YOU ARE GOD’S MASTERPIECE

Tuesday 8th December – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed   Virgin Mary

Reflection: Luke 1:26-38

YOU ARE GOD’S MASTERPIECE

Have you ever marvelled at the variety of natural abilities and talents God has endowed each one of us with? Indeed, every individual is created unique with a combination of gifts, talents, the environment and circumstances required to fulfil his own purpose in life. Today, the Church celebrates the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother, Mary; an article of faith that confesses that our Blessed Mother was preserved from original sin right from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother.

Why was this privilege necessary? God had chosen her, even before her conception to be the mother of His son, Jesus Christ. Since Jesus was to be pure and sinless, it was necessary for our Blessed Mother herself to be sinless so as to carry within her the Saviour of the world. This unique act of God should remind us as young people that God has created each of us as we are, not by accident, but in order to fulfil His purpose for our lives. Think of Elizabeth and Zechariah, whom God had destined would bring forth John the Baptist, the fore-runner of Christ. This righteous couple had to endure the inconvenience, sadness and shame of barrenness for a long time as the fullness of time had to be reached. Little did they know that God had greater plans for them.

My dear friend, just as our Blessed Mother is God’s masterpiece, created specially to bring our Saviour into the world; you are also God’s masterpiece, designed with extra ordinary skill. God has a unique role for you in this world and you must live each day with that consciousness. He has made you who you are for a purpose. Let us turn to God today and ask Him for direction so that we may fulfil His purpose for our lives like our Blessed Mother did. Let us also ask for our mother’s intercession that we may identify the call of God on our lives in our youth and start living out that call.

PRAYER: My heavenly Father, I thank you for the reminder today that I am not in this world by chance. Please help me to put to use the talents you have given me in a way that glorifies you. Mary my mother, please intercede for me today that I may fulfil God’s divine purpose for my existence. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 83 – What does the “Immaculate Conception of Mary” mean?

The Church believes that “the most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” Jeremiah 1:5 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Genesis 3:9-15, 20; Psalm 98: 1-4; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12; Luke 1:26-38

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE

Tuesday, 14th July- St. Camillus De Lellis, P. (Opt. Mem)

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE

Exodus 2:1-15

Do you truly believe that God has a plan for your life? Indeed He does and his plans are perfect for you. Look, the bible says in Jeremiah 1:5 “I chose you before I gave you life, and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet”. The same goes to the life of Moses in today’s reading. The Lord chose him for a special purpose even before he was born, no wonder he was protected from death despite the decree that all male Israelites born at that time in Egypt be thrown into the Nile.

It is the same purpose that God has for each and every one called by His holy name that despite the evils in the world, the children of God shall always triumph though the journey may be tough. Whatever God says over our lives will surely come to pass, however, consider a little part of Moses’ journey of life as we read today; have you seen that the journey was neither pleasant nor easy but notwithstanding Moses stood on the Lord side.

The same goes to us young Christians. In our journey of faith things may not be easy just like they were for Moses but let us believe that as long as we are on the Lord’s side we shall definitely triumph because the Lord knows us personally and we shall not be swept away by the storms of life.

PRAYER: Father Lord, I hold on to you in good and odd times, shield me at all times and let your will be established in my life. Amen.

Hide a treasure: “Save me from sinking in the mud; keep me safe from my enemies, safe from the deep water.” Psalm 69:14 GNB

Today’s Readings: Exodus 2:1-15; Psalm 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34; Matthew 11:20-24

HIS NAME IS JOHN

Wednesday 24th June -Solemnity of the Birthday of St John the Baptist

Reflection: Reflection: Luke 1: 57-66, 80

HIS NAME IS JOHN

Like it is in the African setting, it was a common practice among the Jews to name a first born son after his father. This was the intention of the friends and neighbours of Zechariah and Elizabeth who considered it an honour to name this “special” child after his father. But his mother spoke up “he is to be called John”, the name the Angel had given and this was confirmed by his father.

Dear friends, God knows us individually, calls each of us by name and has a specific plan for the lives of every one of us. He has a certain task for you to carry out in this world; a task no one else has been saddled with.  Regardless of how influential our parents may be, their purpose in life is different from ours hence we must not be satisfied in being anyone’s “shadow.” Though both Zechariah and John attained holiness, their paths to holiness and their God given purpose differed.

Today, we celebrate the birth of St John the Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord Jesus Christ. John was born for a purpose: to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah and to point Him out to Israel when he came. He lived to fulfil his purpose. God has a plan for you too and life will be a waste if you do not fulfil this purpose. Each day, sincerely ask God to reveal His plan for your life and be committed to living out your purpose.

PRAYER: Lord, I open my heart to You; please help me to discover your purpose for me so that I can live each day of my life in fulfilment of that purpose. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 201 – What is the significance of receiving a name in Baptism?

Through the name that we receive in Baptism God tells us: “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Is 43:1).
In Baptism a person is not dissolved into an anonymous divinity, but rather is affirmed precisely in his individuality. To be baptized by a name signifies that God knows me; he says Yes to me and accepts me forever in my unrepeatable uniqueness.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 49: 1-6; Psalm 139: 1-3, 13-15; Acts 13: 22-26; Luke 1: 57-66, 80

DO NOT BE SILENCED BY FEAR

Friday 15 May – Friday of the 6thweek of Eastertide

Reflection: Acts 18: 9-18

DO NOT BE SILENCED BY FEAR

How many times as students have we been asked questions by our teachers for which we possibly had correct answers but were unsure of ourselves and rather choose to be quiet? It pains deeply when we see a more courageous classmate speak up and we discover that we would have been right had we dared speak. At such times, we have been silenced by fear!

Today’s first reading presents us with the Lord’s warning to St. Paul: “Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you.” Beloved in Christ, how tight is the grip of fear on You? How readily do you allow your noble ideas and initiatives to be paralysed by the fear of failure, the fear of men or fear of the future? Though we might have genuine reasons for concern at some points in life, we need not allow our progress to be crippled by the fear of the unknown. Purposeful living demands a good deal of courage and more importantly, as Christians, we need to trust in the God at all times (Hebrews 11:6; James 1: 6-8).

Dearest friend, let us this day ask the Lord for the grace to give voice to our noble convictions; to give action to our worthwhile aspirations; to live by faith and not in fear, so that we may know the joy of meaningful living.

Prayer: Oh Lord, fill my heart with faith and love! Please liberate me from every imprisonment of fear and grant me the faith and courage to embrace the life You have called me to live. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 162 – Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man…..To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 18: 9-18; Psalm 47: 2-7; John 16:20-23

FULFILLING PURPOSE

Thursday 9th April – Thursday of the Octave of Easter

Reflection: Luke 24:36-48

FULFILLING PURPOSE

Christ is the fulfilment of the old covenant as revealed by the Law and Prophets. Through His life, death and resurrection, He fulfilled every prophecy spoken about him – the Messiah.

Dear friend, you and I are sojourners on this earth, created by God to fulfill a purpose. Christ did not find it an easy task to fulfill His purpose; it demanded great humility, penance and a life of prayer. As the time for His suffering and death drew near, he prayed that the cup of suffering should pass him by because His human nature recoiled at the thought of suffering. Yet, He added, “Not my will, Father, but your will be done” and He was strengthened for the task (Luke 24:43).

Have you discovered your purpose in life? If you have, are you walking in it? Do you find it very difficult to accept it? Do you find fulfillment in what you are doing? Christ prayed earnestly in order to fulfill his purpose on earth. Following His example, let us go to God, the author of our lives to discover His purpose for us and to receive the strength to carry it out. It is only in this that we will have true peace, joy and fulfillment in this world.

PRAYER: Father, help me to discover my purpose and grant me the grace to work towards it. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 1 – For what purpose are we here on earth?

We are here on earth in order to know and to love God, to do good according to his will, and to go someday to heaven.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I cry to God the Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 57: 2 RSV-CE

Today’s Reading: Acts 3:11-26; Psalm 8:2, 5-9; Luke 24:35-48

TRUSTING GOD’S PLAN

Wednesday 25th March – Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Reflection: Luke 1: 26-38

TRUSTING GOD’S PLAN

Three young plants, “A”, “B” and “C” shared their ambitions with one another. “A” started, “I want to be a very strong tree and made into a chest to store the finest jewels in the world”. “B” said, “I want to be a tall and strong tree and be built into mighty ships that would carry great kings” while “C” said: “I desire to be a very tall tree; so tall that everyone would look up to me.” These trees grew to maturity and were felled. “A” was made into a feeding trough for animals and “B” into a small boat for use by the local villagers while “C” was felled and forgotten at a street corner. All three were unhappy because they had not attained their ambitions.

One cold evening, a man and woman needed a place to have their baby and as there was no room in the inn, they had to make do with a manger in Bethlehem. Only when “A” saw shepherds coming to see the child did he realize that He held within him, the Son of God. Several years later, there was a mighty storm while “B” was out on the sea, then suddenly a man in the boat rose and rebuked the storm; then he realized whom he was carrying – the King of kings. About 3 years later, “C” was still lying at the street corner in Jerusalem when someone picked him up because of his height and made into a cross for a man called Jesus to carry to his death at Golgotha. Indeed the whole world was going to look up to Him for redemption and salvation till the end of time.

Did these young plants attain their deepest desires? Sure, they did in the most marvelous way! Like “A”, “B” and “C”, we may not understand the path God is leading but we can trust Him with our lives. He has a much more beautiful plan for you than you can ever imagine. Our Blessed Mother said yes to God without knowing what the future held and today, the Church celebrates her “Yes” because it has brought redemption to mankind. Today, surrender your plans, hopes and aspirations to God and trust His beautiful plan for your life.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the assurance that you have great plans for me. Please help me to submit to you each day with faith and trust. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 84 – Was Mary only an instrument of God?

Mary was more than a merely passive instrument of God. The Incarnation of God took place through her active consent as well.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” Luke 1:38 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, 8:10; Psalm 40:7-11; Hebrews 10:4-10; Luke 1:26-38

FULFILLING PURPOSE

Tuesday, 25th March – Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Reflection: Luke 1: 26-38

FULFILLING PURPOSE

After much time of waiting for the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading of today (Isaiah 7:14), the Lord kept his word by sending the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary who in turn agreed to be part of God’s plan of salvation. This marked the beginning of our life of grace and truth. God’s message for our lives is a pathway that would lead us to where He wants us to be.

Beloved in Christ, we have all been designed by God for a purpose and all we have and are today were in God’s plan for us even before our existence. Our life keeps unfolding everyday like a scroll. Let us learn to receive from God with an open heart, whatever he has in store for us. The beauty of the Good news of Christ is that it does not only bring the knowledge of God’s will for us but also gives the grace to accept it.

In our reading today, the Angel’s first message for Mary was that of peace (Luke 1:28). This was to Mary, a tool to be able to receive and act appropriately. God is always bringing forth the message of salvation to us but many a time we close the door of our hearts due to anxiety, worry and doubt. Let us accept God’s word with conviction, bearing in mind that the grace and power to do His will has been made available for us. Indeed, only in trusting Him with our lives can we live to fulfill His divine purpose for our existence.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, let your peace reign in my heart so that I may be able to welcome your purpose for my life with faith and trust. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 80 – Why is Mary a Virgin?

God willed that Jesus Christ should have a true human mother but only God himself as his Father, because he wanted to make a new beginning that could be credited to him alone and not to earthly forces.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” Luke 1: 38 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Isaiah 7:10-14.8:10; Psalm 40:7-11; Hebrews 10:4-10; Luke 1:26-38.