TRUSTING THROUGH THE DESERT

Sunday 19th March – Sunday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Exodus 17: 3-7

TRUSTING THROUGH THE DESERT

Considering that we have the benefit of hindsight, we often perceive the Israelites as a stubborn and unbelieving people during their exodus from Egypt to the promised land. It is very easy for us to read through the stories of their unbelief and repeated complaints against God and Moses and judge them. Yet, rather than judge them, they give us an insight into what we ourselves are very likely to do or may even be currently doing.

Journeying through the desert was certainly no fun for the Israelites they had to keep trekking under the hot scourging sun, had only a single type of food for nourishment and obviously missed the pleasures of a settled life. We too may encounter desert experiences in our lives. There may be times when everything seems to be tough, basic needs are lacking and it feels that God has abandoned us. These moments, just like it was for Israel are times when the Lord may be leading us to a deeper level of trust in Him.

In moments of dire difficulty, it is easy to forget about whatever God may be doing and focus solely on the extreme suffering or discomfort we are going through. God reminds us to keep our eyes fixed on Him. Rather than complain against God, let us turn to the Lord in prayer and in trust…He knows our needs and knows just how to supply them. We can make a discipline of abstaining from complaining as we go through Lent. Are you trusting the Lord through your desert experience?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to resist the temptation to complain. May I turn to you in trust in life’s most difficult situations. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 515 – Where do we get the confidence to call God “Father”?

We can be so bold as to address God as Father because Jesus has called us to a close relationship with himself and made us children of God. In communion with him, “who is in the bosom of the Father” (Jn 1:18), we are privileged to cry, “Abba, Father!”

Hide a Treasure: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 RSV-CE

IT’S ALL ABOUT GOD

Wednesday 2nd March – Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Lent.

Reflection: Psalm 147: 12-16, 19-20

IT’S ALL ABOUT GOD

The more the world realizes its nothingness without God, its maker, the better it would operate. We may have acquired lots of skills and advancement in technology, we may be permitted to have our way and ignorantly do many things contrary to God’s precepts, yet, all these do not rule out the importance of God. The Scriptures tell us that “everything God does will last forever. You can’t add anything to it or take anything away from it” (Eccl 3: 14a). The Psalmist today directs his message to the supremacy of God. Nothing can ever exist without His consent. He is the Alpha and Omega. What he commands his quickly done (Ps 147:15).

Beloved, have you taken time to build up every aspect of your life on Godly principles? What is God saying about your relationship, your career, your utterances, your dressing, eating habits etc? The more God is permitted to possess everything about us, the happier and fulfilled we would become. Let us commit our ways into His hands. God is ready to teach you. As you read His word, make a conscious plan to observe them. (Deut. 4: 9-10). They are the package of God to you which keeps unfolding till the perfect day. It all about God and what he has to say about you. Nothing else counts and in him, we exist and have our being.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, reign in my thoughts, my actions and my will. Your will is mine and your word is my portion. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 40 – Can God do anything? Is he almighty?

“For God nothing is impossible” (see Luke 1:37). He is almighty.

Anyone who calls on God in need believes that he is all-powerful. God created the world out of nothing. He is the Lord of history. He guides all things and can do everything…Often God’s omnipotence is displayed in a situation where men no longer expect anything from it. The powerlessness of Good Friday was the prerequisite for the Resurrection.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “In my desire for your commands, I pant with open mouth” Psalm 119:131 GNB

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy. 4:1, 5-9; Psalm 147:12-16, 19-20; Matthew 5:17-19

WHOM DO YOU TRUST?

Thursday 26th November – Thursday of week 34 of the year

Reflection: Daniel 6: 12-28

WHOM DO YOU TRUST?

None of us is self-sufficient, able to cater for all his own needs – physical, social, psychological, spiritual etc. God has created us with a need for interdependence. We all look to others to supply our needs in one way or the other. Such interdependence builds on a measure of trust without which our relationships cannot function. A child trusts the parents to provide his material needs, a parent trusts his child to put his best into his studies and uphold the family name through good behaviour. A wife trusts her husband to provide the family needs and the husband trusts his wife to manage family resources effectively to ensure smooth home running.

Yet we humans are very fallible and sometimes even our purest intentions can be foiled. Daniel could have placed his trust in the king, knowing that the king had no intention of hurting him but the first reading reveals that even the kings’ hands seemed to have been somewhat  tied and for all his good intentions, he could not prevent Daniel from being thrown to the lions. Beloved, so it is with us. If we do not place our trust in the ever faithful God, we will be faced with disappointment and frustration as we journey through life.

Only our trust in God will keep us faithful to him like Daniel was even in the face of persecution. Only our trust in God will keep us obedient to him in the choices we make when the whole world is going the wrong way. Beloved, God is our only sure anchor; our only sure hope who cannot be influenced by human limitations. Let your trust in Him be manifest in your total obedience to him as you make your daily choices and even though trials may come, like Daniel, you will experience His mighty power to save.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you because you are ever faithful. Please help me to trust you with the details of my life and find peace in obeying you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 470 – What prompts a person to pray?

We pray because we are full of an infinite longing and God has created us men for himself: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you” (St Augustine). But we pray also because we need to; Mother Teresa says, “Because I cannot rely on myself, I rely on him, twenty-four hours a day.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” Psalm 125:1 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Daniel 6: 12-28; Dan 3: 68-74 (canticle); Lk 21: 20-28

HOW LONG WILL YOU GO WITHOUT HIM?

Saturday 13 June – Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Reflection: Luke 2:41-51

HOW LONG WILL YOU GO WITHOUT HIM?

Who among us can journey through life alone? We surely need the support of one another. However, no matter how good, dependable or cheering the support we enjoy from others, times will come when we will find this inadequate and unsatisfying. It cannot but be so, for we are all limited in our capacity to assist and our experiences in life. We are all sojourners on earth with limited understanding of the seasons of life and the purpose(s) of the seasons.

When the inevitable happens – when the support of men fails us as it is sometimes bound to, who do we turn to? Our Creator (Psalm 27:10); however, we can only do this if we acknowledge His existence and our dire need for Him. Dear friend, have you been journeying through life without a relationship with Jesus Christ? Perhaps you doubt the existence of God and have therefore opted to live for yourself or you hitherto had a good relationship with Christ but this has been destroyed by lukewarmness ( Rev 3:15-16) or sin ( Isaiah 59:1-3).

Either way, we need to heed the call of St. Paul in today’s first reading: “be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:21). We need to jettison the old way of living for self interest (2 Cor. 5: 14-15) and cooperate with God to achieve His glorious plans for us. At every point in our life’s journey, we must ask ourselves: “am I journeying with God or have I deserted Him?” This must go beyond mere assumption; we need a clear conviction of His presence. If Christ is not with us, no matter who else is with us, it will be too costly to continue with life without Him! Let us turn around to seek Jesus as the Parents did in today’s Gospel reading. We can be rest assured that we will find Him as he is a loving Father patiently awaiting our homecoming (Jer. 29: 13; Luke 15: 11-32).

Prayer: Keep me steadfast with You dear Lord. Liberate me from every sense of false independence. Please deepen my quest and reliance on You! Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1733–The more on does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 2 Cor. 5: 14-21; Psalm 103: 1-4, 9-12; Luke 2:41-51

YOU KNOW, OH LORD!

Friday 22nd August – Memorial of our Lady, Mother and Queen

Reflection: Ezekiel 37: 1-14

YOU KNOW, OH LORD!

The story of Ezekiel and the dry bones is one we are familiar with. It’s a message of hope, a message of restoration, a story that reveals that there is nothing beyond the power of our almighty Father. As we find hope and strength in this passage, let us look to the prophet Ezekiel as an example of faith.

I am certain if God had asked me the same question he asked Ezekiel, my answer would be very different. Considering the situation at hand: “…they were very dry” (Ezekiel 37: 2) I would have answered in the negative because my human knowledge and senses would tell me that it is impossible for such “very dry” bones to live again. But what did the prophet answer? “You know, oh Lord” (vs 3).

How often have we written ourselves off or written people around us off because of their constant failures and seemingly irredeemable situation? Have we written our country Nigeria off as a nation that has no hope for improvement considering the present situations that plague our nation? Have we given up on certain prayers because our human senses tell us there is no way out? Dear friends, like the prophet rather than give up let us turn to God and say: “You know oh Lord” it is God who knows all things. He is a God that can transform a situation in a way that beats the human mind.

As we look at dry bones in various areas of our lives, communities and families, let us hand them over to God with complete hope and trust that He can raise an exceedingly great army from those dry bones.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please forgive me for the times I have lost faith in you and spoken negatively about people or situations around me. Please strengthen my faith in you that I may remember always that it is you who have the final say. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2657 – The Holy Spirit who instructs us to celebrate the liturgy in expectation of Christ’s return teaches us to pray in hope. Conversely, the prayer of the Church and personal prayer nourish hope in us…

HIDE A TREASURE: “With God nothing is impossible” Luke 1: 38 CCB

Readings for today: Ezekiel 37: 1-14; Psalm 107: 2-9; Matthew 22: 34-40