BE FAITHFUL

Monday 23rd November – Monday of week 34 of the year

Reflection: Daniel 1: 1-6, 8-20

BE FAITHFUL

Each phase of life presents itself with its own peculiar challenges. The challenges one encounters as young child are quite different from the challenges encountered as a teenager and those presented as a young adult are different from those encountered as one grows to old age. In the midst of these varying challenges one important call is extended to us a Christians – the call to faithfulness. Irrespective of where we find ourselves, God calls us to be faithful to Him, trusting that He is able to take care of the challenges that assail us.

Daniel and his friends had been taken away from their native land to Babylon on exile. Though far away from their country, their faithfulness to the God of their fathers did not wane. Being in a pagan land presented to them the temptation of eating from the king’s table, food offered to idols. Indeed, all their fellow Jews were eating the king’s portion but Daniel “resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s rich food…” (Dan 1:8). What temptations does your present state of life present to you? Are you being pressured by your peers to “experiment” with sin? Do you find yourself contemplating sexual sin, exam malpractice, dishonesty etc?

Dear friend, just as God had a way out already for Daniel and his friends by granting them favour before the Eunuch in charge of them so also does he have a way out for you if only you truly resolve like them to be faithful to God. Do not let yourself be overwhelmed by the seeming difficulty of living a holy life. It is a constant call for us as Christians and God is ever willing to provide all the grace and help we need. Today, make a decision to be faithful to God come what may and rejoice in the peace that godliness brings.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please strengthen me especially in moments of temptation and decision making. Help me to be faithful to you and to pursue holiness in all things. 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.

HIDE A TREASURE: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Psalm 119:9 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Daniel 1: 1-6, 8-20; Daniel 3: 52-56 (Canticle); Luke21: 1-4

KINGLY PEOPLE

Sunday 22nd November – Solemnity of Christ the Universal King

Reflection: Apocalypse 1: 5-8

KINGLY PEOPLE

“Mine is not a kingdom of this world…” John 18:36

Our knowledge of kingship comes from our day to day encounter with royalty. The king is a highly regarded and feared person to whom all his subjects pay obeisance. His power is absolute and unquestionable and he is often “up there” disconnected from his subjects. It was this perception of kingship that Pilate bore in mind as He asked our Lord during his trial, “Are you the king of the Jews?” little did he know that much more than being the king of the Jews, Christ is the king of the whole world. It is this universal sovereignty that the Church calls us to reflect upon and celebrate today as she concludes her liturgical year.

What makes Christ’s kingship different from the worldly kingship? Frist, when James and John as well as the rest of the apostles seemed to be confused about this, Jesus took time to explain to them that unlike the rulers of this world, his kingship is one of servanthood. His is a priestly kingship that involves the sacrifice of his own life for his subjects (Mk 10: 42-45). In addition, while our worldly rulers hold tightly to their power, Jesus shares His with us. Much more than being His subjects, Christ calls us to be his brothers and share in his reign. “He has made us a line of kings, priests to serve his God and Father” (Rev 1:6).

Dear friends, you and I have the highest privilege – that of belong to the King of Kings. How much obeisance do you pay to him? Does your way of life portray allegiance to Jesus the universal king or to the devil, the enemy of your soul? Do you live by His heavenly standards or by the standards of this world? We have been washed with the precious blood of the Lamb and consecrated to be kings and priests. Let us make a commitment today to die to our own selves – to our selfishness and pride for the sake of our salvation and those of others.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we celebrate your universal Kingship today. Please rule in my heart and affairs always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 520 – What does it mean to say, “Thy kingdom come”?

When we pray, “Thy kingdom come”, we call for Christ to come again, as he promised, and for God’s reign, which has already begun here on earth to prevail definitively”

HIDE A TREASURE: “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Rev 1:5-6 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Dan 7: 13-14; Ps 93: 1-2, 5; Apoc 1: 5-8; Jn 18: 33-37

YOU ARE THE APPLE OF GOD’S EYES

Saturday 21st November – Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reflection: Zechariah 2: 14-17

YOU ARE THE APPLE OF GOD’S EYES

Growing up in the traditional African setting; where beautiful community life is practiced, it is common to have children engage in ‘street fights’. In many of such cases, the mothers of the children are thrown into conflict as they fight tooth and nail in support of their children; even when they are obviously at wrong. Partiality is not a virtue, but any true African mother would understand. For each mother, her child is the apple of her eyes, and she would do anything for this child.

More than an only son is to his African mother; you are the apple of God’s eyes and He has promised you His unending love and protection. Anyone could argue that is unfair that it was God’s will for the sinless Jesus to bear our sins, suffer and die (2 Corinthians 5: 21); but that is what God’s love is: ‘amazing’.

Beloved, see how much God loves you and learn from His mother; Mary to love God in your neighbour as Christ commanded. Today, as we celebrate the Feast of her Presentation, she tells us as always: “Do whatever He tells you.” (Jn 2:5)

PRAYER: Dear God, teach us to love as you love us. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 33 – What does it mean to say that God is love?

If God is love, then there is nothing created that is not carried and surrounded by his infinite benevolence. God not only declares that he is love, he also proves it: “Greater love has no man than, this that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

HIDE A TREASURE: “This is love: not that we loved God but that he first loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if such has been the love of God, we, too, must love one another.” John 4: 10-11 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Zechariah 2: 10-13; Luke 1: 46-55; Matthew 12: 46-50

RE-DEDICATE EACH DAY TO GOD

Friday 20th November – Friday of week 33 of the year

Reflection: 1 Maccabees 4: 36-37, 52-59

RE-DEDICATE EACH DAY TO GOD

After a long yawn and stretch, people usually do their routine ‘wake up ritual’. For some it is a cup of coffee, for some it is some push-ups, for some it is a chapter of the bible and for others it is a few more minutes of sleep. One thing is common to all of them; each person is renewed and energized by these activities, and each person regards these activities necessary for a smooth day; whether they woke up on the wrong or right side of the bed.

In the same way, after the defeat of their enemies the Israelites rose at dawn and proceeded to Mount Zion to purify the temple; which had been profaned by their pagan enemies, and re-consecrate it to God. Do you know that you are the temple of the living God and there is no rooms for idols in it? (2 Corinthians 5: 16)

Dear friend, we can take the cue from Judas and his brothers in today’s first reading. Christ calls you each moment to draw life and strength from His redeeming grace.  All it takes is that we open our hearts in prayers and meditation; and that we strive to live out our Christian call in everything.

PRAYER: Dear God, strengthen and renew me each day to live according to your will. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 224 – Why did Christ give us the sacrament of Penance and the Anointing of the Sick?

Christ’s love is shown in the fact that he seeks the lost and heals the sick. That is why he gave us the sacraments of healing and restoration, in which we are freed from sin and strengthened in our physical and spiritual weakness.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Don’t let yourselves be shaped by the world where you live, but rather be transformed through the renewal of your mind. You must discern the will of God: what is good, what pleases, what is perfect.” Romans 12: 2 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 1 Maccabees 4: 36-37, 52-59; 1 Chronicles 29: 10-11, 12; Luke 19: 45-48

KINGDOM INVESTMENT

WEDNESDAY 18TH NOVEMBER – WEDNESDAY OF WEEK 33 OF THE YEAR

REFLECTION: LUKE 19:11-28

KINGDOM INVESTMENT

Have you ever done business before? How was it? I’m sure your answer would be positive if you made good profit out of it. There is a special gift or talent that God has given you, it could manifest in various ways. It could be in crafts, science, eloquence, planning, writing, helping people, etc. They are so numerous to mention. God has blessed us with so many abilities so that we may be able to advance His kingdom here on earth.

Many at times, we just sit down idle and doing nothing, whereas deep within us is a reservoir of untapped talents and resources. We may wish that we had some mighty ability to do great things in life but even the little one we have we sometime ignore, simply because we are envying those that have made ‘great impacts’ in the world. Beloved, you don’t need to have it all before you begin doing something with what God has given you. Your talents are your natural endowment and it is more precious than any gold or silver, in fact it is a stepping stone to greatness.

So what do you do now? You can take a day off to have a personal retreat, wherein you examine your life. It is in this self-examination aided by the Holy Spirit that we come to a full realization of all the blessings that God has providentially endowed us with. One you have discovered them, then get to work with it. Use it for the good of men and the advancement of the kingdom of God. This is ‘real investment’ in the kingdom of God.

PRAYER: O Father, you have blessed me numerous riches, help me this day to discover them, and give me the grace to put it to work for the good of men your glory. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1890: “There is a certain resemblance between the unity of the divine persons and the fraternity that men ought to establish among themselves.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “He fills my life with good things, so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.” Psalm 103:5 (GNB)

READINGS FOR TODAY: 2Macc.7:1,20-31; Ps.17:5-6,8,15; Lk.19:11-28

WHAT IS YOUR PRIORITY?

Tuesday 17th November – Memorial of St Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

Reflection: Luke 19:1-10

WHAT IS YOUR PRIORITY?

One of the first things we were taught in Secondary school Economics was the importance of having a scale of preference so that our insatiable human needs can be attended to in order of priority. This economic principle applies to every area of our lives. As young people, we desire greatness and hope to attain great popularity in our various endeavours. Such ambition is good in itself yet, there is more to life than just having ambition of what we would like to become in the future. The important question we must ask ourselves is: “what is it that matters most?”

Today’s gospel reading points out to us that the presence of Jesus in our lives matters most. Zacchaeus was a very rich man, but having encountered Jesus he saw another meaning to life. He realised that there was more to live for than becoming a “successful professional”. Jesus gave him the most precious gift of all time which is the salvation of his soul. It is this same salvation that Eleazar, in today’s first reading looked forward to and refused to profane himself even in the face of death (2 Macc 6:18-31).

It is possible for one to be very successful in the eyes of men, but a failure in the sight of God. Zacchaeus’ encounter with our Lord today challenges us to seek for that which will fulfil our ultimate purpose in life – to know, love and serve God and to be with Him forever in the next world. Christ is the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6). When we come to know Christ personally, our everyday work, encounters with others, profession, businesses etc will take on a new perspective. They will all become avenues to please our Lord.

PRAYER: Thank you great Father for the gift of your Son Jesus to me today. May I ever live in the consciousness of His abiding presence all the days of my life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1693: “Christ Jesus always did what was pleasing to the Father, and always lived in perfect communion with him. Likewise Christ’s disciples are invited to live in the sight of the Father ‘who sees in secret’, in order to become perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then, will bring more.” Phil 1:21 GNB

Today’s Readings: 2Macc 6:18-31; Ps 3:2-7; Lk 19:1-10

WHERE DO YOU STAND?

Monday 16th November – Monday of week 33 of the year

Reflection: 1 Maccabees 1: 10-15, 41-43, 54-47, 62-64

WHERE DO YOU STAND?

“Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles round about us, for since we separated from them many evils have come upon us” (1 Macc 1:11)

An attentive listening to today’s first reading will necessarily stir our hearts to wonder at the behavior of the Jews. They were God’s own people. They and their fathers had seen God’s mighty power at work in their midst over the centuries. Yet, many allowed themselves to be misled, attracted to the practices of the gentile nations around them and abandoning the true God and the covenant they had with Him. How could they ever do this? Even in the midst of difficulties, was there anything better than having God close to them?

Yet this same question is what each of us is faced with in our day-to-day lives. The Jews are not alone. We who have been chosen by God and covenanted to Him through the waters of baptism, we the new Israel often act just like the Israelites did. In the midst of an increasingly secular age, do we stand with God, obedient to His word and determined on pleasing him or do we submit ourselves to the standards of this world, seeking the easiest way out?

Beloved, just like the blind man in today’s gospel reading, let us cry out with all our strength to the Lord so that He may rescue us from spiritual blindness, so that He may open our eyes to recognize the privilege we have of being his children and we may not allow the lure of the world to draw us away from Him.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the privilege of being called by your name. Please help me to be faithful to my call especially when in the face of temptation. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 203: What is Confirmation?

Confirmation is the sacrament that compeletes baptism; it 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 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: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 1 Macc 1: 10-15, 41-43, 54-47, 62-64; Psalm 119: 53, 61, 134, 150-158; Luke 18: 35-43