LIVE AS A DISCIPLE

Sunday 31st May – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Reflection: Matthew 28: 16-20

LIVE AS A DISCIPLE

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

As we read these words of today’s gospel reading let us focus on ourselves as disciples who have been “made” as Jesus instructed. We, who have been baptized in the name of the Trinity are an evidence that Christ’s first disciples truly carried out the great commission. Yet, our discipleship is not manifested simply in being members of the Body of Christ. Our discipleship calls us to an entirely different way of life – a life that reflects our conversion. Are you living as a disciple of Christ?

Today’s readings reveal what our lives should entail as disciples:

  1. Obedience to God’s laws: In the first and gospel readings, Moses and Jesus call for God’s people to be obedient to His laws. Living as disciples entails living in total obedience to God in ALL situations of our lives.
  2. Sharing Christ’s suffering: St Paul reminds us that our sharing in Christ’s glory as his co-heirs must be preceded by sharing in His sufferings. When we stand up for truth and purity despite opposition from peers; when we decide to obey God no matter the cost, we share in Christ’s sufferings and truly live as disciples.
  3. Trust in Christ’s presence: Jesus promised His disciples His ever abiding presence. As His disciples, we must trust in Jesus’ abiding presence especially in the difficult moments of life. His presence is manifested in a special way in the Sacraments. He gives Himself to us in the Eucharist and raises hands of mercy and forgiveness over us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As we avail ourselves of these live-giving encounters with the Lord, we grow in grace to live as true disciples.

Dear friend, St Paul tells us that only those moved by the Holy Spirit are sons of God (Rom 8:14). Ask the Holy Spirit today for the grace to truly live as a faithful disciple always.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the gift of my faith. Please help me to live in obedience to you and to trust you in every situation of my life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 205What happens in Confirmation?

In confirmation the soul of a baptized Christian is imprinted with a permanent seal that can be received only once and marks this individual forever as a Christian. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the strength from above in which this individual puts the grace of his Baptism into practice through his life and acts as a “witness” for Christ.

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

Today’s Readings: Deut 4: 32-34, 39-40; Psalm 33: 4-6, 9, 18-22; Rom 8: 14-17; Mt 28: 16-20

SEEK WISDOM

Saturday 30th May – Saturday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Sirach 51:12-20

SEEK WISDOM

To get wisdom is better than gold; to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver” Proverbs 16:16

Each day of our life presents us with a myriad of choices. As soon as we wake, we have the choice either to rise up and start the day in thanksgiving or to lie in bed and complain that the night has been too short. All our words, attitudes and actions are a function of the choices we make. Bearing in mind that all our daily choices have consequences, the need for wisdom cannot be overemphasised.

Our first reading recounts the efforts the author made in his quest for wisdom. Such efforts included: ceaseless prayer, humility, hard work and perseverance. You and I need wisdom, especially as we make important life decisions as young people. Yet, we must be weary of embracing the wisdom of this world which is often contrary to the wisdom of God and will not lead us to live out our Christian call effectively.

Dear friends, let us ask the Lord each day for wisdom and open our hearts to the various ways through which He desires to teach us…through His word, life experiences, our parents and teachers and through other people around us. Let us be guided by His wisdom and we will find joy and fulfilment in life ultimately.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please grant me your wisdom so that I can make choices that please you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 310What are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit?

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. With these the Holy Spirit “endows” Christians, in other words, he grants them particular powers that go beyond their natural aptitudes and gives them the opportunity to become God’s special instruments in this world.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity” James 3:17 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Sirach 51:12-20; Psalm 19: 8-11; Mark 11:27-33

WHAT ARE YOU KNOWN FOR?

Friday 29th May – Friday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Sirach 44:1, 9-13

WHAT ARE YOU KNOWN FOR?

Abraham is known for his faith, Solomon for his wisdom and David for his numerous songs of praise and his contrite spirit. What are you known for? What you live for is what you are known for. As young Christians, as we strive for excellence in various fields of interest, there is nothing more important than living for Christ, whose name we bear. We must sow seeds of righteousness; good works that will never be forgotten (cf Sirach 44: 10).

Always remember beloved that every moment of your life is part of your history and our final judgement will be based on how we have spent each of those moments. Today, take time to examine yourself; what kind of history are you writing? Is your life worthy of emulation? In what way will your today influence your generations after you? The heroes of faith and the saints remain a source of inspiration to us several centuries after they lived. Write your own history in a way that will outlive you for good.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, let me live only for you and your glory always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 471Why is Abraham a model of prayer?

Abraham listened to God. He was willing to set out for wherever God commanded and to do what God willed. By his listening and his readiness to make a new start, he is a model for our prayer.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The days of a good life are numbered, but a good name endures forever.” Sirach 41:13 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Sirach 44: 1, 9-13; Psalm 149:1-6, 9; Mark 11:11-26

BE PERSISTENT

Thursday 28th May – Thursday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10:46-52

BE PERSISTENT

An attitude of persistence in seeking God reveals a deep faith in Him. Bartimaeus had heard about Jesus and all he was doing. Though his vision was impaired, his ears and minds were active and he sought an opportunity to meet Jesus. It was this faith that Jesus could heal him that made him keep shouting, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!”. Despite the discouragement he got from the people around he was not going to allow this opportunity to be healed pass him by. His persistence paid off – He got the Master’s attention and the healing he desired.

Beloved in Christ, what is your attitude to seeking God? What is your attitude to prayer? Our Lord is ever faithful. He is close to those who seek Him sincerely and perseveringly. Continue to seek God until He reveals himself to you. Do not give in to discouragement. He will definitely consider your request and bless you beyond your imagination. Let us apply this same attitude of perseverance in our day to day activities – at work, at school etc. Persist in speaking the truth, persist in doing what is right and you will be happy in the end.

PRAYER: Jesus, son of David! Have mercy on me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 515 Where do we get the confidence to call God “Father”?

We can be so bold as to address God as Father because Jesus has called us to a close relationship with himself and made us children of God. In communion with him, “who is in the bosom of the Father” (Jn 1:18), we are privileged to cry, “Abba, Father!”

HIDE A TREASURE: “He takes notice of our every thought and hears our every word.” Sirach 42:20 GNB

Today’s Readings: Sirach 42:15-26; Psalm 33:2-9; Mark 10:46-52

TRUE LEADERSHIP

Wednesday 27th May – Wednesday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10:32-45

TRUE LEADERSHIP

Our Blessed Lord called His disciples to himself and taught them what true leadership means. For His disciples, leadership involves service – a leader is one who is to serve and not to be served. This concept of humility in leadership is illustrated in the parable of the grain of wheat. “Truly I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24). The grain of wheat can boast of its great potential; however without first dying, it remains only a grain. But if it surrenders itself to death in the dirt of the soil, it bears much fruit and is respected for what it is.

In the same vein, to be a successful leader, one must necessarily learn how to serve. The mark of nobility in Christian leadership is the privilege to serve and not to be served. To lead is to live by example; it entails dying to our own personal desires and working rather for the good of all. The world, is “power-drunk”, and can never thoroughly grasp the paradox that only humility really leads to greatness. The strength of a leader is measured by the safety of his followers and his followers can only feel safe in the hands of a servant-leader.

Beloved, we all have been chosen to lead; either as leaders of a group, a class or even as elders to our younger ones. Our responsibility is that of service. Christ calls us to lead by example, serving the common good and not our own interest. Dear friend, always remember, every opportunity you have to lead is a privilege and you will have to give an account of your stewardship in the end.

PRAYER: Lord help me that in discharging my duties I may learn humility and give me the grace to daily die to myself and daily rise to new life in you. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 89 – To whom does Jesus promise “the kingdom of God”?

God wills “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). The “kingdom of God” begins in those who allow themselves to be transformed by God’s love. In Jesus’ experience these are above all the poor and the lowly.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Whoever would be great amongst you must be your servant” Mark 10: 43 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Sirach 36:1-2, 5-7,13-19, Psalm 79: 8-13, Mark 10: 32-45

GIVE CHEERFULLY

Tuesday 26th May – Memorial of St Philip Neri, Priest

Reflection: Sirach 35:1-12

GIVE CHEERFULLY

From time to time, telecommunication companies advertise a promotion with prizes worth millions of naira and attract many Nigerians to participate at a token. Hence, the company gains millions of Naira in the process of giving out some. The contemporary world understands that without giving we cannot truly possess anything. For what really belongs to us is what we give out to others rather than what we hold on to.

Christ tells us: “Give and it will be given to you, …good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.” (Luke 6:38-39). This, He reminds Peter of in today’s gospel reading when Peter wondered what reward they would have for leaving everything to follow Him (Mark 10:28-31). Hannah gave up Samuel, her only child to the Lord in fulfilment of her promise. In return, God gave her five more children though she only asked for one (1Samuel 2:21).

Dear friend, realizing that our “God is a good rewarder who will reward us seven times over,” (Sirach 2:11) we are called to honour the Lord with generosity and not stint when we bring our gifts before the Lord. Give to the Lord as He has given to you, generously and cheerfully as your means can afford. Give to the Lord the best of your gifts in appreciation of His goodness to you and He will surely bless you more as He did for Hannah. Never think you are too young to give to God. Give the Lord your time, your treasure and your talents and you will lay up blessings for your life and future.

PRAYER: Lord, help me understand that it is in giving that I can receive and help me to be more generous with what you have given me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 488Why 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.

HIDE A TREASURE: “What have you that you have not received? And if you received it, why are you so proud, as If you did not receive it” 1 Corinthians 4:7 CCB

Today’s Readings: Sirach 35:2-15, Psalm 50: 5-8, 14, 23, Mark 10: 28-31

THE PRICE OF PERFECTION

Monday 25th May – Monday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10:17-27

THE PRICE OF PERFECTION

Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17)

The question the young man asked as he ran up to Jesus reveals his thirst for holiness. There is a blessing in longing and striving for betterment, in making oneself a sheep that gets out of the mud rather than a pig that stays on in it. However, as today’s gospel shows us, to thirst for holiness is not enough, we must also be ready to pay the price. All men desire greatness but only few are ready to give what it takes.

When our Lord proposed to him the ordinary way of salvation, namely, keeping the commandments, the man was dissatisfied; he sought for something more perfect; but, when the perfect way was proposed to him, the way of renunciation: He went away sad because he had great wealth. Such response shows us that one can have an earnest desire for God, but be unwilling to tread the path of true holiness.

Beloved, always remember: “The way of perfection passes by the way of the Cross. There is no holiness without self-renunciation; no salvation without Calvary and no crown without a cross. Thus, our path to holiness as Christians demands that we detach ourselves from earthly things. It is a path of total self-giving that calls us to die to our own desires and cling to God’s purpose for us. Jesus, tells you today: “If you wish to be perfect…go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”. What is standing in your path to perfection? Let go of it today!

PRAYER: God give me the grace to always walk in the light of your presence and never to depart from you, so that eternally I may reign with you in heaven. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2015 – Spiritual progress entails the ascesis (the exercise of self-discipline) and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes

HIDE A TREASURE: “We cannot please God without putting our human and fleshy desires to death” Romans 8:8 CCB

Today’s Reading: Sirach 17:20-28, Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7, Mark 10:17-27