RAISED TO NEW LIFE

Sunday 2nd April – 5th Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Romans 8:8-11

RAISED TO NEW LIFE

A study of living things reveals that there is an innate struggle for survival. From the moment a seed germinates or an animal is conceived, it does everything possible to sustain life. Trees shed their leaves in the dry, cold days of winter to reduce the amount of water loss so that they survive. Certain animals sleep through the winter so they don’t starve to death by expending energy hunting for food that is scarce during that season. We humans are not left our in this quest for survival. We do everything possible to survive difficult situations. We give our all to fight disease because we do not want to die. For us, death is the ultimate end, the moment when all hope is lost …or so it seems.

In today’s gospel reading (Jn 11:1-45), Christ delayed in going to heal Lazarus while he was still alive, while there still seemed to be hope (Jn 11:4-6). He did is to help his followers realize that death is not the end of our story and his raising of Lazarus from the dead points us to a greater reality…that of our resurrection in Him. We too, like Lazarus were dead in our sins. We were stripped of the divine life of God from the very day of our conception because of the original sin we inherited from our first parents and we constantly were led astray by the lure of sin (Rom 5:12). Thankfully, that was not the end of the story for us. Through the waters of Baptism, God has raised us up to new life in Christ Jesus (Col 2:12).

Beloved, you and I are privileged to be children of God. God has given life to our mortal bodies through his Spirit that lives in us (Rom 8:11). You and I, are partakers of the wonderful promise of new life God gave to Israel (Ezek 37:12-14). In Baptism, we have been buried with Christ and raised to new life in Him by the glory of the Father (Rom 6:4). How are you living out this new life? As we look forward to celebrate our Lord’s passion, death and resurrection, let us seek His mercy for the times we have drifted back to our old ways and renew our commitment to live out new life He has won for us through His death.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the new life have given to me through the working of your Spirit. Please help me to truly live as you have called me to. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 200 – What happens in Baptism?

In Baptism we become members of the Body of Christ, sisters and brothers of our Redeemer, and children of God. We are freed from sin, snatched from death, and destined from then on for a life in the joy of the redeemed.

Hide a Treasure: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into his death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4

Today’s Readings: Ezek 37:12-14; Ps 130:1-8; Rom 8:8-11; Jn 11:1-45

CHOICE AND CONSEQUENCES

Thursday 11th February: Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Reflection: Deuteronomy 30: 15-20

CHOICE AND CONSEQUENCES

How many people today live in deep sorrows and regret as a result of the poor choices made in the past? Much as we all have intrinsic desires to be free and exercise our freedom, it is important we ask ourselves how often we consider the obvious and possible consequences of our actions. No matter where we stand on this, an obvious fact is that we cannot just wish away the consequences of our choices. As youths in particular, we can choose to be diligent or slothful; to be chaste or sexually loose. We can choose to allow our character and conscience to be shaped by the eternal word of God or by the deceptive standard of this world.

Despite God’s love and intimate fellowship with our first parents, Adam and Eve, there freedom of choice was well respected by Him (Genesis 3). This continues to be the case even with us Christians of today. God seeks that we would make a choice of Him and His precepts in liberty and love. He continues to make clear to us, as we can see in today’s Gospel, that a decision to follow Him will necessarily demand self-renunciation (Luke 9: 23-24) and a wholehearted acceptance of our crosses.

However, we must never allow ourselves to be deterred by the demands or challenges of righteous pursuits. The Psalmist today is full of encouragement on this – “Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord” (Psalm 1). He who flees the pains of godly discipline must be prepared to accommodate the pains that come with the contrary alternatives. The admonition of Moses to the Israelites in today’s first reading remains relevant to us Christians of today – Choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). It is only in accepting the life-giving precepts of God that we can be assured of His unfailing blessings and have fulfilment of heart. Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows (Psalm16:4).

PRAYER: Constantly make clear to me your blessed will oh Lord and kindly fill me with renewed grace to accept and abide by it! Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1696- The way of Christ “leads to life;” a contrary way “leads to destruction.” The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decision for our salvation: “There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30: 19b).

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 30: 15-20; Psalm 1: 1-4, 6; Luke 9: 22-25

FOCUSING ON THE “WHEN”

Tuesday 24th November – Memorial of SS Andrew Dung-Lac & his

Companions, Martyrs

Reflection: Luke 21: 5-11

FOCUSING ON THE “WHEN”

Quite often I hear comments on how close the end of the world is, considering the difficulties faced by the modern world – wars, natural disasters, terrorism, extreme poverty, godlessness, immorality etc. Our preoccupation is very much like that of Christ’s audience in today’s gospel reading: “when…what are the signs?” They wanted to know when these things would take place so as to prepare beforehand but Jesus’ emphasis was different – His emphasis was on their constant preparedness.

Beloved, whether or not we can read the signs of the end of time is insignificant compared to the hard truth that stares at us in the face each day – our own personal lives can end at any time. We certainly have been taken aback by the sudden death of friends and loved ones. These deaths remind us that ours too can come at any time. Yet, far from keeping us in the fear of death, these reminders of our end should help us put life into proper perspective and that is what the Church calls us to do at Advent which is fast approaching.

Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the first reading showed that God would set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed. We have the privilege through our Baptism to be children of God, heirs to his kingdom. Let us live up to our baptismal promises and put to use the various means of sanctification the Church offers us in our daily lives. As we do this, we would focus not on the “when” of our end but on living a life of constant union with God here on earth.

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for the gift of my faith and for incorporating me into God’s kingdom through your death. Please help me to live each day as your true ambassador. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 543 – Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. Frist announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word: the word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field: those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by Him without spot or blemish and at peace” 2 Peter 3:14 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Daniel 2:31-45; Dan 3: 57-61 (canticle); Lk 21: 5-11