BE ON YOUR GUARD

Sunday 30th November – 1st Sunday of Advent

Reflection: Mark 13:33-37

BE ON YOUR GUARD

“You know what hour it is. This is the time to awake, for our salvation is now nearer than when we first believed; the night is almost over and the day is at hand. Let us discard, therefore, everything that belongs to darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans13:11-12)

God created us to be free and responsible. He created us for His own purpose and not for ours, and He constantly reminds us of this purpose each time we listen to His word. More so, God, like the master of the house has given each of us ‘treasures’, ‘time’, and ‘talents’ according to our capacity to be used for His own purpose. Just as the master of the house in today’s gospel reading, our end too will come at an unexpected hour and an account of our stewardship will be demanded of us. We will be required to give an account of how well we have used the gifts God has given us for His glory. Are you prepared for this?

We must bear in mind that ‘we do not have eternity to prepare for eternity’. The day of salvation is today, tomorrow may be too late. Let us arise from our slumber, shun the old immoral ways of life, and shun all forms of insincerity, hatred, and unfaithfulness. Let us put on the armour of righteousness, walking daily in the light of God’s presence. When we fall, let us call on Him to help us up, when we are weak, let us call on Him for strength; for our God is more than willing to help us stay prepared if we are willing to.

Today we are called to a sober reflection on our state of preparedness for heaven. We must remember that, ‘if we are not prepared for heaven today, there is no assurance we will be tomorrow’. Let us daily live for heaven.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to be eternity conscious and to daily make a choice for heaven. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1022 – Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgement that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven – through a purification or immediately, – or immediate and everlasting damnation. “At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Be alert and watch, for you don’t know when the time will come.” Mark 13:33 CCB

Readings for Today: Isaiah 63:16-17, 64:1-8, Psalm 80:2-3, 15-19; 1 Corinthians 1: 3-9; Mark 13:33-37

 

WATCH YOURSELF!

Saturday 29th November – Saturday of week 34 of the year

Reflection: Luke 21:34-36

WATCH YOURSELF!

The admonishment to “watch” is one that comes up at several points during Jesus’ earthly ministry. In discussing the end of time, He admonished His hearers to “watch”. In Gethsemane, at the moment of his agony, He again told them to “watch”. Why does Jesus give this instruction at such critical moments? Through our baptism, we have been cleansed of original sin – the absence of divine grace in us which we inherited from our first parents. We have become children of God and have the grace of God imputed into us. Yet, we still have to make choice between good and evil. Our flesh seeks to satisfy itself always and hence the need for us as Christians to watch ourselves, to always be on the alert.

We live in a fallen world; one that is full of sin and evil. Yet if we cooperate with God’s grace, we will be able to swim against the tide that leads to destruction. Let us remember that this world is not our home; we are on a journey to eternity (Philippians 3:20). Let us hold on to Jesus admonishment today: “Watch yourselves, do not let your heart be weighed down with a life of pleasure, drunkenness and worldly cares…” (Luke 21:34).

Each time Jesus asks us to “watch”, He follows closely with the admonishment to pray (Luke 21:34-36; Matthew 26:41). Keeping guard over ourselves goes hand in hand with unceasing prayer. Beloved, let us pray for the strength to resist temptation and watch ourselves so that we may be able to cooperate with God’s grace as the moments of testing and decision making come in our daily life and activities.

PRAYER: Oh Lord, I submit myself to you; please help me to be sensitive to the working of your Holy Spirit. Grant me the grace to watch and pray always that I may not be led into temptation. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 525 What does it mean to say, “Lead us not into temptation”?

Because every day and every hour we are in danger of falling into sin and saying No to God, we beg God not to leave us defenseless in the power of temptation.

Jesus, who was tempted himself, knows that we are weak human beings, who have little strength of our own with which to oppose the evil one. He graciously gives us the petition from the Our Father, which teaches us to trust in God’s assistance in the hour of trial.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Stay awake and pray, so that you may not slip into temptation. The spirit indeed is eager, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 CCB

Readings for Today: Apocalypse 22: 1-7; Psalm 95: 1-7; Luke 21: 34-36

 

PREPARING FOR THE END

Friday 28th November – Friday of week 34 of the year

Reflections: Apocalypse 20: 1-4, 11- 21:2

PREPARING FOR THE END

In the past few days the Church has been drawing our attention to the end of time. When we think of death or of the end of the world, there is a tendency to be afraid of what is to come. The prospect of having to stand before God in judgement and the uncertainty of what eternity will be like is so great that we often do not want to think about it.

Today’s readings however, should bring us hope rather than fear, as it tells us that those who are faithful to Christ will reign with Him. (Apocalypse 20:4). Indeed when all is said and done, we would win a crown of life eternal. This news warms the heart and should fill us with the zeal to live the life of love and faithfulness to which Christ calls us. We must bear in mind that we are to be judged nothing else but the way we have lived our lives on earth (Apocalypse 20: 12-13).

Dear friends, all that we need for salvation is at our disposal. How ready are we to cooperate with God’s immense grace which He gives us in order to live in holiness? We are all aware that the end is inevitable and each day of our lives brings us closer to the end. The choice of where we would spend eternity lies in our hands, in our readiness to respond to God’s grace.

Scripture tells us that eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither has it entered the heart of man, what God has in store for them that love him. This reality should fill our hearts with great awe and longing; a longing for our celestial home, a longing to see God, just as he truly is and that longing should strengthen us in our quest for holiness. (cf 1 John 3:2-3). Let us use the privilege of each new day on earth to prepare for eternity. Heaven is worth our labour, our life and our death, for in the end, all that matters is whether we are there or not (St Josemaria Escriva). “Let us courageously then, work and labour, with our hearts set on heaven, our one and only true goal” St Therese of Lisieux.

PRAYER: Lord, you have made us for yourself, may we come to find rest only in you, and for all eternity. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1016: By death, the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection, God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by the reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and loves forever, so all of us will rise at the last day.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” Luke 21: 33 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Apocalypse 20: 1-4, 11- 21:2; Psalm 84: 3-8; Luke 21: 29-33

 

THE WEDDING FEAST OF THE LAMB

Thursday 27th November – Thursday of the week 34 of the year

Reflections: Apocalypse 18: 1-2, 21-23, 19: 1-3, 9

THE WEDDING FEAST OF THE LAMB

The Angel said, “Write this down: Happy are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the lamb” (Apocalypse 19:9). Jesus said, “When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand” (Luke 21:28)

As the Church’s liturgical calendar draws to its close in the next few days, the Church draws our attention to the last things (death, judgement, heaven and hell) and to the culmination of the age. It beautifully wraps it up with the picture of a wedding – the wedding of the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ. Since I write this reflection at a time I am preparing to get married in a few days, I can readily relate with the concept of wedding as a high moment in a man’s life. I can relate with the joy, excitement and the longing to posses your bride, your most priced jewel.

Dear friends, each day we attend Mass, we hear those words “Happy are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb”. They are used to call us to communion – to receive the body and blood of our blessed Lord, the Lamb of God who has taken away our sins. Indeed, you and I are the bride of Christ. He unites himself with us in the Eucharist and longs that you and I grow in love and holiness so that we may be completely united with Him in Heaven. Hence, let us heed his call in response to His great love and be strengthened through the Eucharist so that at the end of time we may be able to stand our ground, with our heads high, knowing that our redemption is near at hand.

PRAYER: Lord, may your kingdom come. May your will be done in our lives, until in us, the glory of your kingdom is revealed. Amen.

 KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 219 – How often must a Catholic Christian participate in the celebration of the Eucharist?

A Catholic Christian is obliged to attend Holy Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation. Anyone who is really seeking Jesus’ friendship responds as often as possible to Jesus’ personal invitation to the feast.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Apocalypse 3:20 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Apocalypse 18: 1-2, 21-23, 19: 1-3, 9; Psalm 100: 2-5; Luke 21: 20-28