DECORATING THE INSIDE

Sunday 20th December – 4th Sunday of Advent

Reflection: Hebrews 10: 5-10

DECORATING THE INSIDE

 “And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ” Heb 10:10

Christmas is very much in the air. The streets are decorated, Christmas songs are being played and we all are preparing in various ways for the celebration of the Lord’s birth. Travel preparations and shopping for clothes and food items are in top gear and everyone is looking forward to the celebrations that end each year. It is great to look forward to Christmas with all the external preparations yet, we all run the risk of focussing so much on them that we lose the internal preparation that the Church has been calling us to through the past three weeks.

As we begin the 4th week of Advent, take a moment to ask yourself if you are truly ready to receive the precious gift of our Lord at Christmas. How ready is your heart for our Saviour? Have you cleaned up your life and decorated it just as you may have done your house of office? The writer to the Hebrews reminds us today that God’s will is for us to be made holy through Christ’s self-offering.

Beloved, as we head on to celebrating our Lord’s best, prepare your heart for Him this week. Make efforts to mend broken relationships, seek reconciliation from your neighbours and offer forgiveness to those who have hurt you, attend confession and make your heart right with God. Let this year’s celebration truly make you holy, thus fulfilling the purpose of our Saviour’s birth.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please help me to truly be holy as I celebrate your birth this week. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAAT 6 – Why did God become man in Jesus?

“For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven” (Nicene Creed). In Jesus Christ, God reconciled the world to himself and redeemed mankind from the imprisonment of sin.

HIDE A TREASURE: “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” Hebrews 10:10 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Micah 5:1-4; Psalm 80: 2-3, 15-19; Hebrews 10: 5-10; Luke 1: 39-44

GAUDETE!

Sunday 13th December – 3rd Sunday of Advent

Reflection: Luke 3:10-18

GAUDETE!

As we get half-way through Advent we are greeted at Mass today with “Rejoice!” The Entrance Antiphon captures the message in a beautiful way: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.” The “Gaudete” Sunday calls you and me, amidst the penitential nature of Advent, to embrace our hope and expectation with joy. What better reason do we have to be joyous than the reassurance that our Lord and Saviour is near?

When we encounter difficulties in our day to day lives – at home, at work, in our communities, in our nation, we can easily become so overburdened that we do not see any reason for joy. Yet God tells us to look beyond all these and see how much we are loved by the very God that holds the universe in existence. St Paul calls us in the second reading to hand over our worries and concerns to God in prayer so we may experience His peace, one that is much greater than we can understand and one that keeps our hearts in perspective.

The question of John’s hearers should become our own too: “what must we do?” We must rid ourselves of the division and strife caused by sin and human selfishness. Remember that the call to rejoice is for the entire human race. Is there any way your words and actions may be preventing your neighbour from experiencing the joy that God fills our heart with? John the Baptist called the people to reconciliation and a life of love and sharing. Advent gives you an opportunity for reconciliation as we wait in hope to celebrate our Saviour’s birth. Let us grasp this opportunity and experience the rivers of overflowing joy in us and around us.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please fill me with your joy today and help me share that joy with all who surround me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 311-What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit?

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.

 

HIDE A TREASURE: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” Philippians 4:4 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Zephaniah 3:14-18; Isaiah 12 (canticle); Phil 4:4-7; Luke 3: 10-18

DELIGHTING IN GOD’S LAW

Friday 11th December – Friday of the 2nd week of Advent

Reflection: Psalm 1: 1-6

DELIGHTING IN GOD’S LAW

The book of Psalms begins with a promise of blessedness for the man who delights in the law of God and meditates on it day and night. To “delight” in something means “to have great pleasure” in it. God promises fruitfulness and prosperity, in and out of season for the man who takes great pleasure in His word. More so, the first reading of today reveals even more blessings upon the one who is alert to God’s commandments.

How then can we as youth take great pleasure in God’s law? God’s law is outlined for us in scripture and in the church’s tradition. As we study God’s word and the teachings of the Church, the Body of Christ, we come to know what God requires of us. God’s requirement of our way of life is often contrary to that of the world around us. If we live by the world’s standards, we will find ourselves following the counsel of the wicked, lingering in the way of sinners and sitting in the company of scorners. This standard of living brings nothing but doom. (Psalm 1: 1, 5-6).

What does the world around you say about pre-marital sex, abortion, use of hard drugs, homosexuality, lying, revenge, unforgiveness, exam malpractice, theft etc? What do God and his Church say about all these? We must seek daily to know God better by studying His word, obeying it and asking for his help in difficult moments. Only then would we be partakers of the divine blessing of all round fruitfulness and prosperity.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, your call to holiness is one that entails standing up for you in the midst of a sinful world. Please increase in me a desire to know you more and to live out your precepts. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 282Does Sacred Scripture speak about a way to happiness?

We become happy by trusting in Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes.

The Gospel is a promise of happiness to all people who wish to walk in God’s ways. Especially in the Beatitudes (Mt 5:3-12), Jesus has told us specifically that eternal blessedness is based on our following his example and seeking peace with a pure heart.

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

Readings for today: Isaiah 48: 17-19; Psalm 1: 1-6; Matthew 11: 16-19