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

A SHINING LIGHT THEY LEFT US

Sunday 1st November 2015: Solemnity of All Saints

Reflection: Matthew 5: 1-12

A SHINING LIGHT THEY LEFT US

“We seek from the saints example in their way of life, fellowship in their communion and the help of their intercession” – Vatican II

Every day we live as Christians ought to take us deeper in intimacy with Christ (Philippians 3: 12-13). This spiritual progress we are called to has never been and will never be achieved with ease as it demands the renunciation of our whole self (Luke 9:23-24). It is for this exemplary life of self-renunciation and fidelity to Christ despite all odds that the Church celebrates her saints today. Their lives affirm the truth that cooperating with the grace of God, we can all live out our call to sanctity (Leviticus 19:2).

Beloved in Christ, what are your struggles and weaknesses? Are you facing some opposition to your faith and spiritual advancement? Please be reminded that no challenge you are going through is absolutely new, so do not give up. The Church is calling you and I to reflect on the lives of the saints gone ahead of us and draw strength from their steadfastness and perseverance. We are also encouraged to seek the intercessory support of these holy men and women for strength on our own spiritual journey.

To those who think otherwise of the appropriateness of asking for the prayers of the saints, we need to remind ourselves of certain truths: (i) Our communion and fellowship as faithful in Christ transcend physical death (John 11: 17-26; Matt 22: 31-32; Jeremiah 15:1). For us, life is changed and not ended by death when we abide in Christ. (ii) God delights in the prayers of the righteous (Proverbs 15: 8, 29; Job 42:8) and encourages us as faithful to pray for one another (James 5:16). If the saints are alive in Christ, and closer to God than we are (Revelation 7: 13-15), should we not seek their intercessory support as we do for other faithful here on earth (Hebrew 13:18; Colossians 4:2-4)? (iii) Asking for the intercessory  support of saints does not in any way change our conviction on Christ  being the one mediator between God and men ( 1 Timothy 2:5) just as asking for the prayers of pastors or brethren does not alter this conviction.
Dearest in Christ, let us all make holiness a daily pursuit that the light of our faith may brightly shine to lead others to Christ even after our departure from this world.

PRAYER: You have called me to holiness dear Lord, please help me to daily walk therein through the help of your grace. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 497- Why does it help to turn to the saints when we pray?

Saints are people who are aflame with the Holy Spirit; they keep God’s fire burning in the Church. Even during their earthly life, the saints prayed ardently, in a way that was contagious. When we are close to them, it is easy to pray. Of course, we never worship saints; we are allowed, though, to call on them in heaven, so that they may present petitions for us at the throne of God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, you shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy.” Leviticus 19:2 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Apocalypse 7: 2-4, 9-14; Psalms 24: 1-6; 1 John 3: 1-3; Matthew 5: 1-12

VIRTUOUS LIVING

Sunday 20th September – 25th Sunday of the year

VIRTUOUS LIVING

Wisdom 2: 12, 17-20

The theme of persecution is one that has been a part of our Christian faith right from its inception and though the form in which this occurs may have evolved through the centuries, it is still very much with us. This is because; the truth and beauty radiated by true Christian living remains a constant threat to those who have no use for God. Hence our Lord told His apostles, “…if they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15:20).

Today’s first reading gives us a picture of what goes on amongst the godless. They find the character of the virtuous man as an opposition to their way of life and threaten to test his endurance and bring him down. As a young Christians, on what side of the divide do you find yourself? Is your life different in any way from non-Christians around you? Does your Catholic faith radiate through a life of love, patience and gentility? Is your faith in God manifested through the choices you make? Or on the other hand, do you join in worldly way of life of those around you – in exam malpractice, lying, cheating, immorality etc?

Beloved, we are called to a life of holiness as baptized Catholic Christians. We must not allow ourselves to be conformed to the standards of this world (Roman 12:2) and as we see other striving towards holiness, let us be sources of encouragement for them rather than stumbling blocks. In striving to live out your call each day, be conscious of the persecutions that may arise and ask for the grace to deal with them in a way that honours God.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for the gift of my faith. Please help me to live it out in sincerity each day and be strengthened by your grace in moments of persecution and trials. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1696 – The way of Christ “leads to life”; a contrary way “leads to destruction.” The gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: “There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20; Psalm 54:3-8; James 3: 16- 4:3; Matthew 9:30-37

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH

Monday 29th June – Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul, Apostles

Reflection: Matthew 16: 13-19

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH

How much do you trust in God and in His word? Do you hold on to the words of Scripture as truth? Do you believe everything Christ says in the gospels? The average Christian will respond in the affirmative. Yet, many Christians have out rightly rejected Jesus’ words in today’s gospel reading pertaining to the leadership of Apostle Peter over the Church. He said, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the underworld shall never hold out against it” (Mt 16:18). He went on to give Peter the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, with authority to bind and to lose.

History testifies to the truth that the Catholic Church is the one Church established by Christ; it has no human founder and is the only Church that can trace its history back to the apostolic and post-apostolic era. If Christ built his Church upon Peter and declared that evil will never overpower it, we can trust His words and believe that He who has kept His Church through the centuries will perpetually keep her from error. We can also trust that the Church, the pillar of truth (1 Tim 3:15) which has defended the Christian faith against heresies and guided many souls unto salvation will guide ours as we trust in her teaching and follow the path of holiness to which she calls us.

Dear friend, as we celebrate two foremost apostles today, take time to thank God for the privilege to be a Catholic; to belong to Christ’s own Church. Live out your faith in love, holiness and absolute trust in Jesus words – words of eternal life (John 6: 63). You have the fullness of the Christian faith. Embrace it with all seriousness and live your Christian life to its fullest.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the gift of my Catholic faith. Please help me to grow in deeper friendship with You each day and to live the life of love to which you call me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 141 What is the Pope’s responsibility?

As successor of St. Peter and head of the college of bishops, the Pope is the source and guarantor of the Church’s unity. He has the supreme pastoral authority and the final authority in doctrinal and disciplinary decisions.
Jesus gave Peter a unique position of preeminence among the apostles. This made him the supreme authority in the early Church. Rome—the local Church that Peter led and the place of his martyrdom—became after his death the internal reference point of the young Church.

HIDE A TREASURE: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” Matthew 16:18 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 12: 1-11; Psalm 34: 2-9; 2 Tim 4: 6-8, 17-18; Mt 16: 13-19