YOU DON’T NEED A ‘PLAN B’ FOR GOD

Thursday 4th February – Thursday of week 4 of the year

Reflection: Mark 6: 7-9

YOU DON’T NEED A ‘PLAN B’ FOR GOD

Ranging from producing duplicate files as back-ups for ‘cloud storage’, to preparing back-up strategies for business projects and military campaigns; a human culture of mistrust, ‘the Plan B’, has taken very attractive covers. Yet, this cover does not hold up in relationships. Relationships between humans; which are only imperfect duplicates of what our relationship with God should be, grow on total trust. No one in any ‘serious relationship’ wants to be easily dispensable or worse, be just a back-up plan for someone else, and so too, our jealous loving Father.

Christ had prepared the first missionaries to reach out to God’s people; with power and grace that was more than sufficient for the task. He, however ordered them to travel without back-up materials, and in this taught them to trust completely in God’s provision. When God has promised to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4: 19); we should never devise means of ‘cutting corners’, while we wait patiently on God.

Friend in Christ, too often, though we have all we need in God; who never fails, yet we prepare back-up plans just in case God fails, even before we ask Him for anything. It is even worse, when we keep God as our back-up plan; in case we fail in ‘cutting corners’. God had shown us what perfect trust is: after loving us with everything even to giving up His Son for our salvation; He still patiently waits and calls His prodigal children back to Himself, trusting that someday we would appreciate his sacrifice as many times as we ignore it. He, who trusts us so much, deserves that we trust Him with all our heart.

PRAYER: Father, You are all I have and all need, teach me that your grace is sufficient for me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 407 – Why is the Church against premarital sexual relations?

The Church is against such relations, because she would like to protect love. A person can give someone else no greater gift than himself. “I love you” means for both: “I want only you, I want all that you are, and I want to give myself to you forever!” Because that is so, we cannot, even with our bodies, really say “I love you” temporarily or on a trial basis.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Youth may grow tired and faint, young men will stumble and fall, but those who trust in Yahweh will renew their strength. They will soar as with eagle’s wings; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and never tire.” Isaiah 40: 30-31 RSV-CE

 

Today’s Readings: 1 Kings 2: 1-4, 10-12; 1 Chronicles 29: 10-12; Mark 6: 7-13

GO, YOU ARE SENT!

Monday 30th November – Feast of St Andrew, Apostle

Reflection: Romans 10: 9-18

GO, YOU ARE SENT!

When we encounter the word “preacher”, we almost instinctively turn around to our priests and pastors and point a finger at them – yes, that is the preacher! They are the ones St Paul refers to when he says in today’s first reading, “…they will not hear of him unless they get a preacher, and they will never have a preacher unless one is sent.” To a large extent, our instinct is correct because our priests are called in a special way to be shepherds and teachers of God’s people. Yet, that is a grossly incomplete picture of who a preacher is.

We gather together at Mass each day or each Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist and our pastor is ever there at his duty post to preach the word of God to us. We listen, offer our gifts and petitions and receive the Eucharist after which we dismissed with a mission to go into the world and sanctify it with the grace we have received from the Mass. Like Cleopas and his companion who did not remain in Jerusalem after their encounter of the risen Christ, we too are sent forth to go tell our brethren: “we have seen the Lord!”

Dear friend, you cannot truly encounter our Lord and keep it to yourself. Jesus calls you just as he called Andrew whom we celebrate today to be a “fisher of men.” He calls you to show the love, patience and mercy of God to those who surround you in your everyday life – at home, school, work, on the streets, at the pitch…everywhere. He calls you to preach the gospel in places where your priest is unlikely to get to through the witness of your life as well as through your words. Let us heed this call with joy. Let us take up the mission each day so that everyone we encounter will have the privilege of hearing the good news and believe in it unto salvation.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please help me to heed your call to be a missionary in my everyday life. Let my commitment to you be manifest in my way of living and bring others to encounter you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1304 – Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul and indelible spiritual mark, the “character,” which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Romans 10: 9-18; Psalm 19: 2-5; Mt 4: 18-22

SHARING JESUS’ INTEREST

Monday 21st September – Feast of St Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist

Reflection: Matthew 9: 9-13

SHARING JESUS’ INTEREST

“The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” ( 2 Peter 3: 8-9).

It is the loving desire of the Almighty God that none of us should perish. Though He abhors sin, He nevertheless constantly seeks the conversion of sinners. However, this is not done at the expense of our free will: “He who created you without your cooperation will not save you without your cooperation” – St. Augustine.

Dearest in Christ, the salvation of all is very paramount to our Lord. Today’s gospel reading calls us to examine our response to the conversion of unbelievers around us. Are we like the Pharisees who were so wrapped up in religious pomposity and self-righteousness that they would not attend to the needy souls around them but would rather seek discourage those who seek out these souls?  “Be separated from them” (2 Corinthians 6: 14-17) is what some erroneously quote to justify their uncharitable disposition to folks outside the fold. This is an ungodly disposition that does not in any way portray the way of Christ. Our separation should rather be to holiness and righteousness; love and truthfulness. It must never breed pride, hatred or prejudice in us. By the totality of our way of life, we are called to live by godly virtues.

Beloved in Christ, irrespective of your mission or apostolate within the church, let us heed the counsel of St. Paul in today’s first reading (Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13) to be better Christians. Though, none of us is perfect, we nevertheless must daily strive to evangelize both within and outside the church. The more we labour for the salvation of others, the better we ourselves are united to Christ.

PRAYER: Father, I give you my soul; please keep it for I cannot keep it outside of you. I give you my heart, please enflame it that it may burn for the conversion of souls for you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 588- … Against those among them “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others,” Jesus affirmed: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.

HIDE A TREASURE: “ And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like stars for ever and ever ( Daniel 12: 3 RSV-CE)

Today’s readings: Ephesians 4: 1-7, 11-13; Psalm 19:2-5; Matthew 9: 9-13

THE GOOD NEWS

Wednesday 2nd September- Wednesday of week 22 of the year

THE GOOD NEWS

LUKE 4:38-44

The “Good News” is a term we are all familiar with. Yet, have you really taken time to ponder on the meaning of those words? This phrase which appears in various places in scripture, explains fully what the whole message of our salvation is about. In today’s gospel reading, we see Jesus being so keen and zealous about preaching the Good News. The people tried to tie Him down and restrict Him but He resisted saying “I must preach the Good News about the Kingdom of God in other towns also, because that is what God sent me to do.” (Lk 4:43). Christ was committed to his ministry, this is the kind of commitment we are to have towards the work that God has assigned us to do here on earth. We are all called to preach the Good News. We are called to be “living Bibles’ that others can read.

Have you really experienced the goodness of the “News”? The Good News is the word of God and it indeed brings us good tidings. If we are not really experiencing this goodness we must then retreat and check if it is truly the “Good News” that we claim to believe. Or are we “unbelieving” believers? Believing in God’s word is all we need to be partakers of the “goodness” in the “news”. Preaching the Good News does not only involve the use of our mouths but also our action, acts done in love, just like Jesus healed all the sick persons that were brought to Him. That’s exactly what makes the “News” good – words backed by good works.

PRAYER: Father, let me not just be a preacher of the Word, let my whole life reflect the goodness of your Word. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC  571: “ The Paschal mystery of Christ’s cross and Resurrection stands at the center of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “And my teaching and message were not delivered with skillful words of human wisdom, but with convincing proof of the power of God’s Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:4

Today’s readings: Col.1:1-8; Ps.52:10-11; Lk.4:38-44.

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME

Wednesday 8th July- Wednesday of week 14 of the year

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME

Matthew 10:1-7

Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; rather go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the Kingdom of heaven is close at hand.” (Mt 10:5-7)

Christ the Son of God, came into the world to save all men, all nations, and all peoples, for this was His ultimate goal on earth. It was only necessary that our Blessed Lord begin the process of Salvation with His own people (the Isrealites; Isaiah 49:6); for charity they say, begins at home. The first explicit direction of Jesus to the Apostles to avoid the pagans does not imply that the rest of humanity were only an afterthought in His ministry. On the other hand, it shows how much God loves his own, for he does not want any one of his fold to be lost (Mt 18:14). A man who cannot put his own home in order, cannot be considered eligible to lead a community or group.

As humans we clamour for change; as youths we dream of a better world; as citizens we seek for justice and for a better society. Yet we fail to see unlike Jesus Christ that the greatest change we need is from within. Friends, let our desire for a better world start from us; Let us as exemplaries of Christ choose to be the change we desire, let the change start from our families,  our communities, our schools, our groups and together we can make the world a better place.

To change the world, all we need do is change ourselves.

Prayer: Lord help me to become the change I seek and help others to do what is right.  Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 305What are the three supernatural virtues

The supernatural virtues are faith, hope and charity. They are called “supernatural” because they have their foundation in God, are directly related to God, and are for us men the way by which we can reach God directly.

Hide a Treasure: “Hypocrite, take first the plank out of your own eye, then you will see clear enough to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 GNB

Today’s Reading: Genesis 41:55-57; 42:5-7, 17-24, Psalm 33:2-3. 10-11. 18-19, Matthew 10:1-7

KEEP WITNESSING

Saturday 11th April – Saturday in the Octave of Easter

Reflection: Acts 4:13-21

KEEP WITNESSING

It is not an easy task to speak for justice and truth in a world deep in falsehood and corruption. It is even more difficult to rejoice in the hope that Christ would return in glory to bring victory to those who have held on to him in the midst of the great suffering in this world. It is easy to say “I will be a Catholic till I die”, but it is really an uphill task to keep alive the fire of the Holy Spirit in daily Christian living. Witnessing to Christ in words and actions is however not impossible because we can trust in God’s grace to strengthen us.

Peter and John in today’s reading understood clearly that witnessing to the Christ is a call from the God. Hence, they refused to be dissuaded by the council’s order (Acts 4: 19-20). What is your reaction when you are persecuted for standing for truth? As a young person, your decision to strive for holiness will not go unnoticed. Members of your family, peers at school, in your neighbourhood or at your work place will notice that your life is different. Trials will come especially from those who filled threatened by you. Will you decide to give up in order to please them?

Dear Friend, God calls you to be His witness in a fallen world. Let your life proclaim Him and seek opportunities to share the joy of the good news with someone. Like the Peter and John, obey God rather than man!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, make me a faithful witness to your Resurrection, and when I face persecution, remind me that you are there with me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 354 – Can people be forced to believe in God?

No. No one may force others to believe, not even one’s own children, just as no one may be forced to be an unbeliever. A person can make the decision to believe only in complete freedom. Christians, however, are called to help other people, by word and example, to find the way to faith.

HIDE A REASURE: “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season”. 2 Timothy 4:2 RSV-CE.

Today’s Readings: Acts 4:13-21; Psalm 118:1, 14-21; Mark 16:9-15

IMITATING CHRIST

Sunday 22nd February – First Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Mark 1:12-15

IMITATING CHRIST

Consider the heroes of faith we read about in Scripture and in the Church’s tradition. What was their mission and purpose? Why did they have to battle against the world? These Heroes whom we look up to all lived for a single reason: the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Beloved, you and I are called to live out this same gospel in our own day and age.

Today’s reading gives us a schematic view of our Christian lives. Like Jesus, our mission begins at Baptism when become children of God. Yet, in order to live out our Christian calling and preach the good news effectively, we must be tried. As we overcome the daily temptations the devil throws at us, we can courageously proclaim Jesus’ message: “The Kingdom of God is near. Turn away from your sins and believe the Good News”. A disciple who is not ready to tread his master’s path can never become like his master. No Christian is exempted from this great commission (Mark 16:15) hence you and I cannot afford to be silent about it.

Christ’s temptation prepared Him for His ministry. To imitate Christ we must be courageous in the face of temptation and be spiritually alert so as to recognise and resist the devil’s tactics to derail us from the master’s path.  Let us never give up on God’s transforming power in the good news for as we preach it with sincerity and humility, we are transformed into what we preach.
Beloved, Lent offers us a wonderful opportunity to become more like Christ. Make use of every opportunity you have; in school, at work, on the internet, at family prayers, while hanging out with friends etc. to preach Christ, your hope of glory.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to become more like you in my words and deeds. Let your love consume me and compel me to preach the Good news. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 425: The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard”. And they invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith…” Romans 1:16 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Genesis 9:8-15; Psalm 25:4-9; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15