GO, YOU ARE SENT!

Monday 30th November – Feast of St Andrew, Apostle

Reflection: Romans 10: 9-18

GO, YOU ARE SENT!

When we encounter the word “preacher”, we almost instinctively turn around to our priests and pastors and point a finger at them – yes, that is the preacher! They are the ones St Paul refers to when he says in today’s first reading, “…they will not hear of him unless they get a preacher, and they will never have a preacher unless one is sent.” To a large extent, our instinct is correct because our priests are called in a special way to be shepherds and teachers of God’s people. Yet, that is a grossly incomplete picture of who a preacher is.

We gather together at Mass each day or each Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist and our pastor is ever there at his duty post to preach the word of God to us. We listen, offer our gifts and petitions and receive the Eucharist after which we dismissed with a mission to go into the world and sanctify it with the grace we have received from the Mass. Like Cleopas and his companion who did not remain in Jerusalem after their encounter of the risen Christ, we too are sent forth to go tell our brethren: “we have seen the Lord!”

Dear friend, you cannot truly encounter our Lord and keep it to yourself. Jesus calls you just as he called Andrew whom we celebrate today to be a “fisher of men.” He calls you to show the love, patience and mercy of God to those who surround you in your everyday life – at home, school, work, on the streets, at the pitch…everywhere. He calls you to preach the gospel in places where your priest is unlikely to get to through the witness of your life as well as through your words. Let us heed this call with joy. Let us take up the mission each day so that everyone we encounter will have the privilege of hearing the good news and believe in it unto salvation.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please help me to heed your call to be a missionary in my everyday life. Let my commitment to you be manifest in my way of living and bring others to encounter you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1304 – Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul and indelible spiritual mark, the “character,” which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Romans 10: 9-18; Psalm 19: 2-5; Mt 4: 18-22

WAITIING IN HOPE

 Sunday 29th November – Sunday of week 1 of Advent

Reflection: Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36

WAITIING IN HOPE

When would Christ come to dry our tears? Where is God when we need Him most? Why does evil come to good people? These and many more questions flood our minds when we come in touch with the cold hands of suffering. The guilty man walks free, while the innocent man wastes in jail. The brightest child in class drops out of school as her parents cannot afford even the cheapest fees. The beloved husband of a pregnant woman dies barely a year after marriage. In the world there are many troubles, but our peace is our hope of victory in Christ Jesus. (John 13:33).

As the night is darkest just before dawn, Christ has promised that just when you feel the world is shaking; He will come to deliver you. Christ asks you to stand strong in faith, prayer and holiness as you keep watch through the long nights and the storms because our deliverance is nearer now than ever.

As we begin a new year in the Church’s calendar with this season of Advent, a season of hopeful waiting on the Lord, let us commit ourselves to Him more deeply. Let us take stock of the past year and renew our commitment to be faithful to Him and trust that his promises to us will be fulfilled. May we truly prepare our hearts for our Lord’s coming through this holy season. Amen.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, sustain me in the hope of your return and help me to watch and pray at all times. 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 fulfilment in God; and for our final home: in God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the world that was has passed away. The One seated on the throne said: See, I make all things new, and then he said to me; Write these words because they are sure and true.” Revelation 21: 4-5 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 33: 14-16; Psalm 25: 4-5, 8-10, 14; 1 Thessalonians 3: 12- 4: 2; Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36

WATCH YOURSELF!

Saturday 28th November – Saturday of week 34 of the year

Reflection: Luke 21:34-36

WATCH YOURSELF!

The admonishment to “watch” is one that comes up at several points during Jesus’ earthly ministry. In discussing the end of time, He admonished His hearers to “watch”. In Gethsemane, at the moment of his agony, He again told them to “watch”. Why does Jesus give this instruction at such critical moments? Through our baptism, we have been cleansed of original sin – the absence of divine grace in us which we inherited from our first parents. We have become children of God and have the grace of God imputed into us. Yet, we still have to make choice between good and evil. Our flesh seeks to satisfy itself always and hence the need for us as Christians to watch ourselves, to always be on the alert.

We live in a fallen world; one that is full of sin and evil. Yet if we cooperate with God’s grace, we will be able to swim against the tide that leads to destruction. Let us remember that this world is not our home; we are on a journey to eternity (Philippians 3:20). Let us hold on to Jesus admonishment today: “Watch yourselves, do not let your heart be weighed down with a life of pleasure, drunkenness and worldly cares…” (Luke 21:34).

Each time Jesus asks us to “watch”, He follows closely with the admonishment to pray (Luke 21:34-36; Matthew 26:41). Keeping guard over ourselves goes hand in hand with unceasing prayer. Beloved, let us pray for the strength to resist temptation and watch ourselves so that we may be able to cooperate with God’s grace as the moments of testing and decision making come in our daily life and activities.

PRAYER: Oh Lord, I submit myself to you; please help me to be sensitive to the working of your Holy Spirit. Grant me the grace to watch and pray always that I may not be led into temptation. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 525 – 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 defenceless in the power of temptation.

Jesus, who was tempted himself, knows that we are weak human beings, who have little strength of our own with which to oppose the evil one. He graciously gives us the petition from the Our Father, which teaches us to trust in God’s assistance in the hour of trial.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Stay awake and pray, so that you may not slip into temptation. The spirit indeed is eager, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 CCB

Today’s Readings: Dan 7: 15-27; Dan 3: 82-87 (canticle) Lk 21: 34-36

WORDS WE CAN TRUST

Friday 27th November – Friday of week 34 of the year

Reflection: Luke 21: 34-36

WORDS WE CAN TRUST

Over the last few days, Jesus has been explaining to his disciples about the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem, the city which had refused to recognise the day of its visitation. The destruction of Jerusalem which historically prefigured the end of the world was to put an end to the Old Covenant and establish Christ’s new and everlasting covenant. Hence, Christ told his disciples that in the midst of the unprecedented sufferings they were to “look up and raise their heads because their redemption is drawing near.” (Lk 21:28).

As Jesus, continues this discourse in today’s gospel reading, he leaves us words of reassurance; words we can hold on to tightly as we run our Christian race; words from which we can find strength and succour amidst life’s difficulties: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Lk 21:33). What better assurance can we get as we read through Scriptures?

God has many promises reserved for His children. He promises to hear us each time we call on him and to protect us in the day of trouble. He assures us that He has good plans for our lives and asks us to trust him completely. Jesus assures us of eternal life as we partake in the Eucharist – His very Body and Blood. Realising the impact of God’s word in our salvation, we would be immensely grateful for Jesus words: “…my words will not pass away.” Let us hold tightly to God’s words because they are words we can trust; words we can hang our lives on.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the wonderful promises you have for me. Please help me to trust completely in your words always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 16 – What is the right way to read the Bible?

The right way to read Sacred Scripture is to read it prayerfully, in other words, with the help of the Holy Spirit, under whose influence it came into being. It is God’s word and contains God’s essential communication to us.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Lk 21:33 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Dan 7: 2-14; Dan 3: 75-81 (canticle); Lk 21: 29-33