A FISHING NET


Thursday 30th July- St. Peter Chrysologus, B.D. (opt. mem)

A FISHING NET

Matthew 13:47-53

What can a story about a fishing net and a big catch tell us about God’s kingdom? The two most common ways of fishing in Jesus’ time was with a cast net (or hand-net) which is thrown from the shore and the drag-net or trawl which is let down or cast into the waters from a boat. As the boat moves through the waters the drag-net is drawn into the shape of a great cone which indiscriminately takes in all kinds of fish, flotsam and jetsam swept in its path. It usually takes several men to haul such a net ashore. What is Jesus’ point here? Just as a drag-net catches every kind of fish in the sea, so does the Church act as God’s instrument for gathering in all who will come.

Dear friends in Christ, just as the drag-net does not or cannot discriminate, so also the Church does not discriminate between the good and the bad, the useless and the useful. God’s kingdom is open to all who will accept and believe. No matter what we have done, how ugly our past has been ,the Church is ever open to us through the sacrament of reconciliation and of the Eucharist. But there will come a time of separation, at the close of the age, when the angels will send the good and the bad to their respective destinations.

Our duty is to gather in all who will come. God, in the end, will dole out the reward or punishment. God offers the treasure of his kingdom to all who believe. Let us seek the Lord now before its late. Let us hunger for God and his kingdom.

PRAYER: Lord, increase my hunger for your kingdom and fill my heart with eager longing for you that I may one day gaze upon your face in everlasting bliss.

KNOW YOUR FAITH CCC 2465: What is truth?
God is the source of all truth… Since God is truth, the members of his people are called to live in truth

HIDE A TREASURE: “ By the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free.” Rom 3:24 GNB

Today’s Readings: Ex 40: 16-21.34-38; Ps 84: 2-5.7.10; Mt 13: 47-53

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HE WANTS YOUR ATTENTION

Wednesday 29th July – Memorial of St Martha

HE WANTS YOUR ATTENTION

Luke 10: 38-42

When I was a child, I was surprised at Christ’s response to Martha in today’s gospel reading because my young mind expected Jesus to ask Mary to help out with the service. Yet, each time I reflect on the passage, it becomes clearer that Jesus’ response is one that addresses not just Martha but all of us. Like Martha, we may have invited Jesus into our hearts and because of our earnest desire to please Him, we zealously busy ourselves serving Him so much that we fail to spend time sitting at His feet in Bible study and prayer. We can become so busy with church activities, youth programmes etc that we do not have time to listen to what Jesus is saying to us.

Today, Jesus tells us that as important as our service of God is, spending time to listen at His feet is even more important. In giving our full attention to our Lord, we learn how to serve Him better. Are you caught up in the web of so much activity that you are unable to spend time alone with Jesus? Listen to Him as he says: “You worry and fret about so many things, yet few are needed; indeed only one” (Lk 10:41).

As we celebrate St Martha today, let us welcome Him to our hearts, homes and communities like she did and let us commit ourselves to spending time with our Lord each day as she was taught by our Lord. In doing this, we will receive His grace and direction for our other activities.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please come into my heart. Help me to take delight in sitting at your feet each day so that I may be transformed more and more into your likeness. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 494 How can my everyday routine be a school of prayer?

Everything that happens, every encounter can become the occasion for a prayer. For the more deeply we live in union with God, the deeper we understand the world around us.

HIDE A TREASURE: “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for you, O God.” Psalm 42: 1 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 34: 29-35; Psalm 99: 5-9; Luke 10: 38-42

EN ROUTE OUR HOMELAND

Tuesday 28th July – Tuesday of week 17 of the year

EN ROUTE OUR HOMELAND

Matthew 13: 36-43

Each time we hear of the death of someone we know, we are stunned; taken aback by the reality that such person’s existence in this world has come to an end. Yet, the truth is that every one of us is on a journey through life and our loved ones who have died have simply completed their track before us.

As Jesus explains the parable of the wheat and darnel in today’s gospel reading, He reminds us that this world is not our home. We are sojourners en route our heavenly homeland. This reminder calls us not to allow ourselves become so comfortable that we forget the temporal nature of our worldly existence. Just as the sower allowed the wheat he had planted and the darnel planted by the evil one to grow together till the harvest, so do we all live side by side, good and evil people alike.

The word “holy” means “to be set apart”. As Christians, we are a people set apart from the world around us to live by the standards of God’s kingdom. By whose standards are you living? In the words of the Credo we profess that “we look forward to the resurrection of the dead and life of the world to come”. Let us truly look forward to our own end by opening ourselves to the grace Christ showers on us in prayers and in the sacraments so that we can “shine like the sun in His kingdom” at the end of our earthly sojourn.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have called me to live for you in the midst of a corrupt world. Please strengthen me by your grace that I may not lose sight of my call. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 154 What happens to us when we die?

In death body and soul are separated. The body decays, while the soul goes to meet God and waits to be reunited with its risen body on the Last Day.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 33: 7-11, 34: 5-9, 28; Psalm 103: 6-13; Mt 13: 36-43

THE GOOD SOIL


FRIDAY, 24th July, 2015 – St. Sharbel Makhluf, P (opt. mem)

THE GOOD SOIL

Matthew 13:18-23

The most common way many young Christians have failed to hear God speak to them is by their conclusion that God never speaks. They have cultivated a heart of resistance and a closed mind to the voice of their creator. In fact, they are not eager, not open and not ready to listen to him. Just like St. Paul said in his second letter to Timothy: “they will hold to the outward form of religion, but reject its real power” 2 Tim.3:5.

Beloved in Christ, today’s reading reveals some classical illustrations of how we might be neglecting God’s voice through which He communicates His plan for our lives. Our hearts must be open and receptive to the word of God if it is to bear fruit in us. We must treat the word of God just like a bride who anxiously expects her lovely groom to come home after an important trip just a week after their wedding. It must take precedence over every other thing. This is the good soil that joyfully awaits a seed to be cultivated in it. It is certain of good fruits.

Are you always in a hurry when you pray? Are you always distracted and worried even when you are communing with God in prayer? Do you have a quiet time that secludes you with God? We can become better in our walk with God if we insist on hearing his voice. An intimate personal relationship with God would make us a good soil which is suitable for his glory. Let us appreciate the gift of God’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament and go to him for a conversion. Sometimes, we just need to listen and not offer any word of request when privileged to enter God’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament. It is a gradual growth which requires a longing and eager heart.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, make my heart a fertile soil for your word. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 20 How can we respond to God when he speaks to us?

To respond to God means to believe him… In many ways God seeks contact with us. In every human encounter, in every moving experience of nature, in every apparent coincidence, in every challenge, every challenge, there is a hidden message from God to us.

HIDE A TREASURE: “My sheep listens to my voice; I know them and they follow me”   John 10:27 GNB

Today’s Readings: Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19:8-11; Matt. 13:18-23

MARY MAGDALENE

WEDNESDAY, 22nd July, 2015 – Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene

MARY MAGDALENE

John 20:1-2.11-18

Today we shall reflect on the life of a woman who was the first witness to the resurrection of Christ. Nothing in her past could qualify her for this privilege except for a sincere repentance and a decision to follow Jesus. Looking concretely into her life’s history in the scriptures, she was the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume, dried his feet with her hair and kissed them as written in Luke 7:37-38. She was also the same woman with whom seven demons was driven out by Christ himself as written in Mark 16:9. The Gospel of John which was the last of all the gospels to be written also affirmed her as the sister of Martha and Lazarus. (John 11:2).

All this details about Mary Magdalene are events of her old life which was made new when she was forgiven her many sins by Jesus because of her great love for Christ. (Luke 7:47). She received peace and total freedom from Christ which made her a new creature. Just immediately after her encounter with Christ, the scripture recorded that she followed Christ with some other women and used her resources to help Jesus during his journey through some towns and villages. (Luke 8:1-3).  In our reading today, Mary recognized the voice of the risen Christ who called her name. She replied with such a vivid answer; “Rabboni” meaning Teacher. This showed who Jesus was to her especially with such response which could also be traced to her sister Martha who referred to Jesus as Teacher when their Brother Lazarus died. (John 11:28). Mary was also the same who sat at Jesus’ feet and listening to her counsel when Jesus visited their house at Bethany.

Beloved in Christ, we must learn from Mary’s attitude of steadfastness and a longing heart for Christ. She couldn’t have sustained her conversion without this great acts of total submission and determination to follow Jesus even to his grave. The psalmist says “As I lie in bed, I remember you; all night long I think you” Ps 63:6; “ As a deer longs for a stream of cool water, so I long for you, O God”. Ps 42:1. We must also long always to be in the presence of Christ if we must win the battle over sin. The power of Christ’ resurrection is available for us as his children. Let us go today with a joyful heart for such a great salvation of our soul which is lavished on us by Christ and resolve to follow Christ to the end. We can hear his voice only with a heart that longs for his presence.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, create in me a heart that longs for your presence.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 468What should a person yearn for most?

The ultimate and greatest longing of a person can only be for God. To see him, our creator, Lord and Redeemer, is unending blessedness.

HIDE A TREASURE: “As a deer longs for a stream of cool water, so I long for you, O God”. Psalm 42:1 GNB

Today’s reading: Song 3:1-4ab; Psalm 63:2-6.8-9; John 20:1-2.11-18

DOING THE WILL OF THE FATHER

Tuesday 21st July – St. Lawrence of Brindisi, P.D (opt. Mem)

DOING THE WILL OF THE FATHER

Matthew 12: 46-50

Virtually every Christian is familiar with the Lord’s Prayer and the words: “may your kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:10). Yet, how often have we said this prayer without even considering what the Father’s will is? Do we really say this prayer with a sincere desire to do the will of the Father?

It is important as Christians that we always do the Father’s will. Indeed Jesus says: “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.” (Mt 7: 21). Doing the Father’s will implies total obedience to God. Each time we are presented with choices to make in our day to day lives, do we make decisions based on what pleases our heavenly Father?

Amidst of the peer pressure and increasingly secular societal influence around us, we must make efforts to live in obedience to God even when it is difficult. We must be willing to deny ourselves of the sinful pleasures of this world so that we can truly gain Christ. Let us imitate Jesus Christ who gave up all in obedience to the Father. May we be able to say like St. Dominic Savio said, “I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God.”

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please grant me the grace and courage to the Father’s will especially when it is most difficult. Give me the grace to be faithful to my Christian calling. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 521 – What does it mean to say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?

When we pray for the universal accomplishment of God’s will, we pray that on earth and in our own heart it may become as it already is in heaven. As long as we continue to set our hearts on our own plans, our will, and our ideas, earth cannot become heaven. One person wants this, the other that. We find our happiness, however, when together we want what God wills. Praying means making room bit by bit for God’s will on this earth.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother” Matthew 12: 50 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 14: 21- 15:1; Exodus 15 (Canticle); Matthew 12: 46-50

BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS

Monday 20th July – St. Apollinaris (opt.mem)

BEYOND MY EXPECTATIONS

Exodus 14: 5-18

Looking forward to a birthday gift from my best friend and wondering what the long awaited surprise will be. I got dressed to meet her at our favourite park. I had expectations but they were all centred around the two of us, probably eating some extra junk or playing a game and then get my gift. To my surprise, she organised a little party for me and gave me one of the best gifts I have ever received. I was so surprised because I had expected less, having known her all my life.

This is the kind of expectations we often place on God. We seem to know so much about God. Yet in moments of trials we have very little expectations of him that we lose all hope. The Isrealites in today’s first reading (Exodus14:5-18) had very little expectations of God, not believing in the possibility of their deliverance from the Egyptians. They had suddenly forgotten the mighty way with which God brought them out of Egypt. Just like the Isrealites, we also sometimes place our human limitations on God, forgetting that he is a God that makes the impossible possible. We should never allow familiarity to limit our expectation rather that should make us have high expectations since we know what God is capable of doing.

Always remember, as long as we place all trust in Him, God will exceed our expectations. It is time for us to look beyond the present and envision God in his glory and majesty with deep faith that he is above all our situations. He alone can do much more abundantly and exceedingly above our expectations and limitations.
God does not fulfil our expectations, he exceeds them.  –Mark Hart

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I trust you with my life. Please help to never to limit your work in me by my doubt and fears. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH:  YOUCAT 477 – What does it mean to learn from Jesus how to pray?

Learning from Jesus how to pray means entering into his boundless trust, joining in his prayer, and being led by him, step by step, to the Father.

HIDE A TREASURE: “To him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 14: 5-18; Exodus 15: 1-6 (Canticle); Matthew 12: 38-42