TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD

Monday 24th March – Monday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: 2 Kings 5:1-15

TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD

The story of Namaan is one that clearly shows the evil of pride in humans especially in their God-giving knowledge of themselves and their environment. Even with the rebellion of man to be submissive totally to God, God still works in mysterious ways to lead man and attend to his needs. This is the case of the little servant girl of Namaan who became the saving grace for her master.

Beloved in Christ, despite Namaan’s fame as a high ranking soldier, he still had a reproach which can be referred to as his cross. The sad story was that he preferred to live with it rather than promptly obey God’s instruction through the Prophet Elisha. God so loved him that he attended to his situation but he was clouded by reasoning rather than embracing faith in action. Can you locate any area of your life that you have failed to surrender to God and his word of truth. What is that cross which makes you inferior amidst your contemporaries? Do you sometimes neglect God’s instruction about certain areas of your life?

Let us learn to take God at his word and wait upon this word until it is perfected in our lives. Even after Namaan consented to wash himself at the river Jordan, it was at his seventh time of washing that he got cured. Let us learn to hold unto Gods word just like Peter in Luke 5:1-5 who let down his nets at the command of Jesus even after a discouraging experience of fishing all night with no result. This is God will for us, that we should obey his commands and precepts.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, let your Spirit led me to obey your commands promptly. Attend to every “BUT” in every area of my life that I may be a living testimony of your great love. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 22 – How does one go about believing?

Someone who believes is seeking a personal union with God and is ready to believe God in everything that he shows (reveals) about himself.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “I will never neglect your instructions, because by them you have kept me alive” Psalm 119:93 GNB

Readings for today: 2 Kings 5:1-15; Psalm 42:2-3, 42:3-4; Luke 4:24-30

LIVING WATER

Sunday 23rd March – 3rd Sunday of Lent

Reflection: John 4:5-42

LIVING WATER

Happy Sunday friends! Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob is another episode of the ministry of reconciliation which the Lenten season enjoins all of us to reflect on. Let us not allow our individual differences to blind the eyes of our heart from seeking God face to face by the love we show to our neighbor in the simile little but great help we must render to one another.

Dear friends, God’s invitation to partake in his life of abundance requires a hunger for righteousness which can only be satisfied by God. Our reading today reveals Jesus Christ as the living water that gives life and total satisfaction for our thirst. To draw this water of life, one must be ready to accept the full dose i.e. the full of life promised by Jesus. (John 10:10). This is a life that overflows with joy and God’s gift which is able to affect the lives of others positively. Are you ready to accommodate the living water which God’s word brings into your heart? Are you ready for that word of God to flush out your past ways and expose your being to the light of truth just like the Samaritan woman?

God’s message to us must be the food of our soul (John 4:34), giving the capacity each day of our lives to surmount worldly pleasures and living the Gospel of truth and salvation.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, give me that living water and make me a channel of grace unto others. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 120 – What does the Holy Spirit do in my life?

The Holy Spirit makes me receptive to God; he teaches me to pray and helps me to be there for others.

Augustine calls the Holy Spirit “The quiet guest of our soul”. Anyone who wants to sense his presence must be quiet. Often this Guest speaks very softly within us and with us, for instance, in the voice of our conscience or through other interior and exterior promptings. Being a “temple of the Holy Spirit” means being there, body and soul, for this Guest, for God in us

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God”. Ps 42:1 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42

RETURN TO YOUR FATHER

Saturday 22nd March – Saturday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

RETURN TO YOUR FATHER

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the two sacraments of healing in the Church; it obtains pardon from God for the offense committed against Him and by the Priest’s sacramental absolution, God grants the penitent “pardon and peace”. In approaching the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the first step is Interior Penance; recognition of guilt with repugnance towards the evil actions we have committed. Next is a contrite heart; sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again. Then comes the confession of sins to the priest after a diligent self-examination. Lastly, the Satisfaction; is fulfilling the penance given by the priest in order to make amends for the sin.

The Prodigal Son’s process of conversion stems from a recognition of his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, his reflection on all he had lost, a sorrowful heart for what he had done, his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father; the journey home. Up to this point he had lived “outside “of himself; now in the language of the Gospel he “enters into himself”, that is, he begins to look inwards and see his true nature.

When he starts back, he finds that the father is out on the roadway ready to welcome him back. Forgiveness meets us more than halfway. The father’s generous welcome; the father’s joy – all these are characteristic of the process of conversion. The Beautiful robe, the ring and the festive banquet are symbols of that new life – pure, worthy and joyful – of anyone who returns to God and to the bosom of His Family, which is the Church.

Dear Friends, let us take time to reflect and identify areas of our life where we have strayed from God, let us be sorrowful for them and pray for the grace to fully complete our conversion process. Remember, no matter how bad your past might have been, you can always begin anew with God. Today God calls us to conversion; He calls us to journey home.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to remember always that my sins are not greater than your mercy. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1470 – Effects of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the merciful judgment of God, anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life. For it is now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Jesus spoke up “healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I have come to call to repentance; I call sinners, not the righteous” Luke 5:31-32 CCB

Readings for today: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20, Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

TREASURE WHAT YOU HAVE

Friday 21st March – Friday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 21: 33-46

TREASURE WHAT YOU HAVE

In this parable, the vineyard is the kingdom of God; the Jews, God’s chosen people are the tenants. God entrusted His kingdom to them. He guided them throughout the long span of history that they would be an example to others. They were to communicate their experience to others so that all would develop justice, and a spirit of responsibility. These were the fruits God wanted to harvest. God sent his prophets to remind them of their debts; but they ignored them. Finally, the only Son of God appeared as man but they cast Him out and killed Him. Consequently, the Kingdom was taken from them and given to others, those believers converted from other nations. Thus, through their disobedience the mercy of God came to the pagan nations (Romans11:11-33).

We too as Christians have been entrusted with time, talents and treasures by God; He has given us the grace to dress the vineyard of our life with all He has blessed us with. He has given us all these to use for the betterment of our own lives and to help others. God has given us strength, vitality and ideas as youths to better our life, our environment and the world at large. Dear Friends, today God is reminding us of this duty, He is calling us bear fruits. He is calling us to recognize the resources He has entrusted to us and to value them. Can you recognize the talents God has given you? Can you recognize the grace God has given you to serve him in various capacities? How faithful are you with those God has placed under your care?

Remember, what we have is a gift from God, what we do with them is our own gift to God. What kind of gift are you offering back to God?

PRAYER: Lord, help me to recognize my treasures and to use them for your glory. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 203 – What is Confirmation?

Confirmation is the Sacrament that completes Baptism; in it the gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed upon us. Anyone who freely decides to live a life as God’s child and asks for God’s Spirit under the signs of the imposition of hands and anointing with chrism receives the strength to witness to God’s love and might in word and deed. He is now a full-fledged, responsible member of the Catholic Church.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire” Matthew 7:19 CCB

Readings for today: Genesis 37:3-4, 12-28, Psalm 105:16-21; Matthew 21: 33- 46

COMPASSION

Thursday 20th March- Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Reflection: Luke 16:19-31

COMPASSION

Jesus Christ, throughout His life on earth was moved with compassion in doing His works of mercy. He healed the sick and freed the captive out of compassion. This is a sign to us that for us to be true followers of Christ, compassion for others around us is very necessary.

Every gift we possess on earth whether physical or spiritual is a privilege and must be selflessly used. We together with others should benefits from them to the glory of God. The rich man in the parable of today did not see his wealth as a gift from God and used it only to the enjoyment and fulfilment of his selfish interests and this earned him destruction because he forgot the poor around him especially Lazarus who always sat at his gate.

Compassion helps us to be sensitive to other people’s needs and trying our best to meet such needs with the resources God has given us, the rich man lacked this and he paid for it. Let us examine in our hearts today how we utilize the blessings of God in our lives, our wealth, intelligence, spiritual gifts, beauty and every advantage we have over others. Is it based on compassion for the needs of others or only to satisfy our selfish interests?

PRAYER: Lord, help me to always use your gifts in my life to the glory of your name. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 181- Why are there so many signs and symbols in the liturgies?

God knows that we men are not only spiritual but also bodily creatures; we need signs and symbols in order to perceive and describe spiritual or interior realities.

…The incarnate Son of God gives us human signs in which He is living and active among us: bread and wine, the water of Baptism, the anointing with the Holy Spirit. Our response to God’s sacred signs instituted by Christ consists in signs of reverence: genuflecting, standing while listening to the Gospel, bowing, folding our hands.

HIDE A TREASURE: “A liberal man will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25 RSV-CE

Readings for today:  Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 1:1-6; Luke 16:19-31.

FAITH AS RIGHTEOUSNESS

Wednesday 19th March Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reflection: Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22.

FAITH AS RIGHTEOUSNESS

FAITH is total trust in God and ability to obey God’s direction no matter how foolish or absurd it may seem to us, believing that He has the best plans for us and that His promises and His words for us will surely come to pass.

This is what father Abraham exemplified. He believed he shall become the father of many nations as he was told despite the fact that he had Isaac at his old age through Sarah. Joseph, the husband of Mary believed and acted on the direction given to him to take Mary as his wife, despite the fact that the task appeared big for him, he leaned on his total faith in God. These actions were counted as righteousness for Abraham and Joseph.

Brethren, God calls us today to do the same thing in every situation of our lives, obey the directions of God as placed in your heart without fear or doubt and all shall be well with you. Remember, it is rebellion against God to doubt His promises or to disobey His orders

PRAYER: Father, give me the grace to always believe that you alone have the best plans for my life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 341 – Can someone earn heaven by good works?

No. No man can gain heaven merely by his own efforts. The fact that we are saved is God’s grace, pure and simple, which nevertheless demands the free cooperation of the individual.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I know that your love will last for all time, that your faithfulness is as permanent as the sky.” Psalm 89:2 GNB

Readings for today: 2 Samuel 7:4-5,12-16; Psalm 89: 2-5, 27,29; Romans 4: 13-18,22; Matthew 1: 16-21,24

A CALL TO REPENTANCE

Tuesday 18th March- Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

Reflection: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20

A CALL TO REPENTANCE

One of the gifts of new life given to us is the gift of reconciliation. God calls us to Himself always out of love to reconcile us with Him.

He says today as He said to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, “come now, let us reason together, if your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

God says today that you should forsake the life of hypocrisy and obey His will, if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Dear friend, no matter how far you may have strayed, our loving Father is ever ready to welcome you home. Simply call out to Him.

PRAYER: Merciful father, have mercy on me and draw me nearer to you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 367 – To whom does the Fourth Commandment refer, and what does it require of us?

The Fourth Commandment refers in the first place to one’s physical parents, but also to the people to whom we owe our life, our well-being, our security, and our faith.

What we owe in the first place to our parents—namely love, gratitude, and respect—should also govern our relations to people who guide us and are there for us. There are many people who represent for us a God-given, natural, and good authority: foster or step-parents, older relatives and ancestors, educators, teachers, employers, superiors. In the spirit of the Fourth Commandment we should do them justice. In the broadest sense, this commandment applies even to our duties as citizens to the State.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land” Isaiah 1:19 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Psalm 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 &23; Matthew 23: 1-12