DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

Friday 11th March – Friday of the 4th week of Lent

Reflection: Wisdom 2: 1, 12-22

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

The disciples were first called “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26). This name which means “followers of Christ” was given to this new religious sect whose preaching, life and example was very much like that of Christ. Indeed as Christians, were called to be followers of Christ and the way we live our lives is the real proof as to whether or not we are Christ’s followers. As Christians, we are called to live a life that is different from that of the world around us. We are to live in holiness and in obedience to God. Indeed Christ tells us “though you are IN the world, you are not OF the world”.

Our Christian faith does not call us to live on our own, separated from other human beings; instead it invites us to live our calling wherever we find ourselves. Our lives are to be shining lights, showing unbelievers the way to salvation and peace. Today’s reading shows us that the life of a Christian is continually a challenge to unbelievers. They see something higher than themselves. While they are pushed around by their sinful lusts and desires, the self mastery of the Christian speaks volumes to them, bringing condemnation on them.

Dear friend, does your life speak of your relationship with Christ? As young people, let us submit ourselves to Jesus and to the working of the Holy Spirit in us. Let us make a decision to live out our faith, even in the face of persecution from friends and classmates. Once we desire holiness, and strive for it, we will be surprised at how God will pour His grace upon us so that we can truly live for Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help me to live for you and let my life we be a source of evangelization to those around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 347 Why is “not practicing what you preach” such a serious deficiency in a Christian?

Agreement between one’s life and one’s witness is the first requirement for proclaiming the Gospel. Not practicing what you profess is therefore HYPOCRISY, a betrayal of the Christian duty to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers and example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” 1 Timothy 4:12 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Wisdom 2: 1, 12-22; Psalm 34: 16-23; John 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30

DECORATING THE INSIDE

Sunday 20th December – 4th Sunday of Advent

Reflection: Hebrews 10: 5-10

DECORATING THE INSIDE

 “And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ” Heb 10:10

Christmas is very much in the air. The streets are decorated, Christmas songs are being played and we all are preparing in various ways for the celebration of the Lord’s birth. Travel preparations and shopping for clothes and food items are in top gear and everyone is looking forward to the celebrations that end each year. It is great to look forward to Christmas with all the external preparations yet, we all run the risk of focussing so much on them that we lose the internal preparation that the Church has been calling us to through the past three weeks.

As we begin the 4th week of Advent, take a moment to ask yourself if you are truly ready to receive the precious gift of our Lord at Christmas. How ready is your heart for our Saviour? Have you cleaned up your life and decorated it just as you may have done your house of office? The writer to the Hebrews reminds us today that God’s will is for us to be made holy through Christ’s self-offering.

Beloved, as we head on to celebrating our Lord’s best, prepare your heart for Him this week. Make efforts to mend broken relationships, seek reconciliation from your neighbours and offer forgiveness to those who have hurt you, attend confession and make your heart right with God. Let this year’s celebration truly make you holy, thus fulfilling the purpose of our Saviour’s birth.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please help me to truly be holy as I celebrate your birth this week. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAAT 6 – Why did God become man in Jesus?

“For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven” (Nicene Creed). In Jesus Christ, God reconciled the world to himself and redeemed mankind from the imprisonment of sin.

HIDE A TREASURE: “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” Hebrews 10:10 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Micah 5:1-4; Psalm 80: 2-3, 15-19; Hebrews 10: 5-10; Luke 1: 39-44

RECOGNISE YOUR PRIVILEGE

Tuesday 1st December – Tuesday of the 1st week of Advent

Reflection: Luke 10: 21-24

RECOGNISE YOUR PRIVILEGE

The seeming “unfairness” of life beats our human understanding. One person is born in an environment that offers great opportunities required to fly high in academics and any chosen career while another person is born in an environment that barely allows him to pass through primary school before he is required to learn a low-income trade that merely allows him to struggle for survival throughout life.

This discrepancy is very obvious in faith and religion. Many people various parts of the world seek God amidst shadows and have not the privilege of coming to know the one true God. There are fellow baptised Christians too who believe in Christ and strive to follow him faithfully but do not have the privilege of the fullness of the Christian faith that subsists in the Catholic Church. But, you and I have the privilege not only to be Christian, serving the one true God of the universe but to be fully united with His Church and possess all the truth and beauty she offers as we journey towards eternal union with God.

Beloved, your eyes have seen, your ears have heard and even your tongue has tasted the fullness of Christ in His Church but what effect does it have on you? Is your commitment to God and to a life of love any stronger than those around you? Do your attitudes to life and your interpersonal relationships reveal that you have encountered Christ in his fullness? Jesus proclaimed his disciples blessed in today’s gospel reading because they were privileged to see and hear him. Yet that blessing only holds true when we properly respond to the call to love and holiness extended to us each day. As we take up the missionary mandate to proclaim Christ to every creature and trust God to take care of his beloved children who have never heard about Christ, let us recognise our privilege and live worthily of our Christian call.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the gift of my precious faith. Please help me to respond to your call to holiness in my everyday life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 125 – what is unique about the People of God?

The founder of this people is God the Father. Its leader is Jesus Christ. Its source of strength is the Holy Spirit. The entryway to the People of God is Baptism. Its dignity is the freedom of the children of God. Its law is love. If this people remains faithful to God and seeks first the kingdom of God, it changes the world.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 11: 1-10; Psalm 72: 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17; Lk 10: 21-24

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