DO YOU LOVE ME?

Friday 22nd May – Friday of the 7th week of Eastertide

Reflection: John 21: 15-19

DO YOU LOVE ME?

It is exciting to see newlyweds who are deeply in love with each other. They seek every opportunity to be with each other and nothing else seems to matter to them. Human love is indeed very beautiful. Yet, the love that exists between humans is just a glimpse into the union that God desires to have with us. Though love is often expressed in emotions, it is much more than emotions. It is a function of the will.

Love is a choice. It is a decision we make that finds its expression in making sacrifice for the one we love just as Christ sacrificed Himself for us (1 Jn 3:16). In today’s reading, Peter’s response to Jesus’ question “Do you love me?” was followed by an instruction “Feed my sheep”. Jesus asks you and me the same question today: “Do you love me?” Dear friend, your words are inadequate in responding to Jesus’ question. A sincere response consists of following Jesus in truth just as He asked Peter to do in today’s reading. It consists of holy living, prompt obedience to Him and extending hands of love to the poor and needy amongst us (1 Jn 4:12, 5:3).

In the midst of the numerous distractions and temptations that beset us as young people, Jesus asks for your love and commitment to Him today. Peter responded in the affirmative and that cost him his life ultimately. Your positive response may not lead you to martyrdom, yet it will cost you trials and persecution. It will require that you die to yourself daily and live for Christ. Are you willing to respond? As you say “Yes” to Jesus today, He will strengthen you with the grace to truly love Him with all your heart even when it is difficult.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me so much. Please increase my love for You and let my life truly please You always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 352 – What is the meaning of the commandment, “I am the Lord, your God” (Ex 20:2)?

Because the Almighty has revealed himself to us as our God and Lord, we must not place anything above him or consider anything more important or give any other thing or person priority over him. To know God and to serve and worship him has absolute priority in our life.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” John 14:15 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 25: 13-21; Psalm 103: 1-2, 11-12, 19-20; John 21: 15-19

OUR HOPE IN THE GLORY TO COME

Tuesday 19th May – Tuesday of the 7th week of Eastertide

Reflection: John 17: 1-11

OUR HOPE IN THE GLORY TO COME

Though the world may someday forget the pains of racism, history will never forget Martin Luther King Jnr. and his famous speech “I have a dream”. Along with many others, he stood his ground against the pervading demon of racism at that time. They knew their lives on the line yet they were not going to permit a cloud to cover the bright light of hope they saw. They were inspired by the hope that their children would someday live in a nation without racial boundaries. Their dream may not have come through during their lifetime, yet their hope has inspired generations. Should our hope in Christ not be even much greater?

Christ at the close of His earthly ministry; was eagerly desirous of the glory He was to receive from His heavenly Father, after glorifying the Father with His earthly life and work (John 17:5). Also, amidst the tears of the elders of the church in Ephesus, as he gave his farewell speech, St. Paul was at peace with himself and with God after serving him faithfully through thick and thin. He had given his life in order to accomplish the work of his Master, Jesus. In hope, he could catch a glimpse of the glory to come at the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8: 18-19).

As Christians, we are people of hope. It is our hope in God that keeps us faithful to Him even in difficult situations. Have you lost the will to live in the face of trials? Are you on the verge of compromising your Christian and Catholic faith because of the difficulties around you? Do not give in to despair, dear friend. Ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle in your heart the gift of hope and the joy that comes with it.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, comfort me in trying times by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 308 – What is hope?

Hope is the power by which we firmly and constantly long for what we were placed on earth to do: to praise God and to serve him; and for our true happiness, which is finding our fulfillment in God; and for our final home: in God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us…” Romans 5:4 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Acts 20: 17-27; Psalm 68: 10-11, 20-21; John 17: 1-11

WHAT KIND OF BELIEVER ARE YOU?

Monday 18th May – Monday of the 7th week Eastertide

Reflection: Acts 19: 1-8

WHAT KIND OF BELIEVER ARE YOU?

Every religion in the world has doctrines which must be accepted by anyone who professes it. Our Christian faith, being a newness of life drawn from a union with Christ requires an even deeper profession. True Christians are recognized by the fruits of the Holy Spirit which they manifest in their daily life (Mt 7:16, Gal 5:22).

At Ephesus, St. Paul met twelve people who professed to be believers but immediately noticed there was something missing in their faith; they lacked a manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit whom they unfortunately had no knowledge of. What does your way of life portray? Does it manifest the presence of the Holy Spirit in you? You have received the Holy Spirit at baptism. Do you cooperate with Him and allow your life to be controlled by Him?

Dear friend, our profession of faith in Christ would be complete only when we manifest the divine life of Christ. Jesus tells us that certain signs would follow believers (Mk 16:17) and they would be identified because of their sacrificial love (Jn 13:34-35). Our Christianity would be mechanical and devoid of its life-transforming power without the breath of the Holy Spirit. Today, ask the Holy Spirit to renew you and lead you to live a true Christian life.

PRAYER: Come Holy Spirit, fill my heart; enkindle in me the fire of Your love. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 203 –What is Confirmation?

Confirmation is the Sacrament that completes Baptism; in it the gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed upon us. Anyone who freely decides to live a life as God’s child and asks for God’s Spirit under the signs of the imposition of hands and anointing with chrism receives the strength to witness to God’s love and might in word and deed. He is now a full-fledged, responsible member of the Catholic Church.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “But the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness ad self-control; against such there is no law” Galatians 5: 22-23 RSV-CE.

Readings for Today: Acts 19: 1-8; Psalm 68: 2-7; John 16: 29-33

THE CONSULTATION THAT MATTERS MOST

Sunday 17th May– 7th Sunday of Easter

Reflection: Acts 1: 15-17, 20-26

THE CONSULTATION THAT MATTERS MOST

For political observers, the political scene becomes more interesting as elections draw near. It is not uncommon to hear political aspirants say: “after due consultation, I hereby offer myself to run for the office of…” Although we might have reasons to doubt the sincerity of this statement, nevertheless, there is a wisdom we can pick out of this – The recognition of the need for consultation before taking major decisions in life. As the Apostles took steps to replace Judas Iscariot, though they had two credible nominees (Barsabbas and Matthias) before them, they recognized the need to ask the only one who knows man through and through -the need to as for God’s guidance.

Beloved, when you find yourself at the crossroad of life, what guides your decision? Do you seek for counsel or simply take actions based on your personal evaluation and reasoning alone? We all see partly! Much as there is increased risk of regret for whoever would run the race of life on personal revaluation alone, experience has shown that the seemly best of human advice may not always lead to the desired success or expectation. The way that seems best to us humans at times ends in nothing but heartache and setback (Proverbs 16:25).

Dearest in Christ, are you at the brink of making a major decision (eg. choice of life partner)? Perhaps you have done thorough personal evaluation and consultation on this. These are undoubtedly commendable steps. However, have you prayed about it? Do you have an assurance of the Lord’s approval on that step you are about to take? This is the consultation that matters most! This does not mean running helter-skelter from one prayer house or mountain to the other. It simply involves going to God with hearts full of faith and devotion; with an open disposition to accept whatever He decides best for us. He is a faithful Father who rightly guides His loving children who cling to Him in sincerity.

PRAYER: Please open my eyes to see your blessed will Lord; my ears to hear your loving counsel. Grant me the faith to make a choice of your will and the endurance to lovingly persist in it. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 469 –What is prayer?

Prayer is turning the heart toward God. When a person prays, he enters into a living relationship with God.

Prayer is the great gate leading into faith. Someone who prays no longer lives on his own, for himself, and by his own strength. He knows there is a God to whom he can talk. People who pray entrust themselves more and more to God….As strange as it sounds, prayer is a gift one obtains through prayer.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things which you have not known” Jeremiah 33: 3 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Act 1: 15-17, 20-26; Psalm 103: 1-2,11-12,19-20; 1 John 4: 11-16

MAKING THE MOST OF WHAT YOU HAVE

Saturday 16th May – Saturday of the 6thweek of Eastertide

Reflection: Acts 18: 23-28

MAKING THE MOST OF WHAT YOU HAVE

It is an irony of life that the little a man has and considers as an excuse for failure is all another man grabs to give an amazing success story. Surely, the mind that dwells in failure will always find more than enough reasons for its sustenance. If we would truly manifest as sons and daughters of God; if we are to position ourselves for greater blessings of God, we must start maximizing the seemingly little opportunities and privileges we have in life.

In today’s first reading, amidst the many positive attributes mentioned of Apollos, there was something of special interest about him: “he had only experienced the baptism of John.” John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance (Acts 19: 4), it did not confer the sacramental grace of a new birth which the baptism of water and the Spirit instituted by Christ does. (John 3: 3-7; Matthew 28:19, CCC 720). Little wonder St. Paul considered it necessary to later baptise Apollos and his colleagues though they were already participating in the activities of the Church (Acts 19: 1-6). Before Apollos’ proper initiation, into the family of God, through the Sacrament of Baptism he had fully disposed himself to the service of God. He was fully maximizing the grace available to him by his acceptance of the Good news!

Beloved, have you been baptised? Have you received the sacrament of confirmation? Do you partake in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ? How well are you making the most of the indispensible graces received in these sacraments? Let us this day do away with the myriad of excuses we often give and begin to maximise the opportunities and privileges we have in life. It is only by doing this that we can prove ourselves ripe for greater upliftment in life.

PRAYER: For all you have given me, I say thank you Jesus. For the privileges I have wasted, I ask for your mercy. Strengthen me oh Lord that I may cooperate with You to make the most of all that You have blessed me with! Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1131 – The sacraments are efficacious sings of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” Galatians 6:7 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Acts 18: 23-28; Psalm 47: 2-3, 8-10; John 16: 23-28

DO NOT BE SILENCED BY FEAR

Friday 15 May – Friday of the 6thweek of Eastertide

Reflection: Acts 18: 9-18

DO NOT BE SILENCED BY FEAR

How many times as students have we been asked questions by our teachers for which we possibly had correct answers but were unsure of ourselves and rather choose to be quiet? It pains deeply when we see a more courageous classmate speak up and we discover that we would have been right had we dared speak. At such times, we have been silenced by fear!

Today’s first reading presents us with the Lord’s warning to St. Paul: “Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you.” Beloved in Christ, how tight is the grip of fear on You? How readily do you allow your noble ideas and initiatives to be paralysed by the fear of failure, the fear of men or fear of the future? Though we might have genuine reasons for concern at some points in life, we need not allow our progress to be crippled by the fear of the unknown. Purposeful living demands a good deal of courage and more importantly, as Christians, we need to trust in the God at all times (Hebrews 11:6; James 1: 6-8).

Dearest friend, let us this day ask the Lord for the grace to give voice to our noble convictions; to give action to our worthwhile aspirations; to live by faith and not in fear, so that we may know the joy of meaningful living.

Prayer: Oh Lord, fill my heart with faith and love! Please liberate me from every imprisonment of fear and grant me the faith and courage to embrace the life You have called me to live. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 162 – Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man…..To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 18: 9-18; Psalm 47: 2-7; John 16:20-23

BE TRUE TO YOUR IDENTITY

Thursday 14th May – Solemnity of The Ascension of the Lord

Reflection: Ephesians 4: 1-13

BE TRUE TO YOUR IDENTITY

Our identity as individuals is who we really are and not merely what we answer to by virtue of our job or position. The true character of a man will inevitably define him no matter the array of titles with which he parades himself. It is lack of proper understanding of identity that makes some people to be excessively “title conscious.” You mistakenly address a “Chief” as “Mister” and you will be dazed by the magnitude of drama that may ensue. This explains why some individuals can comfortably prefix their names with titles such as: Honourable (Chief) Dr….; Barrister (Prince) Evangelist…etc. There seems to be a great fondness for positions and titles in our environment without a corresponding awareness and embracement of the responsibilities that come with them.

Beloved in Christ, as children of God, beyond our titles and positions, our true identity must be that we are Christ-like in nature everywhere we find ourselves. This must be intrinsically tied to all our responsibilities and actions. We cannot afford to project dual images of ourselves i.e. one within the body of Christ and another outside of it. This would amount to hypocrisy and false Christianity.

Are you an undergraduate or postgraduate student? May be you are a young professional- A doctor, nurse, lawyer, accountant, journalist etc. no matter what your discipline or career is, of utmost importance is our constant awareness that we should reflect the light of God in our various callings. Through the ability of the Holy spirit in us, we are called to show a positive difference in our world (Matthew 5:13-16). Let us rise above the prevailing sense of self importance in our society today and show forth the fragrance of Christ in love and godly service anywhere we find ourselves.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please let the world find me to be truly Yours in word and in action. And may this promote the conversion of my neighbours who are yet to know You. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOU CAT: 280What reasons do Christians give for human dignity?

Every person, from the first moment of his life in the womb, has an inviolable dignity, because from all eternity God willed, loved, created, and redeemed that person and destined him for eternal happiness.

If human dignity were based solely on the successes and accomplishments of individuals, then those who are weak, sick, or helpless would have no dignity. Christians believe that human dignity is, in the first place, the result of God’s respect for us. He looks at every person and loves him as though he were the only creature in the world…

HIDE A TREASURE: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light 1 Peter 2:9 RSV- CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47: 2-3, 6-9; Ephesians 4:1-13; Mark 16:15-20