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

HEALING OUR BLINDNESS

Friday 4th December – Friday of the 1st week of Advent

Reflection: Matthew 9: 27-31

HEALING OUR BLINDNESS

One of the recurring marks of the messiah’s presence foretold by the prophets is restoration of sight to the blind. “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened…” (Is 35:5); “I will lead the blind in a way they know not…I will turn the darkness before them into light” (Is 42:16) and in today’s first reading, “in that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.” (Is 29:18).

Yet, this restoration was not limited to those who were physically blind. The more important restoration is for all of us, blinded by sin and groping in the darkness of a godless world. The blind men in today’s gospel reading had heard about Christ and recognised that He was the only solution to their helpless state hence, once they knew He was close by, they continued to follow Him, seeking an encounter that they were certain would transform their lives – and they were not disappointed.

Beloved, do you recognise your spiritual blindness and your need for Christ? Through baptism which is also called “enlightenment”, the person baptised has been “enlightened” by Christ, the true light and becomes “light” himself (cf CCC 1216). Christ has begun the work of restoring our sight through our baptism. Yet, it is only in staying close to Him that we can prevent ourselves from being blinded again by sin. It is in being true disciples that we can prevent our intellect from being darkened and our will to do good from being weakened by the opposing standards of this world. Like the blind men did, it is only in witnessing to His saving power through a lively faith that we can clearly see the eternal hope which our Christian call holds for us. Let us ask our Lord to restore our sight so that we may ever live true to our call.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the gift of faith. Please rescue me from the blindness of sin and help me to truly live as a son of light. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1216 – “This bath (Baptism) is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding…” Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that enlightens every man,” the person baptised has been “enlightened,” he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I ask that your minds be opened to see his light, so that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people.” Ephesians 1:18 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 29: 17-24; Psalm 27: 1,4, 13-14; Matthew 9: 27-31

UNSHAKABLE FAITH


Monday 6th July- Monday of week 14 of the year

UNSHAKABLE FAITH

Matthew 9:1826

How amazing the healing power of God is and also the unshakable faith demonstrated by the woman with hemorrhage and the official in the gospel reading of today. This two stories show us how the God loves and he is ever ready to help us, as long as we stand in faith that is unshakable.
Think about the official for a moment, there was no way anyone was going to change his mind, to convince him that all hope was lost, even when things looked the at their worst. Yes, his daughter was dead, but he knew deep down in his heart that if his daughter was ever going to live again, then there was only one place he could turn to … Christ. This official knew who Christ was, this is why he humbled himself before him and knelt down before his Lord. His faith in Christ was absolutely unshakable.

The woman with hemorrhage also displayed an unshakable faith. She had such faith in Christ that she knew if only she could touch His cloak, that she would be healed. Despite the fact that this woman had lived in pain and suffering for many years, she found hope in Christ, and did not let anything stop her from reaching Him

After touching Him, Jesus knew what had happened, He addressed her and said, “Courage daughter! Your faith has saved you.”  Let us also demonstrate our faith in God today, so that we may receive divine healing from God.

PRAYER: Merciful Father, show us your mercy and love grant us the priviledge to always demonstrate our faith in you, so that we too may conquer the tribulations of the world in your surpassing greatness. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 146– What is Faith?
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)

HIDE A TREASURE: “No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 (GNB)

Today’s reading: Gen 28: 10-22; Ps 91: 1-4. 14-15; Mt 9:18-26

ONLY SAY THE WORD

Saturday 27th June – Saturday of week 12 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 8:5-17

ONLY SAY THE WORD

Beloved in Christ, nothing can stop the fulfillment of the word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Once God speaks concerning any situation, whatever He says must come to pass.

Today’s first and the Gospel readings give an account of two men who heard God speak to them in their different predicaments. The first was Abraham who welcomed God into his tent with such a hospitable gesture (Gen 18:1-5). God spoke this WORD to him; “Nine months from now, I will come back and your wife Sarah will have a son” (Gen 18:10). Despite Sarah’s unbelief, it couldn’t stop the spoken WORD. Unlike Sarah, the Roman officer in the Gospel reading knew the power of God’s word; “Just give the order, and my servant will get well” Matt. 8:8b. These two instances reveal to us the place of God’s word in our journey of faith. God’s word to you and me is his will for our lives.

Beloved in Christ, Christ is here for you today. He wants you to encounter him more deeply than ever. He is not interested in an encounter without a WORD from him. He desires that you truly mean the words of the liturgy which we address to him during Communion rites at Mass just like the Centurion in our reading: “Lord I am not worthy that you may enter under my roof, but only say the WORD and my soul shall be healed”. He is saying to us every time we receive the Eucharist; I AM FOR YOU AND I AM IN YOU. If we truly desire the word of God, then we must seek it with our hearts. As we do that, we experience God’s mighty power to save us and meet our needs.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, speak your word of life to every situation of my life and let me rejoice in your saving help. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 10 With Jesus Christ, has everything been said, or does revelation continue even after him?

In Jesus Christ, God himself came to earth. He is God’s last Word. By listening to him, all men of all times can know who God is and what is necessary for their salvation.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Listen to me, my people, listen to what I say; I give my teaching to the nations, my law will bring them light” Isaiah 51:4 GNB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 18:1-15; Luke 1:46-55 (Canticle); Matthew 8:5-17

THOUGH SORROW MAY LAST FOR THE NIGHT 

Friday 5th June – Friday of week 9 in Ordinary Time (St. Boniface , Bishop, Martyr)

Reflection: Tobit 11:5-17

THOUGH SORROW MAY LAST FOR THE NIGHT 

Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all” (Psalm 34:19)

Tobit was a good and upright man who had walked in the way of truth and justice all his life. He performed several works of mercy: giving alms, burying the dead even at the risk to his own life. Despite his good deeds, Tobit became blind (Tobit 2:7-10). In his distress, he cried to the Lord and the Lord heard him (Tobit 3:16). The Lord made plans to restore his sight in His own way and time. Thus, dear friend, when we pray, God hears more than we say, He answers more than we ask, He gives more than we imagine, but, in His own time and in His own way. So, we have to keep the faith all through the dark nights as Tobit did for four years.

Being good people or upright Christians does not mean we will not have challenges and trials or situations that might make us question the very essence of our faith. However, we can be certain that God will come to our aid though the time and manner may remain unclear. Thus, having faith does not mean having no difficulties, but having the strength to face them knowing we are not alone. Beloved in Christ, if you are going through some challenging or difficult times presently, hold unto God; do not yield to the temptation of questioning His love or be embittered at Him; rather present your situation to Him in prayer and wait on Him. Dear friend, God has a purpose for our pain, a reason for our struggles and a reward for our faithfulness. Don’t give up!

Prayer: Give me the grace Lord to stand firm in the light of your presence all the days of my life. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 102Why 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).

Christians have the task of alleviating suffering in the world. Nevertheless, there will still be suffering. In faith we can accept our own suffering and share the suffering of others. In this way human suffering becomes united with the redeeming love of Christ and thus part of the divine power that changes the world for the better.

Hide a Treasure: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19 RSV- CE

Today’s Readings: Tobit 11:5-17, Psalm 146: 2, 7-10, Mark 12:35-37

BE PERSISTENT

Thursday 28th May – Thursday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10:46-52

BE PERSISTENT

An attitude of persistence in seeking God reveals a deep faith in Him. Bartimaeus had heard about Jesus and all he was doing. Though his vision was impaired, his ears and minds were active and he sought an opportunity to meet Jesus. It was this faith that Jesus could heal him that made him keep shouting, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!”. Despite the discouragement he got from the people around he was not going to allow this opportunity to be healed pass him by. His persistence paid off – He got the Master’s attention and the healing he desired.

Beloved in Christ, what is your attitude to seeking God? What is your attitude to prayer? Our Lord is ever faithful. He is close to those who seek Him sincerely and perseveringly. Continue to seek God until He reveals himself to you. Do not give in to discouragement. He will definitely consider your request and bless you beyond your imagination. Let us apply this same attitude of perseverance in our day to day activities – at work, at school etc. Persist in speaking the truth, persist in doing what is right and you will be happy in the end.

PRAYER: Jesus, son of David! Have mercy on me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 515 Where do we get the confidence to call God “Father”?

We can be so bold as to address God as Father because Jesus has called us to a close relationship with himself and made us children of God. In communion with him, “who is in the bosom of the Father” (Jn 1:18), we are privileged to cry, “Abba, Father!”

HIDE A TREASURE: “He takes notice of our every thought and hears our every word.” Sirach 42:20 GNB

Today’s Readings: Sirach 42:15-26; Psalm 33:2-9; Mark 10:46-52

EYES THAT SEE

Sunday 8th March – 3rd Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Psalm 19:8-11

EYES THAT SEE

“Three Blind Mice” was the title of a popular song we sang as children. As we sang it we could picture the mice as they walked aimlessly in our young minds. Blindness is indeed a terrible thing. What if I suggest that you play a little trick on yourself by choosing to shut your eyes for a whole day without opening them even when moving about within your house? “That sounds very weird!” you would say. So is the predicament of being blind. God has given us eyes for a purpose – for seeing.

This principle applies even more to the spiritual life. We are given spiritual eyes to see but unfortunately many of us do not see. The major reason why many young people live in disobedience is because they are spiritually blind. Every time we walk in disobedience, many things go wrong in the spirit realm, God is not happy and so are His angels. The devil and his demons are happy and sometimes one’s destiny is even thwarted.

To recover our spiritual sight beloved, we must consider the ancient antidote which the Psalmist gives to us today, and this is the “Living Word of God” (Ps 19:8). This is the cure to spiritual blindness. We must go beyond just reading and memorizing Scripture. We must take time to meditate on it each day, for as we do, God opens our spiritual eyes and we see life much more clearly. When you meditate on God’s Word day and night, it not only causes you to see, but also to succeed in all that you do (Josh 1:8).

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for Your Word is a light to my path. Please help me to seek direction in your word each day. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 748: “The Church has no other light than Christ’s; according to a favourite image of the Church Fathers, the Church is like the moon, all its light reflected from the sun.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Psalm 19: 8 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 20:1-17; Ps 19:8-11; 1Cor 1:22-25; John 2:13-25