgement. Leave that until the Lord comes; he will light up all that is hidden in the dark and reveal the secret intentions of men’s hearts. Then will be the time for each one to have whatever praise he deserves, from God.

Gospel

Luke 5:33-39When the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fastThe Pharisees and the scribes said to Jesus, ‘John’s disciples are always fasting and saying prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees too, but yours go on eating and drinking.’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely you cannot make the bridegroom’s attendants fast while the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come, the time for the bridegroom to be taken away from them; that will be the time when they will fast.’ He also told them this parable, ‘No one tears a piece from a new cloak to put it on an old cloak; if he does, not only will he have torn the new one, but the piece taken from the new will not match the old. ‘And nobody puts new wine into old skins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and then run out, and the skins will be lost. No; new wine must be put into fresh skins. And nobody who has been drinking old wine wants new. “The old is good” he says.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: August 26, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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If we claim to be disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ then are we not to emulate our Master? Who worked tirelessly for the building of the Kingdom of God our Heavenly Father through the salvation of souls; sacrificing limb and life! Did His Apostles and disciples not do likewise? Are we then expecting to receive everything without work? Where is the thanksgiving? Where is the communion? Where is the adoration of our Lord? Where is the love for one another? Have we taken our faith for granted?

What are we offering up to the Lord our God today? Are we offering ourselves as living sacrifices acceptable to Him? How so?

What are we doing when we rush to register for formation talks or lessons on scripture but either do not commit to attending or if we do attend we keep whatever we learnt to ourselves? Why register to attend a Eucharistic Celebration with limited slots due to the pandemic but choose instead to go for a family gathering held at the same time or because we just felt too lazy to go? Why rally others to pray for the poor, the sick and suffering when we will not lift a finger to help the very folks we pray for? Are we criticising our parish for lacking in many ways but are doing nothing ourselves to help effect change by getting involved? Have we taken up leadership positions but are far from leading by example and further away from the leadership of Christ whom we say we serve? Are we more concerned about politicking and gossip? Have we not ‘killed’ the prophets amongst us by our own gossip and prejudices? Do we continue to make excuses for our sins, for all that we have done and all that we have failed to do?

Turn my heart to You O Lord, let me be as You have me be. Amen

First reading

2 Thessalonians 3:6-10,16-18 ·We worked night and day not to be a burden on youIn the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge you, brothers, to keep away from any of the brothers who refuses to work or to live according to the tradition we passed on to you. You know how you are supposed to imitate us: now we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we ever have our meals at anyone’s table without paying for them; no, we worked night and day, slaving and straining, so as not to be a burden on any of you. This was not because we had no right to be, but in order to make ourselves an example for you to follow. We gave you a rule when we were with you: do not let anyone have any food if he refuses to do any work. May the Lord of peace himself give you peace all the time and in every way. The Lord be with you all. From me, PAUL, these greetings in my own handwriting, which is the mark of genuineness in every letter; this is my own writing. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Gospel

Matthew 23:27-32You are the sons of those who murdered the prophetsJesus 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.’


We have disciplines and rules that we must follow for without them we find ourselves facing unrest even chaos. Why then do many of us react badly when they are enforced? Egs. Implementation of Co-vid 19 safety measures or that registration process and procedures are required to attend Mass or to receive the sacraments. Why do we feel and react as though our ‘rights’ or our freedom has been infringed upon? Do we have our Lord in mind before we speak and act? Do we behave as children of God our Father consistently whether it is at our workplace, school or in church?

If we are the ones helping to implement or even enforce them, do we also have the Lord in mind before we act and speak? Do we have the mercy and love of our Lord in mind above all? Can exceptions and allowances be for special cases?

The real question therefore is, are we true followers and disciples of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ? Is the love of God our Father planted in our hearts?

Jesus my Lord, my God, lead me now and forever. Amen

St John Vianney pray for us…

First reading

Jeremiah 30:1-2,12-15,18-22Your wound is incurable but I will heal youThe word addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord: the Lord, the God of Israel says this: Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book.Yes, the Lord says this:Your wound is incurable, your injury past healing.There is no one to care for your sore, no medicine to make you well again.All your lovers have forgotten you, they look for you no more.Yes, I have struck you as an enemy strikes,with harsh punishment so great is your guilt, so many your sins.Why bother to complain about your wound? Your pain is incurable.So great is your guilt, so many your sins, that I have done all this to you.The Lord says this:Now I will restore the tents of Jacob, and take pity on his dwellings: the city shall be rebuilt on its ruins, the citadel restored on its site.From them will come thanksgivingand shouts of joy.I will make them increase, and not diminish them, make them honoured, and not disdained.Their sons shall be as once they were, their community fixed firm in my presence, and I will punish all their oppressors.Their prince will be one of their own, their ruler come from their own people.I will let him come freely into my presenceand he can come close to me; who else, indeed, would risk his life by coming close to me? – it is the Lord who speaks.And you shall be my people and I will be your God.

Gospel

Matthew 15:1-2,10-14Any plant my Father has not planted will be pulled up by the rootsPharisees and scribes from Jerusalem came to Jesus and said, ‘Why do your disciples break away from the tradition of the elders? They do not wash their hands when they eat food.’ He called the people to him and said, ‘Listen, and understand. What goes into the mouth does not make a man unclean; it is what comes out of the mouth that makes him unclean.’ Then the disciples came to him and said, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were shocked when they heard what you said?’ He replied, ‘Any plant my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them alone. They are blind men leading blind men; and if one blind man leads another, both will fall into a pit.’


Want of the best testimonies of living in the faith and hope of our Lord Jesus Christ can be found in today’s first reading as we celebrate the feast day of St James the Apostle. And a nicely worded reminder of the humility we must embrace as true disciples of Christ. We are mere earthenware jars that can fully hold the treasure to be found in our relationship with Him. Not leaky cisterns that hold no water! But filled with the presence of the Lord our God.

And like our master who came not to be served but who served with love, mercy and compassion for the greater glory of God His Father; we too must follow in His footsteps. Then we can be assured that we will rest with Him in Paradise for ever. Amen

First reading

2 Corinthians 4:7-15 ·
Such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us

We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God and not from us. We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair; we have been persecuted, but never deserted; knocked down, but never killed; always, wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body. Indeed, while we are still alive, we are consigned to our death every day, for the sake of Jesus, so that in our mortal flesh the life of Jesus, too, may be openly shown. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
But as we have the same spirit of faith that is mentioned in scripture – I believed, and therefore I spoke – we too believe and therefore we too speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus to life will raise us with Jesus in our turn, and put us by his side and you with us. You see, all this is for your benefit, so that the more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.

Gospel

Matthew 20:20-28
‘Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’

The mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus 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.’


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
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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.