WHOM DO YOU TRUST?

Thursday 26th November – Thursday of week 34 of the year

Reflection: Daniel 6: 12-28

WHOM DO YOU TRUST?

None of us is self-sufficient, able to cater for all his own needs – physical, social, psychological, spiritual etc. God has created us with a need for interdependence. We all look to others to supply our needs in one way or the other. Such interdependence builds on a measure of trust without which our relationships cannot function. A child trusts the parents to provide his material needs, a parent trusts his child to put his best into his studies and uphold the family name through good behaviour. A wife trusts her husband to provide the family needs and the husband trusts his wife to manage family resources effectively to ensure smooth home running.

Yet we humans are very fallible and sometimes even our purest intentions can be foiled. Daniel could have placed his trust in the king, knowing that the king had no intention of hurting him but the first reading reveals that even the kings’ hands seemed to have been somewhat  tied and for all his good intentions, he could not prevent Daniel from being thrown to the lions. Beloved, so it is with us. If we do not place our trust in the ever faithful God, we will be faced with disappointment and frustration as we journey through life.

Only our trust in God will keep us faithful to him like Daniel was even in the face of persecution. Only our trust in God will keep us obedient to him in the choices we make when the whole world is going the wrong way. Beloved, God is our only sure anchor; our only sure hope who cannot be influenced by human limitations. Let your trust in Him be manifest in your total obedience to him as you make your daily choices and even though trials may come, like Daniel, you will experience His mighty power to save.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you because you are ever faithful. Please help me to trust you with the details of my life and find peace in obeying you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 470 – What prompts a person to pray?

We pray because we are full of an infinite longing and God has created us men for himself: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you” (St Augustine). But we pray also because we need to; Mother Teresa says, “Because I cannot rely on myself, I rely on him, twenty-four hours a day.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” Psalm 125:1 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Daniel 6: 12-28; Dan 3: 68-74 (canticle); Lk 21: 20-28

OUR GREAT COMFORTER

Monday 8th June – Monday week 10 of the year

Reflection: Psalm 34: 2-9

OUR GREAT COMFORTER

It is quite an irony to find children living in harsh environments play in the dust, with nothing but an empty stomach and no assurance of even a small meal for the day, while some well-tended children in high-class societies grow grumpy and bitter. They seem to own everything but joy and satisfaction.  Truly, wealth is not the proper determinant of joy. The rich also cry!

We do not live in a perfect society. Our life as humans is saddled with the ups and downs of everyday living. What seems to be a need today, when gotten tomorrow does not guarantee inner tranquility and joy. The psalmist this day is pointing us to the true spring of happiness and satisfaction- “Taste and see that the Lord is good, he is happy who seeks refuge in him” (Psalm 34: 8). This has been the refreshing oasis of the faithful Pilgrims gone before us. Though they suffered persecution and trials (Acts 6: 8-15, 7: 54-60), the saint and martyrs stood in unwavering faith and serenity (Acts 5: 17-42) because of their trust in God’s abiding presence.

Dearest in Christ, are you going through some rough and trying times? Does it seem your closest friends and allies have deserted you? Let not your face be abashed, look up to God and be radiant; He is the assured help of the needy and He answers the call of distressed hearts (Acts 34: 5-6). His delays are not necessarily His denials. The testimony of Sarah (Genesis 21:2), Hanna (1 Samuel 1) and Elizabeth (Luke 1: 5-24) certainly affirms this truth. He works in manners that transcend the imagination of men – that is why HE is God! Let us renew our faith through meditation on the Word of God (Rom 10:17), therein we see the numerous great deeds of God.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please support me in my trials this day and help me to support my neighbors in need also. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 102Why 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: “Christ . . . suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Pet 2:21).

HIDE A TREASURE: “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word”  2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 2 Corinthians 1: 1-7; Psalm 34: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, R.9; Matthew 5: 1-12.

THOUGH SORROW MAY LAST FOR THE NIGHT 

Friday 5th June – Friday of week 9 in Ordinary Time (St. Boniface , Bishop, Martyr)

Reflection: Tobit 11:5-17

THOUGH SORROW MAY LAST FOR THE NIGHT 

Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all” (Psalm 34:19)

Tobit was a good and upright man who had walked in the way of truth and justice all his life. He performed several works of mercy: giving alms, burying the dead even at the risk to his own life. Despite his good deeds, Tobit became blind (Tobit 2:7-10). In his distress, he cried to the Lord and the Lord heard him (Tobit 3:16). The Lord made plans to restore his sight in His own way and time. Thus, dear friend, when we pray, God hears more than we say, He answers more than we ask, He gives more than we imagine, but, in His own time and in His own way. So, we have to keep the faith all through the dark nights as Tobit did for four years.

Being good people or upright Christians does not mean we will not have challenges and trials or situations that might make us question the very essence of our faith. However, we can be certain that God will come to our aid though the time and manner may remain unclear. Thus, having faith does not mean having no difficulties, but having the strength to face them knowing we are not alone. Beloved in Christ, if you are going through some challenging or difficult times presently, hold unto God; do not yield to the temptation of questioning His love or be embittered at Him; rather present your situation to Him in prayer and wait on Him. Dear friend, God has a purpose for our pain, a reason for our struggles and a reward for our faithfulness. Don’t give up!

Prayer: Give me the grace Lord to stand firm in the light of your presence all the days of my life. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 102Why 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: “Christ…suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps” (1 Pet 2:21).

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: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19 RSV- CE

Today’s Readings: Tobit 11:5-17, Psalm 146: 2, 7-10, Mark 12:35-37

PRAISE HIM IN THE STORM

Wednesday 3rd June – Memorial of St Charles Lwanga and his Companions, Martyrs

Reflection: Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17

PRAISE HIM IN THE STORM

The true measure of our faith is not seen when all around us is going smoothly. Practically all of us can sing praises to God in times of comfort and abundance.  However, how easily are we prone to speak ill of God in times of tribulations and trials? How readily do we forget His previous benefits and appreciate is ongoing provisions even in our storms.  For some, the mind is completely occupied with nothing but the question: “why me?”

Beloved in Christ, our life is not designed to be problem-free as some would want us to believe nowadays. The way of the cross walked by our Blessed Savior and the saints gone ahead of us still remains relevant to us Christians of this age (Luke 9:23). The better we are prepared for this, the more we are equipped to walk through it victoriously. Today, as the Church celebrates the faith of Charles Lwanga (The patron Saint of youth and Catholic action in Africa) and his companions (fellow Ugandan martyrs); we have much to learn from them as youths of this age. These young men joyfully braved the wave of cruel opposition against their newly professed faith to the point of martyrdom.

Dearest in Christ, this calls us to assess our own response to the struggles of our lives. What problems are you going through that have kept you mournful and sorrowful? Perhaps it appears a lot seems not to be working well around you. Please do not dwell on your losses or inadequacies, rather choose to look on the bright side of life. When we call to remembrance the wonderful deeds of God in times past and appreciate how better off our situations are compared to that of many, we cannot but thank God. The sincere praise of God in trying times has the capacity to work unimaginable wonders (Acts 16: 16-30; 2 Chronicles 20: 1-30). Let us emulate the faith of Tobit as seen in today’s first reading who despite the odds around him acknowledged the faithfulness of God. Our song of praise, especially in difficult times, is a sound affirmation of our trust in God and a veritable weapon against the assaults of the evil one.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, I am sorry for the moments I have failed to appreciate you in my difficulties. Please help me to see your faithfulness in my life at all times. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 40 – Can God do anything? Is he almighty?

For God nothing is impossible. He is almighty. Anyone who calls on God in need believes that he is all-powerful… He guides all things and can do everything. How he uses his omnipotence is of course a mystery.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 GNB

Today’s Readings: Tobit 3: 1-11, 16-17; Psalm 25: 2-9; Mark 12: 18-27

I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU

Wednesday 18th March – Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent

Reflection: Isaiah 49:8-15

I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU

“Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all.” Ps 34:19

As Christians, we must be prepared for trials and challenges which are largely products of our daily life. In choosing God, we have put ourselves against the world (James 4:4). Thus, we face lots of challenges because our ways are different from those of the world.

In deciding not to cheat or tell lies, we have to make do with the little we can earn honestly. In deciding to be faithful, we have to let go of the pleasures unfaithfulness brings. In deciding not to cut corners, we have to wait patiently to get things done the right way. In forgiving others, we bear the pain of their misdeeds and let go of the pleasure of revenge. These constitute some of the numerous crosses we bear as Christians. Sometimes our crosses may seem so heavy, our path very rough, and God’s promises of help, very far away. Such moments may make us wonder if God has forsaken us. But can God forsake His own people?

Dear friend, do you find yourself at such a crossroad? Do your trials and challenges seem insurmountable? God assures you today that even if a woman forgets her baby, He will never forget you. Rest in the assurance that God is only a prayer away. Have no fear, stay calm, the challenges and troubles you see today you shall see no more. For the Lord will fight for you and all you have to do is keep still and trust Him.

PRAYER: Lord I put all my hope and trust in you, do not let me be put to shame. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 493 – What are the characteristics of Christian prayer?

Christian prayer is prayer in the attitude of faith, hope, and charity. It is persevering and resigns itself to the will of God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Courage! Don’t be afraid. It is me” Matthew 14:27 CCB

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 49:8-15, Psalm 145: 8-9, 13-14, 17-18, John 5:17-30

THE CORNERSTONE

Friday 11th April – Friday of the 5th week of Lent

Reflection: Jeremiah 20:10-13

THE CORNERSTONE

Therefore, the Lord Yahweh says: See, I lay in Zion a granite stone, a precious stone, a sure foundation; he who relies on it shall not be put to shame (Isaiah28:16). The concept of the cornerstone is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, and all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. In the Ecclesiastical sense, the cornerstone (the foundation stone) is symbolic of Christ, whom the apostle Paul referred to as the Cornerstone of the Church (Ephesians 2:20).

In the midst of trials and betrayal, the Prophet Jeremiah stood firm because he had God as his cornerstone; he had God as his rock, a mighty stronghold and shield, who would save him come what may. Who is your own cornerstone? Who is your shield and stronghold? Who do you commit your cause to?  Dear friends, how best we will stand amidst the storms life, depend totally on our cornerstone (foundation). As the cornerstone determines the position of the entire structure, so does the position we give Christ in our life determines the structure of our life.

Beloved, we are enjoined today to build our house (our lives, families, plans etc) on Christ that we may stand firm amidst the trials and troubles of life. Let us make Christ our Rock, our Refuge, and our Stronghold; that we may be firm as the tree’s root that clutches the land. Let us set our house on a solid foundation; which is Christ the root of our soul’s recreation (Catholic Hymn book 74).

Prayer: Lord I beg you to be the cornerstone of my life, and in all things help me to come to you with humble trust saying; Jesus Help me! Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 215 – God is Truth

God is Truth itself, whose words cannot deceive. This is why one can abandon oneself in full trust to the truth and faithfulness of His words in all things

HIDE A TREASURE: “The Lord is my rock, my rampart, my deliverer and my God, the rock in whom I take refuge. He is my shield, my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my Saviour; you save me from violence” 2 Samuel 22:3 CCB

Readings for today: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalm 18:2-7, John 10:31-42

WHEN TRIALS COME

Tuesday, 18th February – Tuesday of week 6 of the year

Reflection: James 1: 12-18

WHEN TRIALS COME

As a consequence of original sin, there came distortion to perfect order of creation (Romans 5:12; Genesis 3; CCC 397-400) and life has not been a bed of roses for us all. Even as Christians, we are not absolutely immune from life’s difficulties (2 Timothy 3:12), but if we abide in God, He has promised never to allow us to be tried beyond our capacity to endure and to ultimately transform the situation for our good (1Corinthians 10:13). When and how He will do this are some of the questions beyond our human understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9). That makes Him who He is, the sovereign God.

Though trials and tribulations can be consequences of our sins (Psalm 107: 17; John 5: 1-14; Jonah 1), not all sufferings stem from individual sins. The scripture is repleted with examples of holy faithful (Joseph, Job, Zechariah and Elizabeth, the Blessed Virgin Mary) who went through hard times (Genesis 39:2-23; Job 1; Luke 1:5-7; 2:34-35). Our Lord Jesus Christ, though perfect, drank of the chalice of persecution and suffering (Matthew 16:21-24; Hebrews 5: 7-8). The devil is a cunning and unrelenting enemy who will do all he can to frustrate our quest for holiness and Heaven. We must stand firm in faith, we must prove our unflinching allegiance to God as Job did (Job 2:10).

Beloved friends, we are all liable to temptation (to lie, cheat, fornicate, abort etc) but not “programmed” to give in. As children of God, we have the grace through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to resist and overcome temptation. This, our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated in His temptation after forty days of fasting and prayer (Matthew 4:11).

Today’s Psalm, (Psalm 94: 12-15, 18-19) is affirms of God’s promises to see us through life’s trials. Rather than losing hope (Romans 4:17-22), we should hold on to God’s words with greater watchfulness and prayer (Matthew 26: 40-41).

PRAYER: Oh Lord, I hold on to you! Grant me victory in my trials and temptations.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 409 – The dramatic situation of “the whole world (which) is in the power of the evil one” makes man’s life a battle: the whole of man’s history has been the story of duor combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battle field, man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 RSV-CE

Readings for today: James 1: 12-18; Psalm 94: 12-15; 18-19; Mark 8: 14-21