ON JUDGEMENT DAY!

Sunday 23rd November – Feast of Christ the King

Reflection: Matthew 25:31-46

ON JUDGEMENT DAY!

What will happen on judgement day is really not a surprise to us anymore as today’s gospel reading has revealed it to us as an open secret. The judgement of this day will be a function of the works of charity we consciously render to others, following the divine injunction given to us as we live our everyday lives. Our readiness to love will determine our eternal reward: eternal happiness if we have cheerfully loved others or eternal damnation if we have failed to. Our Lord reminds us today that we have a responsibility to: give food to the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison.

This implies that to gain eternal happiness, we must sincerely and cheerfully love without reservation. This should be no surprise to us as Christ spells out clearly: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). We must ensure that our lives are lived in such a way as to bless the lives of those around us and we must care for everyone around us without discrimination. Let LOVE be your watchword!

Let us therefore examine our lives today: how often have we ignored our neighbours in need? How many times we have selfishly enjoyed the blessings that God has given us without considering the needs of others? Where would you wish to stand on that last day: On the left or right?

PRAYER: Dear Father, please help me to consciously love others in complete charity and may these works of charity be counted in my favour. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 101 – Why did Jesus have to redeem us on the Cross, of all places?

The Cross on which Jesus, although innocent, was cruelly executed is the place of utmost degradation and abandonment. Christ, our Redeemer, chose the Cross so as to bear the guilt of the world and to suffer the pain of the world. So he brought the world back home to God by his perfect love.

HIDE A TREASURE: “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: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; Psalm 23:1-6; 1 Corinthians 15: 20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46

 

OUR VICTORY OVER THE WORLD

Saturday 22nd November – Memorial of St Cecilia, Virgin & Martyr

Reflection: Apocalypse 11: 4-12

OUR VICTORY OVER THE WORLD

The world is plagued by an unending battle between good and evil, and the human soul is caught on the battle line. Too often, those on the side of good face untold hardship from the forces of evil. It appears the upright are doomed by their virtues as honesty is perceived as a sign of naivety. The world rejoices at the extinction of faith, love and truth.

The psalmist expresses his absolute trust in God; who is the source of victory for the kings. Through our baptism, we share in the royal priesthood of Christ (1Peter 2: 8-9) and as kings we have our ultimate source of victory over the world in God. An illustration of this divine saving help is contained in the revelation to St John in today’s reading. The witnesses received the power to overcome their enemies from God, and they manifested great signs upon the world. Even when they were overcome by the beast (sin) and were reckoned dead by the world, God, to whom all are in fact alive, breathed life into them.

Today, we might be tossed about by the waves of doubt or trapped by the snares of deception, yet God offers Himself as our shield and stronghold. Dearly beloved, we are encouraged to rekindle the torch of faith with which we would walk through the darkness of the world. Our perseverance would yield a rich harvest. Today, God awaits us with a crown of victory.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, teach us to persevere as you did. Please continually renew our strength in this journey of faith. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 125 – What is unique about the People of God?

The founder of this people is God the Father. Its leader is Jesus Christ. Its source of strength is the Holy Spirit. The entryway to the People of God is Baptism. Its dignity is the freedom of the children of God. Its law is love. If this people remains faithful to God and seeks first the kingdom of God, it changes the world.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith” 1 John 5:4 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Apocalypse 11: 4-12; Psalm 144: 1-2, 9-10; Luke 20: 27-40

 

GOD’S WORD: NOURISHMENT FOR CHRISTIANS

Friday 21st November – Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reflection: Apocalypse 10: 8-11

GOD’S WORD:  NOURISHMENT FOR CHRISTIANS

As mere human instincts drive us to satisfy our physical desires, so does our spirit seek to satisfy our longing for oneness with God. Hence our heavenly Father provides constantly a medium to fill our spiritual hunger in His Word.

John, the beloved apostle of Jesus, received the invitation to feast on God’s word in today’s reading. As he yielded to the instruction, he was given a renewed apostolate. Strengthened by this nourishment, his soul was stirred-up to proclaim the new life in Christ which he had received. In our own age, the invitation God extends to us is often silenced by the rising tide of peripheral and temporal wants: a want to be heard, seen and understood; a want for security and acceptance. Yet, God beckons to us all the more:”Take it and eat “; “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and your labour for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good “(Isaiah 55:2)”. Indeed, it is in God that we can find true satisfaction; temporal or perpetual.

Beloved, today we are re-awakened in the liturgy to an invitation to oneness with God. We are expected as a people born of the Spirit, to accept this invitation in faith and total obedience. As Christians we are called to listen to the Master’s voice and live out His commands. As branches of the true vine; which is Christ we must bear fruits as we proclaim God’s Word, through our words and deeds. Like our Blessed Mother whose presentation we celebrate today, let us respond to the Father in faith and allow His words take effect in our lives so that we can bring the living word, Christ Jesus to others.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, open my heart to receive You and my hands and mouth to bring You to others. Amen.

 KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 133 – The Church “forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful… to learn the ‘surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ’, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. ‘Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.’”

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119: 105 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Apocalypse 10: 8-11; Psalm 119: 14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131;

Luke 19: 45-48

 

REDEEMED BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB

Thursday 20th November – Thursday of week 33 of the year

Reflection: Apocalypse 5: 1-10

REDEEMED BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB

Freedom, when not properly harnessed is not different from bondage. Our generation is richly blessed with an abundance of information technology, giving unimaginable insight into the age-long mysteries of the universe. Yet, the knowledge of salvation in Christ Jesus appears worse-off for it. Terror, uncertainty, and moral decay have become trademarks of ‘civilization’. It is easy to forget that with great power comes great responsibility.

Jesus the Lamb of God who purchased all peoples for God by His blood wept over Jerusalem the city of God, heartbroken that His chosen people failed to understand the message of salvation and peace that His coming brought them (Luke 19:41). He went on to announce the doom lurking at the corners for the city because they rejected the opportunity God offered. Are we much different from them? Many times we too fail to realize that the freedom and privileges that we enjoy are gifts from God and are given that through them we might serve Him.

Dear friend, today we are called to show a greater appreciation to God who has redeemed us through blood of His son. Our gratitude must be expressed through a deeper love for God, total submission to His will and a greater devotion to the service of God and our neighbour.

PRAYER: Open our hearts Lord Jesus to receive your message of peace. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 208 – What is Holy Eucharist?

Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament in which Jesus Christ gives his Body and Blood—himself—for us, so that we too might give ourselves to him in love and be united with him in Holy Communion. In this way we are joined with the one Body of Christ, the Church.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You know you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from you fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:19 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Apocalypse 5: 1-10; Psalm 149: 1-9; Luke 19: 41-44

 

TRUE AND SINCERE WORSHIP

Wednesday 19th November – Wednesday of week 33 of the year

Reflection: Revelation 4: 1-11

TRUE AND SINCERE WORSHIP

 “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God, the Almighty;

   He was, He is and He is to come.” (Revelation 4:8).

It is necessary that we, as children of God appreciate God in his holiness. Do we glorify and honour God only when we are in the Church? He is ever faithful to all his promises, we should also be faithful to him by honouring him, not just in Church but with the very lives we live and everywhere we find ourselves. We are evidences of God’s faithfulness.

In today’s gospel reading, one of the servants chose to keep his gold coin rather than investing it. He refused to honour God with his God-given talent and at the end he paid for it with his life. We glorify and honour God not because He does not get enough of worship from his heavenly armies but because it is the purpose of our being. Everyone of us has been given talents which we should use to honour God; for every act of sincere worship to God in whatever situation we find ourselves will definitely earn us blessings from God (Luke 19:17-19).

PRAYER: Heavenly father, I thank you for the opportunities you have given me to glorify and honour you. Teach me Lord, how to truly honour you with all my abilities. Amen.

 KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 353 – Why do we worship God?

We worship God because he exists and because reverence and worship are the appropriate response to his revelation and his presence… When God is no longer worshipped and when he is no longer thought to be Lord over life and death, others assume that position and put human dignity at risk.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10: 32 RSV-CE

 Readings for Today: Revelation 4: 1-11; Psalm 150: 1-6; Luke 19: 11-28

 

 

RESPOND TO HIS PROMPTING

Tuesday 18th November – Tuesday of week 33 of the year

Reflection: Luke 19: 1-10

RESPOND TO HIS PROMPTING

Are there times the thought of prayer comes to your mind? Are there moments you think of a need to study your Bible, attend Mass or the Sacrament of reconciliation? Zacchaeus found himself in a similar situation in today’s gospel reading. He had heard all about Jesus from his friends, neighbours and co-workers in whom Jesus seemed to have special interest and he longed to see “what kind of man Jesus was”. But just as we experience limitations that seem to provide us an excuse not to pray, study scripture or go to Mass or confession, so did Zacchaeus. He had a limitation – he was too short to see Jesus who was often accompanied by large crowds.

Dear friends, what are the limitations you experience? Is it the desire for extra sleep, laziness, a feeling of unworthiness or even being “too busy” that holds us back from responding to these promptings placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit? Each time we experience these promptings, Jesus is already waiting for us. It is His desire to encounter us, His longing to “stay at our homes” like He did for Zacchaeus that He communicates to us in our hearts at those moments.

Let us, like Zacchaeus rise above whatever holds us back. Let us make efforts to run ahead, climb above every limitation and position ourselves where Christ desires to meet us. We will be surprised that He longs to stay with us even much more than we can ever imagine. He longs to dine with us, give Himself to us in the Eucharist, meet our needs and extend His forgiveness and peace to us. Do not put off the divine prompting my friend. Run ahead, climb higher and meet your Lord!

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for your great love for me. Please strengthen me to overcome all that seeks to draw me back and help me to experience your presence and love in prayer and in your word. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2561 – “If you knew the gift of God!” the wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is He who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirst; his asking arises from the depth of God’s desire for us. …prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Apocalypse 3: 1-6, 14-22; Psalm 15: 2-5; Luke 19: 1-10

 

ABOVE YOUR LIMITATIONS

Monday 17th November – Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

Reflection: Luke 18: 35-43

ABOVE YOUR LIMITATIONS

Limitations and difficulties are a part of life; they often bring out the best in us as they force us to leave our comfort zones as we seek solutions. All of us are very much like the blind man in our gospel reading. We are blind in one area of life or the other: it may be academically, spiritually, psychologically, socially etc. We all have some limitations; but like the blind man, we do not have to remain in the difficulties or limitations that beset us.

Despite his disadvantage in sight, the blind man did not close his mind, ears and heart to his surroundings. As he asked for alms each day, rather than complain of his predicament, he adequately utilised his strengths: hearing, speech and the power of persistence, resulting in the restoration of his sight. We too, dear friends have great blessings God has given us. Rather than concentrate on and magnify our problems, we can put to use with thanksgiving the numerous God-given strengths we possess. Let us refuse to be shut up by the crowd: the society or popular opinion but faithfully and persistently display our strengths and trust God to take care of our limitations. Like the blind man, we too would find our desires met as we do this.

PRAYER: Lord, please grant me the wisdom never to be discouraged by difficult situations but to put to use adequately the gifts you have blessed me with. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 178 – If a sacrament is administered by someone who is unworthy, does it fail to have its effect?

No. The Sacraments are effective on the basis of the sacramental action that is carried out (ex opere operato), in other words, independently of the moral conduct or spiritual outlook of the minister. It is enough for him to intend to do what the Church does.

By all means, ministers of the sacraments ought to live an exemplary life. But the sacraments take effect, not because of the holiness of their ministers, but rather because Christ himself is at work in them…

 HIDE A TREASURE: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Apocalypse 1: 1-4, 2: 1-5; Psalm 1:1-6; Luke 18: 35-43