LIGHT AND DARKNESS

Monday, 27th January – Monday of week 3 of the year

Reflection: Mark 3:22-30

LIGHT AND DARKNESS

The Kingdom of God is an everlasting one. Everything that happens and would happen is known to God and is revealed in the living word of God. God confirmed the unity of his kingdom when satan was cast down from heaven because he rebelled against God. (Rev12:7-9). This episode was further made known by Apostle John in his (1John 1:5); when he declared God as light which is devoid of darkness.

Dear friends, there are no two ways to our eternal home. The only way is Jesus Christ who is the light of the world. You cannot have two masters (Matthew 6:24), you either serve God or serve the devil. You can either shine for Christ or shine for the devil. Therefore, it is important for us to have a clear-cut understanding of the fruits of our actions. Does my life constantly open others to temptation and sin? Do I still harbor malice, hatred, lust, jealousy and other fruits of human nature (Gal 5:19-21) and still live as if nothing is wrong? These are manifestations of darkness with which the light cannot live.

In our reading today, Jesus was wrongly acclaimed to possess the evil nature; casting out demons with the power of Beelzebul. What an evil contention by the scribes! Dear friends, bearing good fruits for Christ will raise oppositions and all manner of slander. The world will testify against us and plant weeds amongst our plants. There would be times of suffering and division from even our own friends because we want to live for Christ. Let us be courageous and never give in to our human nature. Let us live by the Spirit who will help to sustain our light to our perfect end.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, sustain the light of the Gospel in your body, the Church. Help me to look forward always to a new horizon of your light in my life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 347 – Why is “not practicing what you preach” such a serious deficiency in a Christian?

Agreement between one’s life and one’s witness is the first requirement for proclaiming the Gospel. Not practicing what you profess is therefore HYPOCRISY, a betrayal of the Christian duty to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”

HIDE A TREASURE

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden”. Matthew 5:14 GNB

Readings for Today: 2 Samuel 5:1-7,10; Ps 89; Mark 3:22-30

ARE YOU READY?

Sunday, 26th January – 3rd Sunday of the year

Reflection: Matthew 4:12-23

ARE YOU READY?

“Look, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my call and open the door, I will come in to you and have supper with you, and you with me” (Revelation 3:20). Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw Peter and his brother Andrew who were fishermen and called them to follow him, at once they left all and followed him. Also, James and John, Son of Zebedee, left their Father and their boats and followed him at once. These disciples did not know what lies ahead, yet, they left all and followed him.

Dear Friends, today Christ is calling you to follow him; to be his disciple. Can you hear the call and are you ready for this? The call to follow him is a call to bear witness to Christ. This demands self-mortification and total submission from you. Self-mortification in terms of the comfort and pleasure we have to let go, the way of life and friends we have to leave, the insults we have to bear and the enemies we have to love and forgive. All these constitute the daily cross we have to bear to be a disciple of Christ (Luke 14:26-27). Christ is calling you today to serve him in the Church, in the community, and in the world at large. Can you hear Him and are you ready?

Remember, when God sends you on an errand, He pays the bill. So, do not worry about what lies ahead if you respond to the call. God will take care of that, for He cares for us. All you need to do is to make yourself available and say, “HERE AM I LORD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL”.

PRAYER: Lord I thank you for my being, give me the grace to hear and to respond to your call all my life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 348 – “Teacher, what . . . must I do to have eternal life?” (Mt 19:16)

Jesus says, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (Mt 19:17). Then he adds, “and come, follow me” (Mt 19:21).

Christianity is more than a correct life and keeping the commandments. Being a Christian is a living relationship to Jesus. A Christian unites himself deeply and personally with the Lord and with him sets out on the way that leads to true life.

HIDE A TREASURE: “My son, if you have decided to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Keep your hearts upright and remain resolute; do not be upset in the time of adversity.” Sirach 2:1-2 GNB

Readings for today: Isaiah 8:23- 9:3, 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; Matthew 4:12-23

AUTHENTIC CONVERSION

Saturday, 25th January

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Reflection: Acts 9:1-22

AUTHENTIC CONVERSION

Saint Paul, who is also referred to as an “Apostle to the Gentiles” made his impact in spreading the good news of salvation through the help of the Holy Spirit and his strong determination to complete what God entrusted to his care. This whole work cannot but be traced back to his encounter with Christ on his way to Damascus which led to an authentic conversion. Anytime we remember how he became an apostle, it is always wonderful to think of how God can chose even the worst of sinners for his work of salvation.

Today, we wonder why the flame of the faith grows weak even with sound liturgies and constant celebration of Sacraments by the Church. People complain that the Church is boring and seem not to know why they are in the church. Dear friend, a Christian without an authentic conversion brought about by a divine encounter with Christ will not be able to live out the Gospel of Jesus. Christianity is not always about what we hear about God from people but is significantly what God says to you, what God reveals to you and what God has entrusted to you. St. Paul in our reading today encountered God with some “elements” which made the encounter very unique; the presence of Christ, a new sight and baptism of the Holy Spirit. Also, God perfected and made all this possible by sending Ananias to minister to him. Beloved in Christ, have you ever had an encounter with Christ which you can hold on to and recall whenever the fight of faith gets tough? Do you desire more and more of Christ’s revelation of himself to you? This is the testimony and power of great men of faith.

Our obedience to the great commission of Christ, “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good news to all creation” in the Gospel reading of today (Mark 16:15) would be dependent on our individual testimony of Christ and divine encounter with him. Let us be conscious of the fact that nobody is dispensable or too weak to proclaim Christ.

Dear Friends, as we go out today, let us pray that God may give us the grace to truly encounter Him in our daily activities.

TALK TO YOUR FRIEND: Lord Jesus, reveal yourself to me in a way that I have never experienced before. Let your light shine on me to enkindle the fire of your love in my heart. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 27- The desire for God

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never cease to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures” John 15:16 GNB

Readings for Today: Acts 9:1-22; Psalm 117; Mark 16:15-18

REPAYING GOOD FOR EVIL

Friday, 24th January – Friday of week 2 of the year

Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Reflection: 1 Samuel 24: 3-21

REPAYING GOOD FOR EVIL

We live in a highly individualistic world, a world in which men seek their own personal gain at all times. Our world is indeed full of selfishness, pride, unforgiveness and revenge and all these vices are at the root of the many wars, mass killings and man-made disasters that have befalling our world over the centuries.

However, as Christians, Jesus calls us to a very different way of living; one that takes us above selfishness and leads us to share the great love and mercy God has shown us to others. An insight into our calling is seen in the first reading of today. We reflected on the evil of jealousy yesterday and we see its effect in today’s reading as King Saul is after David to take his life and David is forced to run into hiding with his men. Despite the great wickedness King Saul has exhibited towards David, the latter refused to take the life of his pursuer even when he had an easy opportunity to do so. Instead he spared the life of the king and later called out to the king to make him realize he had nothing against him. He left the vengeance to God, not to himself.

Dear young friends, Christ calls us each day to live a life of love, to repay good for evil, a blessing for a curse and to feed our enemy if he is hungry (Romans 12: 14, 17-21). God calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). This call is not an easy one but is possible for us as long as we yield to the Holy Spirit whom God has given us at our baptism. The Holy Spirit within us will help us to be perfect even as our Heavenly Father is perfect. All we need to do is to ask for His grace and obey His leading in sincerity of heart.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for the great love and mercy you offer me each day despite my sinfulness. Please help me to joyfully extend this love to others, especially those who do not seek my good. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 395 – What is peace?

Peace is the consequence of justice and the sign of love put into action. Where there is peace, “every creature can come to rest in good order” (Thomas Aquinas). Earthly peace is the image of the peace of Christ, who reconciled heaven and earth.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do not be overcome by evil; but overcome evil with good” Romans 12: 21 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 1 Samuel 24: 3-21; Psalm 56: 1-11; Mark 3:13-19