ASKING ARIGHT

Sunday 27th July – 17th Sunday of the year

Reflection: 1 Kings 3: 5, 7-12

ASKING ARIGHT

James gives us an insight into why our prayers are not answered. “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4: 2-3). God desires the best for you and I. However we often do not know what is best for ourselves. Our worldly mind is so occupied by mundane things and selfishness that we do not ask for the right things.

Today’s reading presents us with “a question of a lifetime”. Imagine God telling you: “Ask what you would like me to give you”. What would be your reply? Solomon’s answer to this question was commended by God. He looked beyond himself, his comfort, material gain etc and asked for the understanding and discernment needed to lead God’s people aright. What was God’s response? “…here and now I do what you ask”. That is the very response you and I love to here when we pray.

Dear friends, indeed God has that same response for you today if you ask aright. God created us to be happy. But our true happiness only comes when we are unselfish in our prayers. Christ assures us: “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14: 13-14). Let us approach our dear Father each day for our needs with faith and trust and with the desire to glorify Him even in our requests.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the reassurance you give me. Please take away from me all selfish inclinations so that my petitions will be in accordance to your divine will. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 507 – What happens if you find that prayer does not help?

Prayer does not seek superficial success but rather the will of God and intimacy with him. God’s apparent silence is itself an invitation to take a step farther—in total devotion, boundless faith, endless expectation. Anyone who prays must allow God the complete freedom to speak whenever he wants, to grant whatever he wants, and to give himself however he wants.

HIDE A TREASURE: “And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 1 Kings 3: 5, 7-12; Psalm 119: 57, 72, 76-77, 127-130; Romans 8: 28 – 30;

Matthew 13: 44 -52

CELEBRATING FAITHFUL PARENTS

Saturday 26th July – Memorial of SS Joachim and Anne, the Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reflection: Matthew 13: 24-30

CELEBRATING FAITHFUL PARENTS

One of the many attacks the church gets from her separated brethren is for the many seemingly “weird” feasts and observances she keeps. This is because, for them, all these observances and feasts are neither recorded in the bible nor measure up to their reasoning. Today, we celebrate one: “Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary”.  No mention of the both of them was made in the entire bible, and yet, they are celebrated. According to the line of argument of our separated brethren, this is a “weird and questionable” celebration.

But then, are the teaching, feast and dogmas of the church unfounded, unscriptural and ungodly? NO! Sure some of them are not expressly stated in the scripture. However, none of them is ever anti-scripture. If not expressly stated, they are either alluded to or found to be in conformity with divine revelation.

By tradition, Joachim and Anne are considered to be the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. No written historical evidence exists as factual substantiation of this. All stories of their lives come to us through legend and tradition. However, attention must be drawn not to historical evidence, but to why these Saints are honored by the Church. Whatever their names or the facts of their lives, the truth is that it was the parents of Mary who nurtured her, taught her and brought her up so that she was able dispose herself to the divine will of God, in being the mother of God. It was their faith that laid the foundation upon which the “Fait” of Mary was built. Such parents can be emulated as role models and heroes of the faith.

PRAYER: Lord, we pray for all parents and all homes, especially those going through difficulties. Through the intercession of your holy Saints Joachim and Anne, grant them your mercy and grace. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 87 – The Magisterium of the Church

Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles “He who hears you hears me”, the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.

HIDE A TREASURE:  “Our God is merciful and tender, he will cause the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us.” Luke 1: 78 GNB

Readings for Today: Jeremiah 7: 1-11; Psalm 84: 3-6, 8, 11; Matthew 13: 24-30

THE SERVANT-LEADER

Friday 25th July – Feast of St. James, Apostle

Reflection: 1 Corinthians 4: 8-13

THE SERVANT-LEADER

In our contemporary society, every young person is aspiring for one leadership position or the other. Little do they know that “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” Leadership in our day has become an avenue to gain fame and popularity among the people, or to dominate and exercise authority over the led. What does it truly mean to be a leader? A leader is one who is ready to forgo his own pleasure for the benefit of the followers. A leader is a servant who is sensitive to the need of every one of his followers. A good leader leads by example.

Today’s text reveals St. Paul as a leader par-excellence. He possessed all these qualities of leadership listed above. He became weak so that his followers may be strong, he became poor that they may be rich; he was humiliated, so that his followers might be honoured. In fact, he became all things to all men for the sake of Christ. Such leadership qualities are rare these days. Hence, one would need to go back to the Sovereign Leader himself, Jesus Christ to learn what it means to lead. Beloved, Jesus has taught us that he who desires to be the first among many must first of all become the servant of all (Mark 9: 35).

Simply stated, a leader should be an embodiment of divine love. If you are already occupying one leadership position or the other anywhere, then you must ask yourself a question to know if you have these qualities in large measure. And if you don’t, then cry to God for them. The reason is because every position ofthe authority you occupy is an opportunity to make a life changing impact towards the people you are leading, failure to do this is tantamount to disappointing God.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, give me the grace to be a servant leader like yourself. Help to make a meaningful impact in every leadership position I find myself. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1804: “The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “…If one of you wants to be great, he must be the servant of the rest.”  Matthew 20:26b GNB

Readings for Today: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15; Psalm 126; Matthew 20: 20-26

FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS

Thursday 24th July – Thursday of week 16 of the year

Reflection: Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13

FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS

God is All-in-All. He has given us all things we need for a pleasurable and happy life here on earth. It is most unfortunate that we often look on to another direction when God’s loving arms are ready to embrace us and usher into His banquet of love. The human nature often prefers the fake to the original. The reason for this is not far-fetched; it is simply because the things of the world are packaged in such a way that they appeal to the human senses more easily than the things of God. But, we must understand today that all that glitters is not gold.

God Himself is the only enduring “substance” that can give you all that you need for a happy and fulfilled life. No one else can, not even your best friend. Today God the Father laments on how His people have abandoned Him to pursue the worthless and fading pleasures of this world. He reminds us that He is the “Fountain of Living Waters” (Jeremiah 2:13). Beloved, in this Fountain, you derive all good things that you desire. Name it: joy, peace, prosperity, glory, success, true friendship, power, wisdom, holiness, healing, divine direction… and the list is endless. This is because the scripture says that every good and perfect gift comes from God the Father who is in Heaven. (James 1:17). Should we then just stand and watch this fountain waste away like that? No beloved, we should take the initiative and jump into it. When we do this we will then experience the joy of salvation.

Let us then give our entire life wholly to God. (Romans 12:1-2). He alone knows what is best for us. He created you and formed you in your mother’s womb, He decided what you would become even before you were born. Thus, He has the master plan of your life.

PRAYER: Father, as your fountain flows today enable me to recognize it and to wallow therein all the days of my life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2257: “Every society’s judgments and conduct reflect a vision of man and his destiny. Without the light the Gospel sheds on God and man, societies easily become totalitarian.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Bless the Lord oh my soul and forget not all His benefits” Psalm 103:2 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Jeremiah 2: 1-3, 7-8, 12-13; Psalm 36:6-11; Matthew 13:10-17