RETURN TO YOUR FATHER

Saturday 27th February – Saturday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32

RETURN TO YOUR FATHER

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the two sacraments of healing in the Church; it obtains pardon from God for the offense committed against Him and by the Priest’s sacramental absolution, God grants the penitent “pardon and peace”. In approaching the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the first step is Interior Penance; recognition of guilt with repugnance towards the evil actions we have committed. Next is a contrite heart; sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again. Then comes the confession of sins to the priest after a diligent self-examination. Lastly, the Satisfaction; is fulfilling the penance given by the priest in order to make amends for the sin.

The Prodigal Son’s process of conversion stems from a recognition of his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, his reflection on all he had lost, a sorrowful heart for what he had done, his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father; the journey home. Up to this point he had lived “outside “of himself; now in the language of the Gospel he “enters into himself”, that is, he begins to look inwards and see his true nature.

When he starts back, he finds that the father is out on the roadway ready to welcome him back. Forgiveness meets us more than halfway. The father’s generous welcome; the father’s joy – all these are characteristic of the process of conversion. The Beautiful robe, the ring and the festive banquet are symbols of that new life – pure, worthy and joyful – of anyone who returns to God and to the bosom of His Family, which is the Church.

Dear Friends, let us take time to reflect and identify areas of our life where we have strayed from God, let us be sorrowful for them and pray for the grace to fully complete our conversion process. Remember, no matter how bad your past might have been, you can always begin anew with God. Today God calls us to conversion; He calls us to journey home.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to remember always that my sins are not greater than your mercy. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1470 – Effects of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the merciful judgment of God, anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life. For it is now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Jesus spoke up “healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I have come to call to repentance; I call sinners, not the righteous” Luke 5:31-32 CCB

Today’s Readings: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20, Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

TREASURE WHAT YOU HAVE

Friday 26th February – Friday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 21: 33-46

TREASURE WHAT YOU HAVE

In this parable, the vineyard is the kingdom of God; the Jews, God’s chosen people are the tenants. God entrusted His kingdom to them. He guided them throughout the long span of history that they would be an example to others. They were to communicate their experience to others so that all would develop justice, and a spirit of responsibility. These were the fruits God wanted to harvest. God sent his prophets to remind them of their debts; but they ignored them. Finally, the only Son of God appeared as man but they cast Him out and killed Him. Consequently, the Kingdom was taken from them and given to others, those believers converted from other nations. Thus, through their disobedience the mercy of God came to the pagan nations (Romans 11:11-33).

We too as Christians have been entrusted with time, talents and treasures by God; He has given us the grace to dress the vineyard of our life with all He has blessed us with. He has given us all these to use for the betterment of our own lives and to help others. God has given us strength, vitality and ideas as youths to better our life, our environment and the world at large. Dear Friends, today God is reminding us of this duty, He is calling us bear fruits. He is calling us to recognize the resources He has entrusted to us and to value them. Can you recognize the talents God has given you? Can you recognize the grace God has given you to serve him in various capacities? How faithful are you with those God has placed under your care?

Remember, what we have is a gift from God, what we do with them is our own gift to God. What kind of gift are you offering back to God?

PRAYER: Lord, help me to recognize my treasures and to use them for your glory. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 203 – What is Confirmation?

Confirmation is the Sacrament that completes Baptism; in 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 the 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: “Any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire” Matthew 7:19 CCB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 37:3-4, 12-28, Psalm 105:16-21; Matthew 21: 33- 46

BLESSING OR CONDEMNATION

Thursday 25th February – Thursday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Reflection: Jeremiah 17:5-10

BLESSING OR CONDEMNATION

Blessings and curses can be traced back to the first family – Adam and Eve. When God created them, He blessed them, asking them to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:27-28) but because of their disobedience they were cursed (Gen 3:16-19). Since then, man has the freedom to choose either to be blessed by living in obedience to God or to be cursed by living in sin.

Beloved, the presence of God amongst man brings a blessing. This is seen repeatedly in the life of ancient Israel; the presence of God signified by the Ark of the Covenant always brought victory to them. Today, what do you choose: a blessing or a curse? In today’s reading, God proclaims a blessing on the man who put his trust in Him rather than relying on his fellow man. As young people, there is an increasing tendency to rely on other humans because many privileges such as: getting admission into universities, good job opportunities, good contracts etc are reserved for those with influence. Yet in the midst of seeking the help of men, let us remember that our real source of help whom we can rely on is God Himself. He can work through people around us but He remains the only one we can truly trust.

God has mapped out your life in a way no human can comprehend. When you trust God, He defends you with His glory and establishes you in the land. He gives you an understanding of your purpose and calling and His blessings are indeed much more than material gain; they have are eternal. Today, go out seeking for God’s blessing by placing all your trust and hope in Him.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I place my trust in You. Please rain down your blessing on my life and make me planted in you that I may bear fruit always to the glory of your name. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 484 What is a prayer of blessing?

A prayer of blessing is a prayer that calls down God’s blessing upon us. From God alone all blessings flow. His goodness, his closeness, his mercy—that is blessing. “May the Lord bless you” is the shortest prayer of blessing.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The blessing of the Lord brings riches, and no effort can replace it”. Proverbs 10:22 CCB

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 1:1-6; Luke 16:19-31

TRUE GREATNESS

Wednesday 24th February – Wednesday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 20: 17 – 28

TRUE GREATNESS

What names come to mind when you think of great people? Our young minds would think of stars in the fields of music, sports, movie industry or very rich individuals in the world. But is that really what it means to be great? Consider this list: Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King (Jnr), Bishop Oscar Romero, St Francis of Assissi, St Maria Goretti, Nelson Mandela, William Wilberforce, Pope St John Paul II the great.  Do they make the list of great souls in your mind?

One thing is common to these people – they lived for others. They became famous not because they desired it; their fame was a result of their desire to live for others. They were servants, giving their lives for the sake of the health, freedom, peace and spiritual growth of others and as they did this, the world took note. Did they face trials? Sure! They faced opposition, rejection, imprisonment, near assassination, and eventual assassination for some; yet they attained greatness through servant hood.

Beloved, do you desire greatness? Why not seek for true greatness which not only man but God himself approves? Christ tells us today: “Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first…must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mt 20: 26-28). Today, look around you for opportunities to serve others and bring the love of Christ to them and you will be mapping out your way to true greatness.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have given me an example of humility and true greatness. Please help me to follow you in sincerity and seek to serve those around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 375 – How is authority exercised correctly?

Authority is exercised properly when it is understood according to Jesus’ example as service. It must never be arbitrary. Jesus showed us once and for all how authority should be exercised. He, the greatest authority, served others and took the last place. Jesus even washed the feet of his disciples (Jn 13:1-20).

HIDE A TREASURE: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant” Matthew 20: 26 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 18: 18-20; Psalm 31: 5-6, 14-16; Matthew 20: 17-28