BETRAYAL

Tuesday 31st March – Tuesday of Holy Week

Reflection: John 13: 21-33, 36-38

BETRAYAL

Have you ever been betrayed by a loved one? If you have, you will possible know a bit of the distress of the heart of our blessed Saviour as He declared to His disciples His imminent betrayal by one of them. I say a bit because the hurt of betrayal is in proportion to the degree of intimacy and love that exists between the betrayed and the betrayer. Married couples can easily attest to this. However, what bond or love of ours can be compared to the one our Lord Jesus Christ has with disciples?

As we have read of Judas’ betrayal of the divine Master, may we ask ourselves in what ways we are betraying the love and trust of those around us. How much can you be trusted dear friend; how much can people confide in you? Are you the type that lets loose of things you are told in confidence simply because of a little misunderstanding between you and your friend? Dependability is a quality that is becoming rare in our time even amongst professed Christian. The spate of infidelity amongst married and intending couples; inconsistency in the polity and the unending division in the body of Christ practically illustrate this. As a youth, are you betraying the trust of your parents? Do you cook up lies for monetary or social gains?

Dear friend, much as there are consequences for the betrayal of the love and trust of our fellow human beings, of weightier consequence is the betrayal of the incomparable love of our Redeemer. It was for our love that He was crucified. Having professed our love and allegiance to Him, shall we then continue to betray His love and injure His sacred heart through deliberate acts of sin? To do such is to work as the enemy of the cross of Christ to which St Paul declared a destructive end (Phil 3: 17-19). Please let us beware of this!

PRAYER: Oh Lord! Please grant me a true and loyal heart. One that is forever faithful to You and protects the trust and love of those around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 456 – What should you do if you have lied to, deceived, or betrayed someone?

Every offense against truth and justice, even if it has been forgiven, demands reparation.If one cannot make amends publicly for a lie or false testimony, one must at least do whatever one can secretly. If one cannot compensate the injured party directly for the wrong, one is obliged in conscience to give him moral satisfaction, in other words, one must do his best so as to make at least symbolic reparation.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death?” Romans 8:35 GNB

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 49: 1-6; Psalm 71: 1-6, 15, 17; John 13: 21-33, 36-38

SAY WHAT YOU MEAN; MEAN WHAT YOU SAY

Monday 30th March – Monday of Holy Week

Reflection: John 12: 1-11

SAY WHAT YOU MEAN; MEAN WHAT YOU SAY

Would it be that we humans can readily read each other’s mind, how much inconsistency, dear friend, would people discover between what you say and the thoughts of your mind? How much of pseudo “I am sorry”, “I love you”, excuses and promises do we express nowadays? Pure lack of sincerity is fast being dignified as diplomacy or tactfulness.

Dearest in Christ, this is an aberration that is inconsistent with our identity as children of light (Mt 5: 14-16). Our “yes” must mean “yes” and our “no” must mean “no”. That is the unchanging commandment of God to us (Mt 5:37). If we would truly manifest as light of the world and salt of the earth, our society must find us as people of our word; people with unflinching sincerity and integrity. This is a major hallmark of purity and we must be reminded that only the pure in heart would see God (Mt 5:8). If the world calls insincerity “tactfulness” and the almighty God calls it “sin” (1 Jn 5: 17b), we must then, as Christians ask ourselves whose judgement matters most to us. The Lord who sees the sincerity of Judas’ concern for the poor in today’s gospel reading clearly sees the inner recesses of our hearts (Jer 17:10).

It is undeniable fact that the truth could be bitter. However, we must be reminded that there is no other guaranteed way to genuine liberty except by the truth (Jn 8:32; Rom 6:16). True love reduces the pain of the bite of truth, so let us speak the truth in love. We must mean what we say; we must say what we mean. As Christians, we must be true to our words!

PRAYER: Dear Father, please dispel every speck of insincerity from my heart and grant me the courage to be truthful after You. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 455 – What does it mean to be truthful?

Truthfulness means that one acts sincerely and speaks honestly. The truthful individual guards against double-dealing, misrepresentation, malicious deception, and hypocrisy…A great evil in all communities is slander of other people and malicious gossip: A tells B “confidentially” something derogatory that C said about B.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Say yes when you mean yes and say no when you mean no. Anything else you say comes from the devil.” Matthew 5:37 CCB

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 42: 1-7; Psalm 27: 1-3, 13-14; John 12: 1-11

ARE YOU ASLEEP?

Sunday 29th March – Palm Sunday

Reflection: Mark 14: 1- 15:47

ARE YOU ASLEEP?

The above question which our blessed Saviour asked Simon Peter in today’s gospel reading remains pertinent to us as individuals in our journey of faith. Perhaps we think we can wish away temptation(s) or sufficiently ward it off by human strength; the experience of Apostle Peter should help us to know better!

To effectively combat and overcome temptation, we need to stay awake – we need to be spiritually watchful and vigilant (1 Pet 2:8; Lk 22: 40, 46). Much as soldiers do not start preparation on the day of battle, we as Christians cannot afford to allow ourselves to be caught in the web of temptation before we start looking for a way out, otherwise we might find ourselves lacking in the needed strength to overcome it. To be spiritually awake, we must daily find time to commune with God in prayer. The complexity of the modern times demands a daily evaluation of our life before God lest our faith is drowned by the wave of secularism and relativism raging around us. This is much more important to us as youths.

Beloved, are you asleep or awake? Is your standard of living measuring up to the call and investment of God in your life or you have merely settled for complacency? Let us this day arise from slumber and be awake to a full actualization of our call and potentials in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER: Consider and answer me, Oh Lord my God; lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep death. Amen. Psalm 13: 3.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2849 –…It is by His prayer that Christ vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of His public mission and in the ultimate struggle of His agony. In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to His battle and His agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with His own. Vigilance is “custody of the heart”…the Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” Matthew 26: 41a RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 50: 4-7; Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-20, 23-34; Philippians 2: 6-11; Mark 14:1- 15:47

STAY WITH THE FOLD

Saturday 28th March – Saturday of the 5th week of Lent

Reflection: Jeremiah 31: 10-13

STAY WITH THE FOLD

The image of the shepherd and sheep is used countless times in Scripture to illustrate God’s relationship with His people. The nation of Israel was a farming community and keeping sheep was very common amongst them hence they fully understood this image. They understood how much a good shepherd loved and cared for his sheep; ready to risk his own life in fighting wild animals so as to keep the sheep safe. Yet, they became powerless in fending for the sheep if it stubbornly left the fold and all efforts to find it was futile. When this happens, the stray sheep becomes at the mercy of wild beasts with no one to fight for it.

In today’s first reading, God promises that He would guard his people as a shepherd guards his flock (Jer 31:10). He promises restoration to Israel which had been scattered and divided by sin. Dear friend, Christ assures us: “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10). He has indeed laid down His life for us.

But just as with the sheep, we can only experience the protection our shepherd offers when we stay within the fold. Each time we stray, God, our good shepherd seeks us out. Yet, we can decide to stubbornly refuse His call to come home and choose to remain outside His protection and power. We can willingly put ourselves into the hands of the devil, who constantly seeks whom to devour (1 Pet 5:8). Many Christians have abandoned the fold in quest for fame, power, pleasure, riches, worldly success etc. What choice do you make dear friend? Choose to stay with the fold; choose to remain under the protection of God our Father; He will meet your needs and your safety is sure.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you that I can trust in your powerful protection and care. Please help me not to stray away from you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 22 – How does one go about believing?

Someone who believes is seeking a personal union with God and is ready to believe God in everything that he shows (reveals) about himself.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” Psalm 23:2 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Ezekiel 37: 21-28; Jeremiah 31: 10-13 (Canticle); John 11: 45-56