WHY WE FAILED

Saturday 23rd January – Saturday of week 2 of the year
Reflection: 2 Samuel 1: 1-4, 11-12, 17, 19, 23-27
WHY WE FAILED
Why do certain people; who had enjoyed fame and wealth in their prime, end abruptly and unhappy? Why do extravagant weddings, too often, end in devastating divorce? Why do the science prodigies; born into wealth homes, end in rehab for drug addiction? Why do people suddenly fail? Saul; the most handsome man in the whole of Israel at that time, was most fit by any human standard to rule as king. After he was anointed as king of Israel, he succeeded in many battles and had his kingdom secured; until his story changed.
In his impatience at Gilgal; he would not wait seven days for Samuel’s return as instructed (1 Samuel 13: 8-11). In his ill-charity, he starved six hundred of his men in mad pursuit of revenge and swore to execute his son, Jonathan, who bravely invaded the enemy camp trusting God (1 Samuel 14: 24, 29-32). His jealousy of David’s victory led him to murder Ahimelech, the priest, and his family over allegations of consulting God on David’s behalf (1 Samuel 22: 17). For his disobedience to God’s commands and obstinacy, he was rejected as king of Israel (1 Samuel 15: 17-19, 26). With his hands; he destroyed his kingdom, and with his spear; he killed himself. Truly, God exalts the lowly and brings down the proud.
Friend, when constant success becomes abrupt failure, remember, God is the giver of every Gift. It is only in our union with God that we can be sure of fulfillment and peace; even in cloudy days. Turn back to God today, and find true success in Him.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, as I work today keep me connected to you. Amen.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 125What is unique about the People of God?
In the midst of all the peoples on earth, there is one people that is like no other. It is subject to no one but God alone. It is supposed to be like salt, which adds flavor; like yeast, which permeates everything; like light, which drives away the darkness. Anyone who belongs to the People of God must count on coming into conflict with people who deny God’s existence and disregard his commandments. In the freedom of the children of God, however, we have nothing to fear, not even death.
HIDE A TREASURE: “You give it to them, and they gather it up; you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face; they vanish, you take away their breath; they expire and return to dust. When you send forth your spirit; they are created, and the face of the earth is renewed”. Psalm 104: 28-30 RSV-CE
Today’s Readings: 2 Samuel 1: 1-4, 11-12, 17. 19. 23-27; Psalm 79; Mark 3: 20-21.

WHY WE SHOULD NEVER FIGHT BACK

Friday 22nd January – Friday of week 2 of the year
Reflection: 1 Samuel 24: 11-13        

 WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER FIGHT BACK
From the cynical bullying of ‘the nerds’ in classrooms, to fanatic terrorist killings with religious colors, the unwarranted discrimination of Catholics even by ‘fellow Christians’; we are knocked down daily by punches even from our loved ones. Should we build up hatred and throw back punches in defense? Should we jump at any opportunity to revenge? Should we become silent, so that peace would reign? Certainly not; we would not be ‘Christians’, if we did.
Our dear St. John Paul was crossing St. Peter’s Square on the 13th May, 1981, when a man fired four shots at him with a 9-millimeter pistol. Despite severe blood loss, the pontiff survived, and asked for all Catholics to pray for his would-have-been assassin, whom he had ‘sincerely forgiven’. St. John Paul visited his would-be assassin in 1983 as a friend and stayed in touch his family, and in 2000 requested that he be pardoned.
As Christ-like people; it is our nature to do good everywhere and to everyone, yet we cannot always expect the same from everyone else. In sparing Saul’s life; who with three thousand men sought tom kill him, David teaches us to depend totally on God for defense. In the face of death, David found an opportunity to show God to Saul by kindness, even when he had the chance to fight back. He saw God’s wonderful image in Saul; anointed as king, and would never harm him.
St. Augustine beautifully wrote: ‘Unwaveringly, the Church marches forward on her pilgrim way between the world’s persecutions and God’s consolations’. Friend, in every persecution; find an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus in words and action. Being born again in God’s image of love; we should show this love especially when it is difficult, not returned and unappreciated. Today, tell someone you would rather not: ‘God loves you and I love you too’. This is what it is to be Christian.
PRAYER: Lord, make me an instrument of peace; when injured let me pardon. Amen.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 396 – How does a Christian deal with anger?
Anger is initially a natural emotion, a reaction to perceived injustice. If anger becomes hatred, however, and someone has ill-will toward his neighbor, this normal feeling becomes a serious offense against charity. All uncontrolled anger, especially thoughts of revenge, are detrimental to peace and destroy “the tranquility of order”.
HIDE A TREASURE: “My grace is enough for you; my great strength is revealed in weakness. Gladly, then, will I boast of my weakness that the strength of Christ may be mine. So I rejoice when I suffer infirmities, humiliations, want, persecutions: all for Christ! For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: 1 Samuel 24: 3-21; Psalm 56; Mark 3: 13-19.

BEWARE OF JEALOUSY

Thursday 21st January – Memorial of St Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Reflection: 1 Samuel 18: 6-9, 19: 1-7

BEWARE OF JEALOUSY

Dear friends, as we continue our reading about David, we are confronted with a surprising reaction to the victory God won through him for Israel. At the time David killed Goliath, Saul was king over Israel. One would expect that as king, Saul would be the happiest person in the nation since God had miraculously led them to defeat the Philistines who had been making war with them for a while.

Unfortunately, although Saul was initially happy with this victory but his happiness turned sour when he heard the women sing; “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” From that point on, Saul grew jealous of David and though he knew God’s hand was upon David, he sought to kill him by all means. Dear friends, before we are quick to condemn King Saul, let us look into our own lives. Are there ways we have allowed the evil spirit of jealousy to envelope us and control our behavior and actions towards others?

As young people, we desire all the good things of life. We desire beauty, fame, the best clothes and accessories, the latest electronic gadgets etc. In as much as we desire these good things, we must not allow ourselves to become envious of our friends or colleagues who have them when we do not. Envy is a capital sin which opens the door to more grievous sins and shuts a person up from God’s blessings. A tiny wave of jealousy rising in the heart of a man can eventually lead to slander, murder, theft etc. Friends, rejoice with others in successes and achievements and God will open the door of blessings unto you.

PRAYER: Lord, I ask for your forgiveness for the times I have been jealous of other people’s blessings, talents and successes. Please remove every seed of jealousy in my heart and fill me with the love that comes from you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 318 What are vices?

Vices are negative habits that deaden and dull the conscience, incline a person to evil, and habitually prepare him for sin. Human vices are found in connection with the capital sins of pride, avarice, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth (or acedia, spiritual boredom).

 

HIDE A TREASURE: “So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander” 1 Peter 2:1 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 1Samuel 18: 6-9, 19: 1-7; Psalm 56: 2-3, 9-14; Mark 3: 7-12

BECOMING A BETTER YOU

Monday 20th January – Memorial of Blessed Cyprian Tansi

Reflection: Philippians 2: 1-11

BECOMING A BETTER YOU

Of what value is a man’s life when it seeks no progression in goodness? You and I cannot remain the same persons of yesteryears. If our human bodies respond to progression in years; and the count of years situate us in varying situations, environments and relationships, the fullness of our human persons cannot but respond to these dynamics. Depending on the choice(s) we make, we are either progressing in goodness (ie perfection) or regressing in it. Time will never permit us to remain static.

If we have the benefit of communual life, differ from each other in our talents and abilities and have been enriched with different experiences; should we not seek profit from these? The first reading of today (Philippians 2:1-11) answers in the affirmative. There is something good to learn from EVERY ONE we come across in life. No one is so “bad” without some degree of goodness in him and even in an obvious display of folly, a humble, loving and retrospective mind will still find something to learn. But we fail in this often due to our subtle pride and hypocrisy.

We make ourselves standards by which we judge others just because we fare better than them in some respect. This is why the secret pornography lover publicly condemns a fornicator. Much as no vice should be encouraged or glorified, we must guard against a “holier than thou” attitude in our approach to helping one another (Luke 18: 9-14; Matthew 7:1). Humility helps us see our own weak spots and appreciate the good in others.

The available resources and opportunities seem inadequate to meet our needs and desires. Hence, as we look out for legitimate means of meeting our needs, we are cautioned against unhealthy rivalry with our neighbours. Our Christian hearts must be large enough to accommodate the interests of others. Let us be assured that our loving Father will take care of our interests beyond our widest imagination as we seek the good of others.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I rededicate my life to you. Please help me be the best you have created me to be. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 34 – What should you do once you have come to know God?

Once you have come to know God, you must put him in the first place in your life. And with that a new life begins. You should be able to recognize Christians by the fact that they love even their enemies.

 

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do all things without  grumbling or questioning that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and pervesrse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world” Philippians 2:14-15 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Philippians 2: 1-11; Isaiah 12: 2-6 (Canticle); Matthew 13: 44-46