HARDEN NOT YOUR HEART!

Thursday 3rd March – Thursday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Psalm 94: 1-2, 6-9

HARDEN NOT YOUR HEART!

“…O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts… “(Psalm 95:7-8)

Today’s psalm, like the season of Lent itself is a call to repentance for us. It tells us how eagerly the Lord expects us to come into his presence with our hearts and minds set on repentance. Why the Lord does not force us to repent, He constantly reminds us that we are His people and has paid the price for our redemption. His arms remain wide open as He seeks every opportunity to draw us to Himself.

Dear friends, as young people we sometimes want to live our lives without the reminder that there is a God somewhere reaching out to us. Christ tells us: “Anyone who is not for me is really against me…” (Luke 11:23). Every sincere act of repentance leads us closer to Christ who desires to have us come back to him.

You may have strayed far away from God and plunged yourself deep in sin. Do not despair my friend; God seeks your return; He is waiting for you with all eagerness, ready to run just like the father of the prodigal son as soon as you take a few steps back to Him. Do not follow the evil intentions and stubborn desires of your youthful heart. Today, you have heard His voice; will you harden your heart? The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy and he responds to repentance

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Oh that today I would listen to your voice. Draw me away from sin and closer to you this season of grace. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 229What prepares a person for repentance?

The insight into one’s personal guilt produces a longing to better oneself; this is called contrition. We arrive at contrition when we see the contradiction between God’s love and our sin. Then we are full of sorrow for our sins; we resolve to change our life and place all our hope in God’s help.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you.” Proverbs 28:13 GNB

Readings for Today: Jeremiah 7: 23-28; Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9; Luke 11: 14-23

DON’T JUST TEAR YOUR CLOTHES

Tuesday 1st March – Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Reflection: Joel 2:12-13 (Gospel Acclamation)

DON’T JUST TEAR YOUR CLOTHES

Tearing of clothes in the Jewish setting signified penance and a deep quest for God. Yet, outward acts alone do not show what a man is really made of. The true man is of the heart. In this season of Lent, there is a great tendency for us to put up an outward show of penitence. This in fact a good start in aiming for the real thing. What then is the real thing? The real thing is the inward transformation of the heart. Since creation, the state of man’s heart has always been of paramount importance to God. Hence, in Genesis 6:5-6, God lamented terribly when he saw the wickedness of man’s heart.

God desires that we not only attend the Stations of the Cross, Masses or Retreats this season, but that we check the depths of our hearts to ensure that there is no wickedness therein. During this season, we are called to fast and do abstinence. These too should not just be external acts, but should have a deep effect in our heart; they should tear our heart away from seeking earthly pleasures and turn it towards God. The reading of today explains it perfectly: “tear your hearts and not your clothes”, God says. (Joel 2:13). Beloved, let us use this season of lent to come to God wholeheartedly and he would surely shine his face upon us for He is gracious and merciful.

PRAYER: Dear Father, please give me the grace to come to you always with sincerity of heart. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2519: “The “pure in heart” are promised that they will see God face to face and be like Him. Purity of heart is the precondition of the vision of God. Even now it enables us to see according to God, to accept others as “neighbours”.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart”. 1Samuel 16:7c GNB..

Today’s Readings: Daniel 3:25, 34-43; Psalm 25: 4-9; Matthew 18:21-35

EMBRACE GOD’S MERCY

Tuesday 23rd February – Tuesday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20

EMBRACE GOD’S MERCY

One of the gifts of new life given to us is the gift of reconciliation. God calls us to Himself always out of love to reconcile us with Him. This beautiful and reassuring truth is at the heart of this holy Season as we are called to repentance and is central to the Jubilee year of mercy as we celebrate the mercy of God the Father who doesn’t want any of His children to be lost. It is in this light God tells us in today’s first reading “come now, let us reason together, if your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

God calls you and I to examine our lives: are their elements of hypocrisy in us? Are there certain attitudes, habits or conversations we engage in that do not bring honour to God? He reminds us today of his ever open arms but also of the terrible prospect of judgement on those who fail to repent. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Dear friend, no matter how far you may have strayed, our loving Father is ever ready to welcome you home. Simply call out to Him.

PRAYER: Merciful father, have mercy on me and draw me nearer to you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 367 – To whom does the Fourth Commandment refer, and what does it require of us?

The Fourth Commandment refers in the first place to one’s physical parents, but also to the people to whom we owe our life, our well-being, our security, and our faith.

What we owe in the first place to our parents—namely love, gratitude, and respect—should also govern our relations to people who guide us and are there for us. There are many people who represent for us a God-given, natural, and good authority: foster or step-parents, older relatives and ancestors, educators, teachers, employers, superiors. In the spirit of the Fourth Commandment we should do them justice. In the broadest sense, this commandment applies even to our duties as citizens to the State.

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: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Psalm 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 &23; Matthew 23: 1-12

REPENT!

Wednesday 17th February – Wednesday of the 1st week of Lent

Reflection: Jonah 3: 1-10

REPENT!

The theme of repentance is put before us over and over again in the Church’s calendar as She calls her children to seek forgiveness and turn away from evil. However, this theme becomes even more prominent during this season of Lent. Our Mother Church sets aside forty days to focus on repentance, self-denial and almsgiving as we reflect on the passion of our Lord Jesus and prepare to celebrate His resurrection with brand new hearts and minds.

The call to repentance and reconciliation with God is ultimately for our own benefit. Sin hurts us deeply because it strains or totally severes our relationship with our loving Father who is the only source of peace and contentment. Just as Jonah was sent to preach repentance to the Ninevites so also does the message of repentance come to us again this season. Are we going to respond like the Ninevites who turned away from sin and sought God’s mercy?

Jesus tells us in the gospel reading that our judgement will be severe if we fail to repent. Why? Much more that sending a prophet like Jonah, God has come down to dwell with us through Jesus Christ and shown us the way to repentance and peace with Him. Hence we have no excuse if we fail to listen to Jesus as He speaks in the gospels and through our Priests today. What is that sinful pattern that is taking charge of your life and making you hide your face from God? Dear friends, let us today humble ourselves and ask for God’s mercy. Let us approach Him in the Sacrament of reconciliation and receive His sancitifying grace in the Eucharist. Let us ask for the grace to truly “turn around” and abandon the sinful habits that hold us captive.

PRAYER: Lord, please have mercy on me. Grant me the grace to live a new life in you – a life of sincerity and holiness. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 229What prepares a person for repentance?

The insight into one’s personal guilt produces a longing to better oneself; this is called contrition. We arrive at contrition when we see the contradiction between God’s love and our sin. Then we are full of sorrow for our sins; we resolve to change our life and place all our hope in God’s help.
HIDE A TREASURE: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” Acts 3:19 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jonah 3: 1-10; Psalm 51: 3-4, 12-13, 18-19; Luke 11: 29-32