REMAIN FAITHFUL

Monday 30th June – Monday of week 13 of the year

Reflection: Amos 2: 6-10, 13-16

REMAIN FAITHFUL

It is commonplace in our own day and time to see individuals serving God and spending so much time in prayers, at fellowships, healing services, revivals etc when they have difficulties. However, these same persons are likely to draw back on their acts of devotion to God when their prayers are answered and they find themselves in comfortable positions.

Today’s reading shows us how Israel had drawn back on its faithfulness to God. Many of them had become lords to themselves, maltreating the poor and less privileged, sacrificing to idols and engaging in immorality. Israel had indeed forgotten God, the same God who had delivered them from slavery in Egypt and defeated their enemies. Hence, a punishment was pronounced against Israel.

Before we are quick to condemn the Israelites, let us look into our own lives. Do we seek God earnestly when we need help from Him such as exam success, good jobs, healing etc and begin to withdraw when we find ourselves comfortable? This pattern shows the absence of commitment to God.

Dear friend, our lives depend on God. It is only in Him we can find the happiness and fulfilment we all seek. Let us draw near to Him today, ask for mercy for the times we have taken His love for granted and for the grace to be faithful to Him always.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I renew my commitment to you today. You have given me the privilege of belonging to the family of God. Please help me to love You always and be faithful to You. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 490 – Is it enough to pray when you feel like praying?

No. Someone who prays only when he feels like it does not take God seriously and will leave off praying. Prayer thrives on faithfulness.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land” Isaiah 1: 19 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Amos 2: 6-10, 13-16; Psalm 50: 16-23; Matthew 8: 18-22

GOD’S TIMING

Sunday 29th June – Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
Reflection: Acts 12: 1-11
GOD’S TIMING

“God’s delays are never denials”. For us to be victorious in our Christian journey of faith this truth must resound in our minds and hearts always. God is all-knowing and His ways are indeed far from ours; His thoughts very much above ours. We become victorious Christians when we learn to trust God even in seemingly hopeless situations.
God sometimes seems to act at the very last minute, when all seems lost. Think of the stories of Daniel in the lion’s den, his three friends (Shadrach, Meshech and Abed’nego) being thrown into the furnace, Peter in today’s reading and a host of others. In all these stories, you will find that God seemed to allow the worst to happen before rescuing these righteous ones from the claws of the wicked. In the end, the events each spell out God’s mighty power to save and His control over the forces of nature: lions, fire etc.
God allowed Peter to remain in prison till the night before the trial. Hope was almost lost and even the Church that remained constantly in prayer for Peter did not believe he could still be rescued (Acts 12: 12-16). In what difficult circumstance do you find yourself? What is that request you have been crying to God about for which He seems not to have heard. Beloved, do not be discouraged. His timing is always perfect and He is in control of all forces in Heaven and Earth. Please keep trusting God and praying like the Church did for Peter. A miracle is imminent!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to trust in you always especially in seemingly hopeless situations. May I never give in to doubt and fear. 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: “…Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” Mark 11: 25 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Acts 12: 1-11; Psalm 34: 2-9; 2 Timothy 4: 6-8; 17-18; Matthew 16: 13-19

LEARNING FROM OUR MOTHER

Saturday 28th June – Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Reflection: Luke 2: 41-51

LEARNING FROM OUR MOTHER

As we read about the lives of several Biblical characters, we are astounded by the great faith and trust they had in God. A faith that remained unshaken even in the midst of difficulties. Think of Abraham, Joseph the son of Jacob, David, Daniel etc and we’ll find so much to learn from their faith.

Today, we will reflect on the faith of our Blessed Mother, Mary. Can you imagine what it would have meant for Mary when the news of her pregnancy went public and she was still unmarried? Imagine the shame and humiliation she may have experienced. Yet, she offered herself to be used as God’s vessel to bring His Son into the world regardless of the difficulties she would encounter along the line.

Today, Scripture records that she “stored up all these things in her heart.” There was so much she did not understand about her Son but she knew God had a plan which He would fulfil in His own unique way. You and I can find no better way to honour our Blessed Mother than by imitating her great faith. Like Mary, let us trust God, who knows the purpose for our lives. Let us rely on Him always especially in times of uncertainty. As we trust and obey God, His perfect plan for us will unfold each new day just as it did for Mary.

Prayer: Dearest Mother, you remind me each day to do whatever Jesus tells me. Please intercede for me that I may trust God absolutely like you did and obey Him always.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 479 What can we learn from the way in which Mary prayed?

To learn from Mary how to pray means to join in her prayer: “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Prayer is ultimately self-giving in response to God’s love. If we say Yes as Mary did, God has the opportunity to lead his life in our life.

HIDE A TREASURE: “His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” John 2:5 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Isaiah 61: 9-11; 1 Samuel 2: 1, 4-8; Luke 2: 41-51

RESPONDING TO GOD’S LOVE

Friday 27th June – Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Reflection: 1 John 4: 7-16

RESPONDING TO GOD’S LOVE

The Solemnity the Church celebrates today is one that calls us to reflect on the wonderful love God has for us: a love that made Him to give Himself as ransom for our sins. The readings for today reveal in a unique way this great love and even go a step further – they call us to respond to this love.

What is our response to God’s love? “…let us love one another since love comes from God”. We are called to love others in the same way God has loved us. We are called to love unconditionally and sacrificially. “…since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another” (1 John 4: 11). Obeying the commandment to love is the proof of our discipleship – “by this all men would know that you are my disciples; if you have love for one another” John 13:35.

Today, make a decision to love others unconditionally and sacrificially. Extend a hand of help, attention or friendship to that needy person around you or that seemingly unlovable person. Let the love of God reach others through you. It is only through this that you and I can truly tell the world that Christ is alive and dwells in us and through this, open channels for evangelisation.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for your great love for me despite my unworthiness. Please deliver me from selfishness and help me to extend your love to others. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 309 – What is charity?

Charity is the power by which we, who have been loved first by God, can give ourselves to God so as to be united with him and can accept our neighbor for God’s sake as unconditionally and sincerely as we accept ourselves.

Jesus places love above all laws, without however abolishing the latter…That is why charity, love, is the greatest virtue, the energy that inspires all the other virtues and fills them with divine life.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Deuteronomy 7: 6-11; Psalm 103: 1-10; 1 John 4: 7-16

DOING THE FATHER’S WILL

Thursday 26th June – Thursday of week 12 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 7: 21-29

DOING THE FATHER’S WILL

In an era when almost everyone happens to be “Christian” one would wonder why Jesus says that “narrow is the gate that leads to life, and only a few find it” (cf Matthew 7: 14). If almost everyone in the neighbourhood, in school, at work etc is a Christian, then is there more to attaining eternal life than professing the Christian faith? Is there more to do in order to get to Heaven than going to Church, fellowship etc?

While all these practices are good, Jesus points out in today’s reading that we must go beyond them. We must do the will of His Father in Heaven if we seek to enter His Kingdom. How much of the lessons learnt from Scriptures do you put to practice in your daily life? Do you make constant effort to do God’s will in all circumstances? Christ likens the man who is obedient to His Word to a wise man who builds his house on rock and the building stands firm in the face of the storm. Participating in and receiving the Eucharist worthily is an act of obedience to Christ (Luke 22:19; John 6:53). Let us in addition live out the demands of the Eucharist: a life of thanksgiving, love and evangelisation.

Let us seek to put to practice what we learn as we listen to and study God’s word. As we do this, we will grow in holiness and receive the grace to stand firm even in the face of temptation.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help me to do Your will always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1970 – The law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between the “two ways” and to put into practice the words of the Lord. It is summed up in the Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and the Prophets.”

The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the “new commandment” of Jesus, to love one another as He has loved us.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven” Matthew 7:21 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 2 Kings 24: 8-17; Psalm 79: 1-5, 8-9; Matthew 7: 21-29

BEHOLD, I LONG FOR YOUR PRECEPTS

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

Reflection: Psalm 119: 33-37, 40

BEHOLD, I LONG FOR YOUR PRECEPTS

We live in a very fast age. The world has never known this much change as has been witnessed in the last century. We witnessed the invention of bombs, air craft, and then the biggest one, the computer. This constant change has made it so possible for theories to be continually redefined, remodeled, reviewed and in fact, re-theorized, so much so that facts are becoming transient.

The Psalmist lived in a similar world. A world where nothing could be held on to as being true, a world where nobody could be believed and where truth was the scarcest of commodities. Faced with this changing world, the Psalmist turned to the never changing Word of God. He turned his longing to the precepts of the God who never lies nor changes.

We see the people of God (in the first reading) return to the word and covenant of God. The whole people, old, young, mighty and small; they all returned to the sure foundation of the word and covenant of God. In the Gospel, Christ himself cautions us to beware of those who come in sweet words, who seem to have all the answers, all the right words, all the correct miracles and have everything going well for them. Beware!

Let the word of God be your sure foundation. Don’t be deceived or swayed by sweet talks, miraculous feats, or false prophesies. Remain with our Mother, the Church, who alone (being the body of Christ) cannot deceive nor be deceived.

Prayer: Lord, preserve us by your Word, the same Word with which you created the world and through whom you saved the world. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: The Eucharist, as Christ’s saving presence in the community of the faithful and its spiritual food, is the most precious possession which the Church can have in her journey through history.

“Saint John Paul II – The Eucharist: Life of the Church, 9.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:8 RSV-CE

Readings for today: 2 Kings 22: 8-13; 23: 1-3; Psalm 119: 33-37; 40; Matthew 7: 15 -20

A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART

Tuesday 24th June Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist

Reflection: Acts 13: 22-26

A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART

Today, we celebrate a great saint, the herald of Christ. What makes this man significant? Was it just about his miraculous birth, his ministry or what?

Let’s examine his life a little. John appeared in Israel after over 400 years since the last prophet or prophesies in Israel. During this time, the expectations of the people were greatly dampened. Suddenly, John showed up, born through a somewhat unusual process by “too-old-to-be-parents” kind of parents, and then, the boy himself was somehow unusual too – living in the desert, and surviving only on wild honey. Somehow, the whole of this took a funny twist when John showed up at the Jordan- not to bath his desert dirty body, but to baptize people and clean up their souls!!! Suddenly, the expectations were aroused for the Messiah. This is where the whole drama begins.

The people of his days had never seen a prophet, nor heard prophesies in their own time, they only had memories of what they had been taught about the prophets of old…Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah etc. So, if John had told them that He was a prophet or even more, the Christ, they would have believed him headlong. But, NO, John would not even claim the title of a prophet for himself, not to even mention him being the Christ. Rather he set himself aside and proclaimed Jesus as The messiah, the expected Lamb of God John is a man who could have stolen glory (at least for a while), but he did not. He chose the honorable path – to herald the Christ. In short, he chose to be the man after the call and heart of God.

This too, today is our call, to set ourselves aside, and let the world see Christ. We celebrate John, for his humility, his duty and his martyrdom. Let him be our role model, in proclaiming the truth (even when it hurts our pride and ego), to show Christ to the world at whatever cost, and by all means, to strive to be the man after the heart of God.

Prayer: Lord, let me decrease, while you increase, until there is none of me left, but you living in and through me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2683 – The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings and their prayer today. They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth. When they entered into the joy of their master, they were “put in charge of many things”. Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.

HIDE A TREASURE: “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh cannot help. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life” John 6: 63 CCB

Readings for today: Isaiah 49: 1-6; Psalm 138: 1-3, 13-15, Acts 13: 22-26;Luke 1: 57 -66, 80