DYING TO LIVE

Monday 10th August- Feast of St. Laurence, Deacon & Martyr

DYING TO LIVE

John 12:24-26

You may wonder why one must die in order to live. Once a person dies, he is believed to be physically gone forever. Christ tells us today that death goes beyond the physical, it also involves the spiritual. Thus, we have to die in order to live. Dying in this context refers to dying to self -the flesh, the gratifications and the pleasures of the flesh. St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians (5:19-22) described the human self as being impatient, wicked, boastful, arrogant, selfish, lustful and other vices that the Spirit guards against.

Beloved, just like a grain of wheat that has to fall and die in order to bear many grains. Christ is equating our lives to that of a grain of wheat, telling of the necessity of us letting go of our own desires and giving in to him. Thus, He tells us “whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honour anyone who serves me.” (John 12:26). Let us then choose today to die to our flesh by having a rebirth in Christ, surrendering our lives to the Lordship of God and daily dwelling in his presence. He is capable and ever ready to take the wheels of our lives. Let us begin to sow seeds of righteousness –by dying to the flesh- and live a holy life that we might be fruitful in the vineyard of the Lord.

PRAYER: May God grant us a yearning to be like him and do away with the desires of the flesh. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 154- What happens to us when we die?

How the resurrection will take place is a mystery. An image can help us to accept it: When we look at a tulip bulb we cannot tell into what a marvelously beautiful flower it will develop in the dark earth. Similarly, we know nothing about the future appearance of our new body. Paul nevertheless certain: “It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory” (1Cor 15:43)

HIDE A TREASURE: “Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24 GNB

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10; Psalm112:1-2.5-9; John 12:24-26

SALVATION AND THE CROSS

Friday 7thAugust- Friday of week 18 of the year

SALVATION AND THE CROSS

Matthew 16:24-28

Seeds are planted deep in the soil, where they undergo corruption, and die.. However, out of this decadence sprouts the seedling, the future plant. The seedling is of greater value and capable of greater produce than the single seed that was sown. In the seed we see a replica of the human life. Without renouncement, mortification and reformation, we cannot live a fulfilled and productive life. Without the cross we cannot achieve perfection.

As the way of Salvation passes by the way of the Cross; we cannot claim to love Jesus and then disdain the cross. To partake in the life of Christ, we must be ready to share in His suffering and death. Like the seed, we must be ready to let go of ourselves, our desires, and our will, surrendering them to that of our heavenly Father. We must learn the wisdom of God in what humans consider as foolish; we must learn to bring virtues out of the corruption of the world. In the face of frustration and annoyance, we must learn patience; in the face of grave offense, we must forgive; in the face of hatred and disdain, we must show love; in the face of despair, we must keep hope alive in God.

By bringing out virtues out of the circumstances around us and learning to recognize and bear our cross in every situation we find ourselves, we renounce our human nature and its desires. Each time we recognize and accept the virtues contained in our situations, we are bearing our cross. The more the Spirit of God triumphs in our life, the more we partake and share in Christ’s suffering and death, which is the way to salvation. Our crosses are largely products of our daily life; in our workplace, in our homes, in the church, in our schools, on the playgrounds, in the marketplace, these are all roads that can lead us to salvation. Our duty is to recognize the crosses we are called to bear in these places and pray for the grace to bear them and follow Jesus.

Prayer: Lord grant me divine wisdom, to learn and accept the virtues you teach me each day and give me the grace and strength to follow your path. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 102 – Why are we too supposed to accept suffering in our lives and thus “take up our cross” and thereby follow Jesus?

Christians should not seek suffering, but when they are confronted with unavoidable suffering, it can become meaningful for them if they unite their sufferings with the sufferings of Christ… Christians have the task of alleviating suffering in the world. Nevertheless, there will still be suffering. In faith we can accept our own suffering and share the suffering of others. In this way human suffering becomes united with the redeeming love of Christ and thus part of the divine power that changes the world for the better.

Hide a Treasure: “My son, if you have decided to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Keep your heart upright and remain resolute; do not be upset in the time of adversity.” Sirach 2:1-2 CCB

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 4:32-40; Psalm 77:12-16. 21; Matthew 16:24-28

THE PRICE OF PERFECTION

Monday 25th May – Monday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10:17-27

THE PRICE OF PERFECTION

Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17)

The question the young man asked as he ran up to Jesus reveals his thirst for holiness. There is a blessing in longing and striving for betterment, in making oneself a sheep that gets out of the mud rather than a pig that stays on in it. However, as today’s gospel shows us, to thirst for holiness is not enough, we must also be ready to pay the price. All men desire greatness but only few are ready to give what it takes.

When our Lord proposed to him the ordinary way of salvation, namely, keeping the commandments, the man was dissatisfied; he sought for something more perfect; but, when the perfect way was proposed to him, the way of renunciation: He went away sad because he had great wealth. Such response shows us that one can have an earnest desire for God, but be unwilling to tread the path of true holiness.

Beloved, always remember: “The way of perfection passes by the way of the Cross. There is no holiness without self-renunciation; no salvation without Calvary and no crown without a cross. Thus, our path to holiness as Christians demands that we detach ourselves from earthly things. It is a path of total self-giving that calls us to die to our own desires and cling to God’s purpose for us. Jesus, tells you today: “If you wish to be perfect…go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”. What is standing in your path to perfection? Let go of it today!

PRAYER: God give me the grace to always walk in the light of your presence and never to depart from you, so that eternally I may reign with you in heaven. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2015 – Spiritual progress entails the ascesis (the exercise of self-discipline) and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes

HIDE A TREASURE: “We cannot please God without putting our human and fleshy desires to death” Romans 8:8 CCB

Today’s Reading: Sirach 17:20-28, Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7, Mark 10:17-27

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS

Thursday 19th February – Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Reflection: Luke 9: 22-25

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS

Crucifixion was a torturous means of execution used by the Romans for many criminals during the first century. It symbolized shame and rejection; hence, Jesus’ followers must have been taken aback when he told them that following Him would demand “carrying their crosses daily”. Yet, His words would become real to them as He carried His own cross to the place of His crucifixion. Dear young friend, Jesus words remain as true and relevant today as they were 20 centuries back. He says to you and I: “If you want to be my follower, renounce yourself, take up your cross everyday and follow me…what gain is it if you win the whole world and ruin or lose your very self?” (Luke 9: 23, 25)

The season of Lent brings that call more to our awareness. As you journey with Jesus through the Stations of the Cross this season, think about the crosses you are called to carry: it may be an unpleasant situation at home, school or work; putting up with a very difficult person; persecution on account of your faith; financial difficulties or some struggles in your personal life and journey of faith. Our joy is that we do not carry the cross alone – we carry it behind our master who knows all things and desires to form us into better disciples through those crosses. Let us trust Him to strengthen us as we carry our crosses and follow Him faithfully.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you carried your cross to Calvary without complaining. Please forgive me for the times I have complained about my crosses and help me to carry them faithfully and trustfully. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 277- What are the Stations of the Cross?

Following Jesus on his Way of the Cross by praying and meditating on the fourteen Stations is a very ancient devotion in the Church, which is practiced especially in Lent and Holy week.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” Luke 9:24 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 30: 15-20; Psalm 1: 1-6; Luke 9: 22-25