WHERE IS YOUR SOURCE OF HELP?

Monday 23rd June – Monday of week 12 of the year

Reflection: 2 Kings 17: 5-8, 13-15, 18

WHERE IS YOUR SOURCE OF HELP?

“Give us aid against the foe, for worthless is the help of men” (Psalm 60:13)” This was the cry of the children of God in the Psalm of today. They had been besieged, then embattled, conquered and now had become slaves in exile! Severally, they had raised armies, had allies, formed strong weapons, yet, they were still defeated in wars. Today, we hear the sigh and despair of the Israelites resonating in the Psalm of Israel: “…for worthless is the help of men…”. They knew what it meant to put trust and confidence in mortals, how to fight life’s battles alone, and by doing so, had tasted the bitter pill of defeat.

However, they knew exactly the root cause of their problem. They knew they had deserted the Lord, the Lord of armies. And the Lord, on his part had left them to their own devices. They had esteemed other gods as greater than Yahweh, and followed thus after other gods. In fact, they judged Yahweh, and concluded that he was no longer powerful enough, no longer good enough. This was their judgment, and this was the cause of their doom.

In many ways, we are like the Israelites- judgmental, high headed and divisive. We too have forsaken Yahweh, and gone after our own ways. Let us learn to trust God, to accept God’s word for what it is, not for what we expect. Let us learn to depend on his aid rather than what men will say or do. Let the word of God be our standard, above and beyond all things, all men, (including the most noble of them). And above all, let us keep the word of God above our will, our wishes and our choices. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your understanding (your devices, your friends, your money, your prophesies etc), in all your dealings acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”(cf Proverbs 3: 5-6)

Lastly, remember that in every situation, man has only one “point of view” whereas God has “several points to view”. Bear this always in mind, and leave judgment to the God who alone sees everything.

Prayers: Aid us Lord by your grace, that we who have been acquitted by your Son’s blood may live no longer in the bondage of sins, but in the freedom of the sons of God. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2508: Lying

Lying consists in saying what is false, with the intention of deceiving one’s neighbor.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Happy is the ,am who trusts in the Lord, and whose confidence is in him” Jeremiah 17: 7 CCB

Readings for today: 2 Kings 17: 5-8, 13-15, 18; Psalm 60: 3-5, 12-13; Matthew 7: 1-5

THE EUCHARIST – PERFECT HUMILITY

Sunday 22nd June – Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Reflection: John 6: 51-58

THE EUCHARIST – PERFECT HUMILITY

The Eucharist is the highest form of humility, for in it, the God of the whole universe humbles himself to be concealed under the appearance of bread and wine. If you are tempted like the Jews by pride, you must confront yourself with the Eucharistic humility of Jesus. If God could come down so low to us, why do we try to raise our self so high in pride in meeting him? No wonder he said to Zacchaeus: “come down, the Lord wants to meet you…” Those that must meet the Lord must come down from the ivory towers of pride and self esteem, come down from high expectations, of great and miraculous signs, and behold the mystery of mysteries, the mystery of love divine- our God concealed in bread and wine!

He is our bread, our life, our source and summit. For truly, we are worth nothing, and if he who is everything could humble himself to come down to our world at the orders of his priest, then, why my soul do you dare to raise yourself in pride?  Christ says: “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every “word” that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). Christ himself, the Word of God, is our bread. The Father gives us the bread of his son that we might come to him.

The only logic to explain this mystery is that with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. Jesus, through the Eucharist we receive takes on our body as the veil of his continued dwelling in our world today. You and I are now the veil of his abiding presence in our world through which all his earthly ministry must continue.

Prayer: Lord, in the Holy Eucharist, you give us your very self; May I in this world be: The eyes with which you see and show compassion; the ears with which you hear cries for mercy and justice, the mouth with which you speak truth and salvation, the hands and heart with which you show love and charity. Indeed lord, may I be you, today, on earth. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH:  CCC 1413: Transubstantiation

By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine, Christ Himself, living and glorious is present in a true, real and substantial manner; His Body and His Blood, with His Soul and His Divinity.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Whoever who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” John 6: 54CCB

Readings for today: Deuteronomy 8: 2-3, 14-16; Psalm 148: 12-15, 19-20; 1 Corinthians 10: 16-17; John 6: 51-58

WHY WORRY?

Saturday 21st June – Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

Reflection: Matthew 6:24-34

WHY WORRY?

An individual whose life is totally surrendered to Christ necessarily has no worry. Such person is assured of God’s divine provision because such life has found the Kingdom in which every other good thing lies. Christ tells us today to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and every other thing we need will be given unto us without stress (Matthew 6:33).

Dear friend, we can easily become overwhelmed as we look to the future and work hard to meet up with our needs, desires and societal expectations. Christ’s assurance does not give us a license to be lazy. Instead, He asks us to hand over all our desires to Him in absolute trust and seek to please Him. Only then, in total surrender can we truly have our needs met and enjoy the happiness and peace our heart desires.

Worrying cannot add anything to our lives. Therefore open every aspect of your life to God almighty and the abundance of His kingdom.

Prayer: Father Lord, give me the grace to serve only you as my Lord and to continually seek the righteousness of your kingdom. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 477 What does it mean to learn from Jesus how to pray?

Learning from Jesus how to pray means entering into his boundless trust, joining in his prayer, and being led by him, step by step, to the Father.

Hide a treasure: I will not break my covenant with him or take back even one promise I made with him. Psalm 89:34 GNB

Readings for today: 2 Chronicles 24:17-25; Psalm 89:4-5, 29-34; Matthew 6:24-34

WHERE IS YOUR TREASURE?

Friday 20th June – Friday of week 11 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 6:19-23

WHERE IS YOUR TREASURE?

The treasures we store up in heaven are our good works. Therefore, if we engage ourselves in good works; our minds will surely be where the records of such good works are being stored – in Heaven.

Brethren, the totality of our obedience to God and the practice of good works is summed up in love of God and love of neighbour. When the works of our hands are good and filled with love, our treasures are being stored up in Heaven but when the works of our hands do not reflect love, when we chase after material gain and personal pleasure alone, we store up treasures for ourselves only here on earth where moths can destroy and thieves can break in and steal.

Let us therefore reflect on our daily works and see if our treasures are being stored up in heaven for the kingdom of God is at hand and our works will speak for us on that day of reckoning (Matthew 25: 31-46). Are you living with eternity in view? Do you have treasures stored in Heaven?

Prayer: Father, in your mercy, let my works always reflect love so that I can have treasures stored up in heaven. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 163 – What is the Last Judgment?

The Last Judgment will take place at the end of the world, at the second coming of Christ. “All who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment” (Jn 5:29).

HIDE A TREASURE: “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” Colossians 3: 2 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 2 Kings 11:1-4, 9-18, 20; Psalm 132:11-18; Matthew 6:19-23

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Thursday 19th June – Thursday of week 11 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 6:7-15

THE LORD’S PRAYER

A close look at the Lord’s Prayer reveals the “completeness of the prayer”. Today we shall emphasize the phrase “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. The reality of this verse stares us hard in the face: if we do not forgive others, God in heaven will not grant us the forgiveness of our sins. How terrible it will be if God does not forgive a man – such person is eternally damned.

Many of us Christians today find it “normal” to hold grudges against others with the justification that such people have hurt us deeply and it is not possible for us to forgive them. Some of us may have been betrayed by friends and family, denied justice, embarrassed publicly for what we know nothing of, or discriminated against even by our own nation. Indeed, we may have been disappointed in several ways but we must look up to our loving Father as an example – He forgives us always even when we betray Him over and over again.

It may be really hard to forgive but Christ has made his grace sufficient for us. We can truly forgive when we ask Jesus for the grace to. We must always bear in mind that without forgiving others, we cannot receive forgiveness from God ourselves.

Prayer: Father in heaven, I need your grace to totally forgive others even before they offend me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 524 – What does it mean to say, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”?

Merciful forgiveness—the mercy that we show to others and the mercy that we ourselves seek—is indivisible. If we ourselves are not merciful and do not forgive one another, God’s mercy will not reach our hearts.

Many people have a lifelong struggle with their inability to forgive. The deep blockade of being unreconciled is resolved only by looking to God, who adopted us “while we were yet sinners” (Rom 5:8). Because we have a kind Father, forgiveness and reconciliation in life are possible

HIDE A TREASURE: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” Matthew 6: 14-15 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Sirach 48: 1-15; Psalm 97:1-7; Matthew 6: 7-15

WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVE?

Wednesday 18th June – Wednesday of week 11 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVE?

Our society generally considers generosity a lofty virtue that promotes our collective welfare as humans. This is so because in giving we accommodate the needs of others in our own needs. Yes, our own needs, because we all lack one thing or the other – real or apparent. So, everyone can give and to everyone something should be given!

The height of our generosity ordinarily should reflect the extent of our love for others and the degree of our detachment from worldly gains. This however is not always the case as many give for ephemeral motives: to gain recognition and reputation; in anticipation of some forms of payback, or simply to return the good of “yesterday.” The motives, other than love, can be very numerous.

It is these defects in “goodness” that our Lord Jesus Christ addresses in today’s Gospel. We are not to make a show of our good acts; we must not minimise, delay or out rightly neglect a good initiative simply because there is no public recognition of it. That we are anonymous to men does not make us anonymous to God – who perfectly rewards all goodness. Dear friend, until love becomes the driving force, the motive, behind all our “good deeds,” we run the risk of primarily willing and seeking our own good through our presumed goodness to others.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, please purify my motive that all the good I do may stem from my love for you and my neighbour; that it may not be tainted with inordinate interests! Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 826: Charity is the soul of the holiness to which all are called: it “governs, shapes, and perfects all the means of sanctification.”

If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn’t lack the noblest of all: it must have a heart and a heart burning with love. And I realised that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. Love, in fact, is the vocation which includes all others, it is a universe of its own, comprising all time and space – it’s eternal! – St Therese of Lisieux

HIDE A TREASURE: “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” 1 Corinthians 13: 3 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 2 Kings 2: 1, 6-14; Psalms 30: 20, 21, 24; Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

LOVE WITHOUT EXCLUSION

Tuesday 17th June – Tuesday of week 11 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 5: 43-48 

LOVE WITHOUT EXCLUSION

Love is an essential need of every human person- it matters not whether young or old, male or female, rich or poor, black or white; our hearts commonly yearn for love. This is so because man was created in love and for love. Little wonder all the commandments of God rest on the love of God and neighbour (Matthew 22: 35-40). The perfect expression of love was demonstrated by our Lord’s sacrificial death on the cross despite our unworthiness (Romans 5:6-8). This He did to redeem us and forever unite us with Himself. So love as a divine virtue is sacrificial, redemptive and unitive.

It is to these divine attributes (sacrifice, redemption and unity) of love we are called as Christians. That our love must find expression with all, irrespective of our differences; that there can be no meaningful love without sacrifice; that the love we propagate must promote the redemptive work of Christ in our neighbour and our very self, and ultimately unite us in and with God.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters, what are the excuses we give for excluding some from our love fold? Today our Lord Jesus Christ is asking us to abolish them, as none of these is sustainable in the light of His love for us. It is our preparedness to show “unmerited” love to our neighbour just as Christ has done to us that truly makes us Christian.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, even on the cross you prayed for your persecutors, help me love both friends and enemies just like you did; that my love may be sacrificial, redemptive and unitive. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1825 – Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.” The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbour of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” Matthew 5: 44-45 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 1 King 21: 17-29; Psalms 51: 3-6, 11, 16; Matthew 5: 43-48