STANDING IN THE GAP

Thursday 30th March – Thursday of the 4th week of Lent

Reflection: Exodus 32: 7-14

STANDING IN THE GAP

The power of prayer cannot be overemphasized. So often the events around us that set us complaining can be solved when we bring them to God in prayer. Today’s reading gives us a picture into how powerful intercessory prayer can be. God’s anger towards Israel because of her sin was turned around through Moses intercession.

Can you imagine what would have become of Israel if Moses had at that moment begun to recall how fearful, disobedient and difficult the Israelites were instead of interceding for them? Indeed God had a big promise for him: He would destroy the Israelites for their sin and make a great nation out of Moses. What a privilege! Moses would have become such a great man! But this humble man would hear none of that. He had great concern for the Israelites and for how other nations might begin to perceive God if He destroyed his people.

Dear friends, we often find ourselves complaining about our nation, our community, our siblings, parents, colleagues etc. Do we care enough to pray about those situations we complain about? Indeed we will find more peace and solutions to the problems we complain about if only we turn to God in prayer. We can make a lot of difference in our environment and in the lives of others if we humble ourselves like Moses, recognize that we too are in need of God’s grace and mercy and spend time praying for others. Dare to stand in the gap for someone today.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You have promised to listen to me when I pray. Please grant me a heart of humility and love so that I may pray for others who need your help. Amen.

Faith Pearls: CCC 2635 – Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates with Christs, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm.

Hide a Treasure: “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” Philippians 4:6 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 32: 7-14; Psalm 106: 19-23; John 5: 31-47

REVIVING OUR HOPE

Tuesday 28th March – Tuesday of the 4th week of Lent

Reflection: John 5: 1-3, 5-16

REVIVING OUR HOPE

Thirty-eight years is certainly a long time, taking into consideration the average life span of we humans. Regardless of how old the man whom Christ healed was, he had endured this crippling illness for most of his life. He must have been brought to the pool side several years earlier with high hopes of receiving healing but when he discovered he could not get into the pool first after so many attempts and so many years gone by, he may have lost all hope that he would ever be well again. He probably woke up that Sabbath morning and wondered if ever he would use his feet and work to the Temple like others did. Everything seemed dark and hopeless to Him until our Lord arrived on the scene and his story changed.

Beloved, we do not have to be paralyzed for thirty-eight years to know what a feeling of hopelessness means. You may feel like the dark tunnel of your life is simply getting longer and longer with no end in view. Christ reassures us in today’s readings that his presence makes all the difference. He asks you today: “Do you want to be well again?” Turn to Him in loving trust and let Him into those most difficult areas of your life. He wills to revive your hope. He desires to speak His word of healing and renewal. He is our helper close at hand in time of distress. Look up to Him in trust today and receive the strength and grace He has for you.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to be made whole again. Please revive my hope that I may trust in you for healing and renewal. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 507 – What 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: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” Psalm 46:1 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12; Ps 46:2-9; Jn 5: 1-3, 5-16

LIVING IN THE LIGHT

Sunday 26th March – 4th Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Ephesians 5: 8-14

LIVING IN THE LIGHT

The discovery of the filament light bulb is one that has transformed our human experience in a tremendous way. People who hitherto depended solely on the light of the sun to get all their activities done now had the opportunity to get more things done through the aid of artificial light hence, prolonging productive hours of the day. The most beautiful thing attribute about light is its ability to make things clear. Little wonder Christ calls his disciples the “light of the world.”

St Paul admonishes us today to be children of light, following in the footsteps of Christ and dispelling the darkness of sin and evil in our world through the lives we live. Beloved, you can look around you and wonder if anything you can ever do will make a difference. You may think of acts of love and kindness are insignificant, considering the depth of decay. The good news is that the tiniest speck of light stands out amid darkness. The little you do counts a great deal.

Let us begin this week with a renewed commitment to shine Christ’s light by refusing to gossip, saving a school mate from bullies, breaking the chain of a rumour against someone, helping someone in dire need. Let us try to discover what the Lord wants of us (cf Eph 5:10) with regards to the situations around us and let us trust in the good shepherd to guide us as we follow Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the privilege of belonging to you. Please help me to bring your light and love to an aching world. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 219 – How often must a Catholic Christian participate in the celebration of the Eucharist?

A Catholic Christian is obliged to attend Holy Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation. Anyone who is really seeking Jesus’ friendship responds as often as possible to Jesus’ personal invitation to the feast

Hide a treasure: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” Matthew 5:16 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 1 Sam 16: 1, 6-7, 10-13; Ps 23:1-6; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9: 1-41

OUR ULTIMATE CALL

Friday 24th March – Friday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Mark 12:28-34

OUR ULTIMATE CALL

When we think of the word “Love” we often look at it in the context of feelings. Loving someone could easily amount in our thinking, to having nice feelings and emotions towards the person. While love certainly does involve emotions, it is much more than that. It is simply a decision to will the good of the other person without thinking of any benefits to oneself. We love for the sake of the other.

It is only as we examine love in this context that we can truly embrace the first commandment as Christ clearly expresses it today: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength…” We love God not because of the gifts He gives us but just because He is God, our creator, our source of life. Our love for God is a call to obedience to Him. It is a call to hold on to his commands, regardless of what the world around us calls us to.

Our love for God also directly calls us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Our ultimate call as Christians is that of unconditional love. It is a call to find God in the least of our brethren, in our enemies, in societies outcasts and to love them for whom they are: precious children of God. Beloved, let us turn to the Lord today and ask Him for renewed grace so that we may truly love God by living in obedience to him and love our brethren regardless of how difficult it may be to do so.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please pour out your love into my heart today. Let me look up to the cross and be reminded that love means total self-giving. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 351 – Aren’t the Ten Commandments outmoded?

No, the Ten Commandments are by no means the product of a particular time. They express man’s fundamental obligations toward God and neighbor, which are always and everywhere valid.

Hide a Treasure: “But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” 1 John 3:17 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Hosea 14: 2-10; Ps 81: 6-11, 14, 17; Mk 12: 28-34;

FOLLOW YOUR MANUAL

Wednesday 22nd March – Wednesday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5-9

FOLLOW YOUR MANUAL

Every device has a manual which instructs on how to use it. Failure to read and obey the instructions in the manual might lead to ineffective use or even malfunctioning of the device. Likewise, as Christians we have commandments and instructions given to us by God, our Creator and Father which we need to obey in order to live a holy life. As young people we sometimes overlook some of the commandments, believing that God understands that we are young and would be lenient with us. This is mere deception as obedience to God is fundamental to our Christian faith regardless of our age. “Young people, enjoy your youth. Be happy while you are still young. Do what you want to do, follow your hearts desires but remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do… So remember your creator while you are still young…” (Ecclesiastes 11:9, 12:1).

Beloved in Christ, as we go deeper into this season of repentance, let us tune our ears, hearts and minds to God’s commandments. Always bear in mind Christ’s words in today’s gospel reading: “whoever disobeys even the least important of the commandments and teaches others to do same, will be least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, “whoever obeys the law and teaches others to do same will be great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19). Take up your manual, the word of God today and you will live a life of purpose, direction and favour.

To read the Sacred Scriptures means to turn to Christ for advice – Francis of Assisi.

Prayer: Help me Lord to know your word and always obey you in all circumstances. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 16What is the right way to read the Bible?

The right way to read sacred scripture is to read it prayerfully, in other words, with the help of the Holy Spirit, under whose influence it came into being. It is God’s word and contains God’s essential communication to us. The Bible is like a long letter written by God to each one of us.

Hide a Treasure: “Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.” Psalm 119: 105 GNB

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9; Psalm 147: 12-20; Matthew 5: 17-19

 

 

FORGIVING FROM THE HEART

Tuesday 21st March – Tuesday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 18: 21-35

FORGIVING FROM THE HEART

Each time I read through today’s gospel reading I see so clearly, the wickedness of the unforgiving servant. I see a person who could not even simply share the joy, excitement and freedom of being pardoned such a huge debt with a fellow servant by extending the same hand of forgiveness. I often say to myself: “…I can never be so wicked!” But is that completely true? Haven’t there been times when I have acted just the same way? Though I may not have anyone locked up in prison, are there not many people who are locked up in the prison of my heart because they have hurt me in one way or another?

Beloved, it is easy to claim to have forgiven a person who hurt you. The true test of your forgiveness is not what you say, rather it is your attitude to that person each time his name is mentioned in a conversation, or each time you have an opportunity to offer help to him/her. Christ asks us not simply to forgive with our “lips” but from our hearts. If you find yourself retelling the story of how unjust or untrustworthy a person is each time his/her name is mentioned, if you unconsciously keep talking ill of a person, then that is an indication to look into your heart. You may still have the person locked up in the prison of your heart.

Lent is a time to seek reconciliation with God and with our brethren. Lent is a time to examine our hearts and ensure that we are truly keeping in step with our master, Jesus. Examine your unconscious attitudes to those who have offended you in the past and ask the Lord for the grace to truly forgive them from your heart.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for forgiving me each time I come to you. Please pour out your grace into my heart that I may truly extend your perfect forgiveness to those who have hurt me. Amen.

Faith pearls: “For judgement is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgement.” James 2:13 RSV-CE

Hide a treasure: YOUCAT 524 – What does it mean to say, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”?

Merciful forgiveness—the mercy that we show to others and the mercy that we ourselves seek—is indivisible. If we ourselves are not merciful and do not forgive one another, God’s mercy will not reach our hearts.

Today’s readings: Dan 3:25, 34-43; Ps 25:4-9; Mt 18:21-35

DO NOT ABANDON HOPE

Monday 20th March – Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reflection: 2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16

DO NOT ABANDON HOPE

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin and foster father of Jesus. The genealogy of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 1:1-17, shows that St. Joseph was of the line of King David whom the Lord promised in today’s first reading: ”Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever”. This promise was fulfilled in Christ Jesus, as the prophet Isaiah said, “He will reign on David’s throne and over all his kingdom, to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forever” (Isaiah 9:6).  Though it took hundreds of years, God was faithful to His promise just as He was to our father Abraham.

Dear friends, our God can do much more than we can ask or imagine and He’s more willing to help us than we want to be helped. Though some of God’s promises may seem delayed from our perspective, we must not abandon hope. Though the tunnel may seem very dark and long, there will surely be light at its end; though our tears may persist all the night, we shall surely rejoice at dawn. Beloved in Christ, God’s delays are never His denials; He alone knows the best time is for us. Our Hope in God should lead us to understand that there is nothing impossible for God who is more than able to fulfil His promises.

Let us remember our fathers in the faith; has there been anyone who trusted the Lord and being confounded? Not one! Then, we too can be sure that our hope in God can never fail us. So keep hope alive.

Prayer: Lord, increase my faith in you and give me the grace to know that in all things you always work for my good. Amen.

Faith Pearls: 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: “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 will not be deferred.” Habakkuk 2:3 CCB

Today’s Readings: 2 Samuel 7:4-5, 12-14, 16, Psalm 89: 2-5, 27, 29, Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22, Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24