LIVING IN THE LIGHT

Sunday 26th March – 4th Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Ephesians 5: 8-14

LIVING IN THE LIGHT

The discovery of the filament light bulb is one that has transformed our human experience in a tremendous way. People who hitherto depended solely on the light of the sun to get all their activities done now had the opportunity to get more things done through the aid of artificial light hence, prolonging productive hours of the day. The most beautiful thing attribute about light is its ability to make things clear. Little wonder Christ calls his disciples the “light of the world.”

St Paul admonishes us today to be children of light, following in the footsteps of Christ and dispelling the darkness of sin and evil in our world through the lives we live. Beloved, you can look around you and wonder if anything you can ever do will make a difference. You may think of acts of love and kindness are insignificant, considering the depth of decay. The good news is that the tiniest speck of light stands out amid darkness. The little you do counts a great deal.

Let us begin this week with a renewed commitment to shine Christ’s light by refusing to gossip, saving a school mate from bullies, breaking the chain of a rumour against someone, helping someone in dire need. Let us try to discover what the Lord wants of us (cf Eph 5:10) with regards to the situations around us and let us trust in the good shepherd to guide us as we follow Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the privilege of belonging to you. Please help me to bring your light and love to an aching world. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 219 – How often must a Catholic Christian participate in the celebration of the Eucharist?

A Catholic Christian is obliged to attend Holy Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation. Anyone who is really seeking Jesus’ friendship responds as often as possible to Jesus’ personal invitation to the feast

Hide a treasure: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” Matthew 5:16 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 1 Sam 16: 1, 6-7, 10-13; Ps 23:1-6; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9: 1-41

OUR ULTIMATE CALL

Friday 24th March – Friday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Mark 12:28-34

OUR ULTIMATE CALL

When we think of the word “Love” we often look at it in the context of feelings. Loving someone could easily amount in our thinking, to having nice feelings and emotions towards the person. While love certainly does involve emotions, it is much more than that. It is simply a decision to will the good of the other person without thinking of any benefits to oneself. We love for the sake of the other.

It is only as we examine love in this context that we can truly embrace the first commandment as Christ clearly expresses it today: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength…” We love God not because of the gifts He gives us but just because He is God, our creator, our source of life. Our love for God is a call to obedience to Him. It is a call to hold on to his commands, regardless of what the world around us calls us to.

Our love for God also directly calls us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Our ultimate call as Christians is that of unconditional love. It is a call to find God in the least of our brethren, in our enemies, in societies outcasts and to love them for whom they are: precious children of God. Beloved, let us turn to the Lord today and ask Him for renewed grace so that we may truly love God by living in obedience to him and love our brethren regardless of how difficult it may be to do so.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please pour out your love into my heart today. Let me look up to the cross and be reminded that love means total self-giving. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 351 – Aren’t the Ten Commandments outmoded?

No, the Ten Commandments are by no means the product of a particular time. They express man’s fundamental obligations toward God and neighbor, which are always and everywhere valid.

Hide a Treasure: “But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1 John 3:17 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Hosea 14: 2-10; Ps 81: 6-11, 14, 17; Mk 12: 28-34;

HANDLING ENEMIES

Saturday 11th March – Saturday of the 1st week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 5:43-48

HANDLING ENEMIES

So much seems to have changed in the thinking and practice of Christians today. More than ever before, we are at a time when many Christians are increasingly more focused on their “enemies”, the devil and the powers of darkness much more than our Almighty Father.

How do we handle our enemies? The commonest answer today is to pray for their death or destruction. Yet, our Lord tells us something entirely different in today’s gospel reading. He calls us to extend a hand of love and prayer to our enemies and persecutors. Love in this sense does not mean having some nice emotions towards them. It simply refers to wishing their good and offering a hand of help to even our enemies when we are in the position to.

We cannot claim to be true disciples but act in direct contrast to our Lord’s words… that is disobedience. Indeed, there is so much evil in our world today, so much wickedness and shedding of innocent blood. Let us lift our voice to the Lord in prayer for these enemies and trust that He would act as it pleases Him. When faced with spiritual warfare, let us take up the armour of God: shield of faith, breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit, belt of truth, our feet fitted with the readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace and perseverance in prayer (Eph 6:14-18).

Prayer: Lord, in a world full of hatred and revenge, help me to love like you did, even your enemies. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 487 – Why should we petition God for other people?

As Abraham intervened by his prayer for the inhabitants of Sodom, as Jesus prayed for his disciples, and as the early Christian community looked “not only to [their] own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:4), so too Christians always pray for everyone—for people who are dear to their hearts, for people who are not close to them, and even for their enemies.

Hide a Treasure: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Deut 26:16-19; Ps 119:1-8; Mt 5:43-48

TAKING ADVANTAGE

Monday 6th March – Monday of the 1st week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 25:31-46

TAKING ADVANTAGE

As we take up the challenge to grow in holiness, Christ reminds us in today’s gospel reading that our piety should not be unidirectional – directed only to God. Our piety instead should be directed both to God in prayer and to our neighbor in showing love.

Today’s first reading runs through a list of “thou shall nots” which God gave to Moses for the Israelites. God warned his chosen people against taking advantage of the less privileged in their midst: the blind, the dumb, laborers who depended on them for their wages etc. They were to desist from the temptation of taking advantage of those at their mercy. What is more? Christ shows that our call doesn’t simply stop at that. Our Christian call invites us to take a step further. While we should not take advantage of the less privileged, we must take advantage of the opportunity their presence in our midst offers us – the opportunity to give, to love, to reach out, to provide.

We are called to recognize Christ, present in the hungry, the sick, the homeless, the stranger and prisoner and even those closest to us who need our help or attention in any way. The call to almsgiving during Lent offers you and I a reminder to be more conscious of practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. As you step out today, seek the opportunities God offers you to extend a helping hand and be sure to take good advantage of them to deepen your love for God and for your neighbor.

Prayer: Lord, please take away the selfishness in me that makes me shrink from extending my hands to those in need. Fill my heart with love and mercy this season of grace. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 450 – What 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.

451 What are the “spiritual works of mercy”? The spiritual works of mercy are: to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, admonish the sinner, bear wrongs patiently, forgive all injuries, and pray for the living and the dead.

 Hide a Treasure: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40 RSV-CE

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