FAITH AND GOOD DEEDS

Friday, 21st February – Friday of week 6 of the year

Reflection: James 2:14-24, 26

FAITH AND GOOD DEEDS

By faith man completely submits his intellect and will to God. This is called “the Obedience of Faith”. To obey in faith is to submit freely to the Word that has been heard, because its truth can be guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. By faith, Abraham set out for a country that would be given to him as an inheritance, even without knowing where he was going, but rest assured that God is faithful. By faith, Abraham went out to offer Isaac, though he had received the promise that: Isaac’s descendants will bear your name… (Hebrews 11: 8, 17-19). Thus, faith is not hearing alone or limited to the heart alone, rather, it spurs the receiver into action. For faith is alive and active.

Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). Our faith grows in the proportion with which we dwell in God’s word. The more we know about God’s promises, the more we can base our faith on them. However, our faith does not end on hearing the word alone, this word should move us into action (Matthew 7:24-27). Since faith is a gift of God, (Matthew 16:17) man needs the interior help of the Holy Spirit in order to believe. We cannot claim to have faith in God with no good work to show our faith. Our fathers in faith, in the Bible and Church history, have shown us their faith by their life.

Today, Christ calls us to examine ourselves; how well have I developed my faith in God by prayers and studying His word? How well have I stood for righteousness even when it costs me a lot? How well have I put my faith into action in my life, my studies, my work, or the challenges that comes my way? Having examined ourselves, let us pray for the grace to live out our faith.

PRAYER: Lord, please increase my faith in you and help me to daily live my faith. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 142: MAN’S RESPONSE TO GOD

By His revelation, “the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company.” The adequate response to this invitation is Faith.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Remember what happened to your ancestors. Who has ever trusted in the Lord and been confounded? Who has persevered in fear of the Lord and been abandoned? Who has called upon Him and not been heard?” Sirach 2:10 CCB

Readings for today: James 2:14-24, 26, Psalm 112:1-6, Mark 8:34-9:1

WHO IS CHRIST TO YOU?

Thursday, 20th February – Thursday of week 6 of the year

Reflection: Mark 8:27-33

WHO IS CHRIST TO YOU?

The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah”, which means “Anointed.” It is proper to Jesus only because he accomplished perfectly the divine mission that “Christ” signifies. Jesus asked His disciples today, “Who do you say I am” and Peter responded, “You are Christ”. The response of Peter was inspired by the Holy Spirit and borne out of deep conviction of the person of Jesus to Him.

Dear Friends, Christ is asking us today, “Who do you say I am”? Is Christ one who helps you when failures or troubles come your way alone? Or one who helps you when you have financial crisis or challenges of life alone? Or one heals you of your ailments and grants you good health alone? Or one you run to when your academics is going down alone? Or is Christ your Friend, who you open all your life to? Let us reflect on this, and see the aspect(s) we have given to Christ in our life.

I have come that they may have life, life in all its fullness (John10:10). Christ is not interested in a part of our life, rather, in its totality and fullness. He wants to be the Lord and Master of our life. He wants to come in and take charge. Behold He is knocking at the door of our hearts, let us open to Him and He will take charge as the Lord of our lives (Rev. 3:20).

PRAYER: Lord, please help me to recognize always that you are the pillar that holds my life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 430: JESUS

Jesus means in Hebrew: “God saves”. At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as His proper name, which expresses both His identity and His mission. Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus His eternal Son made man, “will save His people from their sins.” In Jesus, God recapitulates all of His history of salvation on behalf of men.

HIDE A TREASURE: “All things were made through Him and without Him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in Him, life which for humans was also light.” John 1:3-4 CCB

Readings for today: James 2:1-9, Psalm 34:2-7, Mark 8:27-33

WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE?

Wednesday 19th February – Wednesday of week 6 of the year

Reflection: James 1: 19-27

WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE?

As humans, we always like to know the impression others have about us, we always want to look good, appear good and create a good impression to those around us. This is actually not bad on its own, but the best impression that can be created about us is the one God has about us.

The mirror or the means through we can know how God sees us is His word. But many a time, we hear this word, telling us how we ought to live or warning us about our lives and we do not put it into practice. God is urging us today not to only be hearers of the word of God which is the truth but also doers of that word and by this we will not be condemned.

Today, dear friends, God tells us to be slow to becoming angry, to flee every form of filthy habit and wickedness, to bridle our tongues, to be pure in heart and genuinely religious, to consider and help the orphans and widows and to stay away from every form of corruption.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to always put your word which is the truth into practice.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 282 – Does Sacred Scripture speak about a way to happiness?

We become happy by trusting in Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes.

The Gospel is a promise of happiness to all people who wish to walk in God’s ways. Especially in the Beatitudes (Mt 5:3-12), Jesus has told us specifically that eternal blessedness (BLESSING) is based on our following his example and seeking peace with a pure heart.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead put it into practice.” James 1:22 GNB

Readings for today: James 1: 19-27; Psalm 15: 2-5; Mark 8: 22-26

WHEN TRIALS COME

Tuesday, 18th February – Tuesday of week 6 of the year

Reflection: James 1: 12-18

WHEN TRIALS COME

As a consequence of original sin, there came distortion to perfect order of creation (Romans 5:12; Genesis 3; CCC 397-400) and life has not been a bed of roses for us all. Even as Christians, we are not absolutely immune from life’s difficulties (2 Timothy 3:12), but if we abide in God, He has promised never to allow us to be tried beyond our capacity to endure and to ultimately transform the situation for our good (1Corinthians 10:13). When and how He will do this are some of the questions beyond our human understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9). That makes Him who He is, the sovereign God.

Though trials and tribulations can be consequences of our sins (Psalm 107: 17; John 5: 1-14; Jonah 1), not all sufferings stem from individual sins. The scripture is repleted with examples of holy faithful (Joseph, Job, Zechariah and Elizabeth, the Blessed Virgin Mary) who went through hard times (Genesis 39:2-23; Job 1; Luke 1:5-7; 2:34-35). Our Lord Jesus Christ, though perfect, drank of the chalice of persecution and suffering (Matthew 16:21-24; Hebrews 5: 7-8). The devil is a cunning and unrelenting enemy who will do all he can to frustrate our quest for holiness and Heaven. We must stand firm in faith, we must prove our unflinching allegiance to God as Job did (Job 2:10).

Beloved friends, we are all liable to temptation (to lie, cheat, fornicate, abort etc) but not “programmed” to give in. As children of God, we have the grace through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to resist and overcome temptation. This, our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated in His temptation after forty days of fasting and prayer (Matthew 4:11).

Today’s Psalm, (Psalm 94: 12-15, 18-19) is affirms of God’s promises to see us through life’s trials. Rather than losing hope (Romans 4:17-22), we should hold on to God’s words with greater watchfulness and prayer (Matthew 26: 40-41).

PRAYER: Oh Lord, I hold on to you! Grant me victory in my trials and temptations.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 409 – The dramatic situation of “the whole world (which) is in the power of the evil one” makes man’s life a battle: the whole of man’s history has been the story of duor combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battle field, man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 RSV-CE

Readings for today: James 1: 12-18; Psalm 94: 12-15; 18-19; Mark 8: 14-21

ANYONE IN NEED OF WISDOM?

Monday, 17th February – Monday of week 6 of the year

Reflection: James 1:1-11

ANYONE IN NEED OF WISDOM?

Certainly, if wisdom were to be a commodity on sale in Jankara market, nearly all students will be there to purchase some. As youths and especially as students, wisdom, knowledge and understanding are highly needed in our academic pursuit. We do not rank equally in our intelligence quotient (IQ). This is the major reason for the disparity in our capacity for understanding and reasoning.

However, today’s first reading is cheering news for as many as desire an “upgrade” in their IQ (James 1:5-7). God is simply saying: “Ask, but ask in faith.” Accompanying our faith must be the fear of God (Psalm 110: 10). It was the fear of God that formed the basis of Solomon’s request (2 Chronicles 1: 7-12; 1 Kings 4: 29-34). Daniel was ten times better than all his compatriots in matters of wisdom and understanding because he feared God (Daniel 1: 8, 19-20). Wisdom, knowledge and understanding are parts of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11: 1-2) and God has promised never to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). He is our creator, the almighty God, with whom nothing is impossible (Jeremiah 32:27).

As we ask and trust Him for greater knowledge and understanding, this must not breed complacency in us. Rather it must inspire us to deploy our potentials to the fullest. Faithfulness in little things promotes faithfulness in greater things and ultimately, God will take us to greater heights (Luke 19:17)

PRAYER: Oh Lord! Grant me greater wisdom, knowledge and understanding, that my study (work) may better glorify you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1831 – The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who practice it. His praise endures forever” Psalm 111: 10 RSV-CE

Readings for today: James 1:1-11; Psalm 119: 67-76; Mark 8: 11-13

THE INEVITABLE CHOICE

Sunday, 16th February – 6th Sunday of the year

 Reflection: Sirach 15: 16-21

THE INEVITABLE CHOICE

One thing is so sure: we need to always make choices and these choices have consequences either good or bad. But there is a choice in the life of humans which is inevitable for every mankind and which has an eternal consequence.

This choice is taking the decision of who to surrender our lives to, this is the choice between life and death and there is no middle way. Today Christ puts before us to choose between life and death, good and bad.

Dear friends it is to our own benefit that we choose life which is Christ. To choose death is to choose the devil. God wants us to surrender everything about our lives to Him. When we do so, everything becomes as God has planned because He owns our lives. To choose Christ gives us a sure consequence of eternal happiness but to choose devil gives a sure consequence of eternal damnation; which do you choose?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me today to make a choice worthy of eternal happiness.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 154What happens to us when we die?

In death body and soul are separated. The body decays, while the soul goes to meet God and waits to be reunited with its risen body on the Last Day.

How the resurrection will take place is a mystery. An image can help us to accept it: When we look at a tulip bulb we cannot tell into what a marvelously beautiful flower it will develop in the dark earth. Similarly, we know nothing about the future appearance of our new body. Paul is nevertheless certain: “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory” (1 Cor 15:43a).

 HIDE A TREASURE: “He has never commanded anyone to be wicked or given anyone permission to sin.” Sirach 15: 20 GNB

Readings for today: Sirach 15: 16-21; Psalm 119:1-5, 17-18, 33-34; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; Matthew 5: 17-37.

A FRUITFUL FOLLOWER

Saturday, 15th February – Saturday of week 5 of the year

Reflection: Mark 8:1-10

A FRUITFUL FOLLOWER

The episode of the feeding of the four thousand people by Jesus in our reading today gives a lesson on how we can be fruitful followers of Christ. A true follower of Christ is the one who is ready to give up all he has for the sake of something more precious and glorious; the salvation of souls.

The seven loaves and few fish which the disciples gave out even when they knew they could not get any other food in the desert was a symbol of total denial of self and openness to God’s benevolence. Even though they might have been reluctant due to what their human sense says, God taught them a lesson of a life-time. The multiplication of bread in our reading today was made possible by two acts of Jesus which are

i)                    Compassion on the needs of people that led to total denial of self. (Mark 8:3)

ii)                  Thanksgiving to God on the note of the privilege given to him to give. (Mark 8:6)

Dear friend, bearing fruits for Christ is not dependent on how much we have to offer but on our sincerity in offering everything we have to God without counting the cost. This places before us the need to be sensitive to the needs of our neighbor and thankful, with faith in God’s power to do what we have requested from him.

Today, let us put more effort into witnessing for Christ by our exemplary way of living and professing our faith. This is God’s call on us and a mission for all Christians.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me always to be sensitive to the needs of my neighbor. May my offering of love be acceptable unto you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 30 – “Let all hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.” Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, “ an upright heart”, as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God would satisfy them fully” Matthew 5:6 GNB

Readings for today: 1Kings 12: 26-32, 13:33-34; Psalm 106: 6-7, 19-22; Mark 8: 1-10