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

THE REWARD OF A GOOD LIFE


Saturday 6th June – Saturday of week 9 in Ordinary Time

Reflection: Tobit 12: 1, 5-15, 20

THE REWARD OF A GOOD LIFE

“As water extinguishes the burning flames, almsgiving obtains pardon for sins. The man who responds by doing good prepares for the future, at the moment of his downfall he will find support” Sirach 3:30-31

Tobit was not only addressed by his kinsmen as a ‘good and worthy man, an honest man who is just and compassionate’ (Tobit 7:6, 9:6), but also by God who took notice of all his works of mercy in burying the dead and alms giving. For this reason, God sent the Angel Raphael in human form to deliver him in his time of need.  This shows that the reward of the just is truly with the Lord and that at the moment of their downfall, the Lord will support them. Ultimately, the Lord will reward the righteous with the beatific vision at the end of his sojourn on earth.

Dear friends, the exemplary life of Tobit is a model for us to follow. Give alms from what you have and do not give grudgingly but rather cheerfully. Do not turn your face from anyone who is poor so that God may not turn away His face from you. Give alms in proportion to the amount you have; if you have little, do not be afraid to give alms according to the little you have. The poor widow in our gospel today gave from all she had to live on and the Lord acknowledged her. In giving alms, we store up treasure against the day of tribulation, because almsgiving frees us from death and it is a form of atonement for our sins (Tobit 12:9). It is a precious treasure in the sight of God. Give to the poor and your neighbors in need; give to God His due (tithe) and give to His ministers and to your family members.

Beloved in Christ, a good name is better than gold or silver. Let us strive to live for the glory of God that we may be successful in all that we do.

Prayer: Lord, help me to daily strive to live a blessed life and make me understand that it is only in giving that I can receive.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2443 – God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: “Give to Him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you;” “you received without pay, give without pay.” It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones.

Hide a Treasure: “Always remember the Lord our God. Do not consent to sin or go against His commandments. Act justly all the days of your life, and do not walk in the paths of wrongdoing, for, if you act uprightly, you will be successful in all you do.” Tobit 4:5-6 CCB

Today’s Readings: Tobit 12:1,5-15,20; Tobit 13:2, 6-8 (canticle);  Mark 12:38-44

GIVE CHEERFULLY

Tuesday 26th May – Memorial of St Philip Neri, Priest

Reflection: Sirach 35:1-12

GIVE CHEERFULLY

From time to time, telecommunication companies advertise a promotion with prizes worth millions of naira and attract many Nigerians to participate at a token. Hence, the company gains millions of Naira in the process of giving out some. The contemporary world understands that without giving we cannot truly possess anything. For what really belongs to us is what we give out to others rather than what we hold on to.

Christ tells us: “Give and it will be given to you, …good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.” (Luke 6:38-39). This, He reminds Peter of in today’s gospel reading when Peter wondered what reward they would have for leaving everything to follow Him (Mark 10:28-31). Hannah gave up Samuel, her only child to the Lord in fulfilment of her promise. In return, God gave her five more children though she only asked for one (1Samuel 2:21).

Dear friend, realizing that our “God is a good rewarder who will reward us seven times over,” (Sirach 2:11) we are called to honour the Lord with generosity and not stint when we bring our gifts before the Lord. Give to the Lord as He has given to you, generously and cheerfully as your means can afford. Give to the Lord the best of your gifts in appreciation of His goodness to you and He will surely bless you more as He did for Hannah. Never think you are too young to give to God. Give the Lord your time, your treasure and your talents and you will lay up blessings for your life and future.

PRAYER: Lord, help me understand that it is in giving that I can receive and help me to be more generous with what you have given me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 488Why should we thank God?

Everything that we are and have comes from God. Paul says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). Being grateful to God, the giver of all good things, makes you happy.

HIDE A TREASURE: “What have you that you have not received? And if you received it, why are you so proud, as If you did not receive it” 1 Corinthians 4:7 CCB

Today’s Readings: Sirach 35:2-15, Psalm 50: 5-8, 14, 23, Mark 10: 28-31

BLESSING OR CONDEMNATION

Thursday 5th March – 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 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

PROMPT OBEDIENCE

Sunday 1st March – 2nd Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Genesis 22:1-2, 9-18

PROMPT OBEDIENCE

“Abraham’s blessings are mine. Alleluia!” Thus goes a song many of us are familiar with. Indeed the blessings God pronounced on Abraham were tremendous and everyone desires to share in such great blessings. But have you ever wondered what attracted such blessing from God? Are we not often unwilling to pay the price Abraham, our father in faith, paid by his absolute trust and prompt obedience to God?

After waiting twenty-five years for the fulfillment of God’s promise concerning his son, Isaac, God wanted the child back as a burnt offering. This must have been a very difficult time for Abraham. What would be your response had you been in Abraham’s shoes? Many of us, though recognizing that the instruction came from God, would have found every reason to convince ourselves that it was the devil’s trick and busied ourselves rebuking the devil rather than obeying God. But what was Abraham’s response? That of prompt obedience (Gen 22:3). It is this prompt obedience that earned Abraham such great blessings from God – blessings that are truly ours, children of Abraham by covenant (Gen 22:18).

Beloved, you too are faced with choices each day – either to obey God or to yield to your own whims and desires. Sometimes, obeying God is pleasant and easy; other times it is out rightly unpleasant and difficult; yet it is only through obedience that we can find lasting peace. Can you hear that still small voice speaking to you about a particular situation? Are you listening to what God is saying to you through Scriptures or those around you? Prompt obedience opens the door to blessings, healing, and upliftment (Deut. 28:1-15).

PRAYER: Dear father, please grant me the grace of prompt obedience to your leading; remove every faithlessness and hard heartedness in me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 471 – Why is Abraham a model of prayer?

Abraham listened to God. He was willing to set out for wherever God commanded and to do what God willed. By his listening and his readiness to make a new start, he is a model for our prayer.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Love the Lord your God and always obey all his laws.” Deuteronomy 11:1 GNB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 22:1-2, 9-18: Psalm 116:10, 15-19; Romans 8:31-34; Mark 9:2-10