TRUE GREATNESS

Wednesday 24th February – Wednesday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 20: 17 – 28

TRUE GREATNESS

What names come to mind when you think of great people? Our young minds would think of stars in the fields of music, sports, movie industry or very rich individuals in the world. But is that really what it means to be great? Consider this list: Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King (Jnr), Bishop Oscar Romero, St Francis of Assissi, St Maria Goretti, Nelson Mandela, William Wilberforce, Pope St John Paul II the great.  Do they make the list of great souls in your mind?

One thing is common to these people – they lived for others. They became famous not because they desired it; their fame was a result of their desire to live for others. They were servants, giving their lives for the sake of the health, freedom, peace and spiritual growth of others and as they did this, the world took note. Did they face trials? Sure! They faced opposition, rejection, imprisonment, near assassination, and eventual assassination for some; yet they attained greatness through servant hood.

Beloved, do you desire greatness? Why not seek for true greatness which not only man but God himself approves? Christ tells us today: “Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first…must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mt 20: 26-28). Today, look around you for opportunities to serve others and bring the love of Christ to them and you will be mapping out your way to true greatness.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have given me an example of humility and true greatness. Please help me to follow you in sincerity and seek to serve those around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 375 – How is authority exercised correctly?

Authority is exercised properly when it is understood according to Jesus’ example as service. It must never be arbitrary. Jesus showed us once and for all how authority should be exercised. He, the greatest authority, served others and took the last place. Jesus even washed the feet of his disciples (Jn 13:1-20).

HIDE A TREASURE: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant” Matthew 20: 26 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 18: 18-20; Psalm 31: 5-6, 14-16; Matthew 20: 17-28

BECOMING A BETTER YOU

Monday 20th January – Memorial of Blessed Cyprian Tansi

Reflection: Philippians 2: 1-11

BECOMING A BETTER YOU

Of what value is a man’s life when it seeks no progression in goodness? You and I cannot remain the same persons of yesteryears. If our human bodies respond to progression in years; and the count of years situate us in varying situations, environments and relationships, the fullness of our human persons cannot but respond to these dynamics. Depending on the choice(s) we make, we are either progressing in goodness (ie perfection) or regressing in it. Time will never permit us to remain static.

If we have the benefit of communual life, differ from each other in our talents and abilities and have been enriched with different experiences; should we not seek profit from these? The first reading of today (Philippians 2:1-11) answers in the affirmative. There is something good to learn from EVERY ONE we come across in life. No one is so “bad” without some degree of goodness in him and even in an obvious display of folly, a humble, loving and retrospective mind will still find something to learn. But we fail in this often due to our subtle pride and hypocrisy.

We make ourselves standards by which we judge others just because we fare better than them in some respect. This is why the secret pornography lover publicly condemns a fornicator. Much as no vice should be encouraged or glorified, we must guard against a “holier than thou” attitude in our approach to helping one another (Luke 18: 9-14; Matthew 7:1). Humility helps us see our own weak spots and appreciate the good in others.

The available resources and opportunities seem inadequate to meet our needs and desires. Hence, as we look out for legitimate means of meeting our needs, we are cautioned against unhealthy rivalry with our neighbours. Our Christian hearts must be large enough to accommodate the interests of others. Let us be assured that our loving Father will take care of our interests beyond our widest imagination as we seek the good of others.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I rededicate my life to you. Please help me be the best you have created me to be. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 34 – What should you do once you have come to know God?

Once you have come to know God, you must put him in the first place in your life. And with that a new life begins. You should be able to recognize Christians by the fact that they love even their enemies.

 

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do all things without  grumbling or questioning that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and pervesrse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world” Philippians 2:14-15 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Philippians 2: 1-11; Isaiah 12: 2-6 (Canticle); Matthew 13: 44-46

EMBRACE HUMILIITY

Saturday 31st October – Saturday of week 30 of the year

Reflection: Luke 4:1, 7-11

EMBRACE HUMILIITY

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk 14:11

In an era in which we are often preoccupied with concerns about how others see us, we can find ourselves going out of our way to make an impression on people around us and in the bid to do this, we are often caught up with the vice of pride. Yet, Jesus’ warning stands clear: “whoever exalts himself will be humbled.”

Though Jesus used the example of taking places at a feast to illustrate the lesson on humility, this lesson applies to all aspects of our lives. Do our words, actions and attitudes portray humility? Are we willing to listen patiently to others as they air opinions which may be contrary to ours? Are we open to correction and criticism or are we in a haste to defend ourselves against critics? Do we respect other people and uphold their human dignity even if they may be at a lower societal class than ourselves?

St Paul admonishes us in his letter to the Philippians: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit but in humility count others better than yourselves” (Phil 2:3). God praised Moses for his humility and was quick to defend him when Miriam and Aaron spoke against him (Num12: 3-8). He seeks that same humility from us. Remember, the man who humbles himself will be exalted

PRAYER: Lord, please forgive me for the times I have acted in pride. help me to be humble before you and before men in all my dealings. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 61 In what does the equality of all men consist?

All men are equal inasmuch as they have the same origin in the one creative love of God. All men have their Saviour in Jesus Christ. All men are destined to find their happiness and their eternal blessedness in God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Romans 11:1-2, 11-12, 25-29; Ps 94: 12-18; Luke 14: 1, 7-11

THE CHILD-LIKE HEART

Tuesday, 11th August- Memorial of St. Claire, Virgin

THE CHILD-LIKE HEART


Mt 18:1-5.10.12-14

A childlike heart is a Christlike heart. A heart that is innocent, without deceit, forgives easily and exhibits simplicity and credulity. A heart that finds it easy to trust, that embraces its weakness; one that is not worried about the future and totally depends on parents for all needs. Would it not be of great happiness to relate with a childlike heart in our relationship with God and people around us? To relate with the heart of a child it is of great importance that we possess certain qualities, one of those qualities include humility which was not exhibited by the apostles in the gospel of Matthew (18:1-5). Christ made us understand that who and what we are while on earth does not change the fact that to be great in the kingdom of heaven we have to be like children. We are to live our lives without comparing it to that of others and avoid unnecessary rivalry, competition for power and greatness.

It is true that the world defines greatness as a possession by someone or something of eminence. However, Christ has a different definition for greatness as in the gospel of Matthew “the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child” (Mt 18:4). This is the definition of true greatness. As sons and daughters of God we are to follow God’s definition and not that of the world. It should however be noted that to be like a child does not require us to behave with immaturity. Let us then dear friends, lay aside our quest for the kind of greatness that the world has to offer and make ourselves humble just like a child before God that we might be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

I do not want to be known for winning the game, I want to be remembered for how I played it.     –Abbie St. Claire.

PRAYER: Enlighten my mind that I may have a childlike heart. Help me to trust you as my father.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 89To whom does Jesus promise “the kingdom of God”?

God wills “all men to be saved and to come to the knowldge of the truth”(1Tim 2:4). The “kingdom of God” begins in those who allow themselves to be transformed by God’s love. In Jesus’ experience these are above all the poor and the lowly.

HIDE A TREASURE: “May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you, O Lord, my refuge and my redeemer!” Psalm 19:4

Today’s Readings: Deut 31:1-8; Deut 32:3-4.7-9; Mt 18:1-5.10.12-14

TRUE LEADERSHIP

Wednesday 27th May – Wednesday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10:32-45

TRUE LEADERSHIP

Our Blessed Lord called His disciples to himself and taught them what true leadership means. For His disciples, leadership involves service – a leader is one who is to serve and not to be served. This concept of humility in leadership is illustrated in the parable of the grain of wheat. “Truly I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24). The grain of wheat can boast of its great potential; however without first dying, it remains only a grain. But if it surrenders itself to death in the dirt of the soil, it bears much fruit and is respected for what it is.

In the same vein, to be a successful leader, one must necessarily learn how to serve. The mark of nobility in Christian leadership is the privilege to serve and not to be served. To lead is to live by example; it entails dying to our own personal desires and working rather for the good of all. The world, is “power-drunk”, and can never thoroughly grasp the paradox that only humility really leads to greatness. The strength of a leader is measured by the safety of his followers and his followers can only feel safe in the hands of a servant-leader.

Beloved, we all have been chosen to lead; either as leaders of a group, a class or even as elders to our younger ones. Our responsibility is that of service. Christ calls us to lead by example, serving the common good and not our own interest. Dear friend, always remember, every opportunity you have to lead is a privilege and you will have to give an account of your stewardship in the end.

PRAYER: Lord help me that in discharging my duties I may learn humility and give me the grace to daily die to myself and daily rise to new life in you. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 89 – To whom does Jesus promise “the kingdom of God”?

God wills “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). The “kingdom of God” begins in those who allow themselves to be transformed by God’s love. In Jesus’ experience these are above all the poor and the lowly.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Whoever would be great amongst you must be your servant” Mark 10: 43 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Sirach 36:1-2, 5-7,13-19, Psalm 79: 8-13, Mark 10: 32-45

WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH


Sunday 22nd March – 5th Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Hebrews 5:7-9

WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH

Words are effective means of communication anytime any day. We can even say that they are the best means of communication. When you speak, people hear you through the sound you make and the same happens in prayer. When we pray, God hears us. Yes! He does hear us, but sometimes we assume that coining so many words or using beautiful intellectual or emotional language when praying would make God hear us quicker. This is not the true dear friend. Beyond the words we utter during prayer, we must also pay the most attention to our inner disposition. That is, the level of humility and devotion that accompany the words we utter.

In today’s first reading, we are told that Jesus made “loud cries unto God” in His life on earth and was heart because He was humble and devoted. Humility in prayer appeals to God’s heart because “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Pride makes us think that God’s blessings are a reward for our self-righteousness. Only in humility do we see our true selves, weak, fallen and in need of mercy and grace. Beloved, let your words in prayer be accompanied by great humility and submission like those of Christ and God will hear you for He is faithful and merciful. 

PRAYER: Dear Father, save my soul from sinking in the mud of sin. Help me to come to You in humility and trust always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2611: “The prayer of faith consists not only in saying ‘Lord, Lord,’ but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father, Jesus calls His disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the divine plan.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do all these in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion as the Spirit leads.” Ephesians 6:18a GNB

Today’s Readings: Jer 31:31-34; Psalm 51:3-4, 12-15; Heb 5:7-9; Jn.12:20-33

HUMBLE YOURSELF!

Sunday 8th February – 5th Sunday of the year

Reflection: 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 22-23

HUMBLE YOURSELF!

The mandate to evangelize by its very nature calls us to embrace humility. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes humility as “a quality by which a person considering his own defects has a lowly opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to others for God’s sake”. As Christians, we must humble ourselves completely in order to let God work through us. Humility is a virtue through which we can preach the gospel to others even without words – our lives would speak volumes about Christ.

St Paul explains: “I am a free man, nobody’s slave; but I make myself everybody’s slave in order to win as many people as possible” (2 Cor 9:19). Just like this great Apostle, our lives must exemplify humility if we truly consider drawing people closer to God as part of our Christian duty. Our Blessed Lord, whose gospel we proclaim is Himself the perfect example of humility: “For even though he had the nature of God…he took the nature of a servant…he was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death (Phi 2:6-8). Christ was able to reach out to the sick, oppressed, demon-possessed and sinners and ultimately grant us salvation because he humbled himself and took the form of man.

Let us take as our most important mission the need to draw others closer to God by laying aside our ego for “those who humble themselves shall be exalted and those who exalt themselves shall be humbled” (Lk 18:14).

PRAYER: Help me to remember oh Lord that my life is but a breath and teach me to be humble. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 300Why do we have to work to form our character?
We must work at forming our character so that we can freely, joyfully and easily accomplish what is good. A firm faith in God, in the first place, helps us to do this…with God’s help, firm dispositions, not having ourselves over to disorderly passions, and directing our faculties of intellect and will more and more consistently towards the good.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised”. Matthew 5:5 GNB

Readings for Today: Job 7: 1-7; Psalm 147: 1-6; 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19; 22-23; Mark 1: 29-39