BUILT TO LAST

Thursday 3rd December – Memorial of St Francis Xavier, Priest

Reflection: Matthew 7: 21, 24 – 27

BUILT TO LAST

To every skilled builder, of utmost importance is the integrity of the foundation. The increasing incidence of collapse of buildings under construction in our county is a reflection of what happens when standards are not followed. Sadly, these are often fatal.

Our public life is a reflection of our inner life and convictions. What beautifies our inner life is nothing but the TRUTH (John 8:32; John 14:6). The truth counsels us against mediocrity (Proverbs 18:9), inordinate love for money (1Timothy 6: 10) and sexual immorality (1Corinthians 6:17-20), to mention a few.

As youths, we are in the spring of our lives and we will not remain youths forever. There is no better time than now for us to pay the discipline for sustainable knowledge. It is a time to concretely invest in ourselves, in order to chart a glorious future for ourselves. A time to steadfastly pursue this aim, consistently saying NO to the shortcuts and distractions that seek to jeopardise our future. TRUTH calls us to excellence in our foundation building. Excellence speaks! So give it an expression in your character, academic pursuit, outlook (dressing) and in your service to God and humanity. It in fact, seeks an expression in ALL that is good (Philippians 4:8).

We probably might temporarily succeed in making others believe that we are what we are not but in the long run, we must live with the consequences of our actions and inaction. An enduring foundation is needed to prevent us from being victims in life. Let us be rooted in the truth; let us be rooted in Christ Jesus, for He is the only foundation that grants stability to life and guarantees us a home in heaven.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you are the sure foundation that holds all things together, as I build my life on you, please keep me through the storms of life that my life may glorify you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 59Why did God make man?

God made everything for man. Man, however, who is “the only creature on earth that God willed for its own sake” was created in order to be blessed. This happens when he knows, loves, and serves God and lives in gratitude toward his Creator.

Gratitude is love that has been acknowledged. God wishes us to acknowledge his love and even now to live our whole life in relation with him. This relationship lasts forever.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock” Matthew 7:24 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 26: 1-6; Psalm 118; Matthew 7: 21, 24 – 27

KEEPING WHAT YOU HEAR

Saturday 10th October – Saturday of week 27 of the year

Reflection: Luke 11: 27-28

KEEPING WHAT YOU HEAR

Each time we are confronted with the truth, it has an effect on us; we may acknowledge it, ignore it or oppose it. If we claim to acknowledge it without a concurrent effort to apply it to our lives, then we have actually ignored it. In the same way, each time we hear God’s word, we are confronted with the truth and are invited to model our lives on it. Hence, Jesus answers the woman in today’s gospel reading: “Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28).

Each time we are confronted with God’s word, the parable of the sower plays out again (Luke 8: 4-15). What kind of soil are you? Do you allow the devil to steal the word from your heart or the cares of this world to choke it out? Do you allow the word to grow deep roots in you or is your faith superficial? The good soil are those who hear the word of God, hold it fast in an honest and good heart and bring forth fruit with patience (Lk 8:15).

As you hear God’s word each day, ask yourself, “in what way does this word apply to me?” “What message is God directing at me today?” Jesus’ response to the woman shows that his mother was not blessed just because of the physical contact he had with her. Rather, she was blessed because she heard God’s word and kept it. Dear friend, make a commitment to keeping what you hear and you will experience the blessings the Lord has in store for you.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the gift of your word. Please help me to accept it with faith and joyfully live it out always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2706 – To meditate on what we read helps us to make it our own by confronting it with ourselves. Here, another book is opened: the book of life. We pass from thoughts to reality. To the extent that we are humble and faithful, we discover in meditation the movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. it is a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light: “Lord, what do you want me to do?”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Joel 4:12-21; Psalm 97: 1-6, 11-12; Luke 11: 27-28

WILL YOU ALSO GO AWAY?

Sunday 23rd August – 21st Sunday of the year

Reflection: John 6: 60-69

WILL YOU ALSO GO AWAY?

The crowds were often filled with admiration at Jesus’ words but today’s response was different. Though they eagerly sought Jesus out in the earlier verses of John 6, the chapter ends on a different note: “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him” (Jn 6:66). However, Jesus response to his massive loss of disciples is even more startling. Rather than going after them he made the apostles realise that they were free to leave too. Peter’s response shows that though the apostles did not understand Jesus’ teaching on “eating His flesh and drinking His blood”, they had grown to trust Him as the Son of God who “has the message of eternal life.”

The Catholic Church, established by Christ Himself as history testifies, possesses the fullness of the Christian faith as handed down to us by the apostles. Many truths have been compromised by majority of Christian groups – truths about the Eucharist, baptism, salvation through faith and works, contraception, abortion, homosexual unions, carrying our crosses etc. – truths which have constantly been upheld by the Catholic Church. Yet, many young people are carried away by the excitement and noise these other Christian communities offer and do not care about living out the truth.

Dear friend, Jesus asks you today too: “will you also go away?” Just as Christ did not compromise his teaching to appease the crowd in today’s gospel reading, His Church will not either. The apostles persisted with Christ and came to understand His words more fully after His resurrection. You have the fullness of the Christian faith as a Catholic. Don’t let this great treasure go to waste. Seek to deepen your friendship with Christ through an active faith life – prayers, the Eucharist, confession, Bible study and seek to understand your Catholic faith through study and prayers. Only then would you be able to respond like St Peter did: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life.”

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the priceless gift of my faith. Please help me to embrace it in trust and true commitment so that it may lead me to the holiness of life to which you call me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 870 – The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic…subsists on the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines.

HIDE A TREASURE: “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” John 6:63 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Joshua 24: 1-2, 15-18; Psalm 34: 2-3, 16-23; Ephesians 5: 21-32; John 6: 60-69

CHRISTIANITY: AN OVERWHELMING MESSAGE

Saturday 25th April – Feast of St Mark, Evangelist

Reflection: 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 (Gospel Acclamation)

CHRISTIANITY: AN OVERWHELMING MESSAGE

The Christian faith and values has endured an incredibly great and ever new resistance from world powers in all spheres of human life right from its origin and even in our time. In our days, speaking against contraception, abortion and other “anti-life policies” and philosophies is a good way to win the unpopularity of the “modern-day” person. Titles ranging from ‘Ex-Catholic’ to ‘Atheist’ have become as fashionable as “Brazilian hair”. You might be drawn to wonder: “Why is there so much opposition to such a harmless way of life?” Saint Paul gives an answer in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 1:23): “we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles”.

Christ’s message of unconditional love and forgiveness goes against human logic. The Church’s stance on morality does not hold water in our secular senate houses. Faith in unseen mysteries is regarded as foolishness. The devil goes on seeking souls to devour through sin and unbelief, yet our lives should represent Christ. In the midst of an increasingly secular world where truth is compromised, we are to stand up against these oppositions not by being judgmental or with spiritual pride but out of love and with a firm faith that seeks holiness of life.  (1 Pet 5: 8-9).

Dear friend, always remember that your Christian faith is a call from God and not just a choice you made. (1 Cor 1:24) Obey God’s call today in living as light of the world and salt of the earth (Mt 5: 13-16). You are born of God, overcome the world in faith (1 John 4:4).

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, reveal yourself to someone new today, as you make me a manifestation of your goodness. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 4 – Can we know the existence of God by our reason?

The world cannot have its origin and its destination within itself. In everything that exists, there is more than we see. The order, the beauty, and the development of the world point beyond themselves toward God. Every man is receptive to what is true, good, and beautiful. He hears within himself the voice of conscience, which urges him to what is good and warns him against what is evil. Anyone who follows this path reasonably finds God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:19 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: 1 Peter 5:5-14; Psalm 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17; Mark 16:15-20

SAY WHAT YOU MEAN; MEAN WHAT YOU SAY

Monday 30th March – Monday of Holy Week

Reflection: John 12: 1-11

SAY WHAT YOU MEAN; MEAN WHAT YOU SAY

Would it be that we humans can readily read each other’s mind, how much inconsistency, dear friend, would people discover between what you say and the thoughts of your mind? How much of pseudo “I am sorry”, “I love you”, excuses and promises do we express nowadays? Pure lack of sincerity is fast being dignified as diplomacy or tactfulness.

Dearest in Christ, this is an aberration that is inconsistent with our identity as children of light (Mt 5: 14-16). Our “yes” must mean “yes” and our “no” must mean “no”. That is the unchanging commandment of God to us (Mt 5:37). If we would truly manifest as light of the world and salt of the earth, our society must find us as people of our word; people with unflinching sincerity and integrity. This is a major hallmark of purity and we must be reminded that only the pure in heart would see God (Mt 5:8). If the world calls insincerity “tactfulness” and the almighty God calls it “sin” (1 Jn 5: 17b), we must then, as Christians ask ourselves whose judgement matters most to us. The Lord who sees the sincerity of Judas’ concern for the poor in today’s gospel reading clearly sees the inner recesses of our hearts (Jer 17:10).

It is undeniable fact that the truth could be bitter. However, we must be reminded that there is no other guaranteed way to genuine liberty except by the truth (Jn 8:32; Rom 6:16). True love reduces the pain of the bite of truth, so let us speak the truth in love. We must mean what we say; we must say what we mean. As Christians, we must be true to our words!

PRAYER: Dear Father, please dispel every speck of insincerity from my heart and grant me the courage to be truthful after You. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 455 – What does it mean to be truthful?

Truthfulness means that one acts sincerely and speaks honestly. The truthful individual guards against double-dealing, misrepresentation, malicious deception, and hypocrisy…A great evil in all communities is slander of other people and malicious gossip: A tells B “confidentially” something derogatory that C said about B.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Say yes when you mean yes and say no when you mean no. Anything else you say comes from the devil.” Matthew 5:37 CCB

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 42: 1-7; Psalm 27: 1-3, 13-14; John 12: 1-11

KEEPING GOD’S COMMANDMENTS

Monday 5th January – Monday after Epiphany Sunday

Reflection: 1 John 3:22- 4:6

KEEPING GOD’S COMMANDMENTS

One of the most misleading theories in today’s world is the theory of relativism. Relativism proposes that nothing is absolutely “right” or “wrong”. There is no absolute truth. Hence what is right for me may not be for you and what you consider wrong may be right for me, depending on my opinion. In the bid to promote freedom of expression and action, this devilish theory has gained wide acceptance in our modern world and many people live in selfishness and commit atrocities based on the thought that nothing is really “bad” or “good”.

Dear friends, none of us is a permanent resident of this world. We all met the earth as it is and will eventually leave it behind. If we reflect deeply on this, we would realise that we have no power to decide what is right or wrong. We must turn to the Creator Himself, the one who set the world as it is to find guidance on how to live our lives. As young Christians, let us beware of the subtle ways in which the world around us seeks to draw us away from keeping God’s commandments. We were created by God and for God and our hearts will never find true and lasting happiness until we submit to God’s will.

“His commandments are these: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another as he told us to” (1 John 3:23). The Bible gives us an outline of the kind of life to which God has called us. Let us seek Him each day in His word and in prayer so we may receive the grace to live the kind of life that God wants us to.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the gift of life. Please strengthen me to live in your love and to keep your commandments always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 286 – What is freedom and what is it for?

Freedom is the God-given power to be able to act of one’s own accord; a person who is free no longer acts under the influence of someone else.

God created us as free men and wills our freedom so that we might decide wholeheartedly in favor of the good, indeed for the greatest “good”—in other words, for God. The more we do what is good, the freer we become.

HIDE A TREASURE: “And we receive whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him.” 1 John 3:22 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: 1 John 3:22- 4:6; Psalm 2: 7-11; Matthew 4: 12-17, 23-25

HYPOCRISY

Tuesday 26th August – Tuesday of week 21 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 23:23-26

HYPOCRISY

Many Christians and ministers of God have been condemned by allowing the virus of hypocrisy to take root and spread in their ministries. They cover up sin and vices and end up deceiving those that God has entrusted to them. They die slowly in their spirit man as they fail to acknowledge the fact that our God is all knowing and can discern the depths of man’s heart. Is this not applicable to you and me when we seek to become acceptable to men at the expense of pleasing God?

Beloved, anything born out of falsehood cannot be pleasing to God even when it seems right to man. The message of truth which we must witness as children of God must be done with all sincerity and truth so that we would not be condemned just as the teachers of the law in our reading today. JUSTICE, MERCY and HONESTY as pointed out in today’s reading (Matthew 23:23) must prevail;

JUSTICE is doing unto others what we want them to do to us. (Matthew 7:12)

MERCY is showing compassion and having a kind heart to forgive and accommodate those that have caused us pain. This is practically keeping God’s great mercy in view and availing ourselves to its grace to reciprocate it in own little way.

HONESTY is standing for the truth and never covering up falsehood but exposing it to the light of Christ.

Let us therefore strife to never entertain falsehood in our journey of faith but seek to be pleasing to God and then to man.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to be pleasing to you in my heart, my utterance and my deeds. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 455What does it mean to be truthful?

Truthfulness means that one acts sincerely and speaks honestly. The truthful individual guards against double-dealing, misrepresentation, malicious deception, and hypocrisy. The worst form of untruthfulness is perjury.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “Clean what is inside the cup first, and then the outside will be clean too.” Matthew 23:26 GNB

Readings for Today: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3a. 14-17; Ps 96:10 -13; Matthew 23:23-26