MAKE GOD YOUR CHOICE TODAY

Friday 21st August – Memorial of St Pius X, Pope

Reflection: Ruth 1: 1-6, 14-16, 22

MAKE GOD YOUR CHOICE TODAY

During the exchange of vows in holy matrimony, the couple chooses to stick with and love each other totally; through everything and with everything. In the presence of God and the Church; two people are joined and become one by choice and it might be right to say; that would be the second most important decision of their lives; second to only one decision – the decision to follow Christ. Have you made this most important choice?

In today’s first reading, Ruth had every justification to return to her people and her gods. But she chose to endure the famine with Naomi, her elderly widowed mother-in-law who had lost her sons. The death of Ruth’s husband did not make her rethink her commitment to him and that led her to an even greater choice: She chose to serve the living God even in hardship. Thus, becoming a model for us Christians.

Christ’s arms are always open to receive us as His children. He has made the ultimate sacrifice for us by His own freewill; giving up His life for our salvation. If we were baptised as infants, our parents made a choice of faith for us. Yet, after the age of reason, the Church offers us the opportunity to renew our baptismal vows and pledge our allegiance to God over and over again. Have we made the firm choice to love God with our whole hearts and follow Christ come what may? Ruth made the choice for the God of Israel and became privileged to be the great grandmother of King David and one of the only three women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. Make God your choice today and see the great things He is willing to do through you.

PRAYER: Lord, give me strength to stick with you come what may. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 25 Why does the faith require definitions and formulas?

Faith is not about empty words but about reality. In the Church, condensed formulas of faith developed over the course of time; with their help we can contemplate, express, learn, hand on, celebrate, and live out this reality.

HIDE A TREASURE: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life that you and your descendants may live, loving Yahweh, listening to his voice, and being one with him. In this is life for you and length of days in the land which Yahweh swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: Ruth 1:1.3-6.14-16.22; Psalm 146:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40

EVERYTHING IS READY: COME

Thursday 20th August – Memorial of St Bernard, Abbot & Doctor

Reflection: Matthew 22: 1-14

EVERYTHING IS READY: COME

“Food is ready!” The rumble in stomachs cease, mouths water and smiles suddenly appear on faces as they jump out of their seats to make a feast of their favourite meal. At the dining table; we hope to get satisfaction for our hunger and thirst and our ears would stay up until they catch the “call to the feast”. Any mother would be disappointed; if her family ignores or rejects her call to the dining room. This instinctive human behaviour should teach something of the response God expects from us to His call: “Come here, all you who are thirsty, come to the water! All who have no money, come! Yes, without money and at no cost, buy and drink wine and milk. Why spend money on what is not food and labour for what does not satisfy? Listen to me, and you will eat well; you will enjoy the richest of fare”. (Isaiah 55: 1-2)

In today’s gospel reading, the king became furious at the disheartening response he got to the invitation he gave out for the wedding feast of his son. After dealing with the evil invitees; he called out again but this time, to everyone. Today, the King of the universe calls every one of us to the unending feast of joy in His kingdom of light. He has a special place prepared for us at His side if only we would come; bringing to Him our entire lives that He may mould us and use us.

Dear friend, Indeed, everything is ready; only in Him can we find the true happiness and peace of mind we all seek. Only in Him can we find meaning to life and fulfilment. Are you ready to put off the old life for a new one hidden with Christ in God? Through your baptism, you have responded to His call; yet, that response is still ongoing. His call comes to you each new day and He awaits your response, your commitment.

PRAYER: O good Shepherd, teach me to listen and obey when you call. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 523 Why does man not live on bread alone?

This passage of Scripture reminds us that men have a spiritual hunger that cannot be satisfied by material means. One can die for lack of bread, but one can also die because one has received bread alone. In a profound sense we are nourished by the one who has “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68) and a food that does not perish (John 6:27): the Holy Eucharist.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come! Whoever hears let him say, come! Whoever thirsts let him approach, and whoever desires, let him freely take the water of life.” Revelation 22: 17 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Judges 11: 29-39; Psalm 40: 5. 7-9. 10; Matthew 22: 1-14

LET EACH RUN HIS COURSE DILIGENTLY

Wednesday 19th August: Wednesday of week 20 in Ordinary Time

LET EACH RUN HIS COURSE DILIGENTLY

Matthew 20:1-16

Great is the love of our Heavenly Father who sacrificed His only begotten son so that you and I might be saved (John 3: 16). Though our Lord Jesus Christ through His death paid the full price for our salvation, it nevertheless remains the choice of each and every one of us to either accept or reject the gift of Divine life offered us. While some start up early with the Lord, some do not embrace the call to salvation until the noon or twilight of their life. It is however more beneficial to come to know God early in life, to minimize the risk of making costly mistakes in life that could lead to future heartache and regret (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

The Gospel reading gives a glimpse of the magnanimity of God’s love. He constantly seeks to bring to the fold of His flock all who are yet to accept His Lordship over their lives. This should be an encouragement for us never to lose hope on the salvation of any one no matter how wayward their current way of life seems to be. Saint Monica never gave up on her son Augustine despite the depth of his waywardness. Through years of unrelenting intercession the bright light of conversion eventually shone in his heart. So deep was his conversion that the sinner was transformed into a prominent Saint in the Church.

Dearest in Christ, as we are encouraged never to lose hope on anyone, so are we equally admonished to keep watch over ourselves. No matter how long we have been living out our committment to Christ, of greater importance is the state of our relationship with God at the point our departure from this world, (Ezekiel 18:21-29). Let each of us run the course of faith diligently that the first might not end up being the last (Matt. 20: 16; 1Tim 4:16). God help us. Amen.

PRAYER: Help me Lord, that having come to know you, I may never forsake you but rather serve you till I see you in Heaven. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 294: Is someone a sinner if he experiences strong passions within himself?

No, passions can be very valuable. They are designed to lead to and reinforce good actions; only when they are disordered do the passions contribute to evil.
Passions that are ordered to the good become virtues. They then become the motive force of a life of fighting for love and justice. Passions that overpower a person, rob him of his freedom and entice him to evil, we call vice. 

Hide a treasure: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on the last Day, and not to only me but also to all who have loved his appearing”  1 Tim. 4: 7-8 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: Judges 9: 6-15; Psalm 21: 2-7 Matthew 20: 1-16

IT IS WORTH THE COST

Tuesday 18th August: Tuesday of week 20 of the year

IT IS WORTH THE COST

Matthew 19:23-30

Anyone who consistently makes the “easy alternative” a way of life would possibly never leave a positive imprint in the sand of time. History celebrates success and times have shown us that only few out of the multitude demonstrate the needed sacrifice and courage to pay the demands of excellence. Life is about choices and there is a cost to every decision we make. By our choices, we are either growing in virtues or losing them; and it is the virtues that we exhibit that truly set us out as follower of Christ (Matt. 7:20; Matt. 5:20).

From yesterday’s reflection, we were counselled on the need to give God first place in our hearts; to resist the seductive lure of the worldly attractions that compete with the love of God in our hearts. In today’s gospel reading which is a continuation of yesterday’s, our Blessed Saviour gives consolation to all who have made a total commitment to Him – “…everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life”( Matt. 19:29).

Dearest in Christ, our call as followers of Christ is one that comes with its costs. To truly be Christians, we cannot but embrace the life of self-denial and sacrifice. Discipleship of Christ comes with some choices that ordinarily run contrary to the natural inclination of the fallen man. What are those things that you are tightly holding unto that are preventing you from freely and fully serving the Lord? As the Holy Spirit daily impels us to a deeper union with the Lord, are we embracing His demands or fleeing from them? No cost is too high to make heaven as there is a greater cost to pay for anyone who loses out (Matt. 16:26)!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please help me to daily say yes to your will, to forsake all that displeases you as I am called to a deeper intimacy with you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 618– The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”…He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him],” for Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.

Hide a treasure: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? Matthew 16: 26 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: Judges 6: 11-24; Psalm 84: 9, 11-14; Matthew 19: 23-30