OUR ULTIMATE CALL

Friday 24th March – Friday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Mark 12:28-34

OUR ULTIMATE CALL

When we think of the word “Love” we often look at it in the context of feelings. Loving someone could easily amount in our thinking, to having nice feelings and emotions towards the person. While love certainly does involve emotions, it is much more than that. It is simply a decision to will the good of the other person without thinking of any benefits to oneself. We love for the sake of the other.

It is only as we examine love in this context that we can truly embrace the first commandment as Christ clearly expresses it today: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength…” We love God not because of the gifts He gives us but just because He is God, our creator, our source of life. Our love for God is a call to obedience to Him. It is a call to hold on to his commands, regardless of what the world around us calls us to.

Our love for God also directly calls us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Our ultimate call as Christians is that of unconditional love. It is a call to find God in the least of our brethren, in our enemies, in societies outcasts and to love them for whom they are: precious children of God. Beloved, let us turn to the Lord today and ask Him for renewed grace so that we may truly love God by living in obedience to him and love our brethren regardless of how difficult it may be to do so.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please pour out your love into my heart today. Let me look up to the cross and be reminded that love means total self-giving. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 351 – Aren’t the Ten Commandments outmoded?

No, the Ten Commandments are by no means the product of a particular time. They express man’s fundamental obligations toward God and neighbor, which are always and everywhere valid.

Hide a Treasure: “But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1 John 3:17 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Hosea 14: 2-10; Ps 81: 6-11, 14, 17; Mk 12: 28-34;

A PLEASING PENANCE 2: NO FOUL TALK!

Saturday 4th March – Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Reflection: Isaiah 58: 9-14

A PLEASING PENANCE 2: NO FOUL TALK!

Yesterday, our reflection centred on the need to please God with our penance. Today, we will continue this reflection, focusing on our “words”. God continues His message about a pleasing penance with the words: “if you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist, the wicked word…your light will rise in the darkness, and your shadows become like noon” (Is 58: 9). Hence, you and I are called to focus not only on our actions this season of penance but also on our words.

A Yoruba adage states that “words are like an egg”, hence just as a broken egg can’t be gathered again, the words we speak can never be withdrawn. Thus we need to examine our thoughts before speaking. Many young people habitually use abusive and disrespectful words on each other. Whether as a joke, a reaction in anger or by engaging in gossip, the use of foul words are unbecoming of us as children of God. Christ tells you and I that we would be required to account for every foul word we speak (Mt 12:36). That should put us on our toes in guarding our words.

Today, make a commitment to examine every word you say. Choose to speak kindly to others and to desist from gossip every day throughout Lent. Ask for God’s mercy each time you recognise your failure in this regard and for the grace to be kind and gentle especially with your words.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please forgive me for the times I have spoken wrongly to others. Strengthen me this season to resist every temptation to gossip or use abusive words. Amen.

Faith Pearls: CCC 2507 – Respect for the reputation and honour of persons forbids all detraction and calumny in word or attitude.

Hide a Treasure: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one.” Colossians 4:6 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 58: 9-14; Psalm 86: 1-6; Luke 5: 27-32

 

GRACE IS ALL YOU NEED

Sunday 7th February – 5th Sunday of the year

Reflection: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

GRACE IS ALL YOU NEED

St. Paul reckoned his ministry as an effect of God’s immense grace. He knew how empty he would be without God’s grace upon his life. To crown it all, he had entrusted his entire being to it knowing fully well of its power and effect. How have you entrusted yourself to God’s grace? Do you have a substitute for his grace? This can be your knowledge, your beauty, your friend, or even your wealth. So many have left the pathway of grace because everything in life seems to be going well for them. What about you? How well do you see the hand of God at work in your success and in all your endeavors. Do you even consider the mind of God before taking any decision?

Beloved in Christ, the grace of God gives lasting freedom from self-glorification. It humbles an individual and permeates the individual with an ever powerful effect of Gods strength. It has nothing to do with your weakness but it turns all your pain in gain. God’s word to St Paul in 2 Cor. 12:9a is also for us today: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak”. We too can have been called by God today to embrace his mercy and grace so as to be effective and fruitful in life.

Let us approach the throne of grace in prayer today, asking God to pour out his grace on us that we may become faithful witnesses to his presence and power among us and his call to redemption.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Pour out your grace upon my life. Your Grace is all I need. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 339 – What does God’s grace do to us?

God’s grace brings us into the inner life of the Holy Trinity, into the exchange of love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It makes us capable of living in God’s love and of acting on the basis of this love.

 

HIDE A TREASURE: “But by God’s grace I am who I am, and the grace that he gave me was not without effect” 1Cor. 15:10 GNB

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 6:1-2a. 3-8; Psalm 138:1-8; 1 Cor.15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11

HOW GREAT IS GOD’S GRACE?

Sunday 12th July- 15th Sunday of the year

HOW GREAT IS GOD’S GRACE?

Reflection: Ephesians 1:3-14

“Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church.” CCC 2003

God’s grace is the unmerited favour we receive from Him regardless of our physical and spiritual status. His grace over our lives is so great and beyond our imagination. Can you ever imagine a father sending His only son to a world of sin and wickedness to die for the salvation of souls? It was by the fullness of God’s grace that we were created in God’s image and now we can be called sons and daughters of God through Jesus Christ (Eph 1:5). He has also blessed us with every spiritual blessing so that we can grow to the status He desires for us since this is his purpose for our existence.

So then, beloved in Christ, just as St. Paul said in Romans (6:14) “sin must not be your master; for you do not live under law but under God’s grace”. This is the time for us to choose to stay away from all forms of sin and unite ourselves to the father, for with him we have no cause to worry; his grace is ever sufficient. Always remember the words of the lord in 2corinthians 12:9 that says “my grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak”.

PRAYER: Father, I ask for the grace to follow, to stay away from sin and remain connected to you. Amen .

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 339What does God’s grace do to us?   

God’s grace brings us into the inner life of the Holy Trinity, into the exchange of love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It makes us capable of living in God’s love and of acting on the basis of this love.                                                          
Hide a treasure: Surely he is ready to save those who honour him, and his saving presence will remain in our land. Psalm 85:9 GNB

Today’s Readings: Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85:9-10,11-12,13-14; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13

THE FULLNESS OF GOD’S GRACE

Sunday 5th July – 14th Sunday of the year

THE FULLNESS OF GOD’S GRACE

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

The recognition of the grace of God in the life of Apostle Paul made him to boast gladly of his weakness, for God had said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, that “Grace is a participation in the life of God” (CCC no.1997); and the word Grace should be used in our daily lives because we live in grace. It is grace below us, above us, before us, behind us and beside us. It is grace in which we stand. This marvelous word refers to divine favor, to divine blessing, to divine benefit. It refers to that which God has given to us in Christ not because we earned it or deserved it, but because He willed to give it. And all of God’s gifts to His children are given by grace, as grace itself is a gift of God. Everything we have in our salvation from beginning to the end is by grace.

Many of us Christians do not recognize that what we are today is not by our power, it is by the grace of God. That is why St Paul would say, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain” (1Corinthians.15:10). Like St Paul, we also must acknowledge that; it is grace that saves us, sanctifies us, gives us understanding of the Word of God, gives us wisdom to apply it, gives us the power to overcome temptation and allows us to obey the Lord. It is grace that enables us to serve and to minister, that carries us through suffering with endurance, lifts us above disappointment and pain. That is why this grace is called the surpassing grace of God in you… 2 Corinthians 9:14.

Dear friends, what a profound promise of God that his grace is available to us. Pray for this grace of God today and open your heart to God and allow him to bestow his abundant grace on you, so that you may experience the joy of his grace in all that you do.

PRAYER– Almighty Father, grant us always the help of your grace, so that with your grace in our lives may we never be in lack of your goodness, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2000what is sanctifying grace?

Sanctifying grace is an habitual, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But by God’s grace I am what I am; and the grace that he gave me was not without effect…” 1 Cor 15:10 GNB

Today’s Reading’s: Ez 2:2-5; Ps123: 1-2.3-4; 2Cor 12: 7-10; Mk 6:1-6

MAKING THE MOST OF WHAT YOU HAVE

Saturday 16th May – Saturday of the 6thweek of Eastertide

Reflection: Acts 18: 23-28

MAKING THE MOST OF WHAT YOU HAVE

It is an irony of life that the little a man has and considers as an excuse for failure is all another man grabs to give an amazing success story. Surely, the mind that dwells in failure will always find more than enough reasons for its sustenance. If we would truly manifest as sons and daughters of God; if we are to position ourselves for greater blessings of God, we must start maximizing the seemingly little opportunities and privileges we have in life.

In today’s first reading, amidst the many positive attributes mentioned of Apollos, there was something of special interest about him: “he had only experienced the baptism of John.” John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance (Acts 19: 4), it did not confer the sacramental grace of a new birth which the baptism of water and the Spirit instituted by Christ does. (John 3: 3-7; Matthew 28:19, CCC 720). Little wonder St. Paul considered it necessary to later baptise Apollos and his colleagues though they were already participating in the activities of the Church (Acts 19: 1-6). Before Apollos’ proper initiation, into the family of God, through the Sacrament of Baptism he had fully disposed himself to the service of God. He was fully maximizing the grace available to him by his acceptance of the Good news!

Beloved, have you been baptised? Have you received the sacrament of confirmation? Do you partake in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ? How well are you making the most of the indispensible graces received in these sacraments? Let us this day do away with the myriad of excuses we often give and begin to maximise the opportunities and privileges we have in life. It is only by doing this that we can prove ourselves ripe for greater upliftment in life.

PRAYER: For all you have given me, I say thank you Jesus. For the privileges I have wasted, I ask for your mercy. Strengthen me oh Lord that I may cooperate with You to make the most of all that You have blessed me with! Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1131 – The sacraments are efficacious sings of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” Galatians 6:7 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Acts 18: 23-28; Psalm 47: 2-3, 8-10; John 16: 23-28

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