CEASE THROWING STONES

Monday 3rd April – Monday of the 5th week of Lent

Reflection: John 8:1-11

CEASE THROWING STONES

Something in is repulsed at the sight of injustice, dishonesty or maltreatment. We are often taken aback when we see the atrocities committed by people around us. This is rightfully so because the law of good and bad is written on our consciences as human beings. Yet, isn’t it surprising that we excuse our own selves for the same atrocious acts we condemn in others?

The woman in today’s gospel reading was certainly guilty of the accusation brought against her for which the Pharisees and scribes had condemned her to death. Jesus saw the whole episode from a different perspective…the perspective that realizes the struggles with sin we all experience and offers a second chance at holiness. It is this through same perspective Christ sees you and me and calls us to see our brothers and sisters.

Beloved, Lent is a time to celebrate God’s mercy and deep love for us. The love that makes him offer us a chance repeatedly…the love that makes Him say to us “Go away, and do not sin anymore.” Even more so, Lent is a time to stop throwing stones of condemnation and judgement of our brothers and sisters, bearing in mind that we all are sinners in need of redemption. Let us come to our Lord in the sacrament of reconciliation and seek His mercy as we approach the celebration of his passion,

Prayer: Thank you dear Lord for your mercy. Please help me to see others as you see them. Deliver me from urge to pass judgement on others. Amen.

Faith Pearls: CCC 1430 – Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.

Hide a Treasure: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Dan 13:41-62; Ps 23:1-6; Jn 8: 1-11

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EMBRACE GOD’S MERCY

Tuesday 23rd February – Tuesday of the 2nd week of Lent

Reflection: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20

EMBRACE GOD’S MERCY

One of the gifts of new life given to us is the gift of reconciliation. God calls us to Himself always out of love to reconcile us with Him. This beautiful and reassuring truth is at the heart of this holy Season as we are called to repentance and is central to the Jubilee year of mercy as we celebrate the mercy of God the Father who doesn’t want any of His children to be lost. It is in this light God tells us in today’s first reading “come now, let us reason together, if your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

God calls you and I to examine our lives: are their elements of hypocrisy in us? Are there certain attitudes, habits or conversations we engage in that do not bring honour to God? He reminds us today of his ever open arms but also of the terrible prospect of judgement on those who fail to repent. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Dear friend, no matter how far you may have strayed, our loving Father is ever ready to welcome you home. Simply call out to Him.

PRAYER: Merciful father, have mercy on me and draw me nearer to you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 367 – To whom does the Fourth Commandment refer, and what does it require of us?

The Fourth Commandment refers in the first place to one’s physical parents, but also to the people to whom we owe our life, our well-being, our security, and our faith.

What we owe in the first place to our parents—namely love, gratitude, and respect—should also govern our relations to people who guide us and are there for us. There are many people who represent for us a God-given, natural, and good authority: foster or step-parents, older relatives and ancestors, educators, teachers, employers, superiors. In the spirit of the Fourth Commandment we should do them justice. In the broadest sense, this commandment applies even to our duties as citizens to the State.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land” Isaiah 1:19 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Psalm 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 &23; Matthew 23: 1-12

MAKING A CHOICE FOR HEAVEN

Monday 31st August – Monday of week 22 of the year

Reflection: 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18

MAKING A CHOICE FOR HEAVEN

“It is appointed for men to die once and after that comes judgment (Heb 9:27). And this judgment, based on our lives here on earth will determine what eternity will be for us -Heaven or Hell. Each time we hear about Hell, our natural response is to reject it: “God forbid!” we would say. This is a good response of course, yet, the choice of Heaven lies in our very hands. Jesus’ country men in today’s gospel reading lost the transformation Jesus’ visit was to bring because they rejected him out of familiarity “Is he not the son of Joseph the carpenter?”

Israel was God’s chosen people. They had the laws and the prophets and it was through them that God planned to save mankind but all these good things slipped off their hands to the advantage of the gentiles, because the Jews failed to recognize and accept the Messiah. Little wonder Jesus told the Pharisees: “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” (Mt 21: 43).
How about us? We have the privilege of being Catholic Christians. Are we going to embrace this gift? Beloved, how terrible it will be, if after professing Jesus Christ, we hear the words: “I never knew you (Mt 7:21); “away from me, you that are under God’s curse! Away to the fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt 25:41). Indeed, God forbid it! We can only forbid this by living in obedience to God each day. When we do, then like St Paul tells us in the first reading, we will realize that death is simply a passage from this world to blessed union with our eternal Father (1Thess 4:14).

PRAYER: Eternal Father, give us your grace to serve you wholly, so that at the end of our sojourn here on earth, we may inherit your kingdom where you live forever. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH:  YOUCAT 157Will we be brought to judgment after death?

The so-called particular or personal judgment occurs at the moment of death of the individual. The general judgment, which is also called the Last Judgment, occurs on the Last Day, at the end of the world, when the Lord comes again.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The quality of each person’s work will be seen when the day of Christ exposes it. For on that day, fire will reveal everyone’s work; the fire will test it and show its real quality” 1 Corinthians 3:13 GNB

Today’s Readings: 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; Psalm 96: 1, 3-5, 11-13; Luke 4: 16-30

EN ROUTE OUR HOMELAND

Tuesday 28th July – Tuesday of week 17 of the year

EN ROUTE OUR HOMELAND

Matthew 13: 36-43

Each time we hear of the death of someone we know, we are stunned; taken aback by the reality that such person’s existence in this world has come to an end. Yet, the truth is that every one of us is on a journey through life and our loved ones who have died have simply completed their track before us.

As Jesus explains the parable of the wheat and darnel in today’s gospel reading, He reminds us that this world is not our home. We are sojourners en route our heavenly homeland. This reminder calls us not to allow ourselves become so comfortable that we forget the temporal nature of our worldly existence. Just as the sower allowed the wheat he had planted and the darnel planted by the evil one to grow together till the harvest, so do we all live side by side, good and evil people alike.

The word “holy” means “to be set apart”. As Christians, we are a people set apart from the world around us to live by the standards of God’s kingdom. By whose standards are you living? In the words of the Credo we profess that “we look forward to the resurrection of the dead and life of the world to come”. Let us truly look forward to our own end by opening ourselves to the grace Christ showers on us in prayers and in the sacraments so that we can “shine like the sun in His kingdom” at the end of our earthly sojourn.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have called me to live for you in the midst of a corrupt world. Please strengthen me by your grace that I may not lose sight of my call. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 154 What happens to us when we die?

In death body and soul are separated. The body decays, while the soul goes to meet God and waits to be reunited with its risen body on the Last Day.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 33: 7-11, 34: 5-9, 28; Psalm 103: 6-13; Mt 13: 36-43

JESUS IS ON THE STREETS!

Monday 10th March – Monday of the 1st week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 25: 31-46

JESUS IS ON THE STREETS!

One of the things that scare many of us greatly is the prospect of death and judgment. Each time we think of it, we are shaken to our bones as we imagine having to stand before God and give an account of our lives. Today’s reading gives us the only picture of judgment given by Christ in all the gospels. And to our surprise, it is not based on very “big” acts of piety or perfection. Rather it is based on the “little” acts of love we extend to others.

Jesus has given us a new commandment – love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34). While in the old covenant, God’s people were instructed to love others as their own selves, Jesus gives us a much higher calling: Love as I have loved you. And how did He love us? By laying down his life for us, hence calling us to lay down our lives for our brethren (1 John 3:16). As baptized Catholics, we are partakers of the new covenant in Christ Jesus and our identity is that of love; “By this all men will know that you are my disciples…” John 13:35.

Dear friends, in the midst of our increasingly secular and individualistic world, Jesus tell us to look around and see Him on the streets around us: in the poor, lonely, blind, homeless, sick, prisoners etc. He says to us in the Stations of the Cross: “seek me not in faraway places. I am very close to you. Your home, your working place, on the streets, the markets, at the playgrounds, these are altars where you offer love and I am there with you”. Let us look up to Him and ask for the grace to love especially during this season of self denial.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You have loved me so much. Please rid me of selfishness; help me to look out for those in need around me and extend your love to them. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 449- What significance do the poor have for Christians?

Love for the poor must be in every age the distinguishing mark of Christians. The poor deserve not just a few alms; they have a claim to justice. For Christians there is a special obligation to share their goods. Our example in love for the poor is Christ.

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

Readings for today: Leviticus 19: 1-2; 11-18; Psalm 19: 8-10, 15; Matthew 25: 31-46