EMBRACE GOD’S MERCY

Tuesday 23rd February – Tuesday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20

EMBRACE GOD’S MERCY

One of the gifts of new life given to us is the gift of reconciliation. God calls us to Himself always out of love to reconcile us with Him. This beautiful and reassuring truth is at the heart of this holy Season as we are called to repentance and is central to the Jubilee year of mercy as we celebrate the mercy of God the Father who doesn’t want any of His children to be lost. It is in this light God tells us in today’s first reading “come now, let us reason together, if your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

God calls you and I to examine our lives: are their elements of hypocrisy in us? Are there certain attitudes, habits or conversations we engage in that do not bring honour to God? He reminds us today of his ever open arms but also of the terrible prospect of judgement on those who fail to repent. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Dear friend, no matter how far you may have strayed, our loving Father is ever ready to welcome you home. Simply call out to Him.

PRAYER: Merciful father, have mercy on me and draw me nearer to you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 367 – To whom does the Fourth Commandment refer, and what does it require of us?

The Fourth Commandment refers in the first place to one’s physical parents, but also to the people to whom we owe our life, our well-being, our security, and our faith.

What we owe in the first place to our parents—namely love, gratitude, and respect—should also govern our relations to people who guide us and are there for us. There are many people who represent for us a God-given, natural, and good authority: foster or step-parents, older relatives and ancestors, educators, teachers, employers, superiors. In the spirit of the Fourth Commandment we should do them justice. In the broadest sense, this commandment applies even to our duties as citizens to the State.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land” Isaiah 1:19 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Psalm 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 &23; Matthew 23: 1-12

PROUD TO BE CATHOLICS!

Monday 22nd February – Feast of Saint Peter’s Chair

Reflection: Matthew 16: 13-19

PROUD TO BE CATHOLICS!

Today’s feast, the Feast of Saint Peter’s Chair is one that should bring us great joy and a sense of pride as Catholics. It reminds us that we are members of the one Church established by Christ Himself and built on the foundation of the Apostles. While you may know several Church founders and see invitations for “Church anniversaries” in your locality; your own Church founder is Christ Himself and her anniversary is celebrated each year too. When? At the Feast of Pentecost!

In today’s reading, Christ promises to build his Church on Peter. The name “Peter” in Greek or “Cephas” in Aramaic means “rock”. While the Apostle’s original name was Simon, Jesus gave him this new name “Peter” on the very first day He saw him (John 1:42), symbolizing his role as the head of the Church. This leadership role is seen in Jesus actions on different occasions and in the early Church (Mark 16:7; John 21:15-17; Acts 2:14-42; Acts 10). This leadership role and the authority to bind and loose (Matthew 16: 18-19) has been passed down through the generations in an unbroken succession to the present pope, Pope Francis.

Dear friends, we are indeed privileged to be Catholics. But how much you and I enjoy this privilege depends on how much we avail ourselves of the opportunity to benefit from the great treasures the Church offers us. Take time to study your Bible, study the Church’s teachings, read good Catholic literature, attend Masses often and partake in the Sacraments wholeheartedly. Deepen your friendship with God and ask Him to make you a better Catholic Christian. You cannot KNOW the Catholic Church and LEAVE the Catholic Church. Know your faith and live your faith, only then can the privilege of being Catholic be truly rewarding.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the privilege to belong to your one holy Church. Please help me to deepen my love for you and my knowledge and faith in your Church so that I may not miss out on the graces you offer me daily. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 141 – What is the Pope’s responsibility?

As successor of St. Peter and head of the college of bishops, the POPE is the source and guarantor of the CHURCH’S unity. He has the supreme pastoral authority and the final authority in doctrinal and disciplinary decisions.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 1Peter 5: 1-4; Psalm 23: 1-6; Matthew 16: 13-19

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL?

Sunday 21st February – 2nd Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Philippians 3: 17-4:1

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL?

Our values and perception of life go a long way in determining the choice of our role model or mentor. Consequently, the choice of our role model to a reasonable length goes on to influence our decisions and actions in life. In our society today where there is so much hype on materialism and consumerism, we youths are at risk of being swept off our feet by the flamboyant lifestyles of some prominent figures constantly being projected at us by the media their value system or manner of life notwithstanding.

From today’s second reading, of noteworthy is the appeal of St. Paul to the faith community in Philippi to consider the way of life of whoever they imitate to see whether it aligns with the precepts of Christ or not. Dearest in Christ, our world is getting more secular by the day with flagrant disregard for the fundamental precepts of the Christian faith in different quarters. The “modern man” assertion of “freedom and liberty” is daily kicking against every notion of absolute truth and relativism is fast becoming the acceptable hymn. In the light of this, it is of paramount necessity that we carefully examine the ideas being projected at us by the media to be sure we are not being subtlety led in the wrong direction.

Beloved in Christ, that the one you consider your role model comes out to endorse a notion or concept that runs contrary to the fundamental ternate of your faith or the voice of your conscience does not make his or her position right. It will serve us well as youths to identify individuals whose believe and way of life agree with the eternal precepts of the word of God, in addition to other desirable attributes we admire in them, as role models.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please guide me in my associations. Surround me with hearts that love and seek to honour You, that the light of their faith may urge me on in the right path. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2284- Scandal is an attribute or behaviour which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbour’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offence if by deed of omission another is deliberately led into a grave offence.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit” Luke 6: 39b  RSV-CE

THE DEMANDS OF THE KINGDOM

Friday 19th February – Friday of the 1st week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 5:20-26

THE DEMANDS OF THE KINGDOM

The Kingdom of God is a delicate matter which every serious Christian should pay keen attention to. This Kingdom demands that we live beyond the standards of this world. For instance, the standard of the world is to “be good to only those who are good to you”. But for a Christian, we are called to something much higher because the scripture enjoins us to “love our enemies, bless those that curse us and do good to them that hate us…” (Matthew 5:44). Often, we find ourselves falling short of this Kingdom standard. Hence, what must we do?

First we must acknowledge our weaknesses before God and implore the help of the Holy Spirit. One of the reasons why God gave us His Holy Spirit is to convict us of righteousness. (John 16:8). Beloved, what this means is that you will no longer try to be righteous by your own strength or human will, rather the Holy Spirit will teach you a new pattern of righteousness that comes from intimacy with Him. Dear friends, hatred and malice are never to be found in the rank of a Christian. Why not turn to the Holy Spirit today, He is ready to help you; He is ready to pour into your heart the love of God that stands above any form of pride, anger, envy or any vice that seeks to drain us of God’s love and mercy.

PRAYER: Precious Holy Spirit, I acknowledge your presence in me and ask you to help me shed off every weakness of character in my life this day. Please grant me the grace to cooperate with you in this purpose. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 112What will it be like when Christ judges us and the whole world?

“Even Christ cannot help someone who does not want to know anything about love; such a person judges himself.

Because Jesus Christ is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), He will show what is of lasting value in God’s sight and what is not. Held up to the standard of His life, the full truth about all people, things, thoughts, and events will come to light.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If thou, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” Psalm 130:3 RSV

Readings for today: Ezekiel 18:21-28; Psalm 130:1-5, 7-8; Matthew 5:20-26