WHAT PREVENTS YOU FROM RECOGNIZING HIM?

Wednesday 23rd April – Easter Wednesday

Reflection: Luke 24: 13-35

WHAT PREVENTS YOU FROM RECOGNIZING HIM?

Today’s Gospel reading presents us with an account of two disciples of our Lord Jesus who failed to recognize Him on meeting Him on their way to Emmaus. The Bible records that something prevented them from recognizing Him. How many times have you and I met our Lord Jesus without recognizing Him and how many more times do we risk meeting Him without recognizing Him?

Jesus is not far off in “Heaven” as we often presume Him to be! Every day we live presents us with a new opportunity of meeting Jesus in our fellow brothers and sisters especially those of them in need. Christ himself has told us that part of our judgment will border on how well we have recognized Him or otherwise in the hungry, sick, naked and needy strangers around us (Matthew 25: 31-46). It is not just about our money, it is about all we are privileged to have and should share.

Beloved, what prevents you from recognizing Jesus in the needy around you? Is it selfishness, pride or prejudice? Not even our personal insufficiency can be good enough a reason for there is a room for charity even in our individual needs. Let us be constantly reminded of this eternal truth that our God is all sufficient and lacks nothing. Each time we recognize Him in the needs of others, we are simply availing ourselves of the opportunity to be blessed by Him in multiple folds (Proverbs 19:17).

PRAYER: Oh Lord, please grant me a compassionate heart that recognizes you in the needs of my neighbor. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 449 – What significance do the poor have for Christians?

Love for the poor must be in every age the distinguishing mark of Christians. The poor deserve not just a few alms; they have a claim to justice. For Christians there is a special obligation to share their goods. Our example in love for the poor is Christ.

HIDE A TREASURE: “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” Matthew 25:40 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Acts 3: 1-10; Psalm 105: 1-9; Luke 24: 13-35

WHOM THE LORD LOOKS ON

Tuesday 22nd April – Easter Tuesday

Reflection: Psalm 33: 4-5; 18-22

WHOM THE LORD LOOKS ON

At one point or the other, we have in supplication asked God to look upon us. Invariably, we were saying “God show me your favour, I need your intervention in my situation!” We are not alone in our request as the Bible contains examples of men and women who have also cried unto God and were helped by Him (1 Samuel 1:11; Deuteronomy 26:7; Luke 1:25; Judges 6:14).

Beloved friend, do you desire to be a man or woman of answered prayer? One whom God constantly looks on? Today’s Psalm is saying: have reverence for God! We cannot claim to revere God without being docile to His word. We cannot deliberately be living in opposition to God’s will and expect His constant favour, nor can we be selective in obeying Him and enjoy the fullness of His blessing. Scripture says the Lord will look on the man with a poor and contrite heart who trembles at the Word of God (Isaiah 66:2).

If indeed we revere God, by extension we will revere His ministers and anything dedicated to Him. Familiarity they say breeds contempt. We must not become so familiar with our religious leaders (eg Priests) and other sacred items in the Church that we treat them with contempt or disrespect. May the Lord look upon us and be gracious unto us as we revere Him wholeheartedly.

Prayer: Oh Lord! I want to live in reverence for You. May I live in docility to Your word and treat with honour and respect all that is dedicated to You. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC2834 – Give us this day our daily bread

“Pray and work,” “Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you.” Even when we have done our work, the food we receive is still a gift from our Father; it is good to ask him for it and to thank him, as Christian families do when saying grace at meals.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But this is the man I will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word” Isaiah 66:2b RSV-CE

Readings for today: Acts 2: 36-41; Psalm 33: 4-5; 18-22; John 20: 11-18

THE PRIZE I SEEK

Monday 21st April – Easter Monday

Reflection: Psalm 16: 1-2, 5-11

THE PRIZE I SEEK

The life of man from cradle to grave is characterized by various pursuits. These range from basic daily needs to the satisfaction or accomplishment of his heartfelt future hopes and aspirations. Yesterday, he was in need of a University admission, today he craves for the best designer wear in vogue or the latest telecom device in the market. Tomorrow’s conquest is a constellation of a well paid job, a descent housing and a beautiful life partner with accompanying children…to mention but a few on his endless list.

Man seeks satisfaction and fulfillment in things and situations. Some he will endlessly pursue in vain for no man can have it “all”. Some will he capture to later discover the vanity therein (Ecclesiastes 2: 3-11; Luke 12:15). This is the riddle of the sublime and wisdom of heart must we all gain from this. He who desires ALL must seek ALL; and to seek all is to seek eternity which is found in nothing else but God alone. This wisdom the Psalmist found and proclaims to us in these words “O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup. It is you yourself who are my prize”. To seek God is to seek the ultimate prize that can never be sought in vain (Jeremiah 29:13). For in it our hearts find ultimate fulfillment and peace.

Beloved friend, the testimony of the women (Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of James and Joses) in today’s Gospel reading is an encouragement for you and I. They sought the risen Christ and He revealed Himself to them. Let us also seek God from the depths of our hearts. Until we acknowledge Him in our temporal desires and aspirations, we cannot have the ultimate fulfillment and joy our hearts crave for.

Prayer: It is You I seek, Lord Jesus; You are my eternal price loving God! Come reveal Yourself to me anew. 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 ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ” Philippians 3:8 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Acts 2:14, 23-33; Psalm 16: 1-2, 5-11; Matthew 28: 8-15

BROUGHT BACK TO TRUE LIFE

Sunday 20th April – Easter Sunday

Reflection: Colossians 3: 1-4

BROUGHT BACK TO TRUE LIFE

It is Easter Sunday, dear friends; the “Great Sunday” according to St Athanasius. Today we celebrate the essence of our faith – Christ’s resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:14). It is a day of rejoicing in appreciation of the new life purchased for us by our Lord’s suffering, death and resurrection. However, amidst our merriment and jollification, we must never lose sight of the important lessons this great feast offers us.

We all were under the yolk of sin (Romans 3:23), unable to save ourselves. But our Lord Jesus came to pay the ransom for our liberation by His sacrificial death on the cross. Through His glorious resurrection, we are redeemed and empowered to live in the liberty of the new life He has purchased for us. This new life demands from us a willful renunciation of all sinful ways and a conscious pursuit after righteousness. Though the Lenten season is over, we must never go back to our forsaken sinful deeds. There is need for us to consolidate on the gains of Lent.

Until we make this commitment, our celebration of Easter will remain canal and sensual. Dearest friend, let us dedicate ourselves to walking in the true life (i.e the new life) that has been purchased for us so that we can experience the joy and power of Christ’s resurrection and ultimately behold His glory in Heaven.

Prayer: My loving Redeemer, as we celebrate Your glorious resurrection this day, please renew me by the power of Your resurrection that my life may better honor You. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 107 – Through his Resurrection, did Jesus return to the physical, corporeal state that he had during his earthly life?

The risen Lord allowed his disciples to touch him; he ate with them and showed them the wounds of his Passion. Nevertheless, his body belonged no longer only to this earth, but rather to the heavenly kingdom of his Father.

The risen Christ, who bore the wounds of the Crucified, was no longer bound by space and time. He could enter through locked doors and appear to his disciples in various places in a form in which they did not recognize him immediately. Christ’s Resurrection was, therefore, not a return to a normal earthly life, but rather his entrance into a new way of being: “For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him” (Rom 6:9)

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” Romans 6: 3-4 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Acts 10: 34, 37-43; Psalm 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Colossians 3: 1-4; John 20: 1-9

NEWNESS OF LIFE

Saturday 19th April – Holy Saturday

Reflection: Romans 6: 3-11

NEWNESS OF LIFE

The worst form of bondage that man can ever be in is the bondage to sin. Christ, through His death and resurrection has set us free from such bondage. As baptised Christians, we are to consider ourselves as having died with Christ believing that we will also live with Him (Romans 6:8). Dying with Christ involves dying to our human selfishness and embracing the life of holiness Christ has died to give us.

Hence, by becoming one with Christ, our old being has been put to death with Christ on the cross and we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:6). Beloved, how well have you lived out the promises you made at Baptism? If you were baptised as an infant, you have had the privilege of renewing your baptismal promises every time you have witnessed a baptism and on Easter vigil each year.

As we celebrate this night the resurrection of our Lord and as we welcome new members to the Church in Baptism, let us renew with all our hearts our commitment to live in newness of life and ask for God’s grace to help us in our journey of faith.

Prayer: Heavenly father, righteousness is a sweet experience that comes with total peace of mind. I desire to be righteous and holy all my life. Please fill me with the enabling grace. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 200 – What happens in Baptism?

In Baptism we become members of the Body of Christ, sisters and brothers of our Redeemer, and children of God. We are freed from sin, snatched from death, and destined from then on for a life in the joy of the redeemed.

HIDE A TREASURE: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” Romans 6:4RSV-CE

Readings for today: Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 118: 1-2, 15-17, 22-23; Matthew 28: 1-10.

LIVING FOR CHRIST

Friday 18th April – Good Friday

Reflection: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12

LIVING FOR CHRIST

Today is Good Friday, a day on which we call to mind the passion of Christ. It is important that we take time to reflect on how we are living our lives. Christ died for us on the cross of Calvary that we may be saved. Through His love and mercy, He has brought us into an era of grace. The Bible records in Isaiah 53:12 that “he willingly gave his life and shared the fate of evil men. He took the place of many sinners and prayed that they might be forgiven”.

Brethren, the Easter triduum (the three days preceding Easter Sunday) give us a wonderful opportunity to ponder upon and celebrate the essence of Christ’s death in our lives. We are called to forsake all evil ways, every form of unrighteousness, take up our cross and follow the path for which Christ has led.

Let us today, take time to examine ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to bring to our awareness those areas of our lives that reflect ingratitude for Christ’s sacrifice. Let us determine never to go back to these sinful habits again for indeed we can be holy as our heavenly father is holy if we sincerely ask Him for the grace to be holy. There shall be no excuse for any Christian after the death of Christ who fails to attain eternal life.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to always keep your passion in mind that I may obtain the grace of holiness.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 95 – Why did Jesus choose the date of the Jewish feast of Passover for his death and Resurrection?

Jesus chose the Passover feast of his people Israel as a symbol for what was to happen through his death and Resurrection. As the people Israel were freed from slavery to Egypt, so Christ frees us from the slavery of sin and the power of death. [571-573]

…He celebrated the Paschal feast with his disciples. During this feast, he made himself the sacrificial Lamb. “For Christ, our Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7), so as to establish once and for all the definitive reconciliation between God and mankind

HIDE A TREASURE: “When he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.” Hebrews 5:9 GNB

Readings for today: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; Psalm 31: 2, 6, 12-17, 25; Hebrews 4: 14-16, 5: 7-9; John 18:1- 19:42

THE PASSOVER LAMB

Thursday17th April – Holy Thursday

Reflection: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14

THE PASSOVER LAMB

Today is Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) and is the first day of the Easter Triduum (the three days preceding Easter Sunday). Holy Thursday marks the Institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood. The feast of Maundy Thursday finds its root in the Jewish feast of Passover, the night on which the Last Supper is recorded to have occurred (John13:1-2). The Jewish people celebrate the feast of Passover in commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs, and their birth as a nation under the leadership of Moses (Exodus 12:21-42). Thus, Passover reminds them of the passing from slavery to liberty.

By celebrating the Last Supper with His apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning (CCC1340).  Jesus’ passing over to his Father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the Kingdom of God (Luke22:18). Thus, the celebration of the Eucharist is our own new Passover feast and Christ is the new Passover lamb, whose blood consecrates the home of all believers.

Dear Friends, each time we celebrate and partake of the Eucharist, we pass from death into life (John 6:54), from darkness into the incomprehensible light of God (John 8:12), and from slavery of sin into the freedom of God’s children. As Christ has commanded us to partake of the Eucharist in his remembrance, let us strive to partake daily that we may receive the sanctifying grace it gives in abundance.

Prayer: Lord as I strive to daily partake of your Body and Blood, may my life be transformed by you. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 216 – In what way is Christ there when the Eucharist is celebrated?

Christ is mysteriously but really present in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. As often as the Church fulfills Jesus’ command, “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24), breaks the bread and offers the chalice, the same thing takes place today that happened then: Christ truly gives himself for us, and we truly gain a share in him. The unique and unrepeatable sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is made present on the altar; the work of our redemption is accomplished.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I am the Living bread which has come from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever” John 6:51 CCB

Readings for today: Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14, Psalm 116:12-18, 2 Corinthians 11: 23-26; John 13:1-15