ARE YOU ASLEEP?

Sunday 9th April – Palm Sunday

Reflection: Matthew 26: 14- 27:66

ARE YOU ASLEEP?

The above question which our blessed Saviour asked Simon Peter in today’s gospel reading remains pertinent to us as individuals in our journey of faith. Perhaps we think we can wish away temptation(s) or sufficiently ward it off by human strength; the experience of Apostle Peter should help us to know better!

To effectively combat and overcome temptation, we need to stay awake – we need to be spiritually watchful and vigilant (1 Pet 2:8; Lk 22: 40, 46). Much as soldiers do not start preparation on the day of battle, we as Christians cannot afford to allow ourselves to be caught in the web of temptation before we start looking for a way out, otherwise we might find ourselves lacking in the needed strength to overcome it. To be spiritually awake, we must daily find time to commune with God in prayer. The complexity of the modern times demands a daily evaluation of our life before God lest our faith is drowned by the wave of secularism and relativism raging around us. This is much more important to us as youths.

Beloved, are you asleep or awake? Is your standard of living measuring up to the call and investment of God in your life or you have merely settled for complacency? Let us this day arise from slumber and be awake to a full actualization of our call and potentials in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER: Consider and answer me, Oh Lord my God; lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep death. Amen. Psalm 13: 3.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2849 –…It is by His prayer that Christ vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of His public mission and in the ultimate struggle of His agony. In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to His battle and His agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with His own. Vigilance is “custody of the heart”…the Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” Matthew 26: 41a RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 50: 4-7; Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-20, 23-34; Philippians 2: 6-11; Matthew 26:14- 27:66

BE VIGILANT!

Sunday 5th March – 1st Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 4: 1-11

BE VIGILANT!

There is no better time to be reminded of Jesus’ temptation than now, as we begin our own journey into the wilderness, taking after the footsteps of our Lord who spent 40 days and nights fasting and praying. Lent is a time for us to take a break from our routine and examine our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is a time to turn away from the sinful patterns that weigh us down and grow deeper in our faith.

As we reflect upon the subject of sin and seek repentance, it becomes even more important for us to consider the subject of temptation if we are truly to break the sinful patterns that hold us bondage. All sin starts with temptation, yet not all temptation results in sin. Adam and Eve in our first reading were tempted and yielded to the devil but our Lord Jesus was also tempted but did not yield. What made the difference between them?

Our Lord was conscious of the enemy’s deception and recognized it quickly. To truly overcome sin, we must be vigilant – we must be sensitive to the ways in which the enemy comes to us with his deceptive tactics. The more conscious we are, the more likely we are to recognize the temptations as they come and resist them. In addition, our Lord resisted the enemy with the word of God. God’s word is the sword of the spirit; our singular weapon of offense in our spiritual battle (Eph 6:17). We can successfully fight the enemy when we soak our ourselves in the truth of God’s word and make it our rule of life.

As we begin the first week of Lent, be vigilant. Watch out for the enemy’s tactics of discouragement, sloth and temptation and resist him. Only then would we cooperate with God’s grace to grow in holiness this season.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, sharpen my spiritual senses that I may be able to recognize and resist the temptations of the enemy. Please strengthen me in the battle against sin. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 88 – Why was Jesus led into temptation? Could he really be tempted at all?

Jesus was truly human, and as part of that he was truly susceptible to temptation. In Jesus Christ, we do not have the sort of redeemer “who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning” (Heb 4:15).

Hide a Treasure: “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Psalm 51: 3-6, 12-17; Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11

TAKE UP YOUR SWORD

Sunday 14th February – 1st Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Luke 4:1-13

TAKE UP YOUR SWORD

Of the six weapons outlined as components of the armor of God (Ephesians 6: 10-18), only one stands out as a weapon of offense. While the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, shield of faith and shoes being the readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace serve as weapons of defense with which we protect ourselves from the devils fiery darts, the sword of the Spirit stands out as the only weapon with which we can launch back our attack on our enemy, the devil (Ephesians 6: 14-16). There are no spears, arrows or rifles on the list.

We are in a constant combat with the enemy. Our sword is the word of God. The living and active word that has the power to convict, heal, transform, teach and strengthen us is also able to destroy the tactics of the devil. In today’s reading, our Lord gives us an example of how to overcome our temptations by countering the deception of the devil with the word of God. Adam and Eve sinned because they allowed the serpent to deceive them, by making God out to be a liar and His word invalid and so they fell from the life of grace (Genesis 3: 4-5).

Dear friends, as we journey through this season of grace, let us take out time to study God’s Word and ask for the grace to be obedient to it. Only when God’s Word dwells in us can we recognize the tactics the enemy uses and destroy them with our sword. Indeed, you and I who have been baptized into Christ have been made righteous through His obedience. Let us hold on to Him and His word in faith so that we can triumph over our flesh, the world and the devil especially this season of Lent.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please help me to find strength in your word each day so that I may resist the devil and live above sin always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 475 – How did Jesus pray?

Jesus’ life was one single prayer. At decisive moments (his temptation in the desert, his selection of the apostles, his death on the Cross) his prayer was especially intense. Often he withdrew into solitude to pray, especially at night. Being one with the Father in the Holy Spirit—that was the guiding principle of his earthly life.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I have laid up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” Psalm 119: 11 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 26: 4-10; Psalm 91: 1-2, 10-15; Romans 10: 8-13; Luke 4: 1-13

FLEE AVARICE

Friday 18th September- Friday of week 25 of the year

FLEE AVARICE

1 Tim 6:2-12

A popular Yoruba adage says “when money is not at home; let no one take any decision”. Indeed, money gives answers to so many things however; there are still remains a lot that money cannot provide – salvation, peace of mind, good success, good health, journey mercies, joy etc. All these are blessings from God which money cannot buy.

It is however disheartening that people do not realise that even money is a gift from God, thus they seek money as the world gives not as the Father gives and the love for money has led so many into evils that one can never imagine. It is more disheartening that the minds of many youth have been corrupt in the search for money(1 Tim 6:10); many youth no longer want to work hard but prefer to engage in armed robbery, stealing, kidnapping, drug dealing, prostitution, assassination, money rituals, cultism, human trafficking and many such evils in their pursuit of money.

Beloved, St Paul reminds us today that we brought nothing into the world and we are taking nothing back (1 Tim 6:7). A realisation of this truth should help us to appreciate the gift of money and use it rightly. Do not be desperate in search for money but work hard and be content with whatever God blesses you with. Remember the words of the very wealthy king, Solomon: “vanity upon vanity; all is vanity” (Ecc 1:2).

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, give me the grace of divine satisfaction that I may not lose my soul as I search for money and earthly pleasure. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 285What is eternal happiness?

Eternal happiness is seeing God and being taken up into God’s happiness. In God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit there is unending life, joy and communion… God would like us to decide in favor of our happiness; we should choose God freely, love him above all things, do good and avoid evil insofar as we are able.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires, which pull them down to ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:9 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: 1 Timothy 6:2-12; Psalm 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18,19-20; Luke 8:1-3