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

Advertisements

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

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

A GENEROUS HEART

Monday 13th March – Monday of the 2nd week of lent

Reflection: Luke 6:36-38

A GENEROUS HEART

“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be measure you get back” Luke 6:38

It is often said that givers never lack and the hand that gives is always on top. A generous heart is not only reflected in extending hands of generosity to the needy, poor or less-privileged; but also in the readiness to pray for others. When we see our brethren living below the expectation of their call as Christians, we should not criticize or point accusing fingers at them. Such moments give us the opportunity to be generous with our kind words and prayers. We should be ready to encourage those who are discouraged or spiritually weak, especially by praying for them and for the conversion of sinners.

Our generosity attracts God’s blessing when it is done, not out of compulsion, but with a willing and loving heart (2 Cor 9:6-8). He who gives sparingly will receive sparingly and he who gives bountifully will receive bountifully. It is the measure we give that we will receive. For God loves a cheerful giver. As we choose to pray for others rather than criticizing them, God will raise people to pray for us too. Let your preoccupation this season of Lent be to pray, fast and to give alms; and may God accept your offering of love.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I thank you for giving me your very self through your death on the cross and in the Eucharist. Please grant me a generous heart so I can be like you. Amen.

Faith Pearls: 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: “You should each give, then as you have decided, not with regret or out of a sense of duty, for God loves the one who gives gladly” 2 Corinthians 9:7 GNB

Today’s Readings: Daniel 9:4-10; Psalm 79: 8-13; Luke 6:36-38

MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER

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

Reflection: Psalm 130: 1-8

MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER

This was the theme for the celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in the Church all over the world in 2015/2016. As the church called each one of us to embrace God’s mercy and reconcile with Him, it equally called us to be like our Father in extending mercy and forgiveness to others.

The response to today’s psalm: “If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt, Lord, who would survive?” reminds us that we live by God’s mercy and grace. None of us can truly boast before Him. We make a covenant with Him in Baptism and despite His faithfulness we stumble repeatedly and very often, fall so badly. Yet He does not mark our guilt. Do we have a right to mark the guilt of others then?

When we hear Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant who had his fellow servant thrown in prison because of a debt despite being forgiven a much bigger sum by their master, we may be quick to see how wicked that servant was. Before we criticize him too much, let us look at the mirror of our hearts and recognize all those who guilt we are “marking.” Lent offers us a time to seek mercy and to extend it to others. Let us not let this opportune moment pass us by.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your mercy; please help me to extend your love and forgiveness to others. Amen.

Faith Pearls: 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.

Hide a Treasure: “If you O Lord should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?” Psalm 130:3 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Ezekiel 18:21-28; Ps 130: 1-8; Mt 5:20-26

TAKING ADVANTAGE

Monday 6th March – Monday of the 1st week of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 25:31-46

TAKING ADVANTAGE

As we take up the challenge to grow in holiness, Christ reminds us in today’s gospel reading that our piety should not be unidirectional – directed only to God. Our piety instead should be directed both to God in prayer and to our neighbor in showing love.

Today’s first reading runs through a list of “thou shall nots” which God gave to Moses for the Israelites. God warned his chosen people against taking advantage of the less privileged in their midst: the blind, the dumb, laborers who depended on them for their wages etc. They were to desist from the temptation of taking advantage of those at their mercy. What is more? Christ shows that our call doesn’t simply stop at that. Our Christian call invites us to take a step further. While we should not take advantage of the less privileged, we must take advantage of the opportunity their presence in our midst offers us – the opportunity to give, to love, to reach out, to provide.

We are called to recognize Christ, present in the hungry, the sick, the homeless, the stranger and prisoner and even those closest to us who need our help or attention in any way. The call to almsgiving during Lent offers you and I a reminder to be more conscious of practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. As you step out today, seek the opportunities God offers you to extend a helping hand and be sure to take good advantage of them to deepen your love for God and for your neighbor.

Prayer: Lord, please take away the selfishness in me that makes me shrink from extending my hands to those in need. Fill my heart with love and mercy this season of grace. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 450 – What are the “corporal works of mercy”? To feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and the imprisoned, and bury the dead.

451 What are the “spiritual works of mercy”? The spiritual works of mercy are: to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, admonish the sinner, bear wrongs patiently, forgive all injuries, and pray for the living and the dead.

 Hide a Treasure: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Lev 19:1-2, 11-18; Psalm 19:8-10, 15; Mt 25: 31-46

SHARING GOD’S MERCY

Friday 4th March – Friday of the 3rd week of Lent

Reflection: Hosea 14: 2-10

SHARING GOD’S MERCY

Do you allow yourself to be hurt over and over by the same person? Do you trust the same person who has constantly hurt you? Do you find it easy to forgive people who have hurt you? It is only natural for our human mind to shield itself from emotional traumas most especially after recovering from one. However, God unlike we humans does not do this, irrespective of the number of times we consciously and unconsciously walk away from His presence. He is ever ready to forgive us due to the unconditional and unlimited love he has for us. It takes true love to be ready to draw nearer to God and likewise our neighbour through forgiveness.

Dear friends, it is of paramount importance that we show love to others by constantly forgiving them, for God does the same for us whenever we stray away from Him. Whenever we pray our Lord’s Prayer, we ask God to forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12). Since we are all created in God’s image and likeness, we should be willing and ready extend the same mercy He show us to others. To love your neighbour as yourself thus requires that you show love to your neighbour through forgiveness. Forgiveness is truly “love in action”.

PRAYER: Merciful Father, fill my heart with love so I can forgive others as you forgive me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 227Who instituted the sacrament of penance?

Jesus himself instituted the Sacrament of Penance when he showed himself to his apostles on Easter day and he commanded them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; If you retain the sins of any, they are retained”. Jesus forgave sins in the power of the Holy Spirit, and he handed that power on to his apostles. We fall into the arms of our heavenly Father when we go to a Priest and confess.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will be merciful to them!” Matthew 5:7 GNB

Today’s Readings: Hosea 4: 2-10; Psalm 81: 6-11,14,17; Mark 12: 28-34