JESUS IS ON THE STREETS!

Monday 15th February – Monday of the 1st week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 25: 31-46

JESUS IS ON THE STREETS!

One of the things that scare many of us greatly is the prospect of death and judgment. Each time we think of it, we are shaken to our bones as we imagine having to stand before God and give an account of our lives. Today’s reading gives us the only picture of judgment given by Christ in all the gospels. And to our surprise, it is not based on very “big” acts of piety or perfection. Rather it is based on the “little” acts of love we extend to others.

Jesus has given us a new commandment – love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34). While in the old covenant, God’s people were instructed to love others as their own selves, Jesus gives us a much higher calling: Love as I have loved you. And how did He love us? By laying down his life for us, hence calling us to lay down our lives for our brethren (1 John 3:16). As baptized Catholics, we are partakers of the new covenant in Christ Jesus and our identity is that of love; “By this all men will know that you are my disciples…” John 13:35.

Dear friends, in the midst of our increasingly secular and individualistic world, Jesus tell us to look around and see Him on the streets around us: in the poor, lonely, blind, homeless, sick, prisoners etc. He calls us to live out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy especially this jubilee year of mercy. He says to us in the Stations of the Cross: “seek me not in faraway places. I am very close to you. Your home, your working place, on the streets, the markets, at the playgrounds, these are altars where you offer love and I am there with you”. Let us look up to Him and ask for the grace to love especially during this season of self denial.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You have loved me so much. Please rid me of selfishness; help me to look out for those in need around me and extend your love to them. 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: “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 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Leviticus 19: 1-2; 11-18; Psalm 19: 8-10, 15; Matthew 25: 31-46

CHOOSE TO SHOW MERCY

Saturday 6th February – Memorial of Saints Paul Miki and his Companions, Martyrs

Reflection: Mark 6: 30-34

CHOOSE TO SHOW MERCY

A viral internet video caught by surveillance cameras on the accident that killed the two year old Chinese; Wang Yue, who was run over by two vehicles on the 13th October, 2011; exposed the cold extinction of mercy spreading over the world. This disheartening video caught eighteen people skirt around the fatally wounded child, until a female rubbish scavenger moved by compassion raised an alarm for help. The baby was then rushed to a hospital, where she died after eight days of a painful fight for life. Chen Xianmei (the rescuer); might have been the wrinkled poor lady, who had never been to a church, yet she was more Christ-like than many lavishly dressed Christian leaders in her actions. In a more horrific replica of the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’; this woman became Christ to the baby. She chose to show mercy.

Jesus and His disciples had just completed a missionary journey around the villages; and were obviously exhausted from the excited but austere mission. This exhaustion did not make Jesus blind to the needs of the people; who had hurried ahead on foot to meet Him. Jesus ignored His own hunger and exhaustion to teach them at length; and so taught us: ‘Nothing should be put before mercy’.

Friend; Christ taught us to choose mercy over our selfish needs, and give even when we have ‘almost nothing’. In this, we become like our merciful Father and please Him.

PRAYER: O good Shepherd, forgive my selfishness. Teach me our divine mercy and help me to live out, even with those who would rather show no mercy to me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 450What are the “corporal works of mercy”?

To feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and the imprisoned, and bury the dead.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6: 32-36 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings:1 King 3: 4-13; Psalm 118: 9-14; John 10: 27; Mark 6: 30-34.

WHAT’S YOUR ROLE?

Sunday 27th December – The Feast Of Holy Family Of Jesus, Mary And Joseph

Reflection: Sirach 3:3-7, 14-17

WHAT’S YOUR ROLE?

Today, the Church celebrates the gift of the family as she presents us with the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as a standard for us to emulate. The first reading focuses on the we  children, giving us an insight into the great blessings awaiting the child who honours his parents. God has placed each one of us under the care and authority of our parents therefore we must respectfully obey and care for them even when they are old. This singular attitude of total obedience to one’s parents in God provokes God’s blessings to be showered on the life of the child; the first of which is long life, answered prayers, forgiveness of sins among many others.

Dear beloved, as a youth, have you realised that God has given your parents authority over you and you have a primary duty to always make them happy in every godly way? Have you ever realised that disobedience to them is disobedience to God who placed you under their care? Even our Lord Jesus whose birth we celebrate this season had to be incarnated in the setting of a family and have parents to care for Him, parents whose authority he submitted to as today’s gospel reading tells us.

Beloved, our role as children is not a passive one; we are not to be at the receiving end always. God calls us to actively love and honour our parents so that just as they rejoiced at our birth, we will remain a source of joy and thanksgiving to them all our lives.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please give me the grace to be an instrument of change in my family and to the glory of your name. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 371 – How does a child respect his parents?

A child respects and honours his parents by showing them love and gratitude.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For the Lord has given fathers authority over their children and given children the obligation to obey.” Sirach 3:2 GNB

Today’s Readings: Sirach 3: 3-7, 14-17; Psalm 128: 1-5; Colossians 3:12-21; Luke 2: 41-52

BE PERSISTENT

Thursday 28th May – Thursday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10:46-52

BE PERSISTENT

An attitude of persistence in seeking God reveals a deep faith in Him. Bartimaeus had heard about Jesus and all he was doing. Though his vision was impaired, his ears and minds were active and he sought an opportunity to meet Jesus. It was this faith that Jesus could heal him that made him keep shouting, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!”. Despite the discouragement he got from the people around he was not going to allow this opportunity to be healed pass him by. His persistence paid off – He got the Master’s attention and the healing he desired.

Beloved in Christ, what is your attitude to seeking God? What is your attitude to prayer? Our Lord is ever faithful. He is close to those who seek Him sincerely and perseveringly. Continue to seek God until He reveals himself to you. Do not give in to discouragement. He will definitely consider your request and bless you beyond your imagination. Let us apply this same attitude of perseverance in our day to day activities – at work, at school etc. Persist in speaking the truth, persist in doing what is right and you will be happy in the end.

PRAYER: Jesus, son of David! Have mercy on me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 515 Where do we get the confidence to call God “Father”?

We can be so bold as to address God as Father because Jesus has called us to a close relationship with himself and made us children of God. In communion with him, “who is in the bosom of the Father” (Jn 1:18), we are privileged to cry, “Abba, Father!”

HIDE A TREASURE: “He takes notice of our every thought and hears our every word.” Sirach 42:20 GNB

Today’s Readings: Sirach 42:15-26; Psalm 33:2-9; Mark 10:46-52

THE PRICE OF PERFECTION

Monday 25th May – Monday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10:17-27

THE PRICE OF PERFECTION

Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17)

The question the young man asked as he ran up to Jesus reveals his thirst for holiness. There is a blessing in longing and striving for betterment, in making oneself a sheep that gets out of the mud rather than a pig that stays on in it. However, as today’s gospel shows us, to thirst for holiness is not enough, we must also be ready to pay the price. All men desire greatness but only few are ready to give what it takes.

When our Lord proposed to him the ordinary way of salvation, namely, keeping the commandments, the man was dissatisfied; he sought for something more perfect; but, when the perfect way was proposed to him, the way of renunciation: He went away sad because he had great wealth. Such response shows us that one can have an earnest desire for God, but be unwilling to tread the path of true holiness.

Beloved, always remember: “The way of perfection passes by the way of the Cross. There is no holiness without self-renunciation; no salvation without Calvary and no crown without a cross. Thus, our path to holiness as Christians demands that we detach ourselves from earthly things. It is a path of total self-giving that calls us to die to our own desires and cling to God’s purpose for us. Jesus, tells you today: “If you wish to be perfect…go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”. What is standing in your path to perfection? Let go of it today!

PRAYER: God give me the grace to always walk in the light of your presence and never to depart from you, so that eternally I may reign with you in heaven. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2015 – Spiritual progress entails the ascesis (the exercise of self-discipline) and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes

HIDE A TREASURE: “We cannot please God without putting our human and fleshy desires to death” Romans 8:8 CCB

Today’s Reading: Sirach 17:20-28, Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7, Mark 10:17-27

ARE YOU BORN AGAIN?

Sunday, 12th January – Feast Of the Baptism of the Lord

Reflection: Matthew 3: 13-17

ARE YOU BORN AGAIN?

This is a question you and I must have encountered sometime in our lives. It is not unusual for us to meet with individuals who are ready to share their faith with us and begin with the question: Are you born again? However, as common as this question is, it is one that most Catholics avoid because they are not sure of the answer to give.

 What does it really mean to be “born again”? The phrase “born again” was used by Christ as He spoke with Nicodemus, the Pharisee who came to Him by night (John 3:3). Christ did not leave us in the dark as to the meaning of this expression. At the request of Nicodemus, Jesus explained further: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). Hence, contrary to what is commonly preached by those who put this question to you, being born again is not limited to accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour. It goes a step further to mean being baptized.

Baptism is the rebirth by water and the Holy Spirit which Christ talks about and which is manifest in the gospel reading of today as we see the Holy Spirit descending on Christ and hear the voice of God affirming Christ’s sonship at His baptism. Baptism is the sacrament that opens the way to the Christian life, cleansing us from original and actual sins and making us children of God and members of Christ’s body, the Church. Hence, if you have been baptized whether as an infant or adult, you have renounced the devil and professed your belief in God and the salvation He has won for you through His son, Jesus Christ and you are born again.

The challenge for you and I is to live in the new life of Christ. We must each day, renew our commitment to Christ, draw closer to Him in His word and in prayers and receive the strength from the Eucharist and the sacrament of confession so as to live the new life He has called us to live. (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for granting me new life in you at my baptism. Please give me the grace to allow this new life to take root in me and help me to nourish my faith so that my life will bear fruits of this rebirth. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 194 – What is Baptism?

Baptism is the way out of the kingdom of death into life, the gateway to the Church, and the beginning of a lasting communion with God.

…Baptism unites us with Jesus Christ, incorporates us into his redemptive death on the Cross, thereby freeing us from the power of Original Sin and all personal sins, and causes us to rise with him to a life without end. Since Baptism is a covenant with God, the individual must say Yes to it. In the baptism of children, the parents confess the Faith on behalf of the children.

 HIDE A TREASURE

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” 2Corinthians 5:17 RSV-CE

 Readings for today: Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29; Acts 10: 34-38; Matthew 3: 13-17