MARY MAGDALENE

WEDNESDAY, 22nd July, 2015 – Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene

MARY MAGDALENE

John 20:1-2.11-18

Today we shall reflect on the life of a woman who was the first witness to the resurrection of Christ. Nothing in her past could qualify her for this privilege except for a sincere repentance and a decision to follow Jesus. Looking concretely into her life’s history in the scriptures, she was the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume, dried his feet with her hair and kissed them as written in Luke 7:37-38. She was also the same woman with whom seven demons was driven out by Christ himself as written in Mark 16:9. The Gospel of John which was the last of all the gospels to be written also affirmed her as the sister of Martha and Lazarus. (John 11:2).

All this details about Mary Magdalene are events of her old life which was made new when she was forgiven her many sins by Jesus because of her great love for Christ. (Luke 7:47). She received peace and total freedom from Christ which made her a new creature. Just immediately after her encounter with Christ, the scripture recorded that she followed Christ with some other women and used her resources to help Jesus during his journey through some towns and villages. (Luke 8:1-3).  In our reading today, Mary recognized the voice of the risen Christ who called her name. She replied with such a vivid answer; “Rabboni” meaning Teacher. This showed who Jesus was to her especially with such response which could also be traced to her sister Martha who referred to Jesus as Teacher when their Brother Lazarus died. (John 11:28). Mary was also the same who sat at Jesus’ feet and listening to her counsel when Jesus visited their house at Bethany.

Beloved in Christ, we must learn from Mary’s attitude of steadfastness and a longing heart for Christ. She couldn’t have sustained her conversion without this great acts of total submission and determination to follow Jesus even to his grave. The psalmist says “As I lie in bed, I remember you; all night long I think you” Ps 63:6; “ As a deer longs for a stream of cool water, so I long for you, O God”. Ps 42:1. We must also long always to be in the presence of Christ if we must win the battle over sin. The power of Christ’ resurrection is available for us as his children. Let us go today with a joyful heart for such a great salvation of our soul which is lavished on us by Christ and resolve to follow Christ to the end. We can hear his voice only with a heart that longs for his presence.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, create in me a heart that longs for your presence.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 468What should a person yearn for most?

The ultimate and greatest longing of a person can only be for God. To see him, our creator, Lord and Redeemer, is unending blessedness.

HIDE A TREASURE: “As a deer longs for a stream of cool water, so I long for you, O God”. Psalm 42:1 GNB

Today’s reading: Song 3:1-4ab; Psalm 63:2-6.8-9; John 20:1-2.11-18

DOING THE WILL OF THE FATHER

Tuesday 21st July – St. Lawrence of Brindisi, P.D (opt. Mem)

DOING THE WILL OF THE FATHER

Matthew 12: 46-50

Virtually every Christian is familiar with the Lord’s Prayer and the words: “may your kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:10). Yet, how often have we said this prayer without even considering what the Father’s will is? Do we really say this prayer with a sincere desire to do the will of the Father?

It is important as Christians that we always do the Father’s will. Indeed Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 7: 21). Doing the Father’s will implies total obedience to God. Each time we are presented with choices to make in our day to day lives, do we make decisions based on what pleases our heavenly Father?

Amidst of the peer pressure and increasingly secular societal influence around us, we must make efforts to live in obedience to God even when it is difficult. We must be willing to deny ourselves of the sinful pleasures of this world so that we can truly gain Christ. Let us imitate Jesus Christ who gave up all in obedience to the Father. May we be able to say like St. Dominic Savio said, “I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God.”

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please grant me the grace and courage to the Father’s will especially when it is most difficult. Give me the grace to be faithful to my Christian calling. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 521 – What does it mean to say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?

When we pray for the universal accomplishment of God’s will, we pray that on earth and in our own heart it may become as it already is in heaven. As long as we continue to set our hearts on our own plans, our will, and our ideas, earth cannot become heaven. One person wants this, the other that. We find our happiness, however, when together we want what God wills. Praying means making room bit by bit for God’s will on this earth.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother” Matthew 12: 50 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 14: 21- 15:1; Exodus 15 (Canticle); Matthew 12: 46-50

BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS

Monday 20th July – St. Apollinaris (opt.mem)

BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS

Exodus 14: 5-18

Looking forward to a birthday gift from my best friend and wondering what the long awaited surprise will be. I got dressed to meet her at our favourite park. I had expectations but they were all centred around the two of us, probably eating some extra junk or playing a game and then get my gift. To my surprise, she organised a little party for me and gave me one of the best gifts I have ever received. I was so surprised because I had expected less, having known her all my life.

This is the kind of expectations we often place on God. We seem to know so much about God. Yet in moments of trials we have very little expectations of him that we lose all hope. The Isrealites in today’s first reading (Exodus14:5-18) had very little expectations of God, not believing in the possibility of their deliverance from the Egyptians. They had suddenly forgotten the mighty way with which God brought them out of Egypt. Just like the Isrealites, we also sometimes place our human limitations on God, forgetting that he is a God that makes the impossible possible. We should never allow familiarity to limit our expectation rather that should make us have high expectations since we know what God is capable of doing.

Always remember, as long as we place all trust in Him, God will exceed our expectations. It is time for us to look beyond the present and envision God in his glory and majesty with deep faith that he is above all our situations. He alone can do much more abundantly and exceedingly above our expectations and limitations.
God does not fulfil our expectations, he exceeds them.  –Mark Hart

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I trust you with my life. Please help to never to limit your work in me by my doubt and fears. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH:  YOUCAT 477 – What does it mean to learn from Jesus how to pray?

Learning from Jesus how to pray means entering into his boundless trust, joining in his prayer, and being led by him, step by step, to the Father.

HIDE A TREASURE: “To him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 14: 5-18; Exodus 15: 1-6 (Canticle); Matthew 12: 38-42

CHRIST: THE GOOD SHEPHERD

Sunday 19th July – 16th Sunday of the year

CHRIST: THE GOOD SHEPHERD

Mark 6: 30-34

He took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length” Mk 6:34

The image of sheep needing a shepherd to guide them is one that very well describes us as young Christians. We are vulnerable and therefore need to be constantly guided and mentored. Just as Jesus was eager to teach the crowd in today’s gospel reading, so also does He earnestly desire to teach us.

He is the good shepherd who never abandons us even in the most inconvenient moment; the good shepherd who willingly lays down his life for the sheep (Jn 10:11). As loving as a good shepherd is, he has no power to protect the sheep that strays. Even though he makes effort to find the lost sheep, as long as the sheep is yet to be found, it remains an easy prey to wild animals. Hence, in our youthful exuberance and desire to be independent, let us not leave Christ’s covering. He guides us through our families, the Church, our teachers and other superiors. Let us not turn deaf ears to them as they try to guide us aright.

Dear friends, the crowd in today’s reading sought after Christ and got His attention and teaching as a reward. Are you willing to seek after Christ too? Are you willing to studying His word, to spend time with Him in prayer and to be united with Him in the Eucharist? Seek after Him beloved and you will receive all the direction and care the good shepherd has for you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for your constant care and direction. Please help me not to remove myself from your protection that I may not be prey to the evil ones. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 471Why is Abraham a model of prayer?

Abraham listened to God. He was willing to set out for wherever God commanded and to do what God willed. By his listening and his readiness to make a new start, he is a model for our prayer.

HIDE A TREASURE: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” John 10: 27 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 23: 1-6; Psalm 23: 1-6; Ephesians 3: 13-18; Mark 6: 30-34