CHOICE AND CONSEQUENCES

Thursday 11th February: Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Reflection: Deuteronomy 30: 15-20

CHOICE AND CONSEQUENCES

How many people today live in deep sorrows and regret as a result of the poor choices made in the past? Much as we all have intrinsic desires to be free and exercise our freedom, it is important we ask ourselves how often we consider the obvious and possible consequences of our actions. No matter where we stand on this, an obvious fact is that we cannot just wish away the consequences of our choices. As youths in particular, we can choose to be diligent or slothful; to be chaste or sexually loose. We can choose to allow our character and conscience to be shaped by the eternal word of God or by the deceptive standard of this world.

Despite God’s love and intimate fellowship with our first parents, Adam and Eve, there freedom of choice was well respected by Him (Genesis 3). This continues to be the case even with us Christians of today. God seeks that we would make a choice of Him and His precepts in liberty and love. He continues to make clear to us, as we can see in today’s Gospel, that a decision to follow Him will necessarily demand self-renunciation (Luke 9: 23-24) and a wholehearted acceptance of our crosses.

However, we must never allow ourselves to be deterred by the demands or challenges of righteous pursuits. The Psalmist today is full of encouragement on this – “Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord” (Psalm 1). He who flees the pains of godly discipline must be prepared to accommodate the pains that come with the contrary alternatives. The admonition of Moses to the Israelites in today’s first reading remains relevant to us Christians of today – Choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). It is only in accepting the life-giving precepts of God that we can be assured of His unfailing blessings and have fulfilment of heart. Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows (Psalm16:4).

PRAYER: Constantly make clear to me your blessed will oh Lord and kindly fill me with renewed grace to accept and abide by it! 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 decision 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: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30: 19b).

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 30: 15-20; Psalm 1: 1-4, 6; Luke 9: 22-25

LIFE: GOD’S PRECIOUS GIFT

Monday 28th December – Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Reflection: Matthew 2: 13-18

LIFE: GOD’S PRECIOUS GIFT

As the Church celebrates the feast of Holy Innocents today, we are offered a good opportunity to reflect on many innocent children who are being killed in their thousands daily all over the world, not for the sake of Christ but for the sake of covering up the effect of youthful lust and fornication through abortion.

Beloved, despite the message the world tries to pass to us daily…on television, on the internet, through so-called “woman empowerment” or “reproductive health and rights” programmes that promote pre-marital sex and abortion as “rights”, the truth remains written in the hearts of each one of us that abortion is murder. Hence, it is in this dark areas that you and I are called as Christians to shine the light of Christ.

Our Christian message is one that appreciates the wondrous gift of life, a gift that man has no right to take away. As we celebrate the birth of our Saviour and commemorate those ltitle martyrs, let us make a commitment to promote life through living chaste lives and encouraging our friends to do the same. Let us take time to pray and offer support and encouragement to young ladies around us who have unwanted pregnancies and let us bring the message of God’s love and forgiveness, especially this Jubilee of Mercy to those who have committed abortion in the past. God’s mercy is always greater than our sin and He is willing to welcome us each time we turn to Him.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please give me the grace to stay away from every youthful lust and fornication and every act that will lead me into committing abortion. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT313 – Why must a sinner turn to God and ask him for forgiveness?

Every sin destroys, obscures, or denies what is good; God, however, is all-good and the author of all good. Therefore every sin goes against God (also) and must be set right again through contact with him.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But if we confess our sins to God,, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all wrongdoing.” 1 John 1:9 GNB

DYING TO LIVE

Monday 10th August- Feast of St. Laurence, Deacon & Martyr

DYING TO LIVE

John 12:24-26

You may wonder why one must die in order to live. Once a person dies, he is believed to be physically gone forever. Christ tells us today that death goes beyond the physical, it also involves the spiritual. Thus, we have to die in order to live. Dying in this context refers to dying to self -the flesh, the gratifications and the pleasures of the flesh. St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians (5:19-22) described the human self as being impatient, wicked, boastful, arrogant, selfish, lustful and other vices that the Spirit guards against.

Beloved, just like a grain of wheat that has to fall and die in order to bear many grains. Christ is equating our lives to that of a grain of wheat, telling of the necessity of us letting go of our own desires and giving in to him. Thus, He tells us “whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honour anyone who serves me.” (John 12:26). Let us then choose today to die to our flesh by having a rebirth in Christ, surrendering our lives to the Lordship of God and daily dwelling in his presence. He is capable and ever ready to take the wheels of our lives. Let us begin to sow seeds of righteousness –by dying to the flesh- and live a holy life that we might be fruitful in the vineyard of the Lord.

PRAYER: May God grant us a yearning to be like him and do away with the desires of the flesh. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 154- What happens to us when we die?

How the resurrection will take place is a mystery. An image can help us to accept it: When we look at a tulip bulb we cannot tell into what a marvelously beautiful flower it will develop in the dark earth. Similarly, we know nothing about the future appearance of our new body. Paul nevertheless certain: “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory” (1Cor 15:43)

HIDE A TREASURE: “Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24 GNB

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10; Psalm112:1-2.5-9; John 12:24-26

TOTAL OBEDIENCE

Tuesday 30th June – Tuesday of week 13 of the year

Reflection: Genesis 19: 15-29

TOTAL OBEDIENCE

From time to time, I hear someone wonder aloud: “what if Adam and Eve did not sin?” we believe our lives would have been much easier and happier if the world were devoid of evil which is a direct consequence of our first parents’ rebellion. Yet, don’t we often give in to the very sin of disobedience they gave in to? God was eager to ensure Lot and his family were not destroyed with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Despite the clear instruction given by the Angel: “Run for your life. Neither look behind you nor stop anywhere on the plain. Make for the hills if you would not be overwhelmed.” Lot’s wife still looked back and was destroyed.

Dear friends, God gives you and I instructions just as He gave our first parents and Lot’s family. Are we attentive to His instructions? Do we obey Him halfway and then do our own will? Just like it did for Lot’s wife, disobedience always brings punishment. God in His mercy continually shows you the path He wants for you through His words in the Scriptures, in Homilies and through your parents and teachers. Are we willing to obey Him?

Today, take time to examine yourself. In what ways are you living in disobedience? Are there moments in your life you have to battle with obeying God rather than your flesh, human instinct or the crowd? Beloved, obedience in such difficult moments is the real test of your Christianity. Ask the Lord for the grace to obey Him always even when it is difficult.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, to love you is to keep your commandments; please grant me the earnest desire and courage to obey You always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 350Are the Ten Commandments a random list?

No. The Ten Commandments form a unity. One commandment refers to another. You cannot arbitrarily toss out individual commandments. Someone who breaks one commandment is violating the whole Law.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Not everyone who says to me: ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” Matthew 6: 21 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Genesis 19: 15-29; Psalm 26: 2-3, 9-12; Mt 8: 23-27

THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE

Saturday 3rd May – Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles

Reflection: John 14: 6-14

THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE

What is the essence of life? What determines fulfilment therein? Does it all end with death or is there a life afterwards? These are some of the questions that have puzzled the hearts of men since time immemorial and the answers they gave to them have ultimately shaped their destiny.

Dear friend, is your heart agitated by some of these questions? Maybe you have been disappointed by various philosophical concepts or religious sensationalism. Essentially, you need a relationship with your creator- the Almighty God. That is the secret craving of your heart and nothing else can or will satisfy it! This is the central message in today’s reading. You are called to an eternal relationship with the Way, the Truth and the Life – Jesus Christ. The entire Gospel is a revelation of Him (1Corinthian 15: 1-4, John 5: 39), and until we wholeheartedly believe in Him we cannot rightly grasp the essence of life. Fulfilment only comes from following the course chatted for us by the Way Himself.

Beloved friend, this is not about accepting just any religious practice, neither is it about finding utopia here on earth; it is rather a call to a life of fulfilment and an assurance of eternal blessedness after death. This, only God through Christ Jesus offers (Matthew: 11: 27-30, John 6:35, Colossians 2:9).

Prayer: Dear Jesus, You are the way, please order my steps aright always. You are the Truth, please dispel all forms of falsehood from my heart. Lead me then to the fullness of life in You. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 679 – Christ is the Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgement on the works and acts of man belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He “acquired” this right by his cross. The Father has given “all judgement to the Son.” Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 1 Corinthians 15: 1-8, Psalm 19: 2-5, John 14; 6-14

 

LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT

Sunday, 6th April – 5th Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Romans 8: 8-11.

LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT

Jesus, the Eternal Word of God tells us that He is able to bring to life those things that are dead. This is simply because, the Spirit He has given unto us is the Spirit of life. This Spirit is able to revive and revitalize our mortal bodies through His indwelling presence in us. So how do we activate this life-giving attribute of the Holy Spirit in our lives? The answer is: “only believe”.

Remember in the story of Lazarus, when Jesus demonstrated His power over death, He said, “if only you believe, you will see the glory of God” (John 11:40). Take a good look into your life today beloved, and see if there is any area that needs this life-giving touch of the Spirit. It may be in your health, academics, finances, family or relationships. Jesus is saying to you today to believe, and you will see His glory made manifest in these areas of your life like never before. All you need to do now is just to declare and trust in His words today. He never fails. Do you believe?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you can do all things. Today I ask you to give life to these areas of my life… (mention them and pray with faith). Thank you Lord for you are able to do more than I can ask or imagine. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 114What role does the Holy Spirit play in the life of Jesus?

Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot understand Jesus…. It was the Holy Spirit who called Jesus to life in the womb of the Virgin Mary (Mt.1:18), endorsed him as God’s beloved son (Lk.4:16-19), guided him (Mk.1:12) and enlivened him to the end (Jn.19:30)…”

HIDE A TREASURE: “… I am the resurrection and the life: he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” John 11:25 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45.