BLESSING OR CONDEMNATION

Thursday 25th February – Thursday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Reflection: Jeremiah 17:5-10

BLESSING OR CONDEMNATION

Blessings and curses can be traced back to the first family – Adam and Eve. When God created them, He blessed them, asking them to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:27-28) but because of their disobedience they were cursed (Gen 3:16-19). Since then, man has the freedom to choose either to be blessed by living in obedience to God or to be cursed by living in sin.

Beloved, the presence of God amongst man brings a blessing. This is seen repeatedly in the life of ancient Israel; the presence of God signified by the Ark of the Covenant always brought victory to them. Today, what do you choose: a blessing or a curse? In today’s reading, God proclaims a blessing on the man who put his trust in Him rather than relying on his fellow man. As young people, there is an increasing tendency to rely on other humans because many privileges such as: getting admission into universities, good job opportunities, good contracts etc are reserved for those with influence. Yet in the midst of seeking the help of men, let us remember that our real source of help whom we can rely on is God Himself. He can work through people around us but He remains the only one we can truly trust.

God has mapped out your life in a way no human can comprehend. When you trust God, He defends you with His glory and establishes you in the land. He gives you an understanding of your purpose and calling and His blessings are indeed much more than material gain; they have are eternal. Today, go out seeking for God’s blessing by placing all your trust and hope in Him.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I place my trust in You. Please rain down your blessing on my life and make me planted in you that I may bear fruit always to the glory of your name. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 484 What is a prayer of blessing?

A prayer of blessing is a prayer that calls down God’s blessing upon us. From God alone all blessings flow. His goodness, his closeness, his mercy—that is blessing. “May the Lord bless you” is the shortest prayer of blessing.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The blessing of the Lord brings riches, and no effort can replace it”. Proverbs 10:22 CCB

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 1:1-6; Luke 16:19-31

TRUST IN GOD

Saturday 19th December

Reflection: Luke 1: 5-25

TRUST IN GOD

Our lives are often filled with moments of uncertainty. Ranging from a few minutes or hours to several years or even decades, these times of uncertainty can cause us to question our hope in God’s love for us and His power to meet our needs and wants. Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist were righteous and worthy in the sight of God (cf Luke 1:6) yet they were childless. They had experienced decades of uncertainty, hoping that someday, God will give them a child. Yet, nothing happened and as they grew old they lost any hope of child bearing (Luke 1: 18).

Indeed, uncertain moments of uncertainty in our lives can make us give up on God especially when we have waited for so long. Zechariah and Elizabeth remind us however, that we must not lose our fear of God, our faithfulness to Him and our readiness to serve Him. The couple continued to live in righteousness and Zechariah continued his priestly ministry. Little did they know that God had greater plans for them. God desired that they would have a part to play in His salvation plan for man; for from them was to come the greatest of the prophets, one who would prepare the way for Christ and make Him known to the people when He came. And when did God reveal this? Just as Zechariah was at his duty post, ministering before God.

Dear friend, in what area of life are you waiting on God? What periods of uncertainty are you currently going through? Are there certain needs and desires you have been praying about for which the response seems delayed? Please do not lose faith. God has better plans for us than we can ever have for ourselves. Trust Him and remain faithful and then like John the Baptist’s parents and like Manoah and his wife, Samson’s parents whom we encounter in today’s first reading, we will realise that God is indeed faithful. With the Psalmist let us pray:

PRAYER: It is you O Lord, who are my hope, my trust, O Lord since my youth. On you I have leaned from my birth, from my mother’s womb you have been my help. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: 507 – What happens if you find that prayer does not help?

Prayer does not seek superficial success but rather the will of God and intimacy with him. God’s apparent silence is itself an invitation to take a step farther—in total devotion, boundless faith, endless expectation. Anyone who prays must allow God the complete freedom to speak whenever he wants, to grant whatever he wants, and to give himself however he wants.

 

HIDE A TREASURE: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.” Mark 11:24 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Judges 13: 2-7, 24-25; Psalm 71: 3-6, 16-17; Luke 1: 5-25

 

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

WAITING ON THE LORD

Thursday 25th June – Thursday of week 12 of the year

Reflection: Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16

WAITING ON THE LORD

“To wait on the Lord, is not as important as what we do while waiting.” God made a covenant with our father Abraham to give him an heir of his own (Gen 15:4-5). After ten years in the Promised Land, Sarah thought of a way out and she gave out her servant Hagar as a concubine to Abraham. However, God’s plan of an heir for Abraham was to be fulfilled through Sarah. The result of their impatience was more trouble to contend with. Dear friends in Christ, we are not oblivious of God’s promises for us, nor are we ignorant of His good plans in store for us, however, we often lose patience while waiting.

Patience is not passivity, but a strong endurance in the face of seeming defeat and disappointment; it is a refusal to be crushed by the blow of circumstances. “He who believes, does not hasten,” and “In our patience, we must learn to possess our souls.” Possession of soul describes the state in which a person has full command and undisturbed enjoyment of himself in opposition to outside influences, which disturb and decompose his peace of mind.

The Angel of the Lord told Hagar, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” This is the word of the Lord for so many that suffer injustice, not because tyranny is just but because we too, need to be freed from our arrogance. It is true that we are worth more than what society offers us, but if, through our circumstances, the Lord humiliates us, let us trust Him, knowing that such humiliation will prepare us for a greater mission. Patience in the face of injustice is not a sign of weakness. Every man has a soul to save, but this cannot be done without steadfast loyalty to the highest and the best. Patience then, is a submissive waiting. In the words of St. Theresa of Avila, “Patience attains all that it strives for.” Dear friends, let those who trust in God, wait on Him and possess their souls while waiting.

PRAYER: Lord, please grant me the virtue of patience and the grace to be obedient and to trust you wholeheartedly. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 311What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit?

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (cf. Gal 5:22-23). In the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the world can see what becomes of people who let themselves be adopted, led, and completely formed by God. The fruits of the Holy Spirit show that God really plays a role in the life of Christians

HIDE A TREASURE: “Since this is a vision for an appointed time; it will not fail but will be fulfilled in due time. If it delays, wait for it, for it will come and not be deferred.” Habakkuk 2:3 CCB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16, Psalm 106:1-5, Matthew 7:21-29

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

TRUST IN GOD

Friday 19th December

Reflection: Luke 1: 5-25

TRUST IN GOD

Our lives are often filled with moments of uncertainty. Ranging from a few minutes or hours to several years or even decades, these times of uncertainty can cause us to question our hope in God’s love for us and His power to meet our needs and wants. Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist were righteous and worthy in the sight of God (cf Luke 1:6) yet they were childless. They had experienced decades of uncertainty, hoping that someday, God will give them a child. Yet, nothing happened and as they grew old they lost any hope of child bearing (Luke 1: 18).

Indeed, uncertain moments of uncertainty in our lives can make us give up on God especially when we have waited for so long. Zechariah and Elizabeth remind us however, that we must not lose our fear of God, our faithfulness to Him and our readiness to serve Him. The couple continued to live in righteousness and Zechariah continued his priestly ministry. Little did they know that God had greater plans for them. God desired that they would have a part to play in His salvation plan for man; for from them was to come the greatest of the prophets, one who would prepare the way for Christ and make Him known to the people when He came. And when did God reveal this? Just as Zechariah was at his duty post, ministering before God.

Dear friend, in what area of life are you waiting on God? What periods of uncertainty are you currently going through? Are there certain needs and desires you have been praying about for which the response seems delayed? Please do not lose faith. God has better plans for us than we can ever have for ourselves. Trust Him and remain faithful and then like John the Baptist’s parents and like Manoah and his wife, Samson’s parents whom we encounter in today’s first reading, we will realise that God is indeed faithful. With the Psalmist let us pray:

PRAYER: It is you O Lord, who are my hope, my trust, O Lord since my youth. On you I have leaned from my birth, from my mother’s womb you have been my help. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 507 – What happens if you find that prayer does not help?

Prayer does not seek superficial success but rather the will of God and intimacy with him. God’s apparent silence is itself an invitation to take a step farther—in total devotion, boundless faith, endless expectation. Anyone who prays must allow God the complete freedom to speak whenever he wants, to grant whatever he wants, and to give himself however he wants. 

HIDE A TREASURE: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.” Mark 11:24 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Judges 13: 2-7, 24-25; Psalm 71: 3-6, 16-17; Luke 1: 5-25