TOTAL OBEDIENCE

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

Reflection: Genesis 19: 15-29

TOTAL OBEDIENCE

From time to time, I hear someone wonder aloud: “what if Adam and Eve did not sin?” we believe our lives would have been much easier and happier if the world were devoid of evil which is a direct consequence of our first parents’ rebellion. Yet, don’t we often give in to the very sin of disobedience they gave in to? God was eager to ensure Lot and his family were not destroyed with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Despite the clear instruction given by the Angel: “Run for your life. Neither look behind you nor stop anywhere on the plain. Make for the hills if you would not be overwhelmed.” Lot’s wife still looked back and was destroyed.

Dear friends, God gives you and I instructions just as He gave our first parents and Lot’s family. Are we attentive to His instructions? Do we obey Him halfway and then do our own will? Just like it did for Lot’s wife, disobedience always brings punishment. God in His mercy continually shows you the path He wants for you through His words in the Scriptures, in Homilies and through your parents and teachers. Are we willing to obey Him?

Today, take time to examine yourself. In what ways are you living in disobedience? Are there moments in your life you have to battle with obeying God rather than your flesh, human instinct or the crowd? Beloved, obedience in such difficult moments is the real test of your Christianity. Ask the Lord for the grace to obey Him always even when it is difficult.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, to love you is to keep your commandments; please grant me the earnest desire and courage to obey You always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 350Are the Ten Commandments a random list?

No. The Ten Commandments form a unity. One commandment refers to another. You cannot arbitrarily toss out individual commandments. Someone who breaks one commandment is violating the whole Law.

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 6: 21 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Genesis 19: 15-29; Psalm 26: 2-3, 9-12; Mt 8: 23-27

Advertisements

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH

Monday 29th June – Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul, Apostles

Reflection: Matthew 16: 13-19

I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH

How much do you trust in God and in His word? Do you hold on to the words of Scripture as truth? Do you believe everything Christ says in the gospels? The average Christian will respond in the affirmative. Yet, many Christians have out rightly rejected Jesus’ words in today’s gospel reading pertaining to the leadership of Apostle Peter over the Church. He said, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the underworld shall never hold out against it” (Mt 16:18). He went on to give Peter the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, with authority to bind and to lose.

History testifies to the truth that the Catholic Church is the one Church established by Christ; it has no human founder and is the only Church that can trace its history back to the apostolic and post-apostolic era. If Christ built his Church upon Peter and declared that evil will never overpower it, we can trust His words and believe that He who has kept His Church through the centuries will perpetually keep her from error. We can also trust that the Church, the pillar of truth (1 Tim 3:15) which has defended the Christian faith against heresies and guided many souls unto salvation will guide ours as we trust in her teaching and follow the path of holiness to which she calls us.

Dear friend, as we celebrate two foremost apostles today, take time to thank God for the privilege to be a Catholic; to belong to Christ’s own Church. Live out your faith in love, holiness and absolute trust in Jesus words – words of eternal life (John 6: 63). You have the fullness of the Christian faith. Embrace it with all seriousness and live your Christian life to its fullest.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the gift of my Catholic faith. Please help me to grow in deeper friendship with You each day and to live the life of love to which you call me. 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.
Jesus gave Peter a unique position of preeminence among the apostles. This made him the supreme authority in the early Church. Rome—the local Church that Peter led and the place of his martyrdom—became after his death the internal reference point of the young Church.

HIDE A TREASURE: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” Matthew 16:18 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Acts 12: 1-11; Psalm 34: 2-9; 2 Tim 4: 6-8, 17-18; Mt 16: 13-19

CAN YOU HOLD ON?

Sunday 28th June – 13th Sunday of the year

Reflection: Mark 5: 21-43

CAN YOU HOLD ON?

St Theresa of Avila says that “all difficulties in prayer have just one cause: praying as though God were not there”. Beloved in Christ, this is one of the greatest tests of faith which we experience in our lives. Sometimes, God seems silent and our waiting on him appears prolonged. This period is never pleasurable. Yet, it is a period reserved for those who truly believe in God and have experienced his mighty deeds. This is the wisdom of waiting on God.

In today’s reading, Jairus’ walk with Jesus when he came seeking for help was truly a walk of endurance. Even though he was a man of faith and a great intercessor for his ill child, he encountered a situation which stretched his faith even further. He watched the woman with the issue of blood receive her healing while his own request remained pending. Do we not often face similar situations today? We see others give testimony of the power of God while ours is not forthcoming. Jairus was silent and even in the face of bad news from his messengers, he watched Jesus do exactly what he believed and trusted him for. Can we hold on for Jesus just like Jauirus did?

Beloved in Christ, Jesus is tell us today; “Do not be afraid, only believe” (Mk 5:36). Our endurance in hope must carry us all the way to the end without failing, so that we can be made complete and perfect. (James 1:4). Patience in prayer would only become a wellspring of faith in our lives if it rejoices in the perfection of others and still holds tightly to what God is capable of doing. Nothing is impossible for God. Tears may flow in the night but joy will come at dawn. Let us be courageous then as we trust and wait on God for his unfailing help.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to trust in your designs for my life. May my faith in you continue to grow by your grace. Jesus, I trust in you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 507What 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: “I wait patiently for the Lord’s help; then he listened to me and heard my cry” Psalm 40:1 GNB

Today’s Readings: Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Psalm 30: 2-6, 11-13; 2Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43

ONLY SAY THE WORD

Saturday 27th June – Saturday of week 12 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 8:5-17

ONLY SAY THE WORD

Beloved in Christ, nothing can stop the fulfillment of the word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Once God speaks concerning any situation, whatever He says must come to pass.

Today’s first and the Gospel readings give an account of two men who heard God speak to them in their different predicaments. The first was Abraham who welcomed God into his tent with such a hospitable gesture (Gen 18:1-5). God spoke this WORD to him; “Nine months from now, I will come back and your wife Sarah will have a son” (Gen 18:10). Despite Sarah’s unbelief, it couldn’t stop the spoken WORD. Unlike Sarah, the Roman officer in the Gospel reading knew the power of God’s word; “Just give the order, and my servant will get well” Matt. 8:8b. These two instances reveal to us the place of God’s word in our journey of faith. God’s word to you and me is his will for our lives.

Beloved in Christ, Christ is here for you today. He wants you to encounter him more deeply than ever. He is not interested in an encounter without a WORD from him. He desires that you truly mean the words of the liturgy which we address to him during Communion rites at Mass just like the Centurion in our reading: “Lord I am not worthy that you may enter under my roof, but only say the WORD and my soul shall be healed”. He is saying to us every time we receive the Eucharist; I AM FOR YOU AND I AM IN YOU. If we truly desire the word of God, then we must seek it with our hearts. As we do that, we experience God’s mighty power to save us and meet our needs.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, speak your word of life to every situation of my life and let me rejoice in your saving help. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 10 With Jesus Christ, has everything been said, or does revelation continue even after him?

In Jesus Christ, God himself came to earth. He is God’s last Word. By listening to him, all men of all times can know who God is and what is necessary for their salvation.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Listen to me, my people, listen to what I say; I give my teaching to the nations, my law will bring them light” Isaiah 51:4 GNB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 18:1-15; Luke 1:46-55 (Canticle); Matthew 8:5-17

THE AUDACITY OF HOPE

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

Reflection: Matthew 8: 1-4

THE AUDACITY OF HOPE

Then a leper came forward. He knelt before Him and said, ‘Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean.”

The audacity expressed by the leper is very commendable. Considering, that in the Jewish culture lepers were forbidden from coming into public arenas and mingling with people. This leper not only came to public view but also, went to meet our Blessed Lord for help. Such effrontery is the audacity of his hope. Dear friends, sometimes, like the historical lepers, we have been kept in a cocoon by our sins and unworthiness; we feel we are incapable of rising above our faults and thus remain complacent.

The boldness of this leper is a call for us to rise above our present limitations. Irrespective of how shamefully we might have lived, or how terribly we have failed in the past, today offers us another opportunity to take the bold step of beginning anew. No matter how bad our past might have been we can always begin anew. The leper said, “Sir if you want to…” His choice of words showed that the leper knew that only He who creates can renew. To begin anew, we must realize that only He who created us has the power to renew us.
Our Blessed Lord stretched forth His hands, touched him, and said, “I want to, be clean again.” Jesus is more eager to help us than we seek to be helped. Nevertheless, as St. Augustine said, “God created us without our consent but He will not save us without our cooperation.” Like the case of the leper, Christ is eagerly waiting to help us with our challenges, our relationships, our academics, or whatever our burdens maybe. He is waiting for us to just come to Him and He will make us clean.

Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? Are we weak and heavy-laden? Cumbered with a load of care? Take it to the Lord in prayer.

In His arms he will take and shield you and you will find a solace there.

PRAYER: Lord give me the grace to realize that no sin or fault of mine is greater than your love or mercy for me and help me to seek always for a new life in you. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 308 What is hope?

Hope is the power by which we firmly and constantly long for what we were placed on earth to do: to praise God and to serve him; and for our true happiness, which is finding our fulfillment in God; and for our final home: in God.

HIDE A TREASURE: Ask and you shall receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7 CCB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 17:1, 9-10, 15-22, Psalm 128:1-5, Matthew 8:1-4

WAITING ON THE LORD

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

Reflection: Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16

WAITING ON THE LORD

“To wait on the Lord, is not as important as what we do while waiting.” God made a covenant with our father Abraham to give him an heir of his own (Gen 15:4-5). After ten years in the Promised Land, Sarah thought of a way out and she gave out her servant Hagar as a concubine to Abraham. However, God’s plan of an heir for Abraham was to be fulfilled through Sarah. The result of their impatience was more trouble to contend with. Dear friends in Christ, we are not oblivious of God’s promises for us, nor are we ignorant of His good plans in store for us, however, we often lose patience while waiting.

Patience is not passivity, but a strong endurance in the face of seeming defeat and disappointment; it is a refusal to be crushed by the blow of circumstances. “He who believes, does not hasten,” and “In our patience, we must learn to possess our souls.” Possession of soul describes the state in which a person has full command and undisturbed enjoyment of himself in opposition to outside influences, which disturb and decompose his peace of mind.

The Angel of the Lord told Hagar, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” This is the word of the Lord for so many that suffer injustice, not because tyranny is just but because we too, need to be freed from our arrogance. It is true that we are worth more than what society offers us, but if, through our circumstances, the Lord humiliates us, let us trust Him, knowing that such humiliation will prepare us for a greater mission. Patience in the face of injustice is not a sign of weakness. Every man has a soul to save, but this cannot be done without steadfast loyalty to the highest and the best. Patience then, is a submissive waiting. In the words of St. Theresa of Avila, “Patience attains all that it strives for.” Dear friends, let those who trust in God, wait on Him and possess their souls while waiting.

PRAYER: Lord, please grant me the virtue of patience and the grace to be obedient and to trust you wholeheartedly. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 311What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit?

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (cf. Gal 5:22-23). In the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the world can see what becomes of people who let themselves be adopted, led, and completely formed by God. The fruits of the Holy Spirit show that God really plays a role in the life of Christians

HIDE A TREASURE: “Since this is a vision for an appointed time; it will not fail but will be fulfilled in due time. If it delays, wait for it, for it will come and not be deferred.” Habakkuk 2:3 CCB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16, Psalm 106:1-5, Matthew 7:21-29

HIS NAME IS JOHN

Wednesday 24th June -Solemnity of the Birthday of St John the Baptist

Reflection: Reflection: Luke 1: 57-66, 80

HIS NAME IS JOHN

Like it is in the African setting, it was a common practice among the Jews to name a first born son after his father. This was the intention of the friends and neighbours of Zechariah and Elizabeth who considered it an honour to name this “special” child after his father. But his mother spoke up “he is to be called John”, the name the Angel had given and this was confirmed by his father.

Dear friends, God knows us individually, calls each of us by name and has a specific plan for the lives of every one of us. He has a certain task for you to carry out in this world; a task no one else has been saddled with.  Regardless of how influential our parents may be, their purpose in life is different from ours hence we must not be satisfied in being anyone’s “shadow.” Though both Zechariah and John attained holiness, their paths to holiness and their God given purpose differed.

Today, we celebrate the birth of St John the Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord Jesus Christ. John was born for a purpose: to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah and to point Him out to Israel when he came. He lived to fulfil his purpose. God has a plan for you too and life will be a waste if you do not fulfil this purpose. Each day, sincerely ask God to reveal His plan for your life and be committed to living out your purpose.

PRAYER: Lord, I open my heart to You; please help me to discover your purpose for me so that I can live each day of my life in fulfilment of that purpose. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 201 – What is the significance of receiving a name in Baptism?

Through the name that we receive in Baptism God tells us: “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Is 43:1).
In Baptism a person is not dissolved into an anonymous divinity, but rather is affirmed precisely in his individuality. To be baptized by a name signifies that God knows me; he says Yes to me and accepts me forever in my unrepeatable uniqueness.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 49: 1-6; Psalm 139: 1-3, 13-15; Acts 13: 22-26; Luke 1: 57-66, 80