EMMANUEL

Wednesday 13th May – Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima

Reflection: Acts 17: 15, 22 – 18:1

EMMANUEL

“Yet He is not far from each one of us, for ‘in him we live and move and have our being”’

Acts 17: 27-28

Human relationships thrive on personal contact. We grow close to those with whom we live and work and without efforts to maintain good communication, our love and friendship can grow cold when we are physically distant from each other. The name “Emmanuel” which means “God is with us” was given through the prophet Isaiah as he foretold the virgin birth of Christ (Is 7:14; Mt 1: 22-23). Indeed through the incarnation, God came to dwell amongst us men. He came to relate with us humans so as to build intimacy with us and raise us up to Himself.

Dear friend, even today, several centuries after Jesus’ ascension, God is not far from us. He seeks to encounter you and I right where we are and through our everyday circumstances. He is in our midst in the poor and needy and dwells amongst us in a special way in the Eucharist.

Are there times you are lonely, helpless or confused? Does the world around you seem to be falling apart? God reminds you today that He is neither far from you nor oblivious of your difficulties. He seeks to step into your situation if you permit Him. Like St Paul told the people of Athens in today’s reading, He is closer to you than you can imagine. Turn to Him in prayer today and tell Him your concerns and difficulties. Ask for His direction as you make important decisions because God is indeed very close. He is truly Emmanuel – God is with us.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Father for your ever abiding presence. Please help me to stay close to you so I can be transformed by your grace. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 470What 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: “Behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matthew 28:20 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 17: 15, 22 – 18:1; Psalm 148: 1-2, 11-14; John 16: 12-15

MAKE A FIERY SERPENT

Tuesday 24th March – Tuesday of the 5th week of Lent

Reflection: Numbers 21: 4-9

MAKE A FIERY SERPENT

Catholics are often accused of disobeying God’s commandment: “You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness of anything …you shall not bow to them or serve them…” (Ex 20:4-5). Was God’s simply prohibiting the carving of images used in worship? Why did He ask Moses to make a bronze serpent for the Israelites to look up to for healing in today’s reading and to build the Ark of the Covenant and the Cherubim over the mercy seat? He not only gave the instruction but the very details of how these images used in worship should be made (Exodus 25: 1-22)! Was God confused or contradicting Himself? Certainly not!

God’s commandment was not a prohibition of images used in worship. Rather, it is a prohibition of idolatry. Just as the bronze serpent and the Ark of the Covenant were not to be worshipped but were symbols to arouse faith in the Israelites so are the images such as the crucifix, the statues of our Blessed Mother and the Saints etc. that we have in our Churches. These images are not to be worshipped but serve to arouse faith in God as we put our minds on whom or what they symbolize. You and I would never be able to imagine and appreciate Christ’s crucifixion had we not seen images of the crucifix.

Beloved, let the images you see truly stir faith in you. Let the crucifix increase your love and commitment to Christ who suffered for you; let our Blessed Mother’s statue remind you to always say “yes” to God and “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5); let the statues of the Saints remind you of your own call to holiness. As you do this do not be afraid to explain and defend your beautiful faith in love and gentility.

PRAYER: Lord I thank you for the gift of my faith; please help me to draw close to you through the symbols and images I find around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2132 – The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, “the honour rendered to an image passes to its prototype” and “whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.” The honour paid to sacred images is a “respectful veneration,” not the adoration due to God alone.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Numbers 21: 4-9; Psalm 102: 2-3, 16-21; John 8: 21-30

WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH


Sunday 22nd March – 5th Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Hebrews 5:7-9

WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH

Words are effective means of communication anytime any day. We can even say that they are the best means of communication. When you speak, people hear you through the sound you make and the same happens in prayer. When we pray, God hears us. Yes! He does hear us, but sometimes we assume that coining so many words or using beautiful intellectual or emotional language when praying would make God hear us quicker. This is not the true dear friend. Beyond the words we utter during prayer, we must also pay the most attention to our inner disposition. That is, the level of humility and devotion that accompany the words we utter.

In today’s first reading, we are told that Jesus made “loud cries unto God” in His life on earth and was heart because He was humble and devoted. Humility in prayer appeals to God’s heart because “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Pride makes us think that God’s blessings are a reward for our self-righteousness. Only in humility do we see our true selves, weak, fallen and in need of mercy and grace. Beloved, let your words in prayer be accompanied by great humility and submission like those of Christ and God will hear you for He is faithful and merciful. 

PRAYER: Dear Father, save my soul from sinking in the mud of sin. Help me to come to You in humility and trust always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2611: “The prayer of faith consists not only in saying ‘Lord, Lord,’ but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father, Jesus calls His disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the divine plan.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do all these in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion as the Spirit leads.” Ephesians 6:18a GNB

Today’s Readings: Jer 31:31-34; Psalm 51:3-4, 12-15; Heb 5:7-9; Jn.12:20-33