DO NOT BE AFRAID

Wednesday 6th January – Wednesday after Epiphany Sunday

Reflection: Mark 6: 45-52

DO NOT BE AFRAID

Bible scholars have said that the most commonly repeated phrase in the entire Bible is “fear not” or “do not be afraid.” This phrase is said to occur 365 times in the Bible; and many have interpreted this as a daily admonition from our Blessed God to us not to be fearful. Certainly we would go through some life situations that will stretch our faith and threaten our stability, but our good shepherd is reminding us this day that we can always trust His loving kindness and abiding grace to transform our situation for good (Isaiah 43: 1-2; Romans 8: 28).

Today’s gospel presents us with an account of a turbulent sail experienced by the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though this journey was embarked on at the instance our Lord; nevertheless, it was not trouble free (Mark 6:48). Dearest in Christ, does this experience of Christ’s disciples describe your present situation? Christ is saying – “Courage….do not be afraid” (Mark 6: 50).

There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear (1 John 4:18). The courage Christ calls us to is realised in nothing but a deep awareness of the great love of God for us. He who freely offered Himself on the cross for us is more than able to grant us all that is good for the fulfilment of our purpose here on earth and ultimately the salvation of our soul. Beloved, let us trust in the infinite love of God above our life’s challenges. This is a sure panacea for fear and worry if truly we have fully yielded our lives to Christ.

PRAYER- Lord Jesus, I trust in your love for me. Please fill me with your joy and peace. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH – What does God show us about himself when he sends his Son to us?

God shows us in Jesus Christ the full depth of his merciful love.

Through Jesus Christ the invisible God becomes visible. He becomes a man like us. This shows us how far God’s love goes: He bears our whole burden. He walks every path with us. He is there in our abandonment, our sufferings, our fear of death. He is there when we can go no farther, so as to open up for us the door leading into life.

HIDE A TREASURE – “Those who trust in the lord are like mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides for ever.” Psalm 125:1 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings – 1 John 4:11-18; Psalm 72: 1-2, 10-13; Mark 6:45-52

FOCUSING ON THE “WHEN”

Tuesday 24th November – Memorial of SS Andrew Dung-Lac & his

Companions, Martyrs

Reflection: Luke 21: 5-11

FOCUSING ON THE “WHEN”

Quite often I hear comments on how close the end of the world is, considering the difficulties faced by the modern world – wars, natural disasters, terrorism, extreme poverty, godlessness, immorality etc. Our preoccupation is very much like that of Christ’s audience in today’s gospel reading: “when…what are the signs?” They wanted to know when these things would take place so as to prepare beforehand but Jesus’ emphasis was different – His emphasis was on their constant preparedness.

Beloved, whether or not we can read the signs of the end of time is insignificant compared to the hard truth that stares at us in the face each day – our own personal lives can end at any time. We certainly have been taken aback by the sudden death of friends and loved ones. These deaths remind us that ours too can come at any time. Yet, far from keeping us in the fear of death, these reminders of our end should help us put life into proper perspective and that is what the Church calls us to do at Advent which is fast approaching.

Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the first reading showed that God would set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed. We have the privilege through our Baptism to be children of God, heirs to his kingdom. Let us live up to our baptismal promises and put to use the various means of sanctification the Church offers us in our daily lives. As we do this, we would focus not on the “when” of our end but on living a life of constant union with God here on earth.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the gift of my faith and for incorporating me into God’s kingdom through your death. Please help me to live each day as your true ambassador. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 543 – Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. Frist announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word: 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 own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by Him without spot or blemish and at peace” 2 Peter 3:14 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Daniel 2:31-45; Dan 3: 57-61 (canticle); Lk 21: 5-11

FEAR NOT

Friday 16th October Friday of week 28 of the year

Reflection: Luke 12:1-7

FEAR NOT

What does leaven have to do with hypocrisy?  To the Jews leaven was a sign of evil.  It was a piece of dough from left-over bread which fermented. Fermentation was associated with putrefaction.  Why did Jesus warn his disciples to avoid the ways of the Pharisees? The Pharisees were good at looking religious while harboring evil intentions. The word hypocrite means actor, someone who pretends what he is not. But who can be good, but God alone? Hypocrisy thrives on making a good appearance and masking what we don’t want others to see.  The good news is that God’s light both exposes the darkness of evil and sin and overcomes hatred with love, pride with humility, and pretense with integrity and truthfulness. God gives grace to the humble and contrite of heart to enable us to overcome the leaven of insincerity and hypocrisy in our lives.

What does fear have to do with the kingdom of God? Fear is a powerful force. It can lead us to flight or panic or it can spur us to faith and action. The fear of God is the antidote to the fear of losing one’s life. I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. ..O fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want! Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 34:4.9.11) What is godly fear? It is reverence for the One who made us in love and who sustains us in mercy and kindness.  The greatest injury or loss which we can experience is not physical but spiritual — the loss of one’s soul to the power of hell.  A healthy fear of God leads to spiritual maturity, wisdom and right judgment and it frees us from the tyranny of sinful pride, cowardice; especially in the face of evil and spiritual deception.  Do you trust in God’s grace and mercy and submit to his word?

PRAYER: Lord, your perfect love casts out fear.  Give me a passion for your word and for your righteousness and a resolute hatred for sin.  Help me to cast aside anything which would hinder full union with you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1831: The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: Romans 4:1-8; Ps 32:1-2, 5, 11; Luke 12:1-7

DO NOT BE SILENCED BY FEAR

Friday 15 May – Friday of the 6thweek of Eastertide

Reflection: Acts 18: 9-18

DO NOT BE SILENCED BY FEAR

How many times as students have we been asked questions by our teachers for which we possibly had correct answers but were unsure of ourselves and rather choose to be quiet? It pains deeply when we see a more courageous classmate speak up and we discover that we would have been right had we dared speak. At such times, we have been silenced by fear!

Today’s first reading presents us with the Lord’s warning to St. Paul: “Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you.” Beloved in Christ, how tight is the grip of fear on You? How readily do you allow your noble ideas and initiatives to be paralysed by the fear of failure, the fear of men or fear of the future? Though we might have genuine reasons for concern at some points in life, we need not allow our progress to be crippled by the fear of the unknown. Purposeful living demands a good deal of courage and more importantly, as Christians, we need to trust in the God at all times (Hebrews 11:6; James 1: 6-8).

Dearest friend, let us this day ask the Lord for the grace to give voice to our noble convictions; to give action to our worthwhile aspirations; to live by faith and not in fear, so that we may know the joy of meaningful living.

Prayer: Oh Lord, fill my heart with faith and love! Please liberate me from every imprisonment of fear and grant me the faith and courage to embrace the life You have called me to live. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 162 – Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man…..To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 18: 9-18; Psalm 47: 2-7; John 16:20-23