RECOGNIZING THE NEEDS OF OTHERS

Tuesday 5th January – Tuesday after Epiphany Sunday

Reflection: Mark 6: 34-44

RECOGNIZING THE NEEDS OF OTHERS

One of the cardinal attributes of a loving person is his or her ability to recognise and respond to the needs of others even when his or her assistance is yet to be sought. This is a virtue that is most needed in our time when many of us are so caught up in advancing our own interests that we easily fail to appreciate and possibly give a helping hand to the needy around us even when it is in our ability to do so.

Much as today’s first reading expressly calls us to a renewed expression of love for our neighbours; Christ in today’s gospel reading goes to show us a practical demonstration of this. Reading from verse 30 of the gospel reading, we would see that our Lord Jesus Christ with His disciples sought to have some rest ( after much ministration) before they were met by the crowd at the sea shore. Despite this, out of His love, he saw to both the spiritual and physical needs of the crowd that sought after Him.

As we journey through this year, an inevitable fact is that we would be faced by different needs at different points in time. However, our ability to care for the needs of our neighbour when it is in our power to do so, despite having our personal challenges goes a long way to affirm the genuineness of our faith. Dearest in Christ, let us make that commitment to being of help to at least someone each day of this year and we would be surprised at how God will bless us in return ( Proverbs 11:25; Luke 6: 36).

PRAYER- Please grant me oh Lord a compassionate and generous heart that I may be of help to my neighbours in need! Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH – What significance do the poor have for Christians?

Love for the poor must be in every age the distinguishing mark of Christians. The poor deserve not just a few alms; they have a claim to justice. For Christians there is a special obligation to share their goods. Our example in love for the poor is Christ.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3) – that is the first sentence in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. There is material, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual poverty. Christians must look after the needy of this earth with great consideration, love, and perseverance. After all, on no other point will they be evaluated by Christ so decisively as on their way of treating the poor: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”

HIDE A TREASURE – “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5: 7 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings – 1 John 4: 7-10; Psalm 72: 1-4, 7-8; Mark 6: 34-44

GIVE CHEERFULLY

Tuesday 26th May – Memorial of St Philip Neri, Priest

Reflection: Sirach 35:1-12

GIVE CHEERFULLY

From time to time, telecommunication companies advertise a promotion with prizes worth millions of naira and attract many Nigerians to participate at a token. Hence, the company gains millions of Naira in the process of giving out some. The contemporary world understands that without giving we cannot truly possess anything. For what really belongs to us is what we give out to others rather than what we hold on to.

Christ tells us: “Give and it will be given to you, …good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.” (Luke 6:38-39). This, He reminds Peter of in today’s gospel reading when Peter wondered what reward they would have for leaving everything to follow Him (Mark 10:28-31). Hannah gave up Samuel, her only child to the Lord in fulfilment of her promise. In return, God gave her five more children though she only asked for one (1Samuel 2:21).

Dear friend, realizing that our “God is a good rewarder who will reward us seven times over,” (Sirach 2:11) we are called to honour the Lord with generosity and not stint when we bring our gifts before the Lord. Give to the Lord as He has given to you, generously and cheerfully as your means can afford. Give to the Lord the best of your gifts in appreciation of His goodness to you and He will surely bless you more as He did for Hannah. Never think you are too young to give to God. Give the Lord your time, your treasure and your talents and you will lay up blessings for your life and future.

PRAYER: Lord, help me understand that it is in giving that I can receive and help me to be more generous with what you have given me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 488Why should we thank God?

Everything that we are and have comes from God. Paul says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). Being grateful to God, the giver of all good things, makes you happy.

HIDE A TREASURE: “What have you that you have not received? And if you received it, why are you so proud, as If you did not receive it” 1 Corinthians 4:7 CCB

Today’s Readings: Sirach 35:2-15, Psalm 50: 5-8, 14, 23, Mark 10: 28-31

LOVE IS SACRIFICIAL


Wednesday 15th April – Wednesday of the 2nd week of Eastertide

Reflection: John 3: 16-21

LOVE IS SACRIFICIAL

There is truth in the saying: “we can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.” How much of ourselves we are willing to part with is one of the cardinal tests of the depth of our love.

Today’s gospel reading shows the depth of God the Father’s love for us His creatures: “…God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life.”
Dear friend, we all claim to love God and our neighbor but how truly sacrificial is our love? Do we simply profess to love God because we need Him to answer our prayers? How much of our treasure can we freely give to His service? Genuine love is not self seeking.

As we go about our activities this day, let us keep in mind that there will be times when love will place demands on us. Occasions will arise when we need to jettison our own interest in other to meet the needs of others. At those times, let us not fail the test of love; let us exercise the needed sacrifice. This is an important proof of our discipleship.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please grant me the grace to pay the needed sacrifice that my love for You and my neighbour demands from me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2447 – The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting, are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently…giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” 1 John 3: 16-17 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 5: 17-26; Psalm 34: 2-9; John 3: 16-21

CUSTODIAN OF GOD’S TREASURES

Tuesday 14th April – Tuesday of the 2nd week of Eastertide

Reflection: Acts 4: 32-37

CUSTODIAN OF GOD’S TREASURES

“Fingers are not equal” goes a popular saying. Though we all bear equal dignity as people created in the image and likeness of God, we certainly do not share equal opportunities and privileges in life. Fortune smiles on us to different degrees, as our success in life is not solely dependent on hard work. A proper understanding of the purpose of wealth only comes with its acknowledgement as God’s benevolence. Otherwise, man becomes egocentric, self centered and greedy.

Dear friend, there is much for us Christians of today to learn from the spiritual maturity of the early believers. Today’s first reading presents us with an uncommon demonstration of love and solidarity amongst them: “the whole group of believers was united, heart and soul, no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common. None of their members was ever in want.” (Acts 4:32, 34). They were sensitive to the needs of one another. They saw themselves as stewards; custodians of the treasures given to them by God and were ready to part with them for the good of their brothers and sisters. Little wonder they experienced the great power of God (Acts 4: 33; 5:12).

Beloved, how sensitive are you to the needs of your brothers and sisters in the Lord? Does our claim to be one family in Christ really go beyond mere words? None of us should claim not to have something to share. It is not all about money or property; how about our time and talents? Genuine love seeks out ways to alleviate the needs of others. Let us remember, it is giving that we receive. The more we bless others, the more we are blessed.

PRAYER: Lord, deliver me from all selfish inclination and grant me a truly loving and liberal heart.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 131 – What must we do for the unity of Christians?

In word and deed we must obey Christ, who expressly wills “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21).

HIDE A TREASURE: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Acts 4: 32-37; Psalm 93: 1-2, 5; John 3: 7-15

CHEERFUL GIVING

Monday 24th November – Memorial of Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions, Martyrs

Reflection: Luke 21: 1-4

CHEERFUL GIVING

Cheerful giving denotes the act of giving with joy despite the sacrifice required of the giver. We can only give cheerfully when we trust that God is able to supply our needs. In today’s Gospel reading, the poor widow put two copper coins into the treasury and what was Jesus reaction? Jesus said she had put in more than the rich who gave out of the abundance they had because she had given all she had – 100%.

The more sacrifice our act of giving requires of us, the more blessings we obtain from God. The only prerequisite for “giving” is “having” and not “having excess”. We need not wait till we have all the money in the world before we cultivate the habit of giving cheerfully. How much we give may not matter as much as our attitude towards giving. For our giving to yield blessings, we are to give cheerfully and generously, trusting that God is able to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).

How many times have you and I failed to give cheerfully and generously out of the fear that we will not have enough for tomorrow? Let us ask God for mercy for our failure to trust Him at those moments and commit ourselves to cheerful giving trusting that we shall lack nothing good.

PRAYER: Holy Father, please take away all fears from me. Help me to be willing always to share the beautiful gifts I receive from you each day. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 449 – What significance do the poor have for Christians?

Love for the poor must be in every age the distinguishing mark of Christians. The poor deserve not just a few alms; they have a claim to justice. For Christians there is a special obligation to share their goods. Our example in love for the poor is Christ.

HIDE A TREASURE: “God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Revelation 14:1-5; Psalm 24:1-6; Luke 21:1-4

 

THE SACRIFICE FOR PERFECTION

Monday 18th August – Monday of week 20 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 19:16-22

THE SACRIFICE FOR PERFECTION

In today’s gospel reading Christ calls us to a state of perfection which demands total renunciation of ourselves. In order to attain this state, there is need for us to be totally detached from all our earthly gains and readily embrace God’s commands at all times. Regardless of how rich we may be, we must recognise that we are custodians of God’s blessings and must always be willing to share with the needy around us. Today, many Christians attach too much importance to worldly gains at the expense of their heavenly pursuit just like the young man in today’s Gospel reading.

When we deny our neighbours in need the opportunity of benefiting from God’s goodness to us, we are clearly saying to God that we cannot be trusted with the fleeting riches of this world (Luke 16:11). Invariably, there is limit to what God can commit to our trust. Inability to share is the root cause of persistent lack in some Christian’s life. It is in giving that we receive (Luke 6:38); it is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life (Luke 9:23; John 12: 24-25). The more we walk in love, the better we grow in perfection. Sincere love is indeed sacrificial (1 John 3:16-18).

Let us examine ourselves today! Are we making loving sacrifices that make for perfection? Are we holding too tightly to earthly treasures that we are forgoing that of heaven? Today, the Lord is asking you and I to reconsider our priorities, to be more generous with the goods of this world. As we wholeheartedly dedicate our entire lives and all that we have to God, we will each day grow in perfection and the attainment of heaven will be our ultimate reward.

PRAYER: Heavenly father, I pray today that I may have the wisdom to create the right attitude towards the wealth and riches you have given me; that these earthly gains will not constitute a hindrance my quest for heaven. Amen.

HIDE A TREASURE: Respect your father and your mother; and love your neighbour as you love yourself. Matthew 19:19 GNB

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 62- Are we all supposed to become “saints”?

Yes. The purpose of our life is to be united with God in love and to correspond entirely to God’s wishes. We should allow God “to live his life in us” (Mother Teresa). That is what it means to be holy: a “saint”.

Readings for today: Ezekiel 24:15-24; Deuteronomy 32:18-21; Matthew 19:16-22