INVESTING OUR STRENGTH

Wednesday 30th December – 6th day within the octave of Christmas

Reflection: 1 John 2:12-17

INVESTING OUR STRENGTH

Dear friends, many parts of the Holy Scriptures emphasize the purpose of youthfulness and describe it as a stage of decision to choose life and denounce the temptations of the devil. This phase in which we are requires right counsel to stand firm in faith as it is a time when the battle against sin is at its peak as well as the formation of character. It is a phase in which we love to choose mentors, people whose pathways we can follow to newer facets and discoveries in life. Nevertheless, all our aspirations must necessarily lead us back to God (Ecclesiastes 11:9). All our questions about life can only get right answers when we sincerely make efforts to search for truth. This is the true essence of our strength which St John makes reference to in our reading today: I am writing to you, young people, because you are strong; the word of God lives in you, and you have defeated the evil one. (1 John 2:14b).

As the year 2015 passes away, we are called to evaluate what have achieved with our youthful strength this past year. How have we tailored our talents and treasures to earn us eternal treasures? Beloved, the greatest treasure we can ever have is Christ dwelling in us, His word fuelling our hearts with the grace and power to defeat the evil one. This is the most important investment of this phase of our lives. Let us take heed of our flaws and fight the good fight faith. Never be discouraged to take up your cross and follow Christ. You can do all things through him who strengthens you. The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever. (1 John 2:17). Press on, beloved!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I am sorry for the misuse of your grace upon my life. I ask for renewed strength as I wait on you today. Help me to use my strength to know you more. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 34What should you do once you have come to know God?

Once you have come to know God, you must put him in the first place in your life. And with that a new life begins. You should be able to recognize Christians by the fact that they love even their enemies.

HIDE A TREASURE: “…I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”. Philippians 3:8 GNB

Readings for Today: 1 John 2:12-17; Psalm 96:7-10, Luke 2:36-40

UNWAVERING STRENGTH

Wednesday 9th December – Wednesday of the 2nd week of Advent

Reflection: Isaiah 40:25 -31

UNWAVERING STRENGTH

Our joy as youths lies in our strength. This beautiful stage of our lives is marked by great physical and intellect strength. It is a stage in which almost anything conceivable can be achieved; a stage when we can stretch ourselves in order to gain knowledge, skills and all that is required to reach the peak of whatever career we have chosen in life.

Yet, are there times when situations and circumstances seem to limit what we can achieve in our youth? Are there times our big dreams and desires to excel are dampened by economic instability in our nation, financial constraint of our families, lack of access to educational facilities, lack of encouragement to undertake mind-bogging research etc? These moments can prove to be very discouraging for young people and limit their zeal for excellence and the strength that accompanies such zeal. These are moments when we are tempted to say like Israel, “my destiny is hidden from the Lord, my rights are ignored by my God”

Today, God calls us to hope in Him. He reminds us that everything about our lives lies in the hands of our Almighty Father who does not grow tired or weary. He reassures us that those who hope in Him shall renew their strength and never grow tired or weary (Isaiah 40:31). Where is your trust? Are you carrying your burdens alone? Please respond to Jesus’ call in the Gospel reading “come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Only in going to Jesus with hope, trust and confidence will you find the unwavering strength to put out wings like an eagle even in the face of difficult and discouraging situations.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have promised in your word to give me rest. I come to you today asking that you grant me the grace to hope in you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 486Why should we petition God?

God, who knows us through and through, knows what we need. Nevertheless, God wants us to ask, to turn to him in times of need, to cry out, implore, lament, call upon him, indeed, even to struggle with him in prayer.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” Isaiah 40:31

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 40: 25-31; Psalm 103: 1-4,8,10; Matthew 11: 28-30

OUR SOURCE OF STRENGTH

Monday 7th September – Monday of week 23 of the year

Reflection: Colossians 1:24 – 2:3

OUR SOURCE OF STRENGTH

In avalanche-prone areas, mountaineers and skiers are trapped deep in many meters of ice as the unpredictable flood of death sweeps out every life in its path. For the few survivors; when they finally wake from the shock of the flood of ice and find themselves trapped, the only remedy to their disorientation is light from the sky being more on one side. They begin to dig up to the surface; fighting the cold, the limited air and fear with their damaged trembling fingers. Some dig for days. Their exhaustion suddenly disappears when they notice: ‘the light just got a whole lot brighter; I must be close to the surface’. This dim light becomes the burst of energy that sees them to the surface.

St Paul looked forward to the hope of glory in Christ and that provided all the energy he needed to fight on the good fight of faith. He had found a treasure in the good news of salvation and was driven by God’s grace to deliver the message of Christ to everyone.

What is your driving force? What is it that gives you strength and keeps you struggling on the path of faith? Our motives go a long way in determining our actions and the extent of sacrifice we are willing to make. If we are driven by flimsy reasons, the tendency to throw in the towel is high but if we are driven by our hope of eternal life, then we are strengthened to go through even the most adverse situations triumphantly. Dear friend, when life becomes cold and uninteresting and we feel all our good works are going to waste; come to Jesus and find warmth for your heart. Let your hope in His love be your strength.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, be glorified in my weaknesses and strengthen me daily for every good work. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 308What is hope?

Hope is trusting in what God has promised us in creation, in the prophets, but especially in Jesus Christ, even though we do not yet see it. God’s Holy Spirit is given to us so that we can patiently hope for the Truth.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The hope of the upright ends in happiness but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing” Proverbs 10:28 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Colossians 1: 24-2: 3; Psalm 62: 6-7. 9; Luke 6: 6-11

THE FULLNESS OF GOD’S GRACE

Sunday 5th July – 14th Sunday of the year

THE FULLNESS OF GOD’S GRACE

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

The recognition of the grace of God in the life of Apostle Paul made him to boast gladly of his weakness, for God had said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, that “Grace is a participation in the life of God” (CCC no.1997); and the word Grace should be used in our daily lives because we live in grace. It is grace below us, above us, before us, behind us and beside us. It is grace in which we stand. This marvelous word refers to divine favor, to divine blessing, to divine benefit. It refers to that which God has given to us in Christ not because we earned it or deserved it, but because He willed to give it. And all of God’s gifts to His children are given by grace, as grace itself is a gift of God. Everything we have in our salvation from beginning to the end is by grace.

Many of us Christians do not recognize that what we are today is not by our power, it is by the grace of God. That is why St Paul would say, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain” (1Corinthians.15:10). Like St Paul, we also must acknowledge that; it is grace that saves us, sanctifies us, gives us understanding of the Word of God, gives us wisdom to apply it, gives us the power to overcome temptation and allows us to obey the Lord. It is grace that enables us to serve and to minister, that carries us through suffering with endurance, lifts us above disappointment and pain. That is why this grace is called the surpassing grace of God in you… 2 Corinthians 9:14.

Dear friends, what a profound promise of God that his grace is available to us. Pray for this grace of God today and open your heart to God and allow him to bestow his abundant grace on you, so that you may experience the joy of his grace in all that you do.

PRAYER– Almighty Father, grant us always the help of your grace, so that with your grace in our lives may we never be in lack of your goodness, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2000what is sanctifying grace?

Sanctifying grace is an habitual, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But by God’s grace I am what I am; and the grace that he gave me was not without effect…” 1 Cor 15:10 GNB

Today’s Reading’s: Ez 2:2-5; Ps123: 1-2.3-4; 2Cor 12: 7-10; Mk 6:1-6

STRENGHT IN THE INNER PERSON

Friday 12 June – Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Reflection: Ephesians 3: 8-12, 14-19

STRENGHT IN THE INNER PERSON

Good diet and regular physical exercise go a long way in providing vitality to the human body. Without the required vigour our ability to pursue our daily engagements will be seriously impaired. This we can readily testify to from our experiences in times of sickness.

Though we generally try to do all within our ability to stay physically fit, how about our inner wellness; how much attention do we pay to this? By inner wellness, I mean our emotional, intellectual and most importantly spiritual wellness. Without harmony within, we would lack the capacity and drive to positively impact our world, a good bodily health notwithstanding. Therefore as youth, full of vigour and dreams, we need to pay good attention to the development of inner beings. We have a responsibility to stretch our intellectual capacity through deliberate reading of good books. We need to master our emotion and impulses and positively channel these to noble ventures.

From today’s Second reading we see that it is the Holy Spirit that empowers our mind to grow in the Lord. It is He that reveals ourselves to us and communicates the deep thing of God to us.  Cut away from God, we are vulnerable and at the mercy of canal and demonic manipulations. These can manifest as gluttony, avarice, uncontrolled anger, greed, lust, pride, sloth etc. The virtues that truly stand us out as bearers of God’s image (Imago Dei) are not easily developed, we need the abiding presence of God to cultivate and grow in these.

Dear friend, what is the state if your inner being? Are you going through a state of emptiness and dryness; Lacking in strength to pursue your noble dreams? You need God! You need to seek Him for renewal. Sin robs us of our strength and spiritual negligence gradually disarms us. Let us cry to God in prayer. We must not give up on ourselves for the Lord truly makes his grace available to those who call to Him in faith and singleness of heart.

PRAYER: Oh Lord! I am helpless and weak without You. Please take away from me all that separates me from you; rekindle the fire of your love in my heart and strengthen me to better live for your honour. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 736- By this power of the Spirit, God’s children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear “the fruit of the Spirit:..Love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” “We live by the Spirit”; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we “walk by the spirit.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” John 15:5 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Hosea 11:1,3-4,8-9; Ephesians 3: 8-12,14-19; John 19: 31-37

I CAN DO ALL THINGS!

Wednesday, 22nd January – Wednesday of week 2

Reflection: 1 Samuel 17:32-37, 40-51

I CAN DO ALL THINGS!

Today’s reading recounts the story of how David, while in his youth and inexperienced in battle killed the Goliath, the philistine giant that threatened the Israelite army. Noteworthy in the account of this event is David’s unwavering reliance on God. The only reason he stood before the giant without fear was that he trusted that God would give the Philistine into his hands (2 Samuel 17:37, 45-46).

Dear young friend, are there challenges that beset you for which no way out seems feasible? Are there difficulties you face each day at school, work, home etc? David gives us an insight into how these problems can be solved. When we are faced with challenges or difficulties that seem overwhelming, we must look up to God to find the required grace, strength and direction. “Nothing is impossible for the one who believes”, Christ tells us.

Like David, you and I can find courage and direction if we trust absolutely in God and ask for His help as we face the challenges of life, we will find out that the seemingly impossible situation will give way as Christ strengthens us to do all things (Philippians 4:13).

PRAYER: My heavenly Father, please help me to trust in you wholeheartedly especially when faced with the challenges of life. May I find strength and courage in you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 219 – How often must a Catholic Christian participate in the celebration of the Eucharist?

A Catholic Christian is obliged to attend Holy Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation. Anyone who is really seeking Jesus’ friendship responds as often as possible to Jesus’ personal invitation to the feast.

HIDE A TREASURE

“I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 1 Samuel 17:32-37, 40-51; Psalm 144:1-2, 9-10; Mark 3: 1-6