AFTER THE GREAT TRIBULATION

Wednesday 26th November – Wednesday of week 34 of the year

Reflections: Apocalypse 15: 1-4

AFTER THE GREAT TRIBULATION

The Christian faith may seem scary sometimes because it teaches of (redemptive) suffering. Christian teaching goes on to indicate clearly that only a few will be saved as narrow is the way that leads to life and only a few find it (Matthew 7:14). So, the questions my Atheist friends ask, (and these questions have often troubled me) are: “so, your Christ died supposedly to save the world, and yet, only a few of that world will be saved; and even that few will come out of great tribulation? Must the believer suffer pain, betrayal, loss, self denial, restrain and even death for salvation to be accomplished in them?”

Today’s reading puts the concept of suffering in its proper perspective. Suffering is a result of the ongoing battle between good are inevitable; suffering is inevitable. But, the Psalm of today shows us that God comes to our aid, with and evil in our world; the battle between light and darkness that resulted from the fall of man. Just like in every war, casualties His mighty arm to win us victory. The Apostle Peter urges us to unite our suffering with the ultimate suffering of Christ (1 Peter 2: 20-23) first for our own salvation and then the salvation of the world. The suffering we undergo as children of God is ultimately redemptive.

The end of the suffering of the blessed is certain. It does not end in sorrow, but in joy. Its end is eternal life. Our Catholic Christian faith does not assure us of a smooth sail because those are the words of our Saviour: “…in the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33). We are assured however of a safe landing and a glorious harbour.

PRAYER:  Lord, preserve those whom you have called, that through our partaking of the suffering of Christ your son, we may be brought to salvation. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1521 – By the grace of the sacrament of Anointing of the sick…suffering, which is the consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Christ

HIDE A TREASURE: “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But, not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance, you will gain your lives.” Luke 21:19 RSV-CE

Readings for Today:  Apocalypse 15: 1- 4; Psalm 98:1-3, 7-9; Luke 21:12-19

 

BE PREPARED

Tuesday 25th November – Tuesday of week 34 of the year

Reflection: Luke 21:5-11

BE PREPARED

As the Season of Advent draws near, the Church turns our minds towards the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today’s Gospel reading is the beginning of a discourse given by our Lord in which He prepared the minds of His disciples for the events that were to take place in Jerusalem and at the end of time. The central point Jesus emphasizes is the place of preparedness.

As the Gospel tells us, we must not allow ourselves to be deceived and led astray. False and frightful teachings abound around us predicting the day of our Lord. Century after century has witnessed speculations about the day the Lord Jesus will return. Dear friends, this should not be our pre-occupation. Our call is to focus on the pursuit of holiness. Each new day offers us new opportunities to be reconciled with God and to live the life of love to which He has called us. If we postpone responding to His call today, there is no assurance that we will have the privilege of tomorrow.

Beloved, let each moment of your life serve to lead you to a closer union with God. Let each night leave you loving God more than you did in the morning. As we strive to please God always, we will have no reason to fear the hour of death or the end of time.

PRAYER: Lord, I ask for the grace to persevere in holiness till the end of time. Please grant that after my sojourn here on earth, heaven shall be my inheritance. Amen.

 KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 95 – Why did Jesus choose the date of the Jewish feast of Passover for his death and Resurrection?

Jesus chose the Passover feast of his people Israel as a symbol for what was to happen through his death and Resurrection. As the people Israel were freed from slavery to Egypt, so Christ frees us from the slavery of sin and the power of death.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Therefore beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” 2 Peter 3:14 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Revelation 14:14-19; Psalm 96: 10-13; Luke 21:5-11

 

CHEERFUL GIVING

Monday 24th November – Memorial of Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions, Martyrs

Reflection: Luke 21: 1-4

CHEERFUL GIVING

Cheerful giving denotes the act of giving with joy despite the sacrifice required of the giver. We can only give cheerfully when we trust that God is able to supply our needs. In today’s Gospel reading, the poor widow put two copper coins into the treasury and what was Jesus reaction? Jesus said she had put in more than the rich who gave out of the abundance they had because she had given all she had – 100%.

The more sacrifice our act of giving requires of us, the more blessings we obtain from God. The only prerequisite for “giving” is “having” and not “having excess”. We need not wait till we have all the money in the world before we cultivate the habit of giving cheerfully. How much we give may not matter as much as our attitude towards giving. For our giving to yield blessings, we are to give cheerfully and generously, trusting that God is able to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).

How many times have you and I failed to give cheerfully and generously out of the fear that we will not have enough for tomorrow? Let us ask God for mercy for our failure to trust Him at those moments and commit ourselves to cheerful giving trusting that we shall lack nothing good.

PRAYER: Holy Father, please take away all fears from me. Help me to be willing always to share the beautiful gifts I receive from you each day. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 449 – What significance do the poor have for Christians?

Love for the poor must be in every age the distinguishing mark of Christians. The poor deserve not just a few alms; they have a claim to justice. For Christians there is a special obligation to share their goods. Our example in love for the poor is Christ.

HIDE A TREASURE: “God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Revelation 14:1-5; Psalm 24:1-6; Luke 21:1-4

 

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