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

LIVING TEMPLE OF GOD

Tuesday 9th February – Tuesday of week 5 of the year

Reflection: 1 Kings 8:22-23.27-30

LIVING TEMPLE OF GOD

But can you. O God, really live on earth? Not even all heaven is large enough to hold you, so can this temple that I have built be large enough?”

God in his benevolence has blessed us with his presence and assured us that He is with us as “Emmanuel”. Just as King Solomon was granted the grace to build a temple for God to live in, God calls us too to recognize His presence in our Churches. He has a covenant with us and shows us his love when we live in whole-hearted obedience to him. (1 Kings 8:23b). This was an attribute of Solomon who obeyed God and longed to do his will.

God is supreme and he only knows all things. What he wants for is the best for our lives and whatever He commands us to do is ultimately for our own benefit. When we put our trust in God, we give Him the go-ahead to work in our lives. This must be our driving strength and courage while waiting on him in prayer. We must avoid anything that would rob us of our trust in God or that would encourage us to find alternatives in solving our problems outside God’s presence.

As we make our way to Gods temple especially in the Blessed Sacrament, let us always be ready to build our lives on his will, trusting in our Creator who has a perfect plan for our lives. Let us never grow weary of fellowshipping with others at public worship but be joyful in the love that binds the people of God together. The Living temple of God in our midst is a vivid sign of God’s love and mercy for his people. It’s a place of refuge and a house of deliverance. As we do that, we too will be transformed into living temples of God where he is pleased to dwell as the scripture says: “Whoever loves me will obey my teaching. My Father would love him, and my Father and I will come and live with him” John 14:23

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, make me know your covenant for my life which is your will for me. Make me planted in your presence always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 190 – What is a Christian house of prayer?

A Christian house of prayer is both a sign of the ecclesial communion of people at a specific place and also a symbol of the heavenly dwellings that God has prepared for us all. In God’s house we gather together to pray in common or alone and to celebrate the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Whoever loves me will obey my teaching. My Father would love him, and my Father and I will come and live with him” John 14:23 GNB

Today’s Readings: 1 Kings 8:22-23.27-30; Ps 84:3-5, 10, 11; Mk 7:1-13

WILL YOU ALSO GO AWAY?

Sunday 23rd August – 21st Sunday of the year

Reflection: John 6: 60-69

WILL YOU ALSO GO AWAY?

The crowds were often filled with admiration at Jesus’ words but today’s response was different. Though they eagerly sought Jesus out in the earlier verses of John 6, the chapter ends on a different note: “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him” (Jn 6:66). However, Jesus response to his massive loss of disciples is even more startling. Rather than going after them he made the apostles realise that they were free to leave too. Peter’s response shows that though the apostles did not understand Jesus’ teaching on “eating His flesh and drinking His blood”, they had grown to trust Him as the Son of God who “has the message of eternal life.”

The Catholic Church, established by Christ Himself as history testifies, possesses the fullness of the Christian faith as handed down to us by the apostles. Many truths have been compromised by majority of Christian groups – truths about the Eucharist, baptism, salvation through faith and works, contraception, abortion, homosexual unions, carrying our crosses etc. – truths which have constantly been upheld by the Catholic Church. Yet, many young people are carried away by the excitement and noise these other Christian communities offer and do not care about living out the truth.

Dear friend, Jesus asks you today too: “will you also go away?” Just as Christ did not compromise his teaching to appease the crowd in today’s gospel reading, His Church will not either. The apostles persisted with Christ and came to understand His words more fully after His resurrection. You have the fullness of the Christian faith as a Catholic. Don’t let this great treasure go to waste. Seek to deepen your friendship with Christ through an active faith life – prayers, the Eucharist, confession, Bible study and seek to understand your Catholic faith through study and prayers. Only then would you be able to respond like St Peter did: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life.”

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the priceless gift of my faith. Please help me to embrace it in trust and true commitment so that it may lead me to the holiness of life to which you call me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 870 – The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic…subsists on the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines.

HIDE A TREASURE: “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” John 6:63 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Joshua 24: 1-2, 15-18; Psalm 34: 2-3, 16-23; Ephesians 5: 21-32; John 6: 60-69

LISTEN TO HIM

Thursday, 6th August – Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord

LISTEN TO HIM

Mark 9:2-10

At the transfiguration, Moses the publisher of the Law and Elijah the chief of the Prophets were seen shining in the light of Christ who came not to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfil them (Mt 5:17). As the old covenant God had with the Israelites was on the verge of giving way to the new and everlasting covenant in Christ Jesus, Moses and Elijah appeared to help the apostles see the Redemption promised, prophesied and now accomplished in Jesus.

Just as Moses and Elijah were led by God to the Holy Mountain, to witness His Glory and deliver God’s message to the Israelites (Exodus 33:18, 1King 19:9), so were the apostles are led by Jesus to the mount of transfiguration to witness His glory. It was an encounter intended to keep faith alive in them so that they may not be scandalized by Jesus’ sufferings and death. Christ built His Church on the foundation of the apostles (Eph 2:20), giving them the mandate to make disciples and teach them to observe all He had commanded them. Thus, the apostles and their successors are the custodians of the Christian faith.

“This is my beloved Son, listen to Him”, as the voice of God called the apostles to listen to Christ, so does He call us to listen to the Church and her leaders and as we study and meditate on the Holy Scriptures. Do we take time to listen to our priests and other leaders of the Church or do we label them ‘boring’ and ‘old fashioned’? As we make decisions in life, do we consider the Church’s stand on the choices we make? In the midst of the numerous modifications of the gospel being preached, are we aware of false interpretations and do we turn to the Church for guidance? Do we take into consideration the Church’s stand on exam malpractice, premarital sex, drug abuse, abortion, use of contraceptives and homosexuality? Do we spend time alone in studying Scripture and listening to Christ as He speaks to us? Dear friends, as we celebrate today’s feast, let us make a commitment to listen to the voice of Christ in the Scriptures and in His Church.

PRAYER: Lord help your Church to remain always as light in the darkness of the world. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 344 Why does the Church also make declarations about ethical questions and about matters of personal conduct?

Believing is a path. One learns how to stay on this path, in other words, how to act rightly and to lead a good life, only by following the instructions in the Gospel. The teaching authority (Magisterium) of the Church must remind people also about the demands of the natural moral law.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You are Peter (or Rock) and on this rock I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it.” Matthew 16:18 CCB

Today’s Readings: Daniel 7:9-10. 13-14, Psalm 97:1-2. 5-6. 9, 2 Peter 1:16-19, Mark 9:2-10

A FISHING NET


Thursday 30th July- St. Peter Chrysologus, B.D. (opt. mem)

A FISHING NET

Matthew 13:47-53

What can a story about a fishing net and a big catch tell us about God’s kingdom? The two most common ways of fishing in Jesus’ time was with a cast net (or hand-net) which is thrown from the shore and the drag-net or trawl which is let down or cast into the waters from a boat. As the boat moves through the waters the drag-net is drawn into the shape of a great cone which indiscriminately takes in all kinds of fish, flotsam and jetsam swept in its path. It usually takes several men to haul such a net ashore. What is Jesus’ point here? Just as a drag-net catches every kind of fish in the sea, so does the Church act as God’s instrument for gathering in all who will come.

Dear friends in Christ, just as the drag-net does not or cannot discriminate, so also the Church does not discriminate between the good and the bad, the useless and the useful. God’s kingdom is open to all who will accept and believe. No matter what we have done, how ugly our past has been ,the Church is ever open to us through the sacrament of reconciliation and of the Eucharist. But there will come a time of separation, at the close of the age, when the angels will send the good and the bad to their respective destinations.

Our duty is to gather in all who will come. God, in the end, will dole out the reward or punishment. God offers the treasure of his kingdom to all who believe. Let us seek the Lord now before its late. Let us hunger for God and his kingdom.

PRAYER: Lord, increase my hunger for your kingdom and fill my heart with eager longing for you that I may one day gaze upon your face in everlasting bliss.

KNOW YOUR FAITH CCC 2465: What is truth?
God is the source of all truth… Since God is truth, the members of his people are called to live in truth

HIDE A TREASURE: “ By the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free.” Rom 3:24 GNB

Today’s Readings: Ex 40: 16-21.34-38; Ps 84: 2-5.7.10; Mt 13: 47-53

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH

Monday 29th June – Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul, Apostles

Reflection: Matthew 16: 13-19

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH

How much do you trust in God and in His word? Do you hold on to the words of Scripture as truth? Do you believe everything Christ says in the gospels? The average Christian will respond in the affirmative. Yet, many Christians have out rightly rejected Jesus’ words in today’s gospel reading pertaining to the leadership of Apostle Peter over the Church. He said, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the underworld shall never hold out against it” (Mt 16:18). He went on to give Peter the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, with authority to bind and to lose.

History testifies to the truth that the Catholic Church is the one Church established by Christ; it has no human founder and is the only Church that can trace its history back to the apostolic and post-apostolic era. If Christ built his Church upon Peter and declared that evil will never overpower it, we can trust His words and believe that He who has kept His Church through the centuries will perpetually keep her from error. We can also trust that the Church, the pillar of truth (1 Tim 3:15) which has defended the Christian faith against heresies and guided many souls unto salvation will guide ours as we trust in her teaching and follow the path of holiness to which she calls us.

Dear friend, as we celebrate two foremost apostles today, take time to thank God for the privilege to be a Catholic; to belong to Christ’s own Church. Live out your faith in love, holiness and absolute trust in Jesus words – words of eternal life (John 6: 63). You have the fullness of the Christian faith. Embrace it with all seriousness and live your Christian life to its fullest.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the gift of my Catholic faith. Please help me to grow in deeper friendship with You each day and to live the life of love to which you call me. 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.
Jesus gave Peter a unique position of preeminence among the apostles. This made him the supreme authority in the early Church. Rome—the local Church that Peter led and the place of his martyrdom—became after his death the internal reference point of the young Church.

HIDE A TREASURE: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” Matthew 16:18 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 12: 1-11; Psalm 34: 2-9; 2 Tim 4: 6-8, 17-18; Mt 16: 13-19

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