WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL?

Sunday 21st February – 2nd Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Philippians 3: 17-4:1

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL?

Our values and perception of life go a long way in determining the choice of our role model or mentor. Consequently, the choice of our role model to a reasonable length goes on to influence our decisions and actions in life. In our society today where there is so much hype on materialism and consumerism, we youths are at risk of being swept off our feet by the flamboyant lifestyles of some prominent figures constantly being projected at us by the media their value system or manner of life notwithstanding.

From today’s second reading, of noteworthy is the appeal of St. Paul to the faith community in Philippi to consider the way of life of whoever they imitate to see whether it aligns with the precepts of Christ or not. Dearest in Christ, our world is getting more secular by the day with flagrant disregard for the fundamental precepts of the Christian faith in different quarters. The “modern man” assertion of “freedom and liberty” is daily kicking against every notion of absolute truth and relativism is fast becoming the acceptable hymn. In the light of this, it is of paramount necessity that we carefully examine the ideas being projected at us by the media to be sure we are not being subtlety led in the wrong direction.

Beloved in Christ, that the one you consider your role model comes out to endorse a notion or concept that runs contrary to the fundamental ternate of your faith or the voice of your conscience does not make his or her position right. It will serve us well as youths to identify individuals whose believe and way of life agree with the eternal precepts of the word of God, in addition to other desirable attributes we admire in them, as role models.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please guide me in my associations. Surround me with hearts that love and seek to honour You, that the light of their faith may urge me on in the right path. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2284- Scandal is an attribute or behaviour which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbour’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offence if by deed of omission another is deliberately led into a grave offence.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit” Luke 6: 39b  RSV-CE

LOVE: THE BOND OF PERFECTION

Thursday 10th September – Thursday of week 23 of the year

LOVE: THE BOND OF PERFECTION

Colossians 3:12-17

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

An identity card is usually issued out as a proof that the bearer has an affiliation with the institution that issues the card. As our Lord neared the end of his earthly life, He gave His disciples that a commandment that was to serve as an identity: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you…by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34).

What was so “new” about this commandment? The newness of this commandment stems from the standard by which we are called to love. Rather than loving our neighbour just as we love ourselves, this commandment calls us to something more sacrificial – loving others as Christ has loved us. It calls us to laying down our lives for others. For when one loves a person, he thinks nothing else about the beloved except how to make him happy.

Think about the love of Christ for us. A love that made him leave his glory to live amongst us and endure discomfort, shame, suffering and death for us while we were yet sinners. His love for us is incomparable and that is the love we are called to emulate. A love that is manifest in our sincere compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forgiveness and patience as St Paul tells us in today’s reading. Christ implores us to love and pray for our enemies. It is such selfless love that truly marks us out as His children.

PRAYER: Oh Lord, help me to love sacrificially even my enemies just as you have loved me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 402 What is love?

Love is the free self-giving of the heart. Through the overflowing of divine love, we participate in the eternal love of God. The more a person loves, the more he resembles God. Love should influence the whole life of a person, but it is realized with particular depth and symbolism when man and woman love one another in marriage and become “one flesh” (Gen 2:24). 

HIDE A TREASURE: “Yes, may you come to know his love-although it can never be fully known-and so be completely filled with the very nature of God” Ephesians 3:19

Today’s Readings: Colossians 3:12-17; Psalm 150:1 -6; Luke 6:27-38

WHEN LOVE DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

Saturday 8th August – Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest

WHEN LOVE DOESN’T MAKE SENSE

Deuteronomy 6:4-13

This conversation ensued between a mother and her child after a Sunday Mass:

Mother: What lesson did you learn from Father’s homily today?

Child: Father said that love does not keep a record of wrongs in our hearts.

Mother: That is great my baby. You listened well.

Child: Thank you Mum, But where should I keep it? What then should I do if I don’t even remember the wrongs my friend did to me?

Beloved, Love is the nature of our Abba Father and all His actions are wrought in love. God’s love gives us a glimpse of heaven and it is capable of stripping us of anything in this world that contends with it in our heart. How then as Christians can we live without love? The truth is that there is no life without Love. Love breathes life and that is why Jesus love for the world led him to died so as to give us life.

Our reading today tells us of the greatest command that God gave his people Israel: “Israel, remember this! The LORD and the LORD alone is our God.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:4-5). To show its importance, God ordered them to tie this law on their arms and wear on their foreheads, to keep saying it while resting and while working, to write it on the doorpost of their houses and gates. Beloved, is this too much for Love? Does it make sense to do all this?

Love doesn’t have to make sense to the flesh because it is a gift of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit pours out the love of God into our hearts (Romans 5:5) to make us do the impossible for God. are we willing to allow the Holy Spirit work in us and through us? Just like the little child’s response in the illustration above, the love of God would make us live above malice, hatred, envy and all sorts of vices and would reconfigure our thinking. This is what Love can do with ease. Let us therefore be willing to give all for the Love of God and in turn we would see God in our neighbour.

Keep showing love to others even if it does not make sense.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to love you always. Give the grace by the power of the Spirit to love even when it doesn’t make sense to my reasoning. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 33- What does it mean to say that God is love?

If God is love, then there is nothing created that is not carried and surrounded by his infinite benevolence. God not only declares that he is love, he also proves it: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).

HIDE A TREASURE: “Love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs”. 1 Corinthians 13:5 GNB

Today’s Readings: Deut. 6:4-13; Psalm 18:2-4.47.51; Matt. 17:14-20

THE DEMANDS OF LOVE

Tuesday 16th June – Tuesday of week 11 in Ordinary time

Reflection: Matthew 5:43-48

THE DEMANDS OF LOVE

Trials reveal our true character to us and the world. A man cannot be said to be patient without having endured some degree of delays; neither can he be said to be truthful without having shown himself to be honest. Love is a virtue we all practically claim to have, but how many of us are indeed loving? How often do we define love along our own standards as against the standard of God? This misnomer is what our Blessed Savior is correcting in today’s Gospel- “You have learnt how it is said: you must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45b).

God, who is Love (1 John 4:8), daily makes demands from you and I who claim allegiance to Him. The carnal inclination of man is to love those we consider “lovable” and keep at arm’s length those we consider “unlovable.” We live at a time when we easily justify our resentment for the inadequacies of others but easily excuse our own faults. Forgiveness becomes conditional and generosity is reduced to convenience. Dear friend, this is neither the way of Love exemplified by Christ nor is it the path of love followed by the early Church. In today’s Gospel acclamation (John 13:34), our Lord Jesus Christ commands us to love one another as He loves us. This is a call to sacrificial love; this is the call we see the early Church respond to in today’s first reading (2 Corinthians 8: 1-9).

Let us look inward, beloved in Christ and see how well we are responding to the demands love daily places on us. Our world is more secular than ever; the number of people who are interested in listening to the Good news lessens by the day, we however have an irresistible channel of evangelization by our way of life. People need to see the attributes of Christ in us. We must be loving, especially when it is most challenging to do so. This is our call as Christians and the grace of God is ever available to aid us.

PRAYER: Dear Father, please help me to daily meet the demands of love; help me that the world may find me true and faithful to You. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 303- How does one act justly?

One acts justly by always making sure to give to God and to one’s neighbor what is due to them.
The guiding principle of justice is: “To each his due”. A child with a disability and a highly gifted child must be encouraged in different ways so that each may fulfill his potential…

Hide a Treasure: “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” John 14:15 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, Psalm 145:2, 5-9, Matthew 5:43-48

LOOK BEYOND THE BREAD YOU EAT…

Sunday 7th June –Solemnity of the most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)

Reflection: Mark 14: 22-26

LOOK BEYOND THE BREAD YOU EAT…

The body and blood express the life of the being that possesses them. Christ once taught His disciples in these words at the close of His earthly life: “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). There is therefore no greater expression of love than a sacrifice of life in its totality.

God; who is Love, gives His life in the sacrifice of His begotten Son (true God from true God and consubstantial with the Father). Christ out of perfect love gave a sacrifice of Himself for the salvation of the world at the first Eucharistic feast (Mass) during the Passover; with a perfect accomplishment of this ‘once for all’ sacrifice by His death on the Cross (Hebrews 9:12-14). At the Last Supper, He instituted the Eucharist as a memorial of His infinite Love. He gave us a daily nourishment of His true life: in the appearance of bread and wine that we may live His life of Love here on earth and join in the unending feast in heaven. With this perfect sacrifice, He sealed His covenant of love with us; as with the Israelites when Moses sprinkled the blood of sacrificed oxen after all the people had promised to live by the same divine covenant (Exodus 24: 3-8).

Friends in Christ, today we celebrate God’s love for us fully expressed in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. Let us learn from Christ’s sacrifice as we feast at His table. Let us love as we have been loved: this is living by the divine commandment. Look beyond the bread you eat, see your savior and God. Look beyond the wine you drink, see His love for the world.

PRAYER: Dear God, give me perfect love like Yours. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 211 – How important is the Eucharist for the Church?

The celebration of the Eucharist is the heart of the Christian communion. In it the Church becomes Church.
We are not Church because we get along well, or because we happen to end up in the same parish community, but rather because in the Eucharist we receive the Body of Christ and are increasingly being transformed into the Body of Christ.

HIDE A TREASURE: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” John 6: 56 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 24: 3-8; Psalm 116: 12-13, 15-18; Mark 14: 12-16, 22-26

HOW DO I LOVE GOD?

Monday 4th May – Monday of the 5th week of Eastertide

Reflection: John 14:21-26

HOW DO I LOVE GOD?

Our catechism teaches us that God created us to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him eternally; also, when asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Mt 22:27). Hence the injunction to love God is central to our Christian faith. We often ask ourselves: how do I love God? In what ways can I fulfill the command to love God?

Jesus tells us exactly what loving God means: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:21). Hence we must constantly ask ourselves: Am I living in obedience to God? Dear friend, it is very easy for us to disobey God in the way we think, speak and act each day; indeed it takes deliberate efforts to please God rather than behave the way the society wires us to. Yet, our love for God demands that we obey Him in all things and love our fellow men sacrificially just as He has loved us. (John 13:34-35).

Take some moments to examine yourself today. Do you truly love God? Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see the areas of your life in which you may not be living in obedience to God. And ask for His mercy and the grace to love God sincerely and faithfully.

PRAYER: Dear God, I ask for the grace of a genuine love for you and my fellow men. Please help me to obey you always. Amen.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Those who love me will obey my teaching. My father will love them, and my father and I will come to them and live them” John 14:23 GNB

Today’s Readings: Acts 14: 5-18; Psalm 114: 1-4, 15-16; John 14: 21-26

LOVE IS SACRIFICIAL


Wednesday 15th April – Wednesday of the 2nd week of Eastertide

Reflection: John 3: 16-21

LOVE IS SACRIFICIAL

There is truth in the saying: “we can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.” How much of ourselves we are willing to part with is one of the cardinal tests of the depth of our love.

Today’s gospel reading shows the depth of God the Father’s love for us His creatures: “…God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life.”
Dear friend, we all claim to love God and our neighbor but how truly sacrificial is our love? Do we simply profess to love God because we need Him to answer our prayers? How much of our treasure can we freely give to His service? Genuine love is not self seeking.

As we go about our activities this day, let us keep in mind that there will be times when love will place demands on us. Occasions will arise when we need to jettison our own interest in other to meet the needs of others. At those times, let us not fail the test of love; let us exercise the needed sacrifice. This is an important proof of our discipleship.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please grant me the grace to pay the needed sacrifice that my love for You and my neighbour demands from me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2447 – The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting, are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently…giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” 1 John 3: 16-17 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 5: 17-26; Psalm 34: 2-9; John 3: 16-21