YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Tuesday 27th January – Tuesday of week 3 of the year

Reflection: Hebrews 10: 1-10

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

“You Are What You Eat” was the theme of a dieting programme aired between 2004 and 2007 on the British Television. With the pandemic of non-infectious diseases like hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases etc, the world has become much more conscious of the impact of our diet and lifestyle choices on our health. You need not look too far to find numerous diet regimens being promoted in a bid to encourage a healthy life. We too, as Catholic Christians are what we eat; Christ invites us to eat His flesh in the discourse on the Eucharist and at the last supper, on the night He was betrayed (John 6:51; Matthew 26: 26-28).

The writer to the Hebrews tells us in today’s reading that “God’s will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 10:10). The blood of goats and bulls which were required under the old covenant for the cleansing of sin were grossly inadequate and lacked the power to truly purify the Israelites. However, the blood of Christ which was shed once and for all as He offered Himself on the cross has the power not only to take away our sins but also to purify our hearts and consciences and unite us with our Heavenly Father. Thus, the Eucharist raises us from our fallen state into union with God.

Dear friend, at every Mass you have the privilege of reliving this ultimate sacrifice. Each Mass is celebrated in obedience to Christ’s instruction: “do this in memory of me”. The Eucharist is a life giving meal; it pours out sanctifying grace – the very life of God into us and strengthens us in our journey of faith, preparing us to meet Him whom we receive face to face at the end of time. Jesus invites you and I to receive Him so we can be like Him. Let us open our hearts and minds to the Lord and approach Him with purity of heart so that the bread of life that we eat may bring us eternal life and not condemnation.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the gift of your body and blood. Please help me to receive you worthily and frequently and to cooperate with the grace of holiness you give me in the Eucharist so that I may truly be Christ-like.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 221 – How does Holy Communion change me?

Every Holy Communion unites me more deeply with Christ, makes me a living member of the Body of Christ, renews the graces that I received in Baptism and Confirmation, and fortifies me for the battle against sin.

HIDE A TREASURE: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me” John 6: 57 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Hebrews 10: 1-10; Psalm 40: 2-4, 7-11; Mark 3: 31-35

FAN INTO A FLAME

Monday 26th January – Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops

Reflection: 2 Timothy 1: 1-8

FAN INTO A FLAME

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of SS Timothy and Titus who were both Bishops in the early Christian Church. Though Timothy’s father was Greek, his mother, Eunice was Jewish and she and his grandmother, Lois had a deep faith in Christ which she passed on to her son, Timothy.

Many of us young Catholics were baptised as infants, thus becoming Christians before we knew anything at all and we have been taught by our parents and elders the way of righteousness. Are we holding on to this teaching and growing in holiness like Timothy did? Today, St Paul tells Timothy to fan into a flame the gift of God he had received when hand were laid on him. At our confirmation, the sacrament that completed our Christian initiation, the Bishop laid his hand on us, invoking on us the fullness of God’s Spirit. Are we fanning this gift of the Holy Spirit’s presence into a flame? Are we open to His promptings?

Beloved, our Christian faith can be likened to hot coals which would make a fire when fanned but become cold and useless if left alone. Fanning our faith into a flame implies that we respond to the grace of God in us. It is achieved through daily communion with God in prayers, taking time to prayerfully study His word and frequenting the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. As we open our hearts to God in these ways, He strengthens our faith, allowing the seed of faith planted in us to blossom; he teaches us the demands of our Christian calling and gives us the grace to live it out to the full. Only then can we effectively pass on our faith to our progeny like Lois and Eunice did.

PRAYER: Dear Father, I thank you for the gift of faith and for your Spirit and dwells in my heart. Please help me to be sensitive and obedient to His leading always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 205 – What happens in Confirmation?

In Confirmation the soul of a baptized Christian is imprinted with a permanent seal that can be received only once and marks this individual forever as a Christian. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the strength from above in which this individual puts the grace of his Baptism into practice through his life and acts as a “witness” for Christ.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For this reason I remind you to fan into a flame the gift of God you have received through the laying on of my hands” 2 Timothy 1:6 CCB

Readings for Today: 2 Timothy 1: 1-8; Psalm 96: 1-3, 7-10; Mark 3: 22-30

WHAT EFFORTS ARE YOU MAKING?

Sunday 25th January – 3rd Sunday of the year

Reflection: Jonah 3: 1-5, 10

WHAT EFFORTS ARE YOU MAKING?

The story of the prophet Jonah is one that shows forth the depth of God’s mercy. Though God is just, He is immensely merciful, seeking the salvation of all man. Hence despite Jonah’s initial refusal to obey God’s instruction, God ensured that he did so that the Ninevites would be given a chance to hear the message of repentance.

Dear friends, God is aware of our imperfections and the struggles we face in this fallen world are very well known to Him. Each new day He gives us is a new chance for repentance and reconciliation with Him (2 Peter 3:15). Yet, all He requires from us is a sincere effort to live in holiness. Just as God saw the efforts of the Ninevites in today’s first reading and relented on the punishment He had proposed to bring on them, God looks out for the efforts you and I are making. Are you making any efforts at all or are you simply wallowing in sin and worldly living with the excuse that “no one is perfect?”

Jesus called ordinary men to be his followers in today’s gospel reading. These men whom He later appointed “Apostles” were uneducated imperfect fishermen. Yet, because they surrendered themselves to our Lord and made efforts to follow Him faithfully, He strengthened their faith and enabled them to become pillars of His Church. Beloved, Jesus calls out to you and I today with the words: “follow me”. He is ready to give us the grace we need. But we must be ready to make efforts to follow Him in sincerity.

PRAYER: Lord, make me know your ways. Teach me your paths. Make me walk in your truth and teach me; for you are God my saviour.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1694 – Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, Christians are “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” and so participate in the life of the Risen Lord. Following Christ and united with Him, Christians can strive to be “imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love” by conforming their thoughts, words and actions to the “mind… which is yours in Christ Jesus,” and by following His example.

HIDE A TREASURE: “…make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge” 2 Peter 1:5

Readings for Today: Jonah 3: 1-5, 10; Psalm 25: 4-9; 1 Corinthians 7: 29-31; Mark 1: 14-20

THE BLOOD OF JESUS

Saturday 24th January – Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, Bishop & Doctor

Reflection: Hebrews 9:2-3, 11-14

THE BLOOD OF JESUS

The shedding of Christ’s blood for us on Calvary is a significant aspect of our Christian faith. In fact, one can say that it is the bedrock of our faith because this is where our salvation was purchased. The Blood of Jesus is not a cheap commodity. Denying the efficacy of this blood is like denying your salvation entirely. The Blood of Jesus would be efficacious for you to the extent to which you honour Christ. Hence, whenever you utter the phrase, “the blood of Jesus” you should do it with full understanding and conviction that you are not just speaking mere words but word that carry power and authority to change things for good. They are not mere words because when you invoke the ‘Blood of Jesus’, you are invoking the very life of God, because “the life is in the blood” (Deuteronomy12:23).

The Blood of Jesus should not just be invoked in time of need or problem, but as Christians who have a proper understanding of this great treasure of our faith, we should actually adore this precious blood of our salvation. As you honour the Blood of Jesus, that is, as you appreciate God for the wonders of this blood, you are at the same time adoring God Himself and at the same time obtaining healing for our souls and that of the world. (Hebrews 9:14). So beloved, don’t just invoke the blood in times of problems, but also honour the Blood and you will see what God can do.

PRAYER:  Thank you Father for allowing the blood of your son Jesus to be the power that sets me free. May your blood O Jesus always avail for me whenever I invoke it. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1323: “At the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood. This He did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again…”

HIDE A TREASURE:  “His blood will purify our consciences from useless rituals, so that we may serve the living God” Hebrews 9:14 GNB

Readings for Today:  Hebrews 9:2-3, 11-14; Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9; Mark.3:20-21