TREASURE WHAT YOU HAVE

Friday 26th February – Friday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 21: 33-46

TREASURE WHAT YOU HAVE

In this parable, the vineyard is the kingdom of God; the Jews, God’s chosen people are the tenants. God entrusted His kingdom to them. He guided them throughout the long span of history that they would be an example to others. They were to communicate their experience to others so that all would develop justice, and a spirit of responsibility. These were the fruits God wanted to harvest. God sent his prophets to remind them of their debts; but they ignored them. Finally, the only Son of God appeared as man but they cast Him out and killed Him. Consequently, the Kingdom was taken from them and given to others, those believers converted from other nations. Thus, through their disobedience the mercy of God came to the pagan nations (Romans 11:11-33).

We too as Christians have been entrusted with time, talents and treasures by God; He has given us the grace to dress the vineyard of our life with all He has blessed us with. He has given us all these to use for the betterment of our own lives and to help others. God has given us strength, vitality and ideas as youths to better our life, our environment and the world at large. Dear Friends, today God is reminding us of this duty, He is calling us bear fruits. He is calling us to recognize the resources He has entrusted to us and to value them. Can you recognize the talents God has given you? Can you recognize the grace God has given you to serve him in various capacities? How faithful are you with those God has placed under your care?

Remember, what we have is a gift from God, what we do with them is our own gift to God. What kind of gift are you offering back to God?

PRAYER: Lord, help me to recognize my treasures and to use them for your glory. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 203 – What is Confirmation?

Confirmation is the Sacrament that completes Baptism; in it the gift of the Holy Spirit is bestowed upon us. Anyone who freely decides to live a life as God’s child and asks for God’s Spirit under the signs of the imposition of hands and anointing with chrism receives the strength to witness to God’s love and might in word and deed. He is now a full-fledged, responsible member of the Catholic Church.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire” Matthew 7:19 CCB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 37:3-4, 12-28, Psalm 105:16-21; Matthew 21: 33- 46

BE FAITHFUL

Monday 23rd November – Monday of week 34 of the year

Reflection: Daniel 1: 1-6, 8-20

BE FAITHFUL

Each phase of life presents itself with its own peculiar challenges. The challenges one encounters as young child are quite different from the challenges encountered as a teenager and those presented as a young adult are different from those encountered as one grows to old age. In the midst of these varying challenges one important call is extended to us a Christians – the call to faithfulness. Irrespective of where we find ourselves, God calls us to be faithful to Him, trusting that He is able to take care of the challenges that assail us.

Daniel and his friends had been taken away from their native land to Babylon on exile. Though far away from their country, their faithfulness to the God of their fathers did not wane. Being in a pagan land presented to them the temptation of eating from the king’s table, food offered to idols. Indeed, all their fellow Jews were eating the king’s portion but Daniel “resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s rich food…” (Dan 1:8). What temptations does your present state of life present to you? Are you being pressured by your peers to “experiment” with sin? Do you find yourself contemplating sexual sin, exam malpractice, dishonesty etc?

Dear friend, just as God had a way out already for Daniel and his friends by granting them favour before the Eunuch in charge of them so also does he have a way out for you if only you truly resolve like them to be faithful to God. Do not let yourself be overwhelmed by the seeming difficulty of living a holy life. It is a constant call for us as Christians and God is ever willing to provide all the grace and help we need. Today, make a decision to be faithful to God come what may and rejoice in the peace that godliness brings.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please strengthen me especially in moments of temptation and decision making. Help me to be faithful to you and to pursue holiness in all things. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 525: What does it mean to say, “Lead us not into temptation?”

Because every day and every hour we are in danger of falling into sin and saying “No” to God, we beg God not to leave us defenceless in the power of temptation.

HIDE A TREASURE: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” Psalm 119:9 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Daniel 1: 1-6, 8-20; Daniel 3: 52-56 (Canticle); Luke21: 1-4

KINGLY PEOPLE

Sunday 22nd November – Solemnity of Christ the Universal King

Reflection: Apocalypse 1: 5-8

KINGLY PEOPLE

“Mine is not a kingdom of this world…” John 18:36

Our knowledge of kingship comes from our day to day encounter with royalty. The king is a highly regarded and feared person to whom all his subjects pay obeisance. His power is absolute and unquestionable and he is often “up there” disconnected from his subjects. It was this perception of kingship that Pilate bore in mind as He asked our Lord during his trial, “Are you the king of the Jews?” little did he know that much more than being the king of the Jews, Christ is the king of the whole world. It is this universal sovereignty that the Church calls us to reflect upon and celebrate today as she concludes her liturgical year.

What makes Christ’s kingship different from the worldly kingship? Frist, when James and John as well as the rest of the apostles seemed to be confused about this, Jesus took time to explain to them that unlike the rulers of this world, his kingship is one of servanthood. His is a priestly kingship that involves the sacrifice of his own life for his subjects (Mk 10: 42-45). In addition, while our worldly rulers hold tightly to their power, Jesus shares His with us. Much more than being His subjects, Christ calls us to be his brothers and share in his reign. “He has made us a line of kings, priests to serve his God and Father” (Rev 1:6).

Dear friends, you and I have the highest privilege – that of belong to the King of Kings. How much obeisance do you pay to him? Does your way of life portray allegiance to Jesus the universal king or to the devil, the enemy of your soul? Do you live by His heavenly standards or by the standards of this world? We have been washed with the precious blood of the Lamb and consecrated to be kings and priests. Let us make a commitment today to die to our own selves – to our selfishness and pride for the sake of our salvation and those of others.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we celebrate your universal Kingship today. Please rule in my heart and affairs always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 520 – What does it mean to say, “Thy kingdom come”?

When we pray, “Thy kingdom come”, we call for Christ to come again, as he promised, and for God’s reign, which has already begun here on earth to prevail definitively”

HIDE A TREASURE: “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Rev 1:5-6 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Dan 7: 13-14; Ps 93: 1-2, 5; Apoc 1: 5-8; Jn 18: 33-37

FAITHFUL SERVANTS

Tuesday 10th November – Memorial of St Leo the Great, Pope & Doctor

Reflection: Luke 17: 7-10

FAITHFUL SERVANTS

The desire for self-glorification is an innate feature of the human person. We desire to be recognized and appreciated for whatever good we do and we can easily become proud when we think have made an achievement. Jesus was very much aware of this when he reminded His disciples that a servant does not receive praise from his master when He has simply done his duty.

Our catechism teaches us that God made us to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him in the next. We should never lose sight of this call to be servants of God. Our wonderful privilege as adopted sons is a true and unique one. Yet, just as a good child is obedient to his parent and carries out the errands he is sent so also we must be willing to faithfully serve God as his beloved children.

Has God blessed you with a talent, wealth or a position, use it to honour Him. Look around you today. In what way is God calling you to serve Him? Humbly and joyfully put yourself at the service of your brothers and sisters and say in the end, “we are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.”

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help to be your faithful servant in everything I do. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 375 – How is authority exercised correctly?

Authority is exercised properly when it is understood according to Jesus’ example as service. It must never be arbitrary.

HIDE A TREASURE: “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” 1 Cor 4:1 RSV-CE

NO SERVANT CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS

Saturday 7th November – Saturday of week 31 of the year

Reflection: Luke 16: 9-15

NO SERVANT CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS

St Paul, in his letter to Timothy says “No soldier in service gets entangled with civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him” (2 Tim 2:4). Faithfulness is a great gift; yet it is a virtue that is lacking amongst many of us today. Jesus says in today’s gospel reading: “If you are unfaithful with unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you true riches?”

Faithfulness cannot be partial; it is either “all” or “nothing”. How faithful are you to the gifts and blessings that God has entrusted to you? How faithful are you to commitments you have made to both man and God? Are you faithful in your dealings and relationships with fellow men or are you lacking in faithfulness? Today’s first reading gave an account of people who were faithful to their call in their own little way to the spread of the Gospel, they were great men and women who gave their input faithfully and were reckoned with. What can people say about your faithfulness and what can God say about your faithfulness? Is there a disparity in both recommendations? (Lk 16:15)

Today, God calls on you – John, Anthony, Justina, Charles, Theresa, Lucy, Chrisitiana…every one of us. He calls on us to live the faith so as to attain perfection. (Mt 5:48). Will you answer His call today?

PRAYER: Lord, please create in me a new heart that is committed and faithful to you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 543 – The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I have chosen the way of faithfulness, I set your ordinances before me.” Psalm 119:30 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Romans 16: 3-9, 16, 22-27; Psalm 144: 2-5, 10-11; Lk 16: 9-15

SEEKING TRUE BLESSINGS

Thursday 8th October – Thursday of week 27 of the year

Reflection: Malachi 3: 13-20

SEEKING TRUE BLESSINGS

The picture painted in today’s first reading mirrors the situation in our country today. Like the prophet said “…we have reached the point when we call the arrogant blessed; yes, they prosper, these evil-doers; they try God’s patience and yet go free.” (Mal 3:15). Corruption has become the order of the day and shows itself in a variety of ways, ranging from exam malpractice and “buying” of marks amongst young people and giving out bribes in order to get a gainful employment to the massive embezzlement of public funds by government officials that has crippled our economy and hindered development in our nation.

It has become a norm for students to seek out “expo” for exams and many have lost the desire for learning and the quest for knowledge that education brings. The temptation to join in this evil act reaches its peak when we see the apparent “success” of those who engage in such malpractice while the honest students struggle to barely pass the exams. Are we going to sacrifice our Christian faith because of the difficulty inherent in swimming against the tide of evil? Are we going to give up on our quest for holiness and join our counterparts in doing evil?

God reminds us today that true blessing is found not in wealth and success obtained through unrighteous means; rather true blessing comes from God and is reserved for those who truly fear Him. True blessings are for those whose names are written in God’s book of remembrance – those who fear Him and take refuge in His name (Mal 3:16). While worldly success offers transient happiness, true blessings bring lasting joy both in this world and for eternity. Beloved, make a decision today to follow the path of righteousness. Put your best into your studies and work and trust God with all your heart and like He has promised in today’s Psalm, “you will be like a tree planted by rivers of water, that yields its fruit in due season…and all that you do shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3)

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please strengthen me to follow the path of righteousness always and not be influence by the evil around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 455What does it mean to be truthful?

Truthfulness means that one acts sincerely and speaks honestly. The truthful individual guards against double-dealing, misrepresentation, malicious deception, and hypocrisy. The worst form of untruthfulness is perjury.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.” Malachi 4:2 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Malachi 3: 13-20; Psalm 1: 1-6; Luke 11: 5-13

MAKE GOD YOUR CHOICE TODAY

Friday 21st August – Memorial of St Pius X, Pope

Reflection: Ruth 1: 1-6, 14-16, 22

MAKE GOD YOUR CHOICE TODAY

During the exchange of vows in holy matrimony, the couple chooses to stick with and love each other totally; through everything and with everything. In the presence of God and the Church; two people are joined and become one by choice and it might be right to say; that would be the second most important decision of their lives; second to only one decision – the decision to follow Christ. Have you made this most important choice?

In today’s first reading, Ruth had every justification to return to her people and her gods. But she chose to endure the famine with Naomi, her elderly widowed mother-in-law who had lost her sons. The death of Ruth’s husband did not make her rethink her commitment to him and that led her to an even greater choice: She chose to serve the living God even in hardship. Thus, becoming a model for us Christians.

Christ’s arms are always open to receive us as His children. He has made the ultimate sacrifice for us by His own freewill; giving up His life for our salvation. If we were baptised as infants, our parents made a choice of faith for us. Yet, after the age of reason, the Church offers us the opportunity to renew our baptismal vows and pledge our allegiance to God over and over again. Have we made the firm choice to love God with our whole hearts and follow Christ come what may? Ruth made the choice for the God of Israel and became privileged to be the great grandmother of King David and one of the only three women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ. Make God your choice today and see the great things He is willing to do through you.

PRAYER: Lord, give me strength to stick with you come what may. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 25 Why does the faith require definitions and formulas?

Faith is not about empty words but about reality. In the Church, condensed formulas of faith developed over the course of time; with their help we can contemplate, express, learn, hand on, celebrate, and live out this reality.

HIDE A TREASURE: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life that you and your descendants may live, loving Yahweh, listening to his voice, and being one with him. In this is life for you and length of days in the land which Yahweh swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: Ruth 1:1.3-6.14-16.22; Psalm 146:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40