FOLLOW YOUR MANUAL

Wednesday 22nd March – Wednesday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5-9

FOLLOW YOUR MANUAL

Every device has a manual which instructs on how to use it. Failure to read and obey the instructions in the manual might lead to ineffective use or even malfunctioning of the device. Likewise, as Christians we have commandments and instructions given to us by God, our Creator and Father which we need to obey in order to live a holy life. As young people we sometimes overlook some of the commandments, believing that God understands that we are young and would be lenient with us. This is mere deception as obedience to God is fundamental to our Christian faith regardless of our age. “Young people, enjoy your youth. Be happy while you are still young. Do what you want to do, follow your hearts desires but remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do… So remember your creator while you are still young…” (Ecclesiastes 11:9, 12:1).

Beloved in Christ, as we go deeper into this season of repentance, let us tune our ears, hearts and minds to God’s commandments. Always bear in mind Christ’s words in today’s gospel reading: “whoever disobeys even the least important of the commandments and teaches others to do same, will be least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, “whoever obeys the law and teaches others to do same will be great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19). Take up your manual, the word of God today and you will live a life of purpose, direction and favour.

To read the Sacred Scriptures means to turn to Christ for advice – Francis of Assisi.

Prayer: Help me Lord to know your word and always obey you in all circumstances. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 16What is the right way to read the Bible?

The right way to read sacred scripture is to read it prayerfully, in other words, with the help of the Holy Spirit, under whose influence it came into being. It is God’s word and contains God’s essential communication to us. The Bible is like a long letter written by God to each one of us.

Hide a Treasure: “Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.” Psalm 119: 105 GNB

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9; Psalm 147: 12-20; Matthew 5: 17-19

 

 

DISOBEDIENCE BRINGS REJECTION

Monday 18th January – Monday of Week 2 of the Year

Reflection: 1 Samuel 15:16-23

DISOBEDIENCE BRINGS REJECTION

Because you rejected the Lord’s command, He has rejected you as King” 1 Sam 16:23

Today’s reflections has more eternal consequences than we may have imagined. It is something which affects our daily lives as Christians who are eager to please God. God trains us his beloved children to wholeheartedly follow his dictates, to trust his designs and judgment. This he puts to us by giving us his word in every situation we find ourselves. How great would it be if we never consider our senses and intuition when obeying God. Disobedience brings rejection, Obedience aligns our sacrifice to God’s will. (Is 1:19)

Today’s first reading shows us an example of a “partial” obedience to God’s command. King Saul and his men wanted to apply human wisdom to compliment God’s commands but didn’t know that it was out of place. This made Saul to be rejected as King by God (1Samuel 15:23b). Sometimes, our good intentions towards a plan can be opposed to God’s will and purpose. The Scriptures says that His ways are not ours and what seems to be Gods foolishness is wiser than human wisdom. (1 Cor 1:25). Therefore, our love for God must be unison with obedience to his commands. We must pray for grace to follow this part of self-denial and total surrender his word.

As we continue our journey in this year of Mercy, let us be conscious of our deeds and actions and humbly ask God to lead us and make us walk in his love. Let us not forget that it is our love for God that gives us an unconditional obedience to his commands as Christ tells us: “if you love me you would obey my commandments” (John 14:15). This love is what St. Paul gives as the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 13:3). Beloved, rejection by God while on earth can still meet with God’s mercy by our reconciling with him but we must be ready always for the last day so that we do not hear the words: “I never knew you, Get away from me, you wicked people” (Matt. 7:23b).

 PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to know what pleases you and grant prompt obedience without any reservation to your commands. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 67 – What is sin?

At the core of sin is a rejection of God and the refusal to accept his love. This is manifested in a disregard for his commandments.

HIDE A TREASURE: “It is better to obey him than to sacrifice the best sheep to him”. 1 Samuel 15:22b GNB

Today’s Readings: 1 Samuel 15:16-23; Psalm 50:8-9, 16c-17, 21&23; Mark 2:18-22

TAKE THAT STEP

Friday 1st January – Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Reflection: Luke 2: 16-21

TAKE THAT STEP

Each day of our lives presents us with information which needs to be backed up by actions. Sometimes, the appropriate action may be to wait patiently or to get into a discussion with someone or even to make a change in our own personal lives. God chose to bring His Son into the world in the most humble way. He was born of peasants in a manger in the lowly town of Bethlehem and though most of mankind was unaware of the great event that was taking place, God chose to reveal it to the most unlikely of persons: shepherds watching their flocks.

God could have chosen to reveal this wonderful event to the chief priests or religious leaders but He didn’t instead He chose lowly men and these men did not disappoint. As soon as they heard the great news of joy the angels brought, they took the appropriate step – went in search of the new born infant Jesus. Thus, they became instruments of evangelisation to all who heard their message (Lk 2:18). Their response was similar to Mary’s when she heard that Elizabeth was to have a baby and Joseph’s when He was asked by the angel in a dream to take Mary as his wife without fear. Beloved, in what ways did God prompt you in the past year? Did you take the required step? Did He prompt you to intensify your prayer life or to evangelise a friend or to attend daily Masses more regularly? Did He prompt you to change some bad habits or be more loving in your words and deeds? How did you respond?

This New Year offers us a wonderful opportunity to begin again. It offers us the opportunity to make a decision not to delay in acting on the promptings God sends to us. Don’t remain in your comfort zone, take the required step and like the shepherds, you will be playing your part in God’s big plan for your life or the life of others and His blessings are sure to remain with you as you walk in obedience to Him.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the opportunity you give me to play a part in my salvation and in those of others. Please help me to respond appropriately to your promptings always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 22 – How does one go about believing?

Someone who believes is seeking a personal union with God and is ready to believe God in everything that he shows (reveals) about himself.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land” Isaiah 1:19 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Num 6:22-27; Psalm 67: 2-8; Galatians 4: 4-7; Lk 2:16-21

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

TRULY CHRISTIAN

Tuesday 15th December – Tuesday of week 3 of Advent

Reflection: Matthew 21: 28-32               

TRULY CHRISTIAN

A beautiful lady had been forced into prostitution by difficult and pitiable circumstances. She endured heinous agony at the hands of her patronizers and gradually sank into perpetual grief. At that moment, she had had a handful of wicked men; but she would never forget the first one and the evil in his eyes as he deflowered her just three weeks ago. Haunted by her life, she sought spiritual help at a nearby church only to find that the chief counselor and head pastor of the church was the same man; whose evil eyes haunted her. The rest of the story is obvious.

‘Christians’; who are the first to hear God’s word and by their profession agree to live by it would be most unfortunate; if they do not show their faith in obedience. ‘Christians’ called to live like-Christ would be most unfortunate; if Christ is not seen in their lives outside the Church; in truth, humility and love. Our Christian faith is proven, not just by our attendance in Church, our carrying Bibles and Rosaries around or our outward shows of piety. The most important proof ouir faith is the everyday life we live.

Jesus rebuked the chief priests and elders in today’s gospel reading for their failure to believe John the Baptist because of their religious pride and self-righteousness. Are we any different from them dear friends? Are we open to the challenge for a renewed life, a life that looks beyond ourselves, our pride and past hurts and decisions and  is centred on obedience to Jesus? Redeemed of Christ, the Church is not just a building where piety is stored; the Church is the body of Christ alive in the lives of Christians.

PRAYER: My Lord Jesus, teach me obedience to your Word and help me live like you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 347 – Why is “not practicing what you preach” such a serious deficiency in a Christian?

Agreement between one’s life and one’s witness is the first requirement for proclaiming the Gospel. Not practicing what you profess is therefore hypocrisy, a betrayal of the Christian duty to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Samuel then said: Does Yahweh take as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obedience to his command? Obedience is better than sacrifice and submission better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15: 22 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Zephaniah 3: 1-2, 9-13; Psalm 34: 2-3, 6-7, 17-19. 23; Matthew 21: 28-32.

DELIGHTING IN GOD’S LAW

Friday 11th December – Friday of the 2nd week of Advent

Reflection: Psalm 1: 1-6

DELIGHTING IN GOD’S LAW

The book of Psalms begins with a promise of blessedness for the man who delights in the law of God and meditates on it day and night. To “delight” in something means “to have great pleasure” in it. God promises fruitfulness and prosperity, in and out of season for the man who takes great pleasure in His word. More so, the first reading of today reveals even more blessings upon the one who is alert to God’s commandments.

How then can we as youth take great pleasure in God’s law? God’s law is outlined for us in scripture and in the church’s tradition. As we study God’s word and the teachings of the Church, the Body of Christ, we come to know what God requires of us. God’s requirement of our way of life is often contrary to that of the world around us. If we live by the world’s standards, we will find ourselves following the counsel of the wicked, lingering in the way of sinners and sitting in the company of scorners. This standard of living brings nothing but doom. (Psalm 1: 1, 5-6).

What does the world around you say about pre-marital sex, abortion, use of hard drugs, homosexuality, lying, revenge, unforgiveness, exam malpractice, theft etc? What do God and his Church say about all these? We must seek daily to know God better by studying His word, obeying it and asking for his help in difficult moments. Only then would we be partakers of the divine blessing of all round fruitfulness and prosperity.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, your call to holiness is one that entails standing up for you in the midst of a sinful world. Please increase in me a desire to know you more and to live out your precepts. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 282Does Sacred Scripture speak about a way to happiness?

We become happy by trusting in Jesus’ words in the Beatitudes.

The Gospel is a promise of happiness to all people who wish to walk in God’s ways. Especially in the Beatitudes (Mt 5:3-12), Jesus has told us specifically that eternal blessedness is based on our following his example and seeking peace with a pure heart.

HIDE A TREASURE: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to thy word” Psalm 119:9 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Isaiah 48: 17-19; Psalm 1: 1-6; Matthew 11: 16-19

WHOM DO YOU TRUST?

Thursday 26th November – Thursday of week 34 of the year

Reflection: Daniel 6: 12-28

WHOM DO YOU TRUST?

None of us is self-sufficient, able to cater for all his own needs – physical, social, psychological, spiritual etc. God has created us with a need for interdependence. We all look to others to supply our needs in one way or the other. Such interdependence builds on a measure of trust without which our relationships cannot function. A child trusts the parents to provide his material needs, a parent trusts his child to put his best into his studies and uphold the family name through good behaviour. A wife trusts her husband to provide the family needs and the husband trusts his wife to manage family resources effectively to ensure smooth home running.

Yet we humans are very fallible and sometimes even our purest intentions can be foiled. Daniel could have placed his trust in the king, knowing that the king had no intention of hurting him but the first reading reveals that even the kings’ hands seemed to have been somewhat  tied and for all his good intentions, he could not prevent Daniel from being thrown to the lions. Beloved, so it is with us. If we do not place our trust in the ever faithful God, we will be faced with disappointment and frustration as we journey through life.

Only our trust in God will keep us faithful to him like Daniel was even in the face of persecution. Only our trust in God will keep us obedient to him in the choices we make when the whole world is going the wrong way. Beloved, God is our only sure anchor; our only sure hope who cannot be influenced by human limitations. Let your trust in Him be manifest in your total obedience to him as you make your daily choices and even though trials may come, like Daniel, you will experience His mighty power to save.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you because you are ever faithful. Please help me to trust you with the details of my life and find peace in obeying you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 470 – What prompts a person to pray?

We pray because we are full of an infinite longing and God has created us men for himself: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you” (St Augustine). But we pray also because we need to; Mother Teresa says, “Because I cannot rely on myself, I rely on him, twenty-four hours a day.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” Psalm 125:1 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Daniel 6: 12-28; Dan 3: 68-74 (canticle); Lk 21: 20-28