DRAW NEARER TO JESUS

Wednesday 30th April – Wednesday of the 2nd week of Easter

Reflection: Psalm 34:2-9

DRAW NEARER TO JESUS

Beloved in Christ, every step of faith to behold our Lord Jesus Christ be it in the Eucharist or in any other form avails a new experience of God’s awesome power and might. The aroma of a sumptuous meal may attract everyone’s attention but its real potency is in its taste and nutrient. God’s call to bring us into a better way of relating with him may not seem attractive but our humble and poor spirit must lead us to embrace and welcome his invitation. It only takes a spark of light to light a candle and once lit and shielded from the wind, it continues to burn. This can be likened to the taste of God’s power. Its effect is an everlasting one if we only stay close to Him.

The Psalmist’s song of praise in our reading today envelopes a deep revelation of an encounter with God. It is an expression of how God’s saving grace can change situations and circumstances. What is your story about Jesus’ power? Do we always shy away from entering into the inner sanctuary of God and seeing for ourselves? Do you ensure that you connect to God in prayer every day?

Let us ensure that we have lasting encounter with Jesus which can take us through every thick and thin of life’s challenges. Wait upon the Lord, feast at his table and be determined to remain connected to His bountiful grace. May the risen Christ draw us to himself daily. Amen.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to thirst for You. Satisfy me with Your loving kindness and help me to behold and experience your power in my life always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 505 – Why is prayer sometimes a struggle?

The spiritual masters of all times have described growth in faith and in love for God as a spiritual, life-and-death combat. The battlefield is man’s interior life. The Christian’s weapon is prayer. We can allow ourselves be defeated by our selfishness and lose ourselves over worthless things—or we can win God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Taste and see that the Lord is good. He is happy who seeks refuge in him”. Psalm 34:8 GNB

Readings for today: Acts 5:17-26; Psalm 34:2-9; John 3:16-21

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GOD’S TREASURERS

Tuesday 29th April – Memorial of St Catherine of Siena, Virgin & Doctor

Reflection: Acts 4: 32-37

GOD’S TREASURERS

Dear friends, living our faith in our everyday life is rooted in our sincere gratitude to God especially with our possessions and our full knowledge of the purpose of why God has kept certain gifts in our care. All that we have and are proceeds from God who through us, wants to affect the lives of those around us. Each person as an indispensable part of Christ’s body has a role to play. Let us take our positions at our respective duty posts so that all may flow in the spirit of oneness.

Fellowship with our brethren gives strength to our weakness just as iron sharpens iron. It is like a dew on Mount Hermon and like the precious anointing oil running down from Aaron’s head and beard…. (Ps 133: 1-3). God indeed bestows his blessings in abundance on such mutual bound and makes sure that it never seizes. Once we come to the understanding of why we possess something, we channel it for the right purpose and in turn fulfill Gods intention of its existence. Dear friend, God is looking out for vessel(s) who would bear witness to his resurrection power; on them would a fount of blessings and treasures overflow (Acts 4:33).

The Christian community in our reading today was a perfect example of the display of God’s grace. They all had a selfless attitude towards worldly possessions because they understood the treasure in all this things. Christ calls our attention today to the need to depend solely on his providence even as we offer our totality for the growth and unity of all, especially the members of our immediate community. Let us then be generous according to the capacity of treasure placed in our care. To whom much is given, much is expected.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me never to underutilize your grace and the treasures which you have placed in my care. May I be generous and ever ready to meet the needs of my neighbour. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 331 – Why is there nevertheless injustice among men?

All men have the same dignity, but not all of them meet with the same living conditions. In cases where injustice is man-made, it contradicts the Gospel. In cases where men have been endowed by God with different gifts and talents, God is asking us to rely on one another: in charity one should make up for what the other lacks.

HIDE A TREASURE:  “Let us not grow weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart” Galatians 6:9 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Acts 4:32-37; Ps 93:1-2, 5; John 3:7-15

SPIRITUAL BIRTH

Monday 28th April – Monday of the 2nd week of Easter

Reflection: John 3:1-8

SPIRITUAL BIRTH

The account of Nicodemus in our reading today gives a clear picture of what it takes to enter the kingdom of God. It is not by age, by physical maturity or by chance. It is a spiritual birth that comes with a revival in the spirit man. Jesus said that “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit”. (John 3:5). This relays to us the necessity of the sacrament of Baptism which celebrates our victory and power over sin and brings us into new life in Christ.

Beloved in Christ, Baptism is the beginning and a departure to a new life. It is not a passport to heaven but it is puts us right with God through our faith in the cleansing power of Christ. This calls us to daily nurture our spirit and not our physical body alone. Once we have come to know Christ, we must try to be like him by daily growing and nurturing our spirit with God’s word which is the food of the spirit. That why Peter exclaimed in John 6:68 when he exclaimed; “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life”. Let us diligently press on into living by the Spirit of God. Remember, those that are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Consciously approach the living word which became flesh in the Eucharist and know what you are receiving. Carry Jesus with you in your daily journey and trust in His saving grace to overcome every temptation of the devil. Eternal life is our destination, press on and carry on.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, stir up my spirit so that I may walk and live by the Spirit. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 200 What happens in Baptism?

In Baptism we become members of the Body of Christ, sisters and brothers of our Redeemer, and children of God. We are freed from sin, snatched from death, and destined from then on for a life in the joy of the redeemed. [CCC 1262-1274, 1279-1280]

HIDE A TREASURE: “For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through faith in the active power of God…” Col 2:12 GNB

Readings for today: Acts 4:32-37; Psalm 2:1-3.4-9; John 3:1-8

KEEP BELIEVING

Sunday 27th April – (2nd Sunday after Easter) DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY

Reflection: John 20: 19-31

KEEP BELIEVING

Beloved in Christ, the Church celebrates two things today; the Feast of the Divine Mercy and the Canonization of Blessed John Paul II and John XXIII. What a day of joy and mercy in the life of the Church. These celebrations rekindle in us, the hope of eternity as we ponder on the lives of the saints. And by giving us the assurance of the power of Christ’s resurrection, we are led out of any form of doubts. May God be praised both now and always.

As we begin a new week, let us look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God has in store for his people. The great mercy of God which we receive when we boldly come into his presence (Heb 4:12) must change or deepen our picture of what life is all about.” Life is a journey of faith; living out its hope by the love of God’s precepts”. Let us make conscious effort to believe in all that Jesus has said concerning every situation of our lives. Do we know what God is saying?

Our faith is not by sight but it is born out of conviction of what proceeds from the mouth of God. God’s word reminds us today that our readiness to accept our crosses each day without fear and follow God joyfully inspite of challenges is the hallmark of our belief. Physical evidences would fade away just like the episode of Thomas in our reading. God is faithful to keep you firm and steadfast. Trust him and carry on.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, let your mercy permeate my life as I approach you in your word, Grant me peace and power to believe and live out my faith till the end of my life on earth. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 342 Are 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: “How happy are those who believe without seeing me”. John 20: 29b GNB

Readings for today: Acts 2: 42-47; Psalm 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24; John 20: 19-31

THE CHRISTIAN MANDATE

Saturday 26th April – Easter Saturday

Reflection: Mark 16: 9-15

THE CHRISTIAN MANDATE

Dear friends, as Christians, we share in the mandate given to the disciples by Christ in our Gospel reading today. We have the mandate to proclaim the good news of Christ to all creation. The Apostles Peter and John, after healing the lame man at the temple gate (Acts 4: 13-21), stood before the council and stated boldly that they could not obey man instead of God. What was the source of such boldness? The presence of the Holy Spirit and an encounter with Christ. They knew what they had seen and heard and they were ready to obey the divine mandate at all cost.

Beloved, there is also a need for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to carry out our mandate of evangelisation. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses and helps us to go beyond our limitations. The apostles though uneducated, spoke to the amazement of the council without mincing words. Without the Holy Spirit, no man can successfully carry out this mandate of spreading the gospel as given by Jesus Christ.

Let us submit ourselves totally to the working of the Holy Spirit for He is our teacher, our counsellor, and our senior partner in this heavenly sojourn. As we do this, we will receive the required grace and strength to spread the good news of salvation through our way of life, actions, words and speech.

Prayer: Father, please help me to submit totally to the Holy Spirit and receive direction from Him. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1294 – “…By Confirmation, Christians, that is those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled so that their lives may give off “the aroma of Christ”

HIDE A TREASURE: “But Peter and John answered them, “you yourselves judge which is right in God’s sight- to obey you or to obey God” Acts 4: 19 GNB

READINGS: Acts 4: 13-21; Psalm 118: 1, 14-21; Mark 16:9-15

PERSEVERE IN FAITH

Friday 25th April – Easter Friday

Reflection: John 21: 1-14

PERSEVERE IN FAITH

We have gone through the season of Lent during which we have engaged in prayer, fasting, abstinence and other forms of spiritual exercise. We have determined in our hearts to follow Christ. Now, the season of Lent is over; are we not getting distracted from the works of righteousness that Christ has called us to? Are we not like Simon Peter and other disciples in the Gospel of today (John 21:1-14) who left their call to follow Christ and went back to their old way of life, that of fishing? Are we not on the verge of leaving the righteousness we confessed at Lent, overwhelmed by the joy of this season and going back to our old sinful ways?

Christ is calling us today to himself. He is asking us not to be discouraged by the seemingly hopeless situations around us as the disciples were after His death. He wants us to be bold enough to evangelise others and to be able to bear any persecution with a joyful heart as the apostles did today in Acts 4:1-12. Indeed, we are called to follow Jesus and to win souls for God’s kingdom believing that “salvation is to be found through Him alone, in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us”.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please give me the grace never to go astray from the perfect way you have given us. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 432 – The name “Jesus” signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all men through his Incarnation, so that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Salvation is to be found through Him alone, in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us” Acts 4: 12 GNB

Readings: Acts 4: 1-12; Psalm 118: 1-4, 22-27; John 21: 1-14

GIVING HONOUR TO WHO IT BELONGS

Thursday 24th April – Easter Thursday

Reflection: Acts 3: 11-26

GIVING HONOUR TO WHO IT BELONGS

Dear friends, what is it that you have or can do so well for which everyone around you seems to be showering praises on you? Please be on your guard against pride! The humility and wisdom of Saints Peter and John in returning all the glory to God after healing the lame man at the Beautiful gate is worth emulating by us all. Too many flourishing lives have withered in their prime as a result of pride. You and I must be careful not to fall victims of this vice.

1 Corinthians 4:7 tells us that all special abilities and gifts are from God and there should be no room for self glorification. Each time someone appreciates special abilities or gifts in us should be taken as an opportunity to evangelize. As we sincerely do this in humility and love, we will see the Lord decorating our lives with greater blessings of His.

Prayer: Dearest Father, I thank You for Your wondrous gifts and blessings in my life. May I always acknowledge You as the source of all that is good in me and return all glory to You. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 488 – Why should we thank God?

Everything that we are and have comes from God. Paul says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). Being grateful to God, the giver of all good things makes you happy.

The greatest prayer of thanks is the “EUCHARIST” (“thanksgiving” in Greek) of Jesus, in which he takes bread and wine so as to offer them to God for all creation, transformed. Whenever Christians give thanks, they are joining in Jesus’ great prayer of thanksgiving. For we, too, are transformed and redeemed by Jesus, and so from the depths of our hearts we can be grateful and tell God this in a variety of ways.

HIDE A TREASURE: “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” 1 Corinthians 4:7 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Acts 3:11-26; Psalm 8: 2, 5-9; Luke 24: 35-48