GOD’S PERSPECTIVE ON MARRIAGE

Friday, 28th February – Friday of week 7 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10: 1-12

GOD’S PERSPECTIVE ON MARRIAGE

We live in a world that has tried to redefine marriage, using it to refer to a union between two persons, male or female. A world in which the standards set up by God have been overlooked, resulting in a majority of unhappy marriages and a divorce rate of up to 50% in some places. Indeed, so many are merely “coping” with their marriages.

Marriage was instituted by God Himself. In order to enjoy the joy and fulfillment that should come with marriage; we must turn our backs to worldly standards, ideas and teachings and go back to God, the very originator of this Sacrament. Jesus reminds us in today’s reading that God designed marriage to be a union between a man and a woman who enter into a covenant that makes them one indivisible flesh. A union that gives no room for divorce.

Dear friends, it is at this stage of our lives, as young people, especially if we are unmarried that we can decide what we really want for ourselves in marriage. Let us begin to view marriage the way God does – as a Sacrament, an avenue for salvation. Just as Baptism, Holy Eucharist, Penance and other sacraments lead us to salvation, so also should matrimony. Let us make efforts as young people to live in chastity, take out time to study God’s word about marriage as outlined in Scripture, to study the teachings of the Church on marriage and sexuality and to pray intensely concerning our relationships.

Let us build relationships on openness, honesty and chastity and godliness. It is only in this way that we can prepare ourselves to receive the best that God has for us in marriage, with no option of divorce.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please open my heart and mind to that which you desire for me in marriage. Please bless my future and make my marriage and family a source of salvation.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 263 – Why is marriage indissoluble?

Marriage is triply indissoluble: first, because the essence of love is mutual self-giving without reservation; second, because it is an image of God’s unconditional faithfulness to his creation; and third, because it represents Christ’s devotion to his Church, even unto death on the Cross.

…To be married in the Church means to rely more on God’s help than on one’s own resources of love.

HIDE A TREASURE: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:9 RSV-CE

Readings for today: James 5: 9-12; Psalm 103: 1-4, 8-12; Mark 10: 1-12

SUCCESS WITHOUT SENSE?

Thursday, 27th February – Thursday of week 7 of the year

Reflection: James 5: 1-6

SUCCESS WITHOUT SENSE?

It is the desire of everyone to be successful in life. But there is a great danger when this desire to be successful is not of God. We all want to come out with good grades in our academics, have a good job, a wonderful family and of course, fame. All these are not in in themselves bad, for ‘God delights in the prosperity of His people’. So what are we saying here? Our success in life must be used to foster the cause of the kingdom of God. We must have eternity in view when we seek success. It is God that gives you the power to be rich, so your riches must be used to His glory.

Beloved, God is asking you to look around today for someone you can help with that which he has given you. It might not just be in cash, but also in kind. You can do something to put a smile on someone’s face today even when you think the person does not deserve it. So get up and get going, and you will be glad you did. Love is all, and God is love.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for blessing me immensely beyond measure. Today I ask you to please lead me to a soul that I can bless today with what you have given me. So help me God. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: The seven corporal works of mercy – 1. To feed the hungry; 2. To give drink to the thirsty; 3. To clothe the naked; 4. To shelter the homeless; 5.  To visit the sick; 6. To visit the imprisoned; 7. To bury the dead

HIDE A TREASURE: “The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever” 1John 2:17 GNB

Readings for today: James 5:1-6; Psalm 49: 14-20; Matthew 9: 41-50.

 

BOAST NOT OF TOMORROW

Wednesday, 26th February – Wednesday of week 7 of the year

Reflection: James 4: 13-17

BOAST NOT OF TOMORROW

God is all knowing, He knows the end from the beginning but human beings are limited in time and space. God wants us to rely on Him for everything because it is in Him that we find joy.

It is rebellion against God to boast in ourselves about today, tomorrow, about our businesses, success, growth and development whether physical or spiritual, this can be seen as pride and pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16: 18)

Brethren, God wants us to rely on His grace, if the Lord is willing we will live to do things as He wants because His grace is sufficient for us and with God, all things are possible.

PRAYER: Father, help me to always understand that my life is hidden in you.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 279 – Why do we need faith and the sacraments in order to live a good, upright life?

If we were to rely only on ourselves and our own strength, we would not get far in our attempts to be good. Through faith we discover that we are God’s children and that God makes us strong. When God gives us his strength, we call this “grace”. Especially in the sacred signs that we call the SACRAMENTS, God gives us the ability actually to do the good that we want to do.

 

HIDE A TREASURE: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” Proverbs 16: 18 RSV-CE

Readings for today: James 4: 13-17; Psalm 49:2-3,6-11; Mark 9: 38-40.

THE WAR WITHIN

Tuesday 25th, January – Tuesday of week 7 of the year

Reflection: James 4:1-10

THE WAR WITHIN

There is always this conflict and battle within us as youth. To do or not to do- you know what I mean. It is called the desires of the flesh. The enemy of our soul is never at rest, he has lost the battle over 2000 years ago, but he still continues to display his merchandise in the souls of men with his last strength. So you may ask, what is the way out? And I would answer: “fight the good fight of faith.”

The war against sin is not one that we fight casually; we must look up to Jesus daily in whom our victory is assured. Pride is often the reason why many people would remain where they are till today, because they would begin to wonder “what would people say about me?” But irrespective of people’s opinion about us, we must seek for help while it may still be found. You and I cannot afford to languish in iniquity.

There is help for you this day my beloved. God is ready if you are willing. Today ask Him as a Father to lead you to a turning point in your life through many situations and circumstances that would come your way henceforth. Only believe, and you would see the marvels of our God. He is able. Welcome to your new dawn!

PRAYER: Father of mercy, today I come to you in humility, asking you to deliver me by all means from every yoke of bondage in my life. Thank you, for you are faithful, and I am ready to see your wonders in my life this day onwards. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: The seven deadly sins: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy and Sloth. The seven opposite virtues: Humility, Liberty, Chastity, Meekness, Temperance, Brotherly Love, Diligence.

HIDE A TREASURE: “… In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” Romans 8:37 RSV-CE

Readings for today: James 4:1-10; Psalm 55; Mark 9:30-37

EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE

Monday, 24th February – Monday of week 7 of the year

Reflection: Mark 9: 14-29

EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE

Over and over again, the Bible makes us understand that nothing is impossible with God (Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Luke 1:37; Matthew 19:26). God is our almighty Father, who created the heavens and earth and in whom all things exist. This realization is one that many Christians have as they have seen God act in marveling ways, defying any human explanation.

Today however, Jesus gives us another dimension to this age old truth: everything is possible to him who has faith (Mark 9:23). Although this is very much like the earlier expression, there is a difference. While the earlier expression puts the possibility in the hands of God, where it indeed rightfully belongs; the latter expression puts the actualization of this truth in the hands of men like you and I. This implies that although God has all the power in His hands, we would not benefit from His immense power if we do not put our faith and trust absolutely in Him. The father of the child in today’s reading asked Jesus to heal his son if he could. The boy’s problem has been on for years and the father sincerely desired a solution but was not absolutely sure Jesus could heal his son. Jesus’ response showed that God’s power is constant but the man’s faith was needed to activate God’s power to heal the boy.

Dear friend, what is that “impossible” situation you are tackling? What is that earnest desire of yours that seems unattainable due to the circumstances around you? Today, Jesus calls you to simply have faith in Him. He invites you to call out to Him in prayer with complete confidence (Mark 9:29) and with the expectation of an answer (James 1: 7-8, Matthew 7:7). When we pray, but still have doubts rising in our minds, like the boy’s father in our reading, let us ask Jesus to help our unbelief (Mark 9:24). Only then will we really experience the truth that everything is possible to him who has faith.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I trust in your infinite power. Please help me to approach you in faith when I face difficult situations. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2610 – Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before receiving his gifts, so he teaches us filial boldness. “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.” Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: “all things are possible to him who believes.” Jesus is as saddened by the “lack of faith” of his own neighbours and the “little faith” of his own disciples as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.

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: James 3: 13-18; Psalm 19: 8-10, 15; Mark 9: 14-29

BE HOLY!

Sunday, 23rd February – 7th Sunday of the year

Reflection: Leviticus 19: 1-2; 17-18

BE HOLY!

“Holiness” is a word that many of us, young people do not really want to be associated with. For us, it as an old fashioned word that describes a way of life which denies us of the pleasures of our youth. However, holiness is in fact, what we are called to as Christians. The first reading gives us God’s injunction to His children: “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.” Holiness is an attribute of our Father in Heaven whom we must resemble just as we resemble our earthly parents in various ways. Dear friends, rather than dampening the joy and excitement of our youthful age, holiness helps us to know and enjoy this joy and excitement in a way that pleases our Heavenly Father who loves us so much and in whose hands lies our future.

Holiness means keeping ourselves free from all sinful affections. It demands a conscious desire and effort on our part to live in the righteousness that we have received at our Baptism. Hence, though we are saved through God’s grace and not by any effort on our part (Ephesians 2: 8-9), we must walk in holiness if we are to persevere in that grace we have received at Baptism and ultimately be united with our Father eternally. Leviticus 19: 17-18 gives us an example of what holiness entails – a life of love and forgiveness towards our neighbor (Leviticus 19: 17). In addition, we, as baptized Catholics are the temple of God, a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. It is our duty to keep this temple holy otherwise, we bring destruction upon ourselves (1 Corinthians 3:17).

Dear friends, let us today, make a decision to be holy. All God demands is our sincere desire for holiness and then He will supply all the grace we need to be Holy. Let us approach Him in confession when we fall and receive the sanctifying grace He gives in the Holy Eucharist. Then, you and I can indeed “be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) “Holiness is not the luxury of a few people, but a simple duty for you and me”

BL. TERESA OF CALCUTTA (1910-1997)

PRAYER: Loving Father, Please help me to daily desire to please you and fill me with the grace that I may not be contaminated by the evil that surrounds me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 342Are we all supposed to become “saints”?

Yes. The purpose of our life is to be united with God in love and to correspond entirely to God’s wishes. We should allow God “to live his life in us” (Mother Teresa). That is what it means to be holy: a “saint”.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Strive for peace with all men and strive to be holy, for without holiness no one will see the Lord” Hebrews 12:14 CCB

Readings for today: Leviticus 19: 1-2; 17-18; Psalm 103: 1-4, 8-13; 1 Corinthians 3: 16-23

PROUD TO BE CATHOLICS!

Saturday, 22nd February – Feast of Saint Peter’s Chair

Reflection: Matthew 16: 13-19

PROUD TO BE CATHOLICS!

Today’s feast, the Feast of Saint Peter’s Chair is one that should bring us great joy and a sense of pride as Catholics. It reminds us that we are members of the one Church established by Christ Himself and built on the foundation of the Apostles. While you may know several Church founders and see invitations for “Church anniversaries” in your locality; your own Church founder is Christ Himself and her anniversary is celebrated each year too. When? At the Feast of Pentecost!

In today’s reading, Christ promises to build his Church on Peter. The name “Peter” in Greek or “Cephas” in Aramaic means “rock”. While the Apostle’s original name was Simon, Jesus gave him this new name “Peter” on the very first day He saw him (John 1:42), symbolizing his role as the head of the Church. This leadership role is seen in Jesus actions on different occasions and in the early Church (Mark 16:7; John 21:15-17; Acts 2:14-42; Acts 10). This leadership role and the authority to bind and loose (Matthew 16: 18-19) has been passed down through the generations in an unbroken succession to the present pope, Pope Francis.

Dear friends, we are indeed privileged to be Catholics. But how much you and I enjoy this privilege depends on how much we avail ourselves of the opportunity to benefit from the great treasures the Church offers us. Take time to study your Bible, study the Church’s teachings, read good Catholic literature, attend Masses often and partake in the Sacraments wholeheartedly. Deepen your friendship with God and ask Him to make you a better Catholic Christian. You cannot KNOW the Catholic Church and LEAVE the Catholic Church. Know your faith and live your faith, only then can the privilege of being Catholic be truly rewarding.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the privilege to belong to your one holy Church. Please help me to deepen my love for you and my knowledge and faith in your Church so that I may not miss out on the graces you offer me daily. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 141 – What is the Pope’s responsibility?

As successor of St. Peter and head of the college of bishops, the POPE is the source and guarantor of the CHURCH’S unity. He has the supreme pastoral authority and the final authority in doctrinal and disciplinary decisions.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 1Peter 5: 1-4; Psalm 23: 1-6; Matthew 16: 13-19