BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER

Friday 24th October – Friday of week 29 of the year

Reflection: Ephesians 4: 1-6

BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER

Though most people agree that no human being is perfect, we often forget that when others have wronged us and are more likely to remember it as an instrument of self-defence when we have wronged others.

St Paul tells us today that our Christian call demands that we “bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience” (Ephesians 4:2). To “bear with others” implies to put up with something unpleasant about them; to put up with their faults and failings. While we are not expected to encourage the faults of others, we are to bear with their weaknesses while we correct them gently and lovingly.

It is very easy for us to excuse our own faults but often difficult to excuse the faults of others. Let us always remind ourselves that others also experience discomfort and unpleasant situations as a result of our own failings; hence we too must be ready to patiently endure discomfort caused by the failings of those around us. Other people have to bear with us; just as we have to bear with them. As young Christians, we are called to be agents of peace wherever we find ourselves. Our approach to unpleasant situations must be that which is godly and promotes peace and harmony.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for putting up with my weaknesses and repeated failings. Please help me to imitate this great mercy you have shown me. Help me to bear with others patiently. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 290 – How does God help us to be free men?

Christ wants us to be “set free for freedom” (see Gal 5:1) and to become capable of brotherly love. That is why he sends us the Holy Spirit, who makes us free and independent of worldly powers and strengthens us for a life of love and responsibility. 

HIDE A TREASURE: “Be humble, kind, patient and bear with one another in love” Ephesians 4:2 CCB

Readings for Today: Ephesians 4: 1-6; Psalm 24: 1-6; Luke 12: 54-59

PRAISE IS FITTING FOR LOYAL HEARTS

Thursday 23rd October – Thursday of week 29 of the year

Reflection: Psalm 33: 1-5; 11-19

PRAISE IS FITTING FOR LOYAL HEARTS

Scriptural references abound that affirm the truth that God delights in the praises of we His children (Psalm 22:3; Hebrews 13:15). Make the best of local or continental dishes, God will not eat (Psalm 50: 9-14); talk of the best of what money can buy as a gift to the Lord, His desire clearly supersedes the ephemeral treasures of this world. God rather relishes in the sincere, heartfelt praise and thanksgiving of His children. The praise and thanksgiving we render to God must not be seasonal neither should it be casual. It should be a product of reflective appreciation of the love and goodness of God to us.

Dear friend, do you feel that you have no reason to thank God? You may be going through some tough times and it appears life has been unfair to you. Do not despair, have hope in the saving grace of God. Situations are not always as bad as they appear. To the one lamenting his lack of shoes, he must be reminded that there is someone without legs. Your situation is not the worst. You are better than many who still see reasons to thank God.

As Christians, loyal children of a loving God, praise must be our unchanging attitude. We must never allow our challenges to drown our songs of praise. Our joyful praise is a strong affirmation of our hope and faith in the saving grace of our loving God, with whom nothing is impossible (Jeremiah 32: 27, Luke 1:37). Praise and thanksgiving are potent prayers. Please look up the scriptural references (Acts 16: 16-36; 2 Chronicles 20: 1-30) and see amazing power of praise in loyal hearts.

PRAYER: Oh wondrous and loving God, I thank you. May your praise perpetually well up in my heart and may my lips eternally proclaim it. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 483 – What are the names of the five main types of prayer?

The five main types of prayer are blessing and adoration, prayer of petition, prayer of intercession, prayer of thanksgiving, and prayer of praise.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Ephesians 3:14-21; Psalm 33: 1-5, 11-12, 18-19; Luke 12: 49-53

JEWS AS WELL AS PAGANS

Wednesday 22nd October – Wednesday of week 29 of the year

Reflection: Ephesians 3: 2-12

JEWS AS WELL AS PAGANS

”For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  The “world” in this very popular text refers to “everyone”, irrespective of tribe or color. Christ died for all with the exception of no man and won for all men their salvation. In His death and resurrection He gave all men the grace and power to become God’s children and to walk in newness of life (John 1:12).

God in His desire to save mankind sent His Son first to the house of Israel and from them extended His hands to the whole of mankind inviting them to share in the salvation won by Christ and the divine life He gives (Romans 1:16). Thus, the same grace and power to walk in this new life have been given to all: Jews and Pagans alike. Dear friends, irrespective of what your past might have been, God is extending the same grace He gave to St. Paul (who described himself as “less than the least of all the saints”), to us to walk in the new life. The gifts of God are not limited to any particular tribe or group of people. The gifts of God are open and available to all who desire it, pray for it and long for it.

Dear friends, God gives no one restrictions to His gifts; we are the ones that set the restrictions depending on how serious we are in our relationship with Him.

PRAYER: Lord, open my eyes to see the gifts you have made available for my use and help me to use them for your glory. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 89 – To whom does Jesus promise “the kingdom of God”?

God wills “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). The “kingdom of God” begins in those who allow themselves to be transformed by God’s love. In Jesus’ experience these are above all the poor and the lowly.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Here there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; all have the same Lord, who is very generous with whoever calls on him. Truly, all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:12-13 CCB

Reading for Today: Ephesians 3: 2-12, Isaiah 12: 2-6 (canticle), Luke 12: 39-48

BE PREPARED

Tuesday 21st October – Tuesday of week 29 of the year

Reflection: Luke 12:35-38

BE PREPARED

In Baptism, we have all received a new life; the life of God. Through grace, God gave us life with Christ and by His grace we have been saved. By virtue of His death and resurrection, Christ has won for us the new life and made us partakers in God’s promises. Now we are no longer strangers or guests, but fellow citizens of the Holy people: we are members the household of God (Ephesians 2:19). Just as children in a household depend on their parents for their needs but have a responsibility to perform the house chores, so we too, as God’s children have been saddled with the responsibility of putting God’s house in order. This house of God is your body (1 Corinthians 6:19) and by extension your life.

‘To get to the top is difficult, but even more difficult is maintaining the top’. Thus, St. Paul encourages us to continue working out our salvation with fear and trembling day by day, to persevere in the right path till the end; for being members of God’s household is just the beginning and not our destination. Our destination is to attain eternal life with God. To put our lives in order while we await the Lord’s return, we must go to the foot of the cross of Jesus; we must daily study and live His words as contained in the Holy Scriptures and taught by the Church and we must daily strive to partake of His body and blood in the Holy Eucharist; the strength for our journey of faith (John 6:54). We must daily put to death all inclinations to sin in our body by His grace, live in peace with our brethren and daily make a choice for heaven. We must live each day as if it was our last to prepare for heaven.

Dear friends, if we are not prepared for heaven today, there is no assurance we will be prepared tomorrow.

PRAYER: Lord, please give me the grace to daily walk in the light of your presence and never to depart from you, so that eternally I may reign with you in heaven. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 157 – Will we be brought to judgment after death?

The so-called particular or personal judgment occurs at the moment of death of the individual. The general judgment, which is also called the Last Judgment, occurs on the Last Day, at the end of the world, when the Lord comes again.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes.” Luke 12:37 CCB

Readings for Today: Ephesians 2: 12-22, Psalm 85: 9-14, Luke 12: 35-38

NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

Monday 20th October – Monday of week 29 of the year

Reflection: Luke 12:13-21

NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

No man is an island; every man is part of a vast continent. In these days of individualism when everyone tends to live for himself, there is a tendency to forget that there is no one whose life concerns him alone. “None of us lives for oneself and no one dies for oneself” (Romans 14: 7-8). This fact of our interdependence on others invests life with such tremendous significance; others have great influence on us, whether positive or negative, also powerful influence flows out of our lives to contribute to the character formation of others. When a student excels in his/her academics, the success is multifactorial; consider the parents/guardian who paid the school fees, provided the pocket money and food, consider the friends or siblings that form part of their life. They all contributed in one way or the other. This applies in all cases.  The human society is a vast network of reciprocal influences and in view of this the rich who receive great advantages from the society must also contribute to it.

The story of the rich man in our Gospel reading is not to discourage us from achieving success in our chosen path in life; rather, it is remind us of our divine duty to our fellow brethren. We are called to be our brother’s keeper irrespective of our differences in social class, tribe, religion etc. There is nothing we have that we have not been given (1 Corinthians 4:7), and He who gave us wills that we use them to help other as ‘Good Samaritans’. God in His benevolence has blessed us in our individual capacity and it is our responsibility to use them for the common good of all.

The dignity of the human person requires the pursuit of the common good, everyone should be concerned to create and support institutions that improve the conditions of human life.

PRAYER: Lord, please give me the grace to seek the good of my brethren in my thoughts and actions. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1906 – By common good is to be understood “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily”. The common good concerns the life of all. It calls for prudence from each, and even more from those who exercise the office of authority

HIDE A TREASURE: “Truly I say to you; whenever you do this to these little ones who are my brothers and sisters, you do it to me.” Matthew 25:40 CCB

Readings for Today: Ephesians 2: 1-10, Psalm 100: 1-5, Luke 12: 13-21

FAITH AND CIVIL RESPONSIBILITIES

Sunday 19th October – 29th Sunday of the year

Reflection: Matthew 22:15-21

FAITH AND CIVIL RESPONSIBILITIES

Today’s Gospel presents to us two groups with contrary views as regards Caesar: the Herodians and the Pharisees. The Herodians were friends of Caesar and of the Roman authority; though they were not Romans, they favored the house of Herod as the occupant of the Jewish throne; this made them friends of pagan Rome and Caesar. Another party was the Pharisees, who were a religious sect. They were Puritans concerning the Law and Jewish traditions; they refused to acknowledge any authority to Rome and hoped that one day the Jews under their Messiah-King would rule the world. Both groups were enemies, because while the Herodians were not particularly interested in religion, the Pharisees were.

However, the Pharisees tolerated the Herodians in conspiring against Jesus whom they saw as a common enemy, this shows the extent of their hatred for Jesus; their hatred for truth. (Dear friends, we too must be prepared at all times to face oppositions as we stand for what is right). If Jesus answered “No” to pay tax, would make Him a traitor to Caesar and punishable by death; to say “Yes” would make Him anti-national and the Pharisees would have painted Him black before the Jews.  Jesus answered;

“Give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God”

In this, our Blessed Lord says to the Herodians ‘service to the Government does not exempt you from service to God’, and to the Pharisees ‘service to God does not exempt you from service to the Government’. In this, we are reminded as Christians that we must submit to the civil authority, for there is no authority but by the act of God (Romans 13:1). We are expected to submit to authorities out of obedience to God and in everything, the desire to please God must be our aim.

Above all dear friends, we must pray for the Spirit of discernment to know what to say or do, and when to say or do it.

PRAYER: Lord, grant me the grace to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1900 – The duty of obedience requires all to give due honour to authority, and to treat those who are charged to exercise it with respect, and, insofar as it is deserved, with gratitude and goodwill.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Let everyone be subject to the authorities. For there is no authority that does not come from God, and the offices have been established by God.” Romans 13:1 CCB

Readings for Today: Isaiah 45: 1, 4-6, Psalm 96:1, 3-5, 7-10, Matthew 22:15-21

LABOURERS WANTED!

Saturday 18th October – Feast of St Luke, Evangelist

Reflection: Luke 10: 1-9

LABOURERS WANTED!

Christ’s coming ushered in a new and everlasting covenant in man’s relationship with God. He was to establish this new covenant in the Church, on the foundation of the Apostles and so the preaching of the Kingdom was extremely necessary so that people would embrace this message of salvation. Based on this backdrop, it is easy to understand why Jesus told his disciples: “The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest”. We might ask ourselves, is there really such a need today? Most of my friends, peers, classmates and neighbours are Christians! Is the need for evangelisation still as urgent as Christ made it seem?

Indeed, many more people around us profess Christianity compared to the days of the early Church. But does that lessen the urgency of evangelisation? Despite the number of Christians around today, very few individuals are really committed to living out the Christ like life our Christian faith demands – a life of love, sacrifice, justice, truth etc. This reality reveals that Christ’s request for labourers in His vineyard is as urgent today as it was in the 1st century.

Dear friends, are you truly living out your Christian faith? Are you committed to a life of holiness? Do your thoughts, attitudes, words and actions profess the Christ you receive in the Eucharist? Today, Jesus reminds you and I that He needs labourers in His vineyard. Let us renew our commitment to Him and allow ourselves to be instruments of transformation to others especially through our everyday lives.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I renew my commitment to you today. Please strip me of selfishness and sin and strengthen me to evangelise through a good Christian life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 347 – Why is “not practicing what you preach” such a serious deficiency in a Christian?

Agreement between one’s life and one’s witness is the first requirement for proclaiming the Gospel. Not practicing what you profess is therefore hypocrisy, a betrayal of the Christian duty to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.” John 15:8 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: 2 Timothy 4: 10-17; Psalm 145: 10-13, 17-18; Luke 10: 1-9