EMBRACE HUMILIITY

Saturday 31st October – Saturday of week 30 of the year

Reflection: Luke 4:1, 7-11

EMBRACE HUMILIITY

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk 14:11

In an era in which we are often preoccupied with concerns about how others see us, we can find ourselves going out of our way to make an impression on people around us and in the bid to do this, we are often caught up with the vice of pride. Yet, Jesus’ warning stands clear: “whoever exalts himself will be humbled.”

Though Jesus used the example of taking places at a feast to illustrate the lesson on humility, this lesson applies to all aspects of our lives. Do our words, actions and attitudes portray humility? Are we willing to listen patiently to others as they air opinions which may be contrary to ours? Are we open to correction and criticism or are we in a haste to defend ourselves against critics? Do we respect other people and uphold their human dignity even if they may be at a lower societal class than ourselves?

St Paul admonishes us in his letter to the Philippians: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit but in humility count others better than yourselves” (Phil 2:3). God praised Moses for his humility and was quick to defend him when Miriam and Aaron spoke against him (Num12: 3-8). He seeks that same humility from us. Remember, the man who humbles himself will be exalted

PRAYER: Lord, please forgive me for the times I have acted in pride. help me to be humble before you and before men in all my dealings. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 61 In what does the equality of all men consist?

All men are equal inasmuch as they have the same origin in the one creative love of God. All men have their Saviour in Jesus Christ. All men are destined to find their happiness and their eternal blessedness in God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Romans 11:1-2, 11-12, 25-29; Ps 94: 12-18; Luke 14: 1, 7-11

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YOU ARE PRECIOUS TO GOD 2

Friday 30th October – Friday of week 30 of the year

Reflection: Luke 14:1-6

YOU ARE PRECIOUS TO GOD 2

Yesterday’s reflection reminded us of the beautiful truth that we all are precious to God. Today’s gospel reading buttresses this as it gives us an insight into God’s readiness to restore His children to a healthy life. Despite the opposition Jesus knew he would get from the Pharisees, He broke the protocols of the Sabbath in order to heal the sick man. In doing this, he challenged the Pharisees’ understanding and application of the law. He made them realise that the aim of all God’s commands is love.

Beloved, just as you are immensely precious to God so is your brother or sister next to you. He desires to extend His loving arms to them through you; he desires that you share in their discomforts, sufferings and pains and be willing to rejoice with them in their moments of joy. How willing are you to be His vessel to others?

Let each day of your life remind you that God is ready to give anything for your happiness and calls you also to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and be His instrument of love to His precious children all around you.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please help me to be a willing instrument in your hands to bring joy and comfort to your precious children all around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 9What does God show us about himself when he sends his Son to us?

God shows us in Jesus Christ the full depth of his merciful love. Through Jesus Christ the invisible God becomes visible. He becomes a man like us. This shows us how far God’s love goes: He bears our whole burden. He walks every path with us. He is there in our abandonment, our sufferings, our fear of death. He is there when we can go no farther, so as to open up for us the door leading into life.

HIDE A TREASURE: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Romans 9:1-5; Psalm 147: 12-15, 19-20; Luke 14:1-6

YOU ARE PRECIOUS TO GOD

Thursday 29th October – Thursday of week 30 of the year

Reflection: Romans 8:31-39

YOU ARE PRECIOUS TO GOD

Have you ever watched a mother handle a child that she had to wait 10years after marriage to have? She handles the child with all the care and attention she can because such a child is indeed very precious to her. Yet, this picture is no match to how much God loves you and I. We are indeed very precious to Him; much more precious than an infant is to its mother. He loves you individually and is willing to give you everything you need to be truly happy.

It is this assurance that St Paul brings to our awareness in today’s first reading as he asks: “With God on our side who can be against us?” Indeed, if we truly hold on to God, we can be assured that all things will work together for our good. This assurance is invaluable for us young Christians as we chart our journey through life, making decisions that will determine how our entire lives will turn out. It gives us the confidence to bring our difficulties to God, trusting that He has a beautiful plan for us which is unfolding day by day.

Indeed, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Yet, God respects our free will and does not force himself on us. Make a decision to trust Him with your life, your future, your possession and everything you are and rest in the assurance that you are precious in His sight and there is nothing which is key to your happiness and salvation that He will refuse you.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for loving me so much. Please help me to trust you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2093 – Faith in God’s love encompasses the call and the obligation to respond with sincere love to divine charity. The first commandment enjoins us to love God above everything and all creatures for him and because of him.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Neither the world above nor the world below- there is nothing in all creation that will separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:39 GNB

Today’s Readings: Romans 8:31-39; Psalm 109: 21-22, 26-27, 30-31; Luke13:31-35

WHO ARE YOU?

Wednesday 28th October – Feast of SS Simon & Jude, Apostles

Reflection: Ephesians 2: 19-22

WHO ARE YOU?

If a two year old prince of a renowned kingdom is taken out to play with other toddlers, he immerses himself fully into their child’s play without hesitation. When this same prince, at fifteen years of age, goes out into the streets of his father’s kingdom. He cannot behave just like any other person because he is aware that there is something different about him – he is the heir to the throne. He was no less an heir to the throne when he was two years old; he was only unaware of this fact and as the awareness dawns on him, his way of life changes.

The awareness of one’s identity largely influences one’s way of life. As Christians, our lives take on a new dimension at Baptism. We cease to be ordinary people and become members of God’s household and heirs to his kingdom. It is this awareness that St Peter draws our attention to as he tells us: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people…” (1 Pet 2:9). It is this awareness that the Church brings to us as she teaches us that “By Baptism, we share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission” (CCC 1268). How conscious are you of your identity? Do you really know who you are?

Just as Jesus called Saints Simon and Jude whose feast we celebrate today to be his apostles, He has called you into His Church, to be a visible sign of His presence in the world. As St Paul tells us in today’s first reading, “You are a citizen like all the saints, and part of God’s household.” (Eph 2:19). Let your awareness of this call reflect in your daily choices and let your thoughts, words and actions “declare the wonderful deeds of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for the gift of my faith. Please help me to truly be a reflection of your presence in the world. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1273 – The Baptismal seal enables and commits Christians to serve God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and practical charity.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Ephesians 2: 19-22; Psalm 19: 1-4; Luke 6: 12-16

LOOK BEYOND THE “NOW”

Tuesday 27th October – Tuesday of week 30 of the year

Reflection: Romans 8: 18-25

LOOK BEYOND THE “NOW”

Ours is an age marked by the desire for instant gratification. We seek the fastest and easiest way to enrich ourselves and expect to receive instant rewards always. Yet, the universal law of sowing and reaping holds true in every area of our lives. There is a time to sow, to sacrifice, to suffer; a time to wait patiently for the plant to sink its roots, grow and mature and finally the harvest we all look forward to. Our faith journey is not exempt from this law.

In Baptism, the seed of God’s kingdom is sowed in our hearts and we begin our journey to the mountain of God. This journey is not an easy one because it demands of us a new life – a life that is guided by godly principles which often run contrary to the principles of this world. Living out our faith may sometimes entail suffering – the suffering of being made jest off by peers, that of denying yourself of certain pleasures, that of being the only voice for truth amidst the crowd, that of denying oneself so as to offer love to others…these are the crosses we are called to carry after our Lord. Yet, Christ assures us that there is something great to look forward to: a hundred fold reward in this world and thereafter, eternal life (Mt 19:29). Hence St Paul tells us in today’s first reading: “I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed which is waiting for us (Rom 8:18).

Dear friend, in an age that glorifies pleasure at all costs and scorns the message of self control, God calls us to look beyond the “now; to follow the footsteps of His son who “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). He calls us to persevere in doing good regardless of the cost. Today, resolve to put in your best in all you do – in your faith journey as well as your daily work, household chores, studies marriage etc. Make efforts to sow good seeds today and you will be sure of a joyful harvest (cf Psalm 126:5-6)

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please grant me the courage and faith to live for you in this world and set my heart on the glory to come. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 102 – Why are we too supposed to accept suffering in our lives and thus “take up our cross” and thereby follow Jesus?

Christians should not seek suffering, but when they are confronted with unavoidable suffering, it can become meaningful for them if they unite their sufferings with the sufferings of Christ: “Christ… suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps” (1 Pet 2:21).

HIDE A TREASURE: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Romans 8:18-25; Psalm 126: 1-6; Luke 13: 18-21

EVERY DAY IS A DAY OF MERCY

Monday 26th October – Monday of week 30 of the year

Reflection: Luke 13:10-19

EVERY DAY IS A DAY OF MERCY

The word “untie” was used by Jews to express that someone’s sin or penalty was cancelled. It also meant freeing an animal from its yoke. Jesus freed the woman in the synagogue in today’s gospel reading and invites us to follow His example. The synagogue official was indignant because Jesus performed a miracle on the day of Sabbath (rest) but Jesus made him realize that no single day was exempt from the task of showing mercy; of bringing freedom and succour to God’s children.

God does not rest from providing for his creatures on the Sabbath as St. John Chrysostom said: How does the Father work, who ceased on the seventh day from all His works? Let Him learn the manner in which He works, what is it? He cares for, He holds together all that hath been made. When thou behold the sun rising, the moon running in her path, the lakes, the fountains, the rivers, the rains, the course of nature in seeds, and in our bodies and those of irrational beings, and all the rest, by means of which the universe is made up, then learn the ceaseless working of the Father. 

Dear friends, we profess our Christian faith, not just by going to Church or praying, but in the way we treat our brethren. If we fail to show mercy and love to our brethren, because of one observance or the other then our observance becomes void. Christ calls us to untie and lift the yoke off each other’s back first, all other things then follow. Let each single day of your life find you extending God’s love and mercy to others.

PRAYER: Lord, teach me to show love and engage in works of mercy irrespective of the person or circumstance involved. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 365How do Christians make Sunday “the Lord’s day”?

A Catholic Christian attends Holy Mass on Sunday or on the vigil of Sunday. On that day, he refrains from all work that would prevent him from worshipping God or disturb the festive, joyful, restful, and restorative character of the day.

HIDE A TREASURE: “What I want is mercy, not sacrifice” Matthew 9:13 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Romans 8:12-17; Psalm 68: 2-7, 20-21; Luke 13: 10-17

CALLED BY GOD

Sunday 25th October – 30th Sunday of the year

Reflection: Hebrews 5: 1-6

CALLED BY GOD

Scripture gives us several accounts both of men and women who were called by God. These people were called and set aside from their ordinary lives because God had a specific assignment for them. Abraham had to leave his fatherland in Ur of the Chaldeans; David had to leave his duty as a shepherd, Elisha had to leave his farm, oxen and family; Peter, Andrew, James and John had to leave their fishing businesses and families.
All of us, baptized Christians have been called by God into the common priesthood of all believers (CCC 1268). But there is another kind of priesthood – the ministerial priesthood which is possessed by bishops and priests. While our calling requires that we strive for holiness in the midst of our ordinary lives, the calling of our priests is much different. They are specifically called to share in the priesthood of Christ, offering the sacrifice of the Eucharist for us and leading us on in our path to holiness. This special call is one that leads them into a different kind of life altogether.

Dear friends, if we recognize that our priests have been specifically called by God what should be our attitude towards them? First, we must be careful of what we say about them as we are not in position to judge God’s servant and such judgment may have unpleasant repercussions for us just as it did for Miriam (Num 12). In addition, if there are no priests, there will be no sacraments – no access to confession or the Eucharist. Hence, we must be grateful to them for the sacrifice they make in yielding to God’s call and show that gratitude in supporting them. Finally, they too, like us, live in the limitations of weakness (Heb 5:2) hence, it is our responsibility to pray for them constantly, asking the Lord to strengthen them and help them lead His flock aright.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the gift of our priests. Please strengthen them in their vocation and help me to treat them with love and respect always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 250How does the Church understand the sacrament of Holy Orders?

The priests of the Old covenant saw their duty as mediating between heavenly and earthly things, between God and his people. Since Christ is the “one mediator between God and men” (1 Tim 2:5), he perfected and ended that priesthood. After Christ there can be an ordained priesthood only in Christ, in Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, and through a calling and apostolic mission from Christ.

HIDE A TREASURE: “One does not take the honour upon himself, but he is called by God just as Aaron was” Hebrews 5:4 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 31: 7-9; Psalm 126: 1-6; Hebrews 5: 1-6; Mark 10: 46-52