PUT TO DEATH THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH

Friday, 25th September- Friday of week 25 of the year

PUT TO DEATH THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH

Haggai 1:15 – 2:9

“A little while now, and I will fill this temple with glory.” The Israelites were held captives in Babylon because they abandoned their God. The postexilic period represents a time when they tried to rebuild their union with God. One of it is rebuilding the Temple. The Temple stands as the place of union of God and man. In our days we consider the Church and more so our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:19). For God to fill ‘Our Body’ with His glory, then our body must necessarily be devoid of all forms of human glory and vices. To devoid ourselves of all human glory means we must proceed by way of renunciation and self-mortification and put to death in us all desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).

“I am with you – it is the Lord of hosts who speaks – and my spirit remains among you. Do not be afraid! For the Lord of hosts says this: A little while now, and I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations and the treasures of all the nations shall flow in, and I will fill this Temple with glory, says the Lord of hosts. Mine is the silver, mine the gold!”

In our academics, do we engage in malpractice to get a better result or do we trust fully in God while putting our best in preparation? Do we tell lies to gain favor or get what we want especially from our parents or do we tell the truth always irrespective of the outcome? Do we patiently wait on God and ask for guidance or do we go about doing things and planning our life our own way? Do we intentionally deceive others in our words and actions to gain something from them? Are we faithful with what is kept in our custody especially money or do we misappropriate them to help ourselves?

Dear friends, let’s examine our lives and see where we are seeking our own human glory rather than that of the divine. Let us surrender them back to God and pray for His glory to fill us.

Prayer: Lord help me by your grace to put to death in me all desires of the flesh and help me live by your Spirit. Amen

Know Your Faith: YOUCAT 526- What does it mean to say, “lead us not into temptation”?

Because every day and every hour we are in danger of falling into sin and saying No to God, we beg God not to leave us defenseless in the power of temptation. Jesus, who was tempted himself, knows that we are weak human beings, who have little strenght of our own with which to oppose the evil one. He graciously gives us the petition from Our father, which teaches us to trust in God’s assistance in the hour of trial.

Hide a Treasure: – Therefore I say to you: walk according to the spirit and do not give way to the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 CCB

Today’s Readings: Haggai 1:15–2:9; Psalm 42:1-4; Luke 9:18-22

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A MERCIFUL BUT JUST GOD

Wednesday 23rd September – Wednesday of week 25 of the year

A MERCIFUL BUT JUST GOD

Tobit 13: 2, 4, 6-8 (Canticle)

Life is full of choices. We can either choose to live according to the commandments of God or at variance with them. Either way attracts its own consequences. While sin leads to captivity and death (Romans 6: 23; Ezekiel 18:4), obedience to God leads to freedom and eternal life (Jeremiah 38: 20b; John 17:3). Every moment of our lives offers us an opportunity to say “yes” to the will of God and “no” to the subtle suggestions of the evil one; to renounce ourselves and embrace the way of Christ. We are daily encouraged to grow in virtues and intimacy with Christ.

However, this is not always the case with us. We sometimes deliberately go against the will of God to satisfy our selfish desires. We wave aside our shortcomings on the basis that God is merciful and “understanding.” Yes, He is truly merciful (Exodus 34: 6) and knows our imperfection (Genesis 6: 5-7); yet, we cannot continue to deliberately sin and take His mercy for granted. In today’s first reading, Ezra made us realize that the punishment of the Israelites was as a result of their persistent neglect of the Lord’s commandments.

Dearest in the Lord, we are called this day to examine areas of our lives where we deliberately sin against God. Are we indulging in pornography, fornication, abortion, examination malpractices, fraud, drunkenness etc.? As youth of this age, numerous are the temptations and vices raging around us; but as Christians, we must be people set apart for the Lord, shinning as light in the darkness around.

Great are the plans of God for us (Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Corinthian 2:9), we however can lose out on His best for us through some costly mistakes in life. Some mistakes are better prevented then amended. Sin has both temporal and eternal consequences (CCC 1472- 1473). Even after we might have been forgiven, it takes the grace of God to live with the consequences of some past misdeeds. The experience of King David with Bathsheba is an example for us to learn from (2 Samuel 11-12).

PRAYER: Thank you for your abundant mercy Lord; please strengthen me to honour you in every season of my live. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 234 – When is a Catholic obliged to confess his serious sins? How often should one go to confession?

Upon reaching the age of reason, a Catholic is obliged to confess his serious sins. The Church urgently advises the faithful to do this at least once a year. At any rate one must go to confession before receiving Holy Communion if one has committed a serious sin. By “the age of reason”, the Church means the age at which one has arrived at the use of reason and has learned to distinguish between good and bad.

HIDE A TREASURE: Happy are those whose lives are faultless, who live according to the law of the lord.” Ps 119:1 GNB

Today’s readings: Ezra 9:5-9; Tobit 13: 2, 4, 6-8; Luke 9: 1-6

BEYOND FAMILY TIES

Tuesday 22nd September – Tuesday of week 25 of the year

Luke 8: 19-21

BEYOND FAMILY TIES

Today’s gospel reading has something to teach us on proper conduct in our relationships. Have you ever being tempted to violate your conscience in a bid to satisfy the desires of your relatives? I certainly believe you would have at one point or the other find yourself in such a tight situation. In today’s gospel reading, our Divine master teaches us the right way to handle such – our commitment to please the Lord must always rank above any other tie. Inability to rightly handle this is a major cause of nepotism even among Christians.

By virtue of our baptism, we have been adopted as sons and daughters of God ((Colossians 1:16, 2:12; Galatians 4:4-6) and are members of one family with our Lord Jesus Christ. However, beyond our baptismal entry into the family of God, Christ is telling you and I that what truly gives legitimacy to our relatedness to Him is our openness to hear and obey His word (John 10:27). No matter how long we have been baptised or how regularly we frequent the sacraments, if these do not translate into godly living we cannot say we belong to Him.

Some readily sight today’s gospel in their bid to downplay the role of Mother Mary in the life of the Church. However, the fundamental question to ask ourselves is “how well did Mary cooperate with the will of God in her life?” By her fiat she completely acceded to the will of God to become the mother of God (Luke 1:26-38) even though it was beyond her understanding. She accepted God’s will at the risk of rejection and public ridicule. She shared in her son’s sorrow and stood by him till His crucifixion at Golgotha. Mary’s motherhood of the Church (Luke 19: 26-27; Luke 1:48) was not merely earned by her giving birth to Christ, much more than that, she was a woman of deep faith who freely and fully committed herself to doing the will of God.

PRAYER: Please teach me Lord to hold you foremost in my heart. Guide me on how best to handle the relationships you have blessed me with in a manner that brings honour to you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 148 – Can Mary really help us?

Yes. Since the beginning of the Church, experience has taught that Mary helps. Millions of Christians testify to it. Being the Mother of Jesus, Mary is also our Mother. Good mothers always stand up for their children. Certainly this Mother does. While still on earth she interceded with Jesus for others; for example, she protected a bride and groom in Cana from embarrassment. In the Upper Room on Pentecost she prayed in the midst of the disciples. Because her love for us never ceases, we can be sure that she will plead for us in the two most important moments of our life: “now and at the hour of our death”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Am I seeking the favour of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 RSV-CE

Today’s reading: Ezra 6: 7-8.12.14-20; Psalm 122: 1-5; Luke 8: 19-21

SHARING JESUS’ INTEREST

Monday 21st September – Feast of St Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist

Reflection: Matthew 9: 9-13

SHARING JESUS’ INTEREST

“The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” ( 2 Peter 3: 8-9).

It is the loving desire of the Almighty God that none of us should perish. Though He abhors sin, He nevertheless constantly seeks the conversion of sinners. However, this is not done at the expense of our free will: “He who created you without your cooperation will not save you without your cooperation” – St. Augustine.

Dearest in Christ, the salvation of all is very paramount to our Lord. Today’s gospel reading calls us to examine our response to the conversion of unbelievers around us. Are we like the Pharisees who were so wrapped up in religious pomposity and self-righteousness that they would not attend to the needy souls around them but would rather seek discourage those who seek out these souls?  “Be separated from them” (2 Corinthians 6: 14-17) is what some erroneously quote to justify their uncharitable disposition to folks outside the fold. This is an ungodly disposition that does not in any way portray the way of Christ. Our separation should rather be to holiness and righteousness; love and truthfulness. It must never breed pride, hatred or prejudice in us. By the totality of our way of life, we are called to live by godly virtues.

Beloved in Christ, irrespective of your mission or apostolate within the church, let us heed the counsel of St. Paul in today’s first reading (Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13) to be better Christians. Though, none of us is perfect, we nevertheless must daily strive to evangelize both within and outside the church. The more we labour for the salvation of others, the better we ourselves are united to Christ.

PRAYER: Father, I give you my soul; please keep it for I cannot keep it outside of you. I give you my heart, please enflame it that it may burn for the conversion of souls for you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 588- … Against those among them “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others,” Jesus affirmed: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.

HIDE A TREASURE: “ And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like stars for ever and ever ( Daniel 12: 3 RSV-CE)

Today’s readings: Ephesians 4: 1-7, 11-13; Psalm 19:2-5; Matthew 9: 9-13