A HAPPY ENDING

Thursday 31st December – 7th day within the octave of Christmas

Reflection: Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13

A HAPPY ENDING

After a journey of 365 days in the year 2015, what more can we do but give thanks to God for his unending love and faithfulness to us all throughout the year? It is a great privilege to count your blessings and remember the goodness and mercy of God through the happy and sad moments that we have encountered in the year 2014. Think less of what you would have loved to accomplish this passing year and thank God for what you have been able to do. Lift him high in praise and worship. Find some moments today to reflect over the past year, and rejoice in thanksgiving as you look forward to the beginning of the New Year.

Dear friends, the scripture says that the end of anything is better than its beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Hence we must heed the psalmist today as he calls us to: “Sing a new song to the Lord, sing to the Lord all the world” (Psalm 96:1). Just as a pregnant woman rejoices when she finally gives birth to her child, so must we enter the New Year with joy as we hope for a good start. Make a choice to be happy and let the Spirit of truth lead you to make right decisions and conclusions for whatever plans you have. A happy ending would always usher in a note of peace, a sign of freedom from worry and a platform for the presence of God’s spirit. Be determined to finish strong by letting go strongholds of malice, depression, self-pity and all that weighs you down. Today can still make a difference in this passing year.

So be at your duty post today no matter how little it may be. Do everything out of love. Remember also that life is a pilgrimage the end of which must come one day. Keep focused and live well so as to die well.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for seeing through me another year, help me to remain united to you as long as I live. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 186What is the liturgical year (the Church year)?

The liturgical year, or the Church year, superimposes the mysteries of the life of Christ—from his Incarnation to his second coming in glory—on the normal course of the year. The liturgical year begins with Advent, the time of waiting for the Lord, and has its first high point in the Christmas season and its second, even greater climax in the celebration of the redemptive suffering, death, and Resurrection of Christ at Easter. The Easter season ends with the feast of Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church. The liturgical year is repeatedly interrupted by feasts of Mary and the saints, in which the Church praises God’s grace, which has led mankind to salvation.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You would do everything you have promised; Lord, your love is eternal. Complete the work that you have begun”. Psalm 138:8 GNB

Readings for Today: 1 John 2:18-21, Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13, John 1:1-18

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INVESTING OUR STRENGTH

Wednesday 30th December – 6th day within the octave of Christmas

Reflection: 1 John 2:12-17

INVESTING OUR STRENGTH

Dear friends, many parts of the Holy Scriptures emphasize the purpose of youthfulness and describe it as a stage of decision to choose life and denounce the temptations of the devil. This phase in which we are requires right counsel to stand firm in faith as it is a time when the battle against sin is at its peak as well as the formation of character. It is a phase in which we love to choose mentors, people whose pathways we can follow to newer facets and discoveries in life. Nevertheless, all our aspirations must necessarily lead us back to God (Ecclesiastes 11:9). All our questions about life can only get right answers when we sincerely make efforts to search for truth. This is the true essence of our strength which St John makes reference to in our reading today: I am writing to you, young people, because you are strong; the word of God lives in you, and you have defeated the evil one. (1 John 2:14b).

As the year 2015 passes away, we are called to evaluate what have achieved with our youthful strength this past year. How have we tailored our talents and treasures to earn us eternal treasures? Beloved, the greatest treasure we can ever have is Christ dwelling in us, His word fuelling our hearts with the grace and power to defeat the evil one. This is the most important investment of this phase of our lives. Let us take heed of our flaws and fight the good fight faith. Never be discouraged to take up your cross and follow Christ. You can do all things through him who strengthens you. The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever. (1 John 2:17). Press on, beloved!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I am sorry for the misuse of your grace upon my life. I ask for renewed strength as I wait on you today. Help me to use my strength to know you more. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 34What should you do once you have come to know God?

Once you have come to know God, you must put him in the first place in your life. And with that a new life begins. You should be able to recognize Christians by the fact that they love even their enemies.

HIDE A TREASURE: “…I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”. Philippians 3:8 GNB

Readings for Today: 1 John 2:12-17; Psalm 96:7-10, Luke 2:36-40

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST?

Tuesday 29th December – 5th day within the octave of Christmas

Reflection: 1 John 2:3-11

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST?

“Whoever says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4). The ancient Greek aphorism “Man, know thyself!” is invaluable in every area of our lives. As there is no compromise in life, we are either moving forward or backward, upward or downward. However, to know the direction in which we thread, we must first determine who we are. Though, people may acclaim that we are Christians, we go to church and read our Bibles; but deep within us we have to tell ourselves the truth. For it is only by discovering that we are little that we can ever become great; it is only when we discover our weakness that we can grow in strength.  As St. Peter wrote, “the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining”. We must in the privacy of our hearts, allow the light of Christ to shine on those areas of our lives that are not yet in tune with God. We must allow the light of Christ to lay open the secret thoughts of heart and purify us.

Dear friends, the best way to know ourselves; is to know Christ and make Him our standard in our journey towards perfection. This is the way we may know that we are in union with Him, for anyone who claims to be in union with God ought to walk just as He walked. This is what Christianity demands from us: to be Christ-like in all we do. To love as Christ loved us, not just our friends alone but also, those who seem to be against us. To bear with each other in love and in patience; to forgive as God forgives us. Our crosses as Christians are largely products of our daily lives; thus in bearing the crosses God gives us with joy and through His grace, we know we are following Christ. Today, let us take time to reflect on who we are in relation to Christ.

PRAYER: Lord, please help me to know you more and to be able to live for you in all things. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 30 – Although man can forget God or reject Him, He never ceases to call every man to seek Him, so as to find life and happiness.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If you want to follow me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 CCB

Readings for Today: 1 John 2:3-11; Psalm 96: 1-6; Luke 2: 22-35

LIFE: GOD’S PRECIOUS GIFT

Monday 28th December – Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Reflection: Matthew 2: 13-18

LIFE: GOD’S PRECIOUS GIFT

As the Church celebrates the feast of Holy Innocents today, we are offered a good opportunity to reflect on many innocent children who are being killed in their thousands daily all over the world, not for the sake of Christ but for the sake of covering up the effect of youthful lust and fornication through abortion.

Beloved, despite the message the world tries to pass to us daily…on television, on the internet, through so-called “woman empowerment” or “reproductive health and rights” programmes that promote pre-marital sex and abortion as “rights”, the truth remains written in the hearts of each one of us that abortion is murder. Hence, it is in this dark areas that you and I are called as Christians to shine the light of Christ.

Our Christian message is one that appreciates the wondrous gift of life, a gift that man has no right to take away. As we celebrate the birth of our Saviour and commemorate those ltitle martyrs, let us make a commitment to promote life through living chaste lives and encouraging our friends to do the same. Let us take time to pray and offer support and encouragement to young ladies around us who have unwanted pregnancies and let us bring the message of God’s love and forgiveness, especially this Jubilee of Mercy to those who have committed abortion in the past. God’s mercy is always greater than our sin and He is willing to welcome us each time we turn to Him.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please give me the grace to stay away from every youthful lust and fornication and every act that will lead me into committing abortion. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT313 – Why must a sinner turn to God and ask him for forgiveness?

Every sin destroys, obscures, or denies what is good; God, however, is all-good and the author of all good. Therefore every sin goes against God (also) and must be set right again through contact with him.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But if we confess our sins to God,, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all wrongdoing.” 1 John 1:9 GNB

WHAT’S YOUR ROLE?

Sunday 27th December – The Feast Of Holy Family Of Jesus, Mary And Joseph

Reflection: Sirach 3:3-7, 14-17

WHAT’S YOUR ROLE?

Today, the Church celebrates the gift of the family as she presents us with the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as a standard for us to emulate. The first reading focuses on the we  children, giving us an insight into the great blessings awaiting the child who honours his parents. God has placed each one of us under the care and authority of our parents therefore we must respectfully obey and care for them even when they are old. This singular attitude of total obedience to one’s parents in God provokes God’s blessings to be showered on the life of the child; the first of which is long life, answered prayers, forgiveness of sins among many others.

Dear beloved, as a youth, have you realised that God has given your parents authority over you and you have a primary duty to always make them happy in every godly way? Have you ever realised that disobedience to them is disobedience to God who placed you under their care? Even our Lord Jesus whose birth we celebrate this season had to be incarnated in the setting of a family and have parents to care for Him, parents whose authority he submitted to as today’s gospel reading tells us.

Beloved, our role as children is not a passive one; we are not to be at the receiving end always. God calls us to actively love and honour our parents so that just as they rejoiced at our birth, we will remain a source of joy and thanksgiving to them all our lives.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please give me the grace to be an instrument of change in my family and to the glory of your name. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 371 – How does a child respect his parents?

A child respects and honours his parents by showing them love and gratitude.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For the Lord has given fathers authority over their children and given children the obligation to obey.” Sirach 3:2 GNB

Today’s Readings: Sirach 3: 3-7, 14-17; Psalm 128: 1-5; Colossians 3:12-21; Luke 2: 41-52

A MERRY HEART

Friday 25th December-. Solemnity of The Birth of Our Lord.
REFLECTION: ISAIAH 52:7-10 A MERRY HEART

Wow! How time flies! Just like it is a dream, today we have come to another yuletide. First of all we wish a “Merry Christmas”. But how merry are you today? Are you truly merry? Well, friend, there may be so many reasons not to be merry, but really we have to find that happy spot in our souls today and give someone a big hug. Yes, a big hug. The Word of God says in the book of Proverbs that “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine”. (Prov. 17:22a). Wonderful, isn’t it?

 Beloved, today being the celebration of the birth of our Lord offers a wonderful opportunity for us to show that spirit of fraternity and oneness that should exist between us and those around us. We are encouraged to be the channel through which Christ will be born anew in the heart of someone else. The birth of Christ should be for us a new beginning. We don’t have to wait for the New Year before we take the decision to be a better person. Beloved, time waits for no one. One of the best decisions we can make this season is to be a blessing to someone else. Remember that when you give people joy, you also reap joy in return, when you give people peace, you also reap peace as well. 

So let’s go all out today and be merry, not forgetting to show love to all around us. One again, Merry Christmas.

PRAYER: Father please fill my heart with joy today by Your Holy Spirit, I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Being cheerful keeps you healthy.” Proverbs 17:22a. GNB.

Today’s Readings: Isa.52:7-10; Heb.1:1-6; John1:1-18

REMEMBER, IT IS ONLY A GIFT

Tuesday 22nd December

Reflection: 1 Samuel 1: 24-28

REMEMBER, IT IS ONLY A GIFT

When science fails to solve our puzzles, medicine fails to heal our wounds and our efforts are apparently futile; it is only natural to turn even to the most “illogical” solution. When faced with unnerving problems even the staunchest atheist (as they proudly profess) might consider talking to the God; he had consistently tagged non-existent. It is amazing what promises we are willing to make when they earnestly desire something. Just then, we are reminded that God is our ultimate help.

When we ask in faith and humility; God our loving Father would not deny us anything we need for our salvation and well being. This is the assurance Christ has given us: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him” (Matthew 7 :11). It is however saddening to know how many turn a cold heart to God after He has dried their tears.

Hannah, whom the Lord had saved from the shame of childlessness, was indeed grateful. She did not cling to Samuel her only son. She saw him as a gift from God and though he was still an infant whom she had just weaned, she was willing to fulfil her promise to God as difficult as it appeared to be. In gratitude, she exalted God, recounting His power to supply the needs of the weak and dejected, and humble the proud and she joyfully gave her son back to God (1 Samuel 1:28). God increased her joy, giving her five children in the place of one which she had requested for (1 Samuel 2:21)

Beloved, let us constantly remember that every answered prayer is a gift from God; who is able to do immeasurably more. When we do this, we would show enough gratitude to fulfil our vows to Him and our obligation of love to our neighbour. Remember everything you have is only a gift, and you will not forget the giver.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have given me so much; please give me one more thing – a grateful heart. May I never forget that You are the source of my life and happiness. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 488 – Why 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.

The greatest prayer of thanks is the “Eucharist” (“thanksgiving” in Greek) of Jesus, in which he takes bread and wine so as to offer in them to God all of creation, transformed.

HIDE A TREASURE: “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” 1 Corinthians 4:7 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: 1 Samuel 1: 24-28; 1 Samuel 2: 1, 4-8 (Canticle); Luke 1 : 46-56