CALLED TO BE THE LORD’S LABOURER

Saturday 5th December – Saturday of the 1st week of Advent

Reflection: Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5, 6-8

CALLED TO BE THE LORD’S LABOURER

Advent as a time set aside by the Church to re-intensify her call on us all to re-examine our preparedness for the second coming of our Lord Jesus cannot be truly observed without a due consideration of our individual roles in the salvation of our brothers and sisters. How true is the faith or salvation of him who does not believe in the salvation of others?

Through our baptism, we have all been grafted into the family of God, and commissioned as evangelizers of the Good news (Matthew 28: 19-20; John 15:8). This is a task that must never be seen as the exclusive responsibility of those in the religious or consecrated life; we are all, especially youths, called to be the light of Christ in our different spheres of life (Matthew 5:16). Though our world is becoming increasingly secular, coupled with a rising tide of religious hypocrisy, Christ calls you and I not to be afraid to stand for Him. We must never allow ourselves to be discouraged by our individual inadequacies or suppressed by what our folks think of our Christian convictions. Rather, let us, in love and humility, constantly seek to make the truth known; to daily offer our prayers and service at avenues that could promote the conversion of our brothers and sisters. 

Dearest in Christ, let us continually trust in God as we offer our service. The Holy Spirit is the principal transformer of the human heart (1 Corinthians 3: 4-6) without whom we can achieve nothing (John 15:5). Our God is a just Father and has promised not to forget the labour of love we offer in His name (Hebrews 6:10).

PRAYER: I place my life wholly at your service dear Lord. Please daily teach me how best to serve You that the light of my faith may draw others to you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 354Can people be forced to believe in God?

No. No one may force others to believe, not even one’s own children, just as no one may be forced to be an unbeliever. A person can make the decision to believe only in complete freedom. Christians, however, are called to help other people, by word and example, to find the way to faith.

Pope John Paul II said, “Proclaiming Christ and bearing witness to him, when done in a way that respects consciences, does not violate freedom. Faith demands a free adherence on the part of man, but at the same time faith must also be offered to him”

HIDE A TREASURE: “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me; Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:16 RSV-CE 

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 30: 19-21, 23-26; Psalms 147: 1-6; Matthew 9: 35- 10: 1, 5, 6-8

DO NOT GIVE UP ON THY SELF

Friday 23rd October – Friday of week 29 of the year

DO NOT GIVE UP ON THY SELF

Romans 7: 18-25

One of the greatest tragedies of faith is for any Christian to give up on him or herself. To surrender to our human weaknesses and quit striving in the salvation struggle is to relinquish oneself as prey to Satan. God never gives up on any one (Ephesian 2:4); we are the only ones that can shut the door of mercy on ourselves through unbelief. That was the tragedy of Judas’ faith.
Beloved in the Lord, is your lamentation similar to that of St. Paul in today’s first reading? “… for though the will to do what is good is in me, the performance is not, with the result that instead of doing the good things I want to do, I carry out the sinful thing I do not want” (Romans 7: 21-23). Let us not be discouraged; the manifestation of our human weakness should promote humility of heart and spur us to greater dependence on God.

By humility of heart, I mean three things. Firstly, our weaknesses teach us that none of us is yet perfect (Romans 3: 23), though we have been converted to Christ, our salvation is a journey which we must daily work out (Philippians 2:12). Secondly, we are reminded of our need to daily quest and depend more on the grace of God (2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Samuel 2:9). Thirdly, our weakness should teach us to accommodate the imperfections of others having come to see the short comings in ourselves.

Dearest in Christ, let us not get wearied on the journey of faith; let us persevere in good work. Faithful is He that has called us (1 Thessalonian 5: 24) and He is able to safeguard the souls that have been committed to him to the glorious appearance of the saints in heaven (1 Timothy 1:12).

Prayer: Thank you father for your great love and mercy over my life. Please help me never to be discouraged by my shortcomings but that I may be committed to greater seek and serve you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 679 – The father has given “all judgement to the Son.” Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself. By rejecting grace, one already judges oneself, receives according to ones’ works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love. 

HIDE A TREASURE: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak” 2 Corinthians 12:9 GNB

Today’s Readings: Romans 7: 18-25; Psalms 119: 66, 68, 76-77, 93-94; Luke 12: 54-59

SHARING JESUS’ INTEREST

Monday 21st September – Feast of St Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist

Reflection: Matthew 9: 9-13

SHARING JESUS’ INTEREST

“The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” ( 2 Peter 3: 8-9).

It is the loving desire of the Almighty God that none of us should perish. Though He abhors sin, He nevertheless constantly seeks the conversion of sinners. However, this is not done at the expense of our free will: “He who created you without your cooperation will not save you without your cooperation” – St. Augustine.

Dearest in Christ, the salvation of all is very paramount to our Lord. Today’s gospel reading calls us to examine our response to the conversion of unbelievers around us. Are we like the Pharisees who were so wrapped up in religious pomposity and self-righteousness that they would not attend to the needy souls around them but would rather seek discourage those who seek out these souls?  “Be separated from them” (2 Corinthians 6: 14-17) is what some erroneously quote to justify their uncharitable disposition to folks outside the fold. This is an ungodly disposition that does not in any way portray the way of Christ. Our separation should rather be to holiness and righteousness; love and truthfulness. It must never breed pride, hatred or prejudice in us. By the totality of our way of life, we are called to live by godly virtues.

Beloved in Christ, irrespective of your mission or apostolate within the church, let us heed the counsel of St. Paul in today’s first reading (Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13) to be better Christians. Though, none of us is perfect, we nevertheless must daily strive to evangelize both within and outside the church. The more we labour for the salvation of others, the better we ourselves are united to Christ.

PRAYER: Father, I give you my soul; please keep it for I cannot keep it outside of you. I give you my heart, please enflame it that it may burn for the conversion of souls for you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 588- … Against those among them “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others,” Jesus affirmed: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves.

HIDE A TREASURE: “ And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like stars for ever and ever ( Daniel 12: 3 RSV-CE)

Today’s readings: Ephesians 4: 1-7, 11-13; Psalm 19:2-5; Matthew 9: 9-13

SAVED TO SAVE; FREED TO FREE

Tuesday 12th May –Tuesday of the 6th Week of Eastertide

Reflection: Acts 16:22-34

SAVED TO SAVE; FREED TO FREE

Paul and Silas were stripped, publicly whipped, and thrown into jail. Yet, their persecution did not in any way undermine their love and faith in God; they praised God in the darkest moment. God was moved by their selflessness and released His power which shook the prison foundations, freeing them and all the other prisoners. Even the jailer was not exempt from freedom and salvation which he badly needed. He recognized the need for salvation with that single encounter, hence His question: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:30).

Dear friend, your testimony to Christ’s wonders in your life is incomplete until it results in your total conversion and the conversion of others. God wants to manifest his power through your steadfastness and thanksgiving even everything seems hopeless. Just as we find strength and hope in the stories of heroes of our faith in Scripture and Church’s tradition, our own journey of salvation will be a testimony for others in times to come. God uses our victory stories to help our brethren become victorious as well.

Bearing this in mind, we must give thanks to God in all things. This attitude of praise is powered by genuine trust in God’s power to save us and set us free. Let us thank God for the gift of salvation today and ask for grace to be agents of salvation to others through all the events of life we encounter. Like Paul and Silas, we are all saved to save others and freed to set others free.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, grant me courage to see in all my troubles, your saving power which is mighty and sufficient for me and active in saving others through me. Give me a heart of praise and in times of need.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 290 – How does God help us to be free men?

Christ wants us to be “set free for freedom” (see Gal 5:1) and to become capable of brotherly love. That is why he sends us the Holy Spirit, who makes us free and independent of worldly powers and strengthens us for a life of love and responsibility.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For we are like a sweet smelling incense offered by Christ to God, which spreads among those who are saved and those who are being lost”.

2 Corinthians 2:15 GNB

Today’s Readings: Acts 16: 22-34; Psalm 138: 1 -3.7-8; John 16:5-11