OUR DAILY BREAD

Tuesday 7th March – Tuesday of the 1st week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 6:7-15

OUR DAILY BREAD

The Pater Noster (Our Father) remains the blue print of prayer, through which Christ teaches us what prayer should truly be: an interaction between a loving Father and His children who with gratitude make their requests known to Him. Let us take a moment to reflect on one of the requests of this age-old prayer: Give us today our daily bread.

First, we ask specifically for our “daily” bread. Just like the Lord taught the Israelites to rely on Him for manna each new day so also He teaches you and I. Do you find yourself worrying about your material needs or get overwhelmed about tomorrow? Place all your worries at Jesus’ feet in the Lord’s prayer and allow Him to take care of your needs day by day. In addition, as we ask for our daily bread we must remember that our needs are not merely physical. We need spiritual strength to live out our Christian call. The strength for yesterday is not sufficient for today. To be truly victorious Christians, we must come to the Lord in prayer each new day. We must study His words and ask for his direction each new day.

Finally, the request for our daily bread reaches its fulfilment in the Eucharist: the Bread of Life in which Christ offers us His very self as food for the journey. Do you avail yourself of the opportunity Christ offers you in the Eucharist? Let us take away anything that stands in our way of receiving Christ this season of grace and let us make out time to meet Him more often at the table of His word and in the Eucharist at Mass.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the reassurance that you are a loving Father. Please help me to trust you with my needs each new day. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 522 – What does it mean to say, “Give us this day our daily bread”?

The petition about our daily bread makes us people who await everything from the goodness of our heavenly Father, including the material and spiritual goods that are vitally necessary. No Christian can pronounce this petition without thinking about his real responsibility for those in the world who lack the basic necessities of life.

Hide a Treasure: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” Matthew 6:33 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 34:4-7, 16-19; Mt 6:7-15

GOD RETURNS AT EVERY MASS

Tuesday 26th January – Tuesday of week 3 of the year
Reflection: 1 Samuel 6: 12-15, 17-19
GOD RETURNS AT EVERY MASS

To many the Mass has become the routine ceremony of listening to lengthy homilies, singing the same old hymns and sharing some ‘tasteless’ bread. Even to devout Catholics; it could become a colorless daily repetition of prayers. The Eucharist: a renewal of God’s covenant of love in the sacrifice of His Son, God’s majesty glorified in the simplicity of bread and wine should never become so ‘common’.
Many years before the first mass celebrated by Jesus and His disciples at the upper room; David led the whole of Israel to celebrate the return of the ark of God’s covenant with great rejoicing. In this sketchy replica of the Eucharistic celebration, they celebrated in singing and dancing; with an imperfect sacrifice of sheep, a mere shadow of the everlasting covenant we now share at every Mass. This replica represents a lesson on how we should receive God’s covenant at mass. Our hope in his power revealed in bread and wine should bring us to worship him in truth and spirit. Our faith in the mystery of the Eucharist should make us blessings to the world and to ourselves. Our love in sharing bread and wine should be taken beyond the mass to our homes and the world.
As you prepare for Mass today; rejoice that you would see God return at Mass as you prepare your heart for him. See you at mass; there we would meet God.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, come into my heart today, and may I take you with me wherever I go. Amen.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 216In what way is Christ there when the Eucharist is celebrated?
Christ is mysteriously but really present in the sacrament of the Eucharist. As often as the church fulfills Jesus’ command, “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24), breaks the bread and offers the chalice, the same thing takes place today that happened then: Christ truly gives himself for us, and we truly gain a share in him. The unique and unrepeatable sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is made present on the altar; the work of our redemption is accomplished.

HIDE A TREASURE: But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said: ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that. Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man”. John 1: 50-51 RSV-CE
Readings for Today: 2 Samuel 6: 12-15. 17-19; Psalm 23; Mark 3: 31-35.

LIVING FOREVER

Sunday 16th August – 20th Sunday of the year

Reflection: John 6: 51-58

LIVING FOREVER

The fear of death is the greatest human fear and the root of most other fears. Despite the ups and downs of life, nobody really wants to die. Except in rare situations when people have lost all hope and resort to suicide, the general tendency is to hang on to life – to survive at whatever cost. Yet, the physical death all humans are destined to undergo is not really the most fearful thing. There’s a more fearful death – spiritual death which is an eternal separation from God, the source of all life.

We can choose to avert spiritual death both in this world and in the next through our obedience to Jesus’ words: “I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:51). At our baptism, the seed of eternal life, life in union with God is sown in us. Yet, this life can be threatened and even snuffed out by sin and many people who are well and healthy physically are truly spiritually dead; a state that renders our physical life of no value.

Beloved, in the Eucharist, Jesus offers us his very life. He gives us a medicine for sin, an antidote for death, and food for immortality. Do you appreciate this free gift that guarantees your living forever? Do you instead abandon the Eucharistic table around which the Christ summons us each day and prefer to chase after churches that promise you wealth and victory in the absence of the Body and blood of our Blessed Lord? Or have you separated yourself from the Eucharist because of sin? Today, our Lord reminds us: “If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.” (Jn 6:53). Embracing Jesus’ call ensures that we are always in a state of grace and hence gives us victory over sin. Embrace that call today and have the assurance of eternal life.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the gift of the Eucharist. Please help me to embrace this gift of eternal life you offer me and be strengthened to live the holy life to which you call me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH:  CCC 1393 – Holy Communion separates us from sin, the body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is “given up for us”, and the blood we drink “shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins.” For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins.

HIDE A TREASURE: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” John 6: 56

Today’s Readings: Proverbs 9: 1-6; Psalm 34: 2-3, 10-15; Eph 5: 15-20; John 6: 51-58

HALLOWING THE LORD’S DAY

Friday 17th July – Friday of week 15 of the year

HALLOWING THE LORD’S DAY

Matthew 12: 1-8

The third of the Ten Commandments forbids the Israelites from working on the Sabbath day; it should be kept as an obligatory day of rest and worship in honour of the Lord (Exodus 20: 8-10). Our Lord Jesus Christ healed the sick on the Sabbath and at different times, was accused by the Pharisees of violation the Sabbath (Mark 3: 1-6; Luke 13:10-17; Luke 14: 1-8; John 5: 1-18). Today’s Gospel reading presents one of such instances. Our Blessed Saviour made it clear that He did not come to abolish the law and the Prophets but to fulfil them (Matthew 5: 7). The laws and the covenant of the Old Testament actually prefigure the new covenant in Christ Jesus (John 5: 39-40). Jesus gives the law it authentic and authoritative interpretation.

The Church recognizes The Lord’s day (Sunday) and not Sabbath (Saturday) as the obligatory day of rest and worship because it was on Sunday ( i.e. First day of the week) that the Lord resurrected from the dead ( John 20:20-23). The Sabbath which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ (CCC 2190). This is not a third century introduction by the Catholic church as some have alleged, there are scriptural evidences (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Col. 2: 16-17) and documentations by the  early church fathers (Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Tertullian etc.) attesting to this.

Beloved in Christ, having seen the basis of Sunday being celebrated as the Lord’s Day, may we ask ourselves if we truly hollow the Lord’s Day? Do we set it aside as a special day of worship and rest or we allow the servitude of work, the love of money and pleasures of life to prevent us from observing this obligatory responsibility. The Church urges us to give special attention to the corporal works of mercy and the care of our families and relatives on this day (CCC 2185, 2186). For those on essential duty (eg nurses), let us make it an avenue of special service that brings honour to God and blesses our fellow men (Col. 3:23).

PRAYER: Please help me to live for your honour oh Lord! Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2181– The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason…Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Honour the Lord with your substance and with the first fruit of your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine” Proverbs 3:9 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus11:10-12:14; Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-18; Matthew 12: 1-8

LOOK BEYOND THE BREAD YOU EAT…

Sunday 7th June –Solemnity of the most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Reflection: Mark 14: 22-26

LOOK BEYOND THE BREAD YOU EAT…

The body and blood express the life of the being that possesses them. Christ once taught His disciples in these words at the close of His earthly life: “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). There is therefore no greater expression of love than a sacrifice of life in its totality.

God; who is Love, gives His life in the sacrifice of His begotten Son (true God from true God and consubstantial with the Father). Christ out of perfect love gave a sacrifice of Himself for the salvation of the world at the first Eucharistic feast (Mass) during the Passover; with a perfect accomplishment of this ‘once for all’ sacrifice by His death on the Cross (Hebrews 9:12-14). At the Last Supper, He instituted the Eucharist as a memorial of His infinite Love. He gave us a daily nourishment of His true life: in the appearance of bread and wine that we may live His life of Love here on earth and join in the unending feast in heaven. With this perfect sacrifice, He sealed His covenant of love with us; as with the Israelites when Moses sprinkled the blood of sacrificed oxen after all the people had promised to live by the same divine covenant (Exodus 24: 3-8).

Friends in Christ, today we celebrate God’s love for us fully expressed in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. Let us learn from Christ’s sacrifice as we feast at His table. Let us love as we have been loved: this is living by the divine commandment. Look beyond the bread you eat, see your savior and God. Look beyond the wine you drink, see His love for the world.

PRAYER: Dear God, give me perfect love like Yours. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 211 – How important is the Eucharist for the Church?

The celebration of the Eucharist is the heart of the Christian communion. In it the Church becomes Church.
We are not Church because we get along well, or because we happen to end up in the same parish community, but rather because in the Eucharist we receive the Body of Christ and are increasingly being transformed into the Body of Christ.

HIDE A TREASURE: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” John 6: 56 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 24: 3-8; Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-18; Mark 14: 12-16, 22-26

BREAD OF LIFE


Monday 20th April – Monday of the 3rd week of Eastertide

Reflection: John 6:22-29

BREAD OF LIFE

Today’s world is filled with billions of people who profess to be Christians. Look around you, almost everyone in your class, office or neighbourhood is a Christian. Many of us Christians, including Catholics who have been baptized and received Communion for years still do not have the passion to live the life of holiness to which we are called. Though we receive Him in the Eucharist, we are ignorant of the immense power He bestows on us.

Christ has given us his very self as food for our souls. He wants his entire being, spirit, soul and body to dwell in us so that we may hunger and thirst no more for perishable things but for things that have eternal value. This was why he told the people in today’s reading: “Do not work for food that goes bad; instead, work for food that lasts for eternal life” (John 6:27). Dear friend, Christ’ offering of self will be of no benefit to us if we do not seek to know and approach him as He reveals himself to us in various ways.

Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves to satisfy the hunger of the crowd was a sign to prefigure the giving of Himself as the bread of life and set the stage for the long and revolutionary discourse on the Eucharist; the meal which transcends death and opens the gates of heaven to those who eat it (John 6: 54). Thus as we receive Christ in the Eucharist, let us ask God for a deeper insight into the mystery of the Eucharist so that we will be empowered to live as Christ did. It would renew the grace of Baptism and strengthen our personal relationship with God.

Thank God for this precious gift of himself and seek to be open to him so that the Mass can make much more meaning to you.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for your desire to live in me, please help me to hunger for the food that endures to eternal life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 221 – How does Holy Communion change me?

Every Holy Communion unites me more deeply with Christ, makes me a living member of the Body of Christ, renews the graces that I received in Baptism and Confirmation, and fortifies me for the battle against sin. 

HIDE A TREASURE: “What God wants you to do is to believe in the one he sent”. John 6:29 GNB

Today’s Readings: Acts 6:8-15; Psalm 119: 23-30; John 6: 22-29

OUR PASSOVER LAMB

Thursday 2nd April – Holy Thursday

Reflection: Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14

OUR PASSOVER LAMB

Israel was a unique nation, one with its laws, customs, feasts and even its very calendar set up by God. More than just a nation, they were the people of God. Today’s reading outlines the instruction God gave them in celebrating the feast of the Passover which marked the beginning of a new year for them as well as their liberation from slavery in Egypt. It marked the beginning of a covenant which God established with them through Moses.

As the Church celebrates the institution of the Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood today, she celebrates the beginning of a new covenant, sealed not with the blood of animals but in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Christ ate the Passover meal with His disciples on the evening before His death, He fulfilled the old covenant and ushered in the new covenant that embraces not only Israel but the entire world. Just as the eating of the lamb was a prerequisite for the salvation of Israel in today’s reading, so is the eating of the flesh and blood of Jesus, our Passover Lamb a prerequisite for our entry into eternal life (John 6: 53).

You have entered into the new covenant through your baptism and Christ offers you Himself in the Eucharist each day to renew that covenant and as food for eternal salvation. What is your response to such great gift? Do you bother to prepare yourself to receive the Eucharist worthily? Do you avail yourself of receiving this great gift more often by attending daily Masses or you are simply satisfied to fulfill your Sunday obligation? Dear friend, do not forsake Christ’s call. Only in Him are we certain of eternal life.

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for taking my sin upon yourself. Please open my mind to receive with faith and thanksgiving your Body and Blood in the Eucharist and let me be transformed through it. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 95 – Why did Jesus choose the date of the Jewish feast of Passover for his death and Resurrection?

Jesus chose the Passover feast of his people Israel as a symbol for what was to happen through his death and Resurrection. As the people Israel were freed from slavery to Egypt, so Christ frees us from the slavery of sin and the power of death.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood; you have no life in you” John 6: 53 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14; Psalm 116: 12-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13: 1-15