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

CALLED TO BE THE LORD’S LABOURER

Saturday 5th December – Saturday of the 1st week of Advent

Reflection: Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5, 6-8

CALLED TO BE THE LORD’S LABOURER

Advent as a time set aside by the Church to re-intensify her call on us all to re-examine our preparedness for the second coming of our Lord Jesus cannot be truly observed without a due consideration of our individual roles in the salvation of our brothers and sisters. How true is the faith or salvation of him who does not believe in the salvation of others?

Through our baptism, we have all been grafted into the family of God, and commissioned as evangelizers of the Good news (Matthew 28: 19-20; John 15:8). This is a task that must never be seen as the exclusive responsibility of those in the religious or consecrated life; we are all, especially youths, called to be the light of Christ in our different spheres of life (Matthew 5:16). Though our world is becoming increasingly secular, coupled with a rising tide of religious hypocrisy, Christ calls you and I not to be afraid to stand for Him. We must never allow ourselves to be discouraged by our individual inadequacies or suppressed by what our folks think of our Christian convictions. Rather, let us, in love and humility, constantly seek to make the truth known; to daily offer our prayers and service at avenues that could promote the conversion of our brothers and sisters. 

Dearest in Christ, let us continually trust in God as we offer our service. The Holy Spirit is the principal transformer of the human heart (1 Corinthians 3: 4-6) without whom we can achieve nothing (John 15:5). Our God is a just Father and has promised not to forget the labour of love we offer in His name (Hebrews 6:10).

PRAYER: I place my life wholly at your service dear Lord. Please daily teach me how best to serve You that the light of my faith may draw others to you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 354Can people be forced to believe in God?

No. No one may force others to believe, not even one’s own children, just as no one may be forced to be an unbeliever. A person can make the decision to believe only in complete freedom. Christians, however, are called to help other people, by word and example, to find the way to faith.

Pope John Paul II said, “Proclaiming Christ and bearing witness to him, when done in a way that respects consciences, does not violate freedom. Faith demands a free adherence on the part of man, but at the same time faith must also be offered to him”

HIDE A TREASURE: “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me; Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:16 RSV-CE 

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 30: 19-21, 23-26; Psalms 147: 1-6; Matthew 9: 35- 10: 1, 5, 6-8

WAITIING IN HOPE

 Sunday 29th November – Sunday of week 1 of Advent

Reflection: Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36

WAITIING IN HOPE

When would Christ come to dry our tears? Where is God when we need Him most? Why does evil come to good people? These and many more questions flood our minds when we come in touch with the cold hands of suffering. The guilty man walks free, while the innocent man wastes in jail. The brightest child in class drops out of school as her parents cannot afford even the cheapest fees. The beloved husband of a pregnant woman dies barely a year after marriage. In the world there are many troubles, but our peace is our hope of victory in Christ Jesus. (John 13:33).

As the night is darkest just before dawn, Christ has promised that just when you feel the world is shaking; He will come to deliver you. Christ asks you to stand strong in faith, prayer and holiness as you keep watch through the long nights and the storms because our deliverance is nearer now than ever.

As we begin a new year in the Church’s calendar with this season of Advent, a season of hopeful waiting on the Lord, let us commit ourselves to Him more deeply. Let us take stock of the past year and renew our commitment to be faithful to Him and trust that his promises to us will be fulfilled. May we truly prepare our hearts for our Lord’s coming through this holy season. Amen.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, sustain me in the hope of your return and help me to watch and pray at all times. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 308 – What is hope?

Hope is the power by which we firmly and constantly long for what we were placed on earth to do: to praise God and to serve him; and for our true happiness, which is finding our fulfilment in God; and for our final home: in God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the world that was has passed away. The One seated on the throne said: See, I make all things new, and then he said to me; Write these words because they are sure and true.” Revelation 21: 4-5 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 33: 14-16; Psalm 25: 4-5, 8-10, 14; 1 Thessalonians 3: 12- 4: 2; Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36