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

YOU NEED A NEW NAME

Friday 23rd January – Friday of week 2 of the year

Reflection: Mark 3:16-17

YOU NEED A NEW NAME

What is in a name? So much! Your name is your identity. Today God wants to give you a new name. When God gives a person a new name, it overturns the future of the person for good. Our father in faith – Abraham witnessed a change of name and was never the same again. Sarah and Jacob also experienced name changes that marked a transformation in their lives. In today’s text, Simon’s name was changed to Peter by Christ Himself. A name that signified the mission Christ had for him – to be the leader of His Church.

You may ask whether you really need a physical change of name before you can experience such spiritual transformation. The answer is simply- “not necessarily”. What you and I need is a transformation that changes our identity. Through baptism, we have become God’s children; our identity has been changed. Yet, for us to be truly transformed, we must cooperate with the grace we received at Baptism; we must be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and strive to live holy lives.

When we do this, then we become like the Apostle Paul who shared a spiritual identity with the name of Jesus. An identity that even the devil recognised: “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul; but you who are you?” (Acts 19:14). What an identity Paul the apostle had in the spirit realm! Do you now see why you need a new name? If you are keen on getting a new name from God today, then you must read about and imitate the lives of Christ and of those who experienced such great transformation. In addition, let every day lead you to a closer union with Christ as He alone can transform you and I and elevate our names – our identities.

 PRAYER: Father, thank you for the gift of my faith. Please transform me by the power of your Spirit and help me to live out my Christian identity to its full. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 201, 202 – What is the significance of receiving a name in Baptism? Why should Christians choose the names of saints at Baptism?

Through the name that we receive in Baptism God tells us: “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Is 43:1). There are no better examples than the saints and no better helpers. If my namesake is a saint, I have a friend with God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being, the old is gone, the new is come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 GNB

Readings for Today: Hebrews 8: 6-13; Psalm 85: 8, 10-14; Mark 3: 13-19

JESUS HAS YOU IN MIND

Thursday 22nd January – Thursday of week 2 of the year

Reflection: Hebrews 7:25 – 8:6

JESUS HAS YOU IN MIND

Taking time to reflect on the person of Jesus cannot but leave one pondering on His awesome mercy and love. The text of today declared Jesus to be the High Priest who meets our needs. Jesus indeed is the one who meets our needs and in fact has met our need through His finished works on the cross of Calvary. In the gospels, we often see Jesus “going about doing good.” He went about healing the sick, raising the dead, providing food for the needy, teaching the uninformed etc. The reality of Jesus’ priestly ministry and intercession on our behalf is a unique one. Jesus is always thinking of us because He is the good shepherd who cares for His sheep.

It is our responsibility to harness the benefits of Jesus’ work. The fruits of His finished work on our behalf are numerous reaching beyond this world and extending to eternity. Therefore, there is no need to worry and fret over many issues in life because Jesus cares for you. He has you in mind even when you do not know about it. Life may present us with difficulties, but we must keep in mind that we have a High Priest who cares for us and is interceding for us.

Do you trust Jesus with your life? Have you handed your future over to Him? Invite Him to walk with you today and His presence will perfect all that concerns you – past, present and future. (Psalm 138:8)

PRAYER: My Jesus, I yield my entire life unto you. You are my all in all. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 150: “Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth God has revealed.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Praise the Lord, who carries our burdens day after day; He is the God who saves us”. Psalm 68:19 GNB

Readings for Today: Hebrews 7: 25-8: 6; Psalm 40: 7-10, 17; Mark 3: 7-12

SLOW TO ANGER

Wednesday 21st January – Memorial of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Reflection: Mark 3:1-6

SLOW TO ANGER

Beloved, the mercy of God is the reason we are all alive today. As the Scripture says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end” (Lamentations 3:22). Today’s passage presents us with a very dramatic event. Jesus encountered a man with a paralyzed hand in the synagogue on a Sabbath day. Some persons were waiting to accuse Him of healing the sick on the Sabbath; but Jesus put forward a pertinent question to them: “What does our Law allow us to do on the Sabbath? To help or to harm? To save someone’s life or to destroy it?” Their inability to respond made Jesus angry at them; yet, ‘He felt sorry for them because they were so stubborn and wrong.’ (Mark.3:4-5).

We have a lot to learn from this story. One important lesson here is that we must realize that when people offend us, they often do it out of ignorance. Hence our anger over what they have done should lead us to compassion for them. When people offend us repeatedly, instead of getting angry all the time we should rather exert compassion. This is indeed the lifestyle we are called to as the children of God. God our Father Himself is slow to anger and abounding in mercy. (Psalm 103:8). Jesus was indeed provoked by their merciless attitude in today’s passage, but mercy had its way.

Let us therefore ask God our Father to grant us a heart that is devoid of unnecessary offences and anger. Anger can lead one to act out of order. But mercy can channel the anger towards love for the offender. This is the grace we must ask of God today. The grace to be merciful and slow to anger.

PRAYER: Pray for a child-like heart, that neither harbours grudges nor is easily offended.

KNOW YOUR FAITH:  CCC 2447: “The works of mercy are charitable actions in which we come to the aid of our neighbour in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting, are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently.”

HIDE A TREASURE:  “The Lord is merciful and loving, slow to become angry and full of constant love.” Psalm 103:8. GNB

Readings for Today: Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17; Psalm 110:1-4; Mark 3:1-6

WHAT ARE YOU CLINGING TO?

Tuesday 20th January – Feast of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi

Reflection: Philippians 2: 1-11

WHAT ARE YOU CLINGING TO?

“His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave…” (Philippians 2: 6-7)

The mystery of the incarnation continually baffles man through the centuries. To think of the immense love that led God to come and live amongst us as man is indeed very puzzling. However, it is not enough to simply reflect on God’s love. It is more important to imitate that love – to return love for love; loving God and our neighbour in response to the love His has shown to us (1 John 4:19).

In today’s first reading, St Paul reminds us that Christ did not cling to His equality with God, but emptied Himself. As human beings we tend to hold tightly to our possessions. The desire for permanent comfort and fear of future lack often prevents us from letting go of that which we have be it wealth, position, power, privilege, fame etc. Man tends to hold tightly to whatever good he possesses, often times to the detriment of himself and his neighbour. What are you clinging to? What are you holding on to so tightly that is preventing you from seeing the needs of those around you?

Dear friends, it is only when we let go of an unhealthy attachment to mundane things that we can empty ourselves like Christ. It is only when we do not allow our possessions to possess us that we can truly humble ourselves and treat others with love and compassion. Only then would we be able to look out for the interest of others and consider others better than ourselves as St Paul admonishes us to today (Philippians 2: 3-4). Today, let go of that which you are clinging to and let the love of Christ shine through you to all.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for loving me so much. Please free me from all worldly attachment that I may extend the love you have shown me to those around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2779 – Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord’s Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn “from this world”. Humility makes us recognise that “no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to who the son chooses to reveal him,” that is, “to little children.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Philippians 2: 1-11; Isaiah 12 (canticle); Matthew 13: 44-46

WHAT ARE YOU CLINGING TO?

Tuesday 20th January – Feast of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi

Reflection: Philippians 2: 1-11

WHAT ARE YOU CLINGING TO?

His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave…” (Philippians 2: 6-7)

The mystery of the incarnation continually baffles man through the centuries. To think of the immense love that led God to come and live amongst us as man is indeed very puzzling. However, it is not enough to simply reflect on God’s love. It is more important to imitate that love – to return love for love; loving God and our neighbour in response to the love His has shown to us (1 John 4:19).

In today’s first reading, St Paul reminds us that Christ did not cling to His equality with God, but emptied Himself. As human beings we tend to hold tightly to our possessions. The desire for permanent comfort and fear of future lack often prevents us from letting go of that which we have be it wealth, position, power, privilege, fame etc. Man tends to hold tightly to whatever good he possesses, often times to the detriment of himself and his neighbour. What are you clinging to? What are you holding on to so tightly that is preventing you from seeing the needs of those around you?

Dear friends, it is only when we let go of an unhealthy attachment to mundane things that we can empty ourselves like Christ. It is only when we do not allow our possessions to possess us that we can truly humble ourselves and treat others with love and compassion. Only then would we be able to look out for the interest of others and consider others better than ourselves as St Paul admonishes us to today (Philippians 2: 3-4). Today, let go of that which you are clinging to and let the love of Christ shine through you to all.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for loving me so much. Please free me from all worldly attachment that I may extend the love you have shown me to those around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2779 – Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord’s Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn “from this world”. Humility makes us recognise that “no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to who the son chooses to reveal him,” that is, “to little children.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Philippians 2: 1-11; Isaiah 12 (canticle); Matthew 13: 44-46

LETTING GO OF THE PAST

Monday 19th January – Monday of week 2 of the year

Reflection: Mark 2: 18-22

LETTING GO OF THE PAST

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go.”  Hermann Hesse

As kids, we all had favourite dresses, toys, bags, plates and even chairs and perhaps some of us, after having outgrown them still try hard to fit ourselves into them until we destroy them and they become useless. The older we get the more experience we acquire and the more of memories we have of both good and bad. Remember, that there is time for sorrow, time for joy, time for mourning and time for dancing (Ecclesiastes 3: 4).

It is very easy for us to stick to bad memories but each time we do that it hurts. Therefore, let us learn to look back even more at all the good and joyous moments we have experienced and thank God for them. Let us see the good and the bad as God’s way of making us learn and forming us into whom He wants us to be. Christ says: “nobody puts a new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins and the wine is lost and the skin too. No! New wine, fresh skins! (Mark 2:22).

Beloved, it is time for us to get new skins for our fresh wine. God has great things in store for us, yet if we do not let go of the past and trust in His abundant grace, we may be unable to enjoy the blessings He has for us. Let us accept this grace and change our lives.

Remember that you cannot reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junks!

PRAYER: Help me lord to let go of my past tormenting memories and trust in your ever abundant grace to make my life beautiful. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 524 – What does it mean to say, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”?
Merciful forgiveness – the mercy that we show to others and the mercy that we ourselves seek – is indivisible. If we ourselves are not merciful and do not forgive one another, God’s mercy will not reach our hearts.
The deep blockade of being unreconciled is resolved only by looking to God, who adopted us “while we were yet sinners.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43: 18-19 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Hebrews 5: 1-10; Psalm 110: 1-4; Mark 2: 18-22