AUTHENTIC CONVERSION

Monday, 25th January – Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Reflection: Acts 9:1-22

AUTHENTIC CONVERSION

Saint Paul, who is also referred to as an “Apostle to the Gentiles” made his impact in spreading the good news of salvation through the help of the Holy Spirit and his strong determination to complete what God entrusted to his care. This whole work cannot but be traced back to his encounter with Christ on his way to Damascus which led to an authentic conversion. Anytime we remember how he became an apostle, it is always wonderful to think of how God can chose even the worst of sinners for his work of salvation.

Today, we wonder why the flame of the faith grows weak even with sound liturgies and constant celebration of Sacraments by the Church. People complain that the Church is boring and seem not to know why they are in the church. Dear friend, a Christian without an authentic conversion brought about by a divine encounter with Christ will not be able to live out the Gospel of Jesus. Christianity is not always about what we hear about God from people but is significantly what God says to you, what God reveals to you and what God has entrusted to you. Saint Paul in our reading today, encountered God with some “elements” which made the encounter very unique; the presence of Christ, a new sight and baptism of the Holy Spirit. Also, God perfected and made all this possible by sending Ananias to minister to him. Beloved in Christ, have you ever had an encounter with Christ which you can hold on to and recall whenever the fight of faith gets tough? Do you desire more and more of Christ’s revelation of himself to you? This is the testimony and power of great men of faith.

Our obedience to the great commission of Christ, “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good news to all creation” in the Gospel reading of today (Mark 16:15) would be dependent on our individual testimony of Christ and divine encounter with him. Let us be conscious of the fact that nobody is dispensable or too weak to proclaim Christ.

Dear Friends, as we go out today, let us pray that God may give us the grace to truly encounter Him in our daily activities.

TALK TO YOUR FRIEND: Lord Jesus, reveal yourself to me in a way that I have never experienced before. Let your light shine on me to enkindle the fire of your love in my heart. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 27- The desire for God

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never cease to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures” John 15:16 GNB

Readings for Today: Acts 9:1-22; Psalm 117; Mark 16:15-18

VIRTUOUS LIVING

Sunday 20th September – 25th Sunday of the year

VIRTUOUS LIVING

Wisdom 2: 12, 17-20

The theme of persecution is one that has been a part of our Christian faith right from its inception and though the form in which this occurs may have evolved through the centuries, it is still very much with us. This is because; the truth and beauty radiated by true Christian living remains a constant threat to those who have no use for God. Hence our Lord told His apostles, “…if they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15:20).

Today’s first reading gives us a picture of what goes on amongst the godless. They find the character of the virtuous man as an opposition to their way of life and threaten to test his endurance and bring him down. As a young Christians, on what side of the divide do you find yourself? Is your life different in any way from non-Christians around you? Does your Catholic faith radiate through a life of love, patience and gentility? Is your faith in God manifested through the choices you make? Or on the other hand, do you join in worldly way of life of those around you – in exam malpractice, lying, cheating, immorality etc?

Beloved, we are called to a life of holiness as baptized Catholic Christians. We must not allow ourselves to be conformed to the standards of this world (Roman 12:2) and as we see other striving towards holiness, let us be sources of encouragement for them rather than stumbling blocks. In striving to live out your call each day, be conscious of the persecutions that may arise and ask for the grace to deal with them in a way that honours God.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for the gift of my faith. Please help me to live it out in sincerity each day and be strengthened by your grace in moments of persecution and trials. 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 decisions 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: “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20; Psalm 54:3-8; James 3: 16- 4:3; Matthew 9:30-37

GOOD PERSECUTION

Tuesday 28th April – Tuesday of the 4th week of Eastertide

Reflection: Acts 11:19-26

GOOD PERSECUTION

Surely, you must be thinking, “What is good about persecution?” You might not have taken time in the past to reflect on the good side of persecution. Indeed, not every ugly incident that happens to people in life is bad. Some ugly incidents may subsequently yield positive results. For instance, if as a student you are denied a vital grade in your Continuous Assessment tests, that would push you to study harder for the exams and to come out with a good grade at the end. On Meanwhile, if you had not been denied that vital mark and passed the C.A. very well then you might just treat the exams with levity.

The truth is that no one wants to be persecuted or accused for doing right, but we must do right no matter what the outcome may be. The early apostles suffered a lot persecution, some of which we can term as ‘good’ because the persecutions enabled the Good News to spread more rapidly as we see in today’s first reading and reach the uttermost parts of the earth as Jesus charged his apostles to do at His ascension.

Hence, you can turn a bad situation in your life into an avenue for greater accomplishments. It all has to do with your disposition and willingness to accept the situation and choose to make the best of it. That is what we call a ‘determined spirit’, and this too was the spirit of the early disciples amidst their persecutions. The persecutions led the disciples to leave Jerusalem, but wherever they went, they proclaimed the gospel of Christ, thus spreading the message of salvation even more. What persecution do you find yourself in today? Ask God to help you see the good in it.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please grant me the grace this day to overcome every form of persecution against me and make it a stepping stone to good things. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2474: “The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “At the time you are put to the test, He will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” 1 Corinthians 10:13c. GNB.

Today’s Readings: Acts 11:19-26; Psalm 87:1-7; John 10:22-30

BRING THE THREATS TO JESUS

Monday 13th April – Monday of the 2nd week of Eastertide

Reflection: Acts 4: 23-31

BRING THE THREATS TO JESUS

Every noble mission in life comes with its own peculiar challenges. A major difference between winners and failures lies in how they handle situations that threaten the achievement of their noble pursuits. While failures easily succumb, winners seek to rise above the threats and get better in life. This brings to bear the wisdom in the popular saying: “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.”

Today’s first reading gives us the account of the threat given to the disciples by the chief priests and scribes while asking them not to preach the good news of Christ again and their recourse to God in prayer for the boldness and grace to fulfill the mission He entrusted to them. Indeed their prayer was answered and some of them went as far as proclaiming the good news to the point of martyrdom.

Dearest in Christ, has God entrusted a particular assignment to you and you are faced with myriads of opposition and challenges? Perhaps you have already concluded on quitting. Please do not quit! Bring the threats and challenges to Christ in prayer and He will grant you an over comer’s strength as was granted the disciples.

As much as we experience external opposition to noble pursuits in life, of greater concern is the internal warfare that rages within us – the recurrent struggle with sinful habits and weaknesses that threaten the successful completion of our Christian race. Let us not give in to these too; let us not resign to fate. Our Blessed Lord will help us as we bring the threats to Him in prayer.

PRAYER: Dear Father, please strengthen me to overcome all that threatens my walk with you.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 476 – How did Jesus pray as he was facing his death?

When face to face with death, Jesus experienced the utmost depths of human fear. Yet he found the strength even in that hour to trust his heavenly Father: “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this chalice from me; yet not what I will, but what you will [be done]” (Mk 14:36).

HIDE A TREASURE: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Acts 4: 23-31; Psalm 2: 1-9; John 3: 1-8