BETRAYAL

Tuesday 31st March – Tuesday of Holy Week

Reflection: John 13: 21-33, 36-38

BETRAYAL

Have you ever been betrayed by a loved one? If you have, you will possible know a bit of the distress of the heart of our blessed Saviour as He declared to His disciples His imminent betrayal by one of them. I say a bit because the hurt of betrayal is in proportion to the degree of intimacy and love that exists between the betrayed and the betrayer. Married couples can easily attest to this. However, what bond or love of ours can be compared to the one our Lord Jesus Christ has with disciples?

As we have read of Judas’ betrayal of the divine Master, may we ask ourselves in what ways we are betraying the love and trust of those around us. How much can you be trusted dear friend; how much can people confide in you? Are you the type that lets loose of things you are told in confidence simply because of a little misunderstanding between you and your friend? Dependability is a quality that is becoming rare in our time even amongst professed Christian. The spate of infidelity amongst married and intending couples; inconsistency in the polity and the unending division in the body of Christ practically illustrate this. As a youth, are you betraying the trust of your parents? Do you cook up lies for monetary or social gains?

Dear friend, much as there are consequences for the betrayal of the love and trust of our fellow human beings, of weightier consequence is the betrayal of the incomparable love of our Redeemer. It was for our love that He was crucified. Having professed our love and allegiance to Him, shall we then continue to betray His love and injure His sacred heart through deliberate acts of sin? To do such is to work as the enemy of the cross of Christ to which St Paul declared a destructive end (Phil 3: 17-19). Please let us beware of this!

PRAYER: Oh Lord! Please grant me a true and loyal heart. One that is forever faithful to You and protects the trust and love of those around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 456 – What should you do if you have lied to, deceived, or betrayed someone?

Every offense against truth and justice, even if it has been forgiven, demands reparation.If one cannot make amends publicly for a lie or false testimony, one must at least do whatever one can secretly. If one cannot compensate the injured party directly for the wrong, one is obliged in conscience to give him moral satisfaction, in other words, one must do his best so as to make at least symbolic reparation.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death?” Romans 8:35 GNB

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 49: 1-6; Psalm 71: 1-6, 15, 17; John 13: 21-33, 36-38

Advertisements

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

ARE YOU ASLEEP?

Sunday 29th March – Palm Sunday

Reflection: Mark 14: 1- 15:47

ARE YOU ASLEEP?

The above question which our blessed Saviour asked Simon Peter in today’s gospel reading remains pertinent to us as individuals in our journey of faith. Perhaps we think we can wish away temptation(s) or sufficiently ward it off by human strength; the experience of Apostle Peter should help us to know better!

To effectively combat and overcome temptation, we need to stay awake – we need to be spiritually watchful and vigilant (1 Pet 2:8; Lk 22: 40, 46). Much as soldiers do not start preparation on the day of battle, we as Christians cannot afford to allow ourselves to be caught in the web of temptation before we start looking for a way out, otherwise we might find ourselves lacking in the needed strength to overcome it. To be spiritually awake, we must daily find time to commune with God in prayer. The complexity of the modern times demands a daily evaluation of our life before God lest our faith is drowned by the wave of secularism and relativism raging around us. This is much more important to us as youths.

Beloved, are you asleep or awake? Is your standard of living measuring up to the call and investment of God in your life or you have merely settled for complacency? Let us this day arise from slumber and be awake to a full actualization of our call and potentials in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER: Consider and answer me, Oh Lord my God; lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep death. Amen. Psalm 13: 3.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2849 –…It is by His prayer that Christ vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of His public mission and in the ultimate struggle of His agony. In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to His battle and His agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with His own. Vigilance is “custody of the heart”…the Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” Matthew 26: 41a RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 50: 4-7; Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-20, 23-34; Philippians 2: 6-11; Mark 14:1- 15:47

STAY WITH THE FOLD

Saturday 28th March – Saturday of the 5th week of Lent

Reflection: Jeremiah 31: 10-13

STAY WITH THE FOLD

The image of the shepherd and sheep is used countless times in Scripture to illustrate God’s relationship with His people. The nation of Israel was a farming community and keeping sheep was very common amongst them hence they fully understood this image. They understood how much a good shepherd loved and cared for his sheep; ready to risk his own life in fighting wild animals so as to keep the sheep safe. Yet, they became powerless in fending for the sheep if it stubbornly left the fold and all efforts to find it was futile. When this happens, the stray sheep becomes at the mercy of wild beasts with no one to fight for it.

In today’s first reading, God promises that He would guard his people as a shepherd guards his flock (Jer 31:10). He promises restoration to Israel which had been scattered and divided by sin. Dear friend, Christ assures us: “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10). He has indeed laid down His life for us.

But just as with the sheep, we can only experience the protection our shepherd offers when we stay within the fold. Each time we stray, God, our good shepherd seeks us out. Yet, we can decide to stubbornly refuse His call to come home and choose to remain outside His protection and power. We can willingly put ourselves into the hands of the devil, who constantly seeks whom to devour (1 Pet 5:8). Many Christians have abandoned the fold in quest for fame, power, pleasure, riches, worldly success etc. What choice do you make dear friend? Choose to stay with the fold; choose to remain under the protection of God our Father; He will meet your needs and your safety is sure.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you that I can trust in your powerful protection and care. Please help me not to stray away from you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 22 – How does one go about believing?

Someone who believes is seeking a personal union with God and is ready to believe God in everything that he shows (reveals) about himself.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” Psalm 23:2 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Ezekiel 37: 21-28; Jeremiah 31: 10-13 (Canticle); John 11: 45-56

WHO IS YOUR REFUGE?

Friday 27th March – Friday of the 5th week of Lent

Reflection: Psalm 18: 2-7

WHO IS YOUR REFUGE?

What image comes readily to your mind when you think of David? Perhaps you picture a shepherd boy killing a giant, or the eight son of Jesse who is totally forgotten in the fields when his father is asked to present his sons for one of them to be anointed or maybe you think of a powerful king who destroyed all his enemies in battle…these images and much more come to mind as you think of the man after God’s heart.

Yet, one image that may not readily come to mind is that of a young man, scared to death and on the run for his life because King Saul seeks to kill him. It is precisely this image of David that inspired today’s psalm – one of appreciation to God who was his refuge and fortress, his only help in distress. We would all love to be comfortable and have no troubles whatsoever but this is not the reality. Life is filled with moments of peace and serenity alternating with difficult and trying moments.

Where do you turn to in those trying moments? Do you depend on yourself or on fellow men? Do you find yourself heaping complaints on God or do you turn to him in a prayer of trust and confidence? King David sought refuge in God and was not disappointed. Like our Lord did in the garden of Gethsemane, cry to God with faith in your moment of agony and you will not be disappointed. He will strengthen you in difficult times and give you a heart of joy and thanksgiving at the end. Indeed each trial will strengthen your faith just as it did for David.

PRAYER: Lord, You are my refuge and strength. Please help me to find peace in you in trying times. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 476 – How did Jesus pray as he was facing his death?

When face to face with death, Jesus experienced the utmost depths of human fear. Yet he found the strength even in that hour to trust his heavenly Father: “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this chalice from me; yet not what I will, but what you will [be done]” (Mk 14:36).

HIDE A TREASURE: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” Psalm 46: 1 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 20: 10 -13; Psalm 18: 2-7; John 10: 31-42

DO YOU KNOW HIM?

Thursday 26th March – Thursday of the 5th week of Lent

Reflection: John 8: 51-59

DO YOU KNOW HIM?

Do you know the President of your country? Your response is certainly “Yes! I do”. Let’s take another question: Do you know your mother? Sure, you certainly know your mother! But, I am certain that you know your mother in a different way; you know her character, likes and dislikes,  favourite food, clothing, movie, music etc. This is because you have lived with her and so know her in an intimate way. Though you know your country’s president, you probably just know his name, maybe his background and nothing more because you have no personal relationship with Him. You simply know about him rather than know him.

Many of us claim to know God. We would be just as offended as the Jews in today’s reading if someone says we don’t know God like Jesus told the Jews: “my glory is conferred by the Father, by the one of whom you say, “He is our God” although you do not know Him…” (John 8: 54-55). But did they really know God? If they did, would they not have recognized and accepted the Christ just as Simeon and Hannah recognized the Baby Jesus in the temple?

Dear friend, God desires that you and I know Him. We are not merely His creatures; we are His beloved children through our Baptism. He created us to know Him, love Him, serve Him in this world and be with Him eternally. We can only love and serve God truly when we know Him. Do you seek to know God? He is always ready to reveal Himself to you through Scriptures, in prayer, in every day events, in the Eucharist…but are you willing to spend time with Him? God is ever calling you to Himself, make a decision this season to spend more time with God and you will truly come to know Him.

PRAYER: Lord, I desire to know you! Please help me to develop an intimate friendship with you by responding to your call to be alone with you and may I grow in my knowledge and love for you through this. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 7 – Why did God have to show himself in order for us to be able to know what he is like?

Man can know by reason that God exists, but not what God is really like. Yet because God would very much like to be known, he has revealed himself.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I am the good shepherd, I know my own and my own know me” John 10:14 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Genesis 17: 3-9; Psalm 105: 4-9; John 8: 51-59

TRUSTING GOD’S PLAN

Wednesday 25th March – Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Reflection: Luke 1: 26-38

TRUSTING GOD’S PLAN

Three young plants, “A”, “B” and “C” shared their ambitions with one another. “A” started, “I want to be a very strong tree and made into a chest to store the finest jewels in the world”. “B” said, “I want to be a tall and strong tree and be built into mighty ships that would carry great kings” while “C” said: “I desire to be a very tall tree; so tall that everyone would look up to me.” These trees grew to maturity and were felled. “A” was made into a feeding trough for animals and “B” into a small boat for use by the local villagers while “C” was felled and forgotten at a street corner. All three were unhappy because they had not attained their ambitions.

One cold evening, a man and woman needed a place to have their baby and as there was no room in the inn, they had to make do with a manger in Bethlehem. Only when “A” saw shepherds coming to see the child did he realize that He held within him, the Son of God. Several years later, there was a mighty storm while “B” was out on the sea, then suddenly a man in the boat rose and rebuked the storm; then he realized whom he was carrying – the King of kings. About 3 years later, “C” was still lying at the street corner in Jerusalem when someone picked him up because of his height and made into a cross for a man called Jesus to carry to his death at Golgotha. Indeed the whole world was going to look up to Him for redemption and salvation till the end of time.

Did these young plants attain their deepest desires? Sure, they did in the most marvelous way! Like “A”, “B” and “C”, we may not understand the path God is leading but we can trust Him with our lives. He has a much more beautiful plan for you than you can ever imagine. Our Blessed Mother said yes to God without knowing what the future held and today, the Church celebrates her “Yes” because it has brought redemption to mankind. Today, surrender your plans, hopes and aspirations to God and trust His beautiful plan for your life.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the assurance that you have great plans for me. Please help me to submit to you each day with faith and trust. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 84 – Was Mary only an instrument of God?

Mary was more than a merely passive instrument of God. The Incarnation of God took place through her active consent as well.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” Luke 1:38 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, 8:10; Psalm 40:7-11; Hebrews 10:4-10; Luke 1:26-38