LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

Thursday 28th January – Memorial of St Thomas Aquinas, Priest & Doctor

Reflection: Mark 4: 21-25

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

In a country like Nigeria where power outages are still part of our everyday life, we would be able to appreciate the concept of light and darkness and I bet we all will agree with St John’s gospel that darkness cannot overcome light (John 1:5). No matter how dark a room is, the light of a single candle cannot be hidden by the darkness.

At our baptism, our admission into God’s family, we all were given lit candles, signifying that we were given Christ, the light of the world who calls as His disciples to be light of the world too. A light always shows the way, giving illumination and direction to a dark path. Hence, you and I are called to be light even in the darkness of this world. As young people, we come face to face daily with worldly ways of doing things from the media, internet, friends, colleagues etc. The world upholds its own sinful standards on several issues such as fornication, lies, fraud, exam malpractice etc. We must not blend to the standards of this world because love for the world is enmity with God (1John 1:15).

Dear friend, Christ reminds us today that a lamp brought into the house cannot be put under a bed. Instead it is put on a stand so its light is seen everywhere in the house. Do not be afraid of standing out for Christ (Philippians 2:14­). Do not be afraid of being the lone voice speaking the truth or being the only one in your class not engaging in sexual immorality. Each day, spend time with Christ studying His word and in prayers. Avail yourself of the privilege of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist as He is the strength for our journey of faith.

Remember you are called by Jesus through your baptism to stand out and shine the light of truth and righteousness and someday, you will be called to account for how well you obeyed this call.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for the privilege of belonging to the family of God through my baptism. Please grant me the grace and the courage to shine as a light in this fallen world. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 11 – Why do we hand on the faith?

We hand on the faith because Jesus commands us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19).

No genuine Christian leaves the transmission of the faith exclusively to specialists (teachers, pastors, missionaries). We are Christ for others. This means that every genuine Christian would like God to come to other people, too. He says to himself, “The Lord needs me! I have been baptized and confirmed and am responsible for helping the people around me to learn about God and ‘to come to the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Tim 2:4b).” Mother Teresa used a good comparison: “Often you can see power lines running alongside the street. Unless current is flowing through them, there is no light. The power line is you and I! The current is God! We have the power to allow the current to flow through us and thus to generate the light of the world: JESUS—or to refuse to be used and, thus, allow the darkness to spread.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven” Matthew 5:16 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 2 Samuel 7: 18-19, 24-29; Psalm 132: 1-5, 11-14; Mark 4: 21-25

VIRTUOUS LIVING

Sunday 20th September – 25th Sunday of the year

VIRTUOUS LIVING

Wisdom 2: 12, 17-20

The theme of persecution is one that has been a part of our Christian faith right from its inception and though the form in which this occurs may have evolved through the centuries, it is still very much with us. This is because; the truth and beauty radiated by true Christian living remains a constant threat to those who have no use for God. Hence our Lord told His apostles, “…if they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15:20).

Today’s first reading gives us a picture of what goes on amongst the godless. They find the character of the virtuous man as an opposition to their way of life and threaten to test his endurance and bring him down. As a young Christians, on what side of the divide do you find yourself? Is your life different in any way from non-Christians around you? Does your Catholic faith radiate through a life of love, patience and gentility? Is your faith in God manifested through the choices you make? Or on the other hand, do you join in worldly way of life of those around you – in exam malpractice, lying, cheating, immorality etc?

Beloved, we are called to a life of holiness as baptized Catholic Christians. We must not allow ourselves to be conformed to the standards of this world (Roman 12:2) and as we see other striving towards holiness, let us be sources of encouragement for them rather than stumbling blocks. In striving to live out your call each day, be conscious of the persecutions that may arise and ask for the grace to deal with them in a way that honours God.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for the gift of my faith. Please help me to live it out in sincerity each day and be strengthened by your grace in moments of persecution and trials. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1696 – The way of Christ “leads to life”; a contrary way “leads to destruction.” The gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: “There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20; Psalm 54:3-8; James 3: 16- 4:3; Matthew 9:30-37

BE TRUE TO YOUR IDENTITY

Thursday 14th May – Solemnity of The Ascension of the Lord

Reflection: Ephesians 4: 1-13

BE TRUE TO YOUR IDENTITY

Our identity as individuals is who we really are and not merely what we answer to by virtue of our job or position. The true character of a man will inevitably define him no matter the array of titles with which he parades himself. It is lack of proper understanding of identity that makes some people to be excessively “title conscious.” You mistakenly address a “Chief” as “Mister” and you will be dazed by the magnitude of drama that may ensue. This explains why some individuals can comfortably prefix their names with titles such as: Honourable (Chief) Dr….; Barrister (Prince) Evangelist…etc. There seems to be a great fondness for positions and titles in our environment without a corresponding awareness and embracement of the responsibilities that come with them.

Beloved in Christ, as children of God, beyond our titles and positions, our true identity must be that we are Christ-like in nature everywhere we find ourselves. This must be intrinsically tied to all our responsibilities and actions. We cannot afford to project dual images of ourselves i.e. one within the body of Christ and another outside of it. This would amount to hypocrisy and false Christianity.

Are you an undergraduate or postgraduate student? May be you are a young professional- A doctor, nurse, lawyer, accountant, journalist etc. no matter what your discipline or career is, of utmost importance is our constant awareness that we should reflect the light of God in our various callings. Through the ability of the Holy spirit in us, we are called to show a positive difference in our world (Matthew 5:13-16). Let us rise above the prevailing sense of self importance in our society today and show forth the fragrance of Christ in love and godly service anywhere we find ourselves.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please let the world find me to be truly Yours in word and in action. And may this promote the conversion of my neighbours who are yet to know You. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOU CAT: 280What reasons do Christians give for human dignity?

Every person, from the first moment of his life in the womb, has an inviolable dignity, because from all eternity God willed, loved, created, and redeemed that person and destined him for eternal happiness.

If human dignity were based solely on the successes and accomplishments of individuals, then those who are weak, sick, or helpless would have no dignity. Christians believe that human dignity is, in the first place, the result of God’s respect for us. He looks at every person and loves him as though he were the only creature in the world…

HIDE A TREASURE: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light 1 Peter 2:9 RSV- CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47: 2-3, 6-9; Ephesians 4:1-13; Mark 16:15-20

LIGHT OF THE NATIONS

 

Sunday, 19th January – Second Sunday of the year

 

Reflection: Isaiah 49: 3, 5-6

LIGHT OF THE NATIONS

Can you imagine what our world would look like if the sun fails to rise? It It would mean a sustained global darkness. This cannot but unsettle mankind! Little wonder in the order of creation, God in His infinite wisdom created light before man (Genesis 1: 1-4, 26-27). The light of creation is itself a reflection of the True light, the Eternal Light in whose image man was created (Psalm 36:9). It is only God, the Eternal Light that truly illuminates; for this brightness penetrates beyond the eye it reaches deeper into the spirit and soul of man.

We must have light in order to reflect light. For us to be godly, God must be enthroned in our hearts. By His enthronement, He frees us from the inordinate love of self and other entrapment of sin. He ushers us into genuine freedom; the kind that makes our hearts resonate with the psalmist: “Here I am Lord! I come to do your will.” When we make a choice of God’s will and commit ourselves to doing it we become light in this fallen world. This light must necessarily challenge our human complacency (Matthew 5:14-16) for it is the kind that glorifies God. It reflects godliness in action and inaction. It fine tunes all aspects of our human life, ranging from spirituality to interpersonal relationships and our dedication to duty. It sometimes attracts opposition because it mystifies the fallen world (2Timothy 3:8, John 1:5). However, it is a pathway to assured victory. It is a dynamic way of evangelization.

Dear friends, if today there is still much darkness in the world, it calls you and I who answer the name “Christian” to reexamine our individual and cooperate ways of life. How bright is the light of Christ shining through me? Does my Christian identity promote or defame the name of Christ? We must be unsettled by the prevailing darkness in our world. To whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12: 47-48; Revelation 22:12)

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Light of glory, please brighten me up that my life may better honour and glorify you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 331Why is there nevertheless injustice among men?

All men have the same dignity, but not all of them meet with the same living conditions. In cases where injustice is man-made, it contradicts the Gospel. In cases where men have been endowed by God with different gifts and talents, God is asking us to rely on one another: in charity one should make up for what the other lacks.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” Matthew 5:16

Readings for today: Isaiah 49: 3, 5-6; Psalm 40: 1-10; 1Corinthians 1: 1-3; John 1:29-34