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

WHAT DO YOU DO: PRAY OR COMPLAIN?

Wednesday 5th August- Wednesday of week 18 of the year

WHAT DO YOU DO: PRAY OR COMPLAIN?

Numbers 13:1-2, 25 -14:1, 26-35

Moses sent some men on a reconnaissance mission to the land of Canaan as ordered by God. Some of these men gave an exaggerated report of the people in Canaan thus instilling fear into the people of Isreal. The Israelites allowed their fears to subdue their knowledge of the power of God who was with them. They forgot all the wonderful deeds of God, how mightily He led them out of slavery in Egypt; how He parted the red sea; how He rained down manna from heaven and protected them in the deserts.They complained all the way about an unseemingly insurmountable obstacle and aroused God’s anger and judgement.

Dear friend in Christ, ask yourself today, what do I really do when things are not favourable for me? Do I just sit back and complain about the bad situations of my life, family, academics, work, relationships or nation? Or do I humbly tell God about my fears and troubles? Do I realize that the same God who has brought me this far, can help me and safely take me home? Do I have faith in God to see me through all my challenges and troubles of mind? Let us then be like the Canaanite woman in today’s gospel reading who with great faith called on Jesus for help (Mt 15:21-28). When things do not go as we expect it, do not complain to God instead tell him the situation. When we complain, we imply that our God cannot save us and this can led to punishment from God. When what is ahead scares us, talk to God about it and let go of fear and let faith take over.

Prayer: Lord, increase my faith in you and give me the grace to trust you even in the midst of adversity. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT510 – Is it possible to pray always?

Prayer is always possible. Prayer is vitally necessary. Prayer and life cannot be separated.

You cannot keep God content with a few words in the morning or evening. Our life must become prayer, and our prayers must become life. Every Christian life story is also a story of prayer, one long attempt to achieve greater union with God. Because many Christians experience a heartfelt longing to be with God constantly, they turn to the so-called “Jesus prayer”… the person who prayers it tries to integrate a simple formula into his daily routine in such a way that it becomes a constant prayer.

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 GNB

Today’s Readings: Num 13:1-2, 25-14:1, 26-29, 34-35; Ps 106: 6-7.13-14, 21-23; Mt 15:21-28

WATCH YOUR WORDS!

Tuesday 4th August – Memorial of St. John Mary Vianney, Priest

WATCH YOUR WORDS!

Numbers 12:1-13

There are times when we get so carried away with the freedom we have to speak that our utterances become so impolite and rude especially when a higher authority is being addressed. Often times these comments are made regarding issues that are absolutely none of our business. We attempt to be judge over what others do, what they are to wear, who they are to talk to or not to talk to; just because the person has permitted us to speak our mind. Mariam and Aaron in today’s reading abused God’s benevolence and spoke ill of the servant of God, Moses who was the mouthpiece of God to the people of Isreal. They were concerned about the Ethiopian woman whom Moses married, rather than accepting that to be the will of God they chose to point fingers. Mariam was duely punished for this act of disrespect to God and his servant.

Are there times that we too, like Aaron and Miriam speak against our priests and other Church leaders? Dear friends, keep in mind that God does not tolerate any act of disrespect to him through his prophets. He calls us today to be cautious and mindful of the words we say to other people most especially his anointed ones, for the scripture says “it is not what goes into a person’s mouth that makes him ritually unclean; rather, what comes out of it makes him unclean.” (Mt 15:11). Let us then be slow to speak and swift to hear. Let us not take God’s benevolence for granted. Whenever we are not clear about any issue, let’s not speak in ignorance rather we should seek better understanding.

PRAYER: Let the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight oh lord. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2479 – Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honour of one’s neighbor. Honour is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honour of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For it is not the man who commends himself that is accepted but the man whom the Lord commends.” 2 Corinthians 10:18 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: Num 12:1-13; Ps 51:3-7.12-13; Mt 15:1-2.10-14

PREPARED FOR A MISSION


Wednesday 15th July – Memorial of St Bonaventure, Bishop & Doctor

PREPARED FOR A MISSION

Exodus 3: 1-6, 9-12

None of us is here on earth by accident; we are all creatures of purpose (Jeremiah 1: 5; Isaiah 49:1). No matter the circumstances of our birth or difficulty surrounding our lives we can take consolation in the abiding truth that the Almighty God willed our being. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139: 13-16), created to show forth the praise of God on earth (1 Peter 2: 9). Despite the good purpose of God for us all, we however cannot fully attain this except we walk with Him in absolute dependence – this demands great humility, faith and obedience.

We can readily see the above play out in the life of Moses. Baby Moses had it rough, Pharaoh was after the life of Hebrew male babies born around His birth (Exodus 1: 15-22). His mother had to hide him for three months ( Exodus 2:1) before God in His amazing plan eventually had him to be raised by the daughter of the very Pharaoh who was after His life ( Exodus 2: 3-10). Having received the best education of his time (Act 7: 22) and raised on royal privileges, Moses considered himself fit and ready to liberate his people. In defence of a Hebrew, he murdered an Egyptian (Exodus 2: 11-15). This made him a fugitive for the next forty years (Acts 7: 23-30). Having lost His royal privileges, he had to live with and work for his father in-law. I consider this a pruning time for Moses during which God worked on him to refine him for his primary assignment in life. He was so pruned that the scripture later referred to him as the meekest man on earth (Number 12:3)!

Beloved in Christ, take a look at the heroes of our faith (Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, Elijah, Peter etc.), you see the trend of God working on each of them to refine them for his glorious use. Dear friend, what is the circumstance of your birth or background? Are you going through the pruning process and it appears God is cutting off you all forms of support other than Himself? Are there habits or character flaws God is correcting in you through the situations He has been taking you through lately? Let us fully yield ourselves to Him. Until we die to self, we cannot truly live for God (John 12: 24-26). He gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud (James 4:6).

PRAYER: Father, I acknowledge my nothingness without you. Please prune me; cut away from me all that you do not want in me. Help me to cooperate with your grace that I may live out your primary purpose for my life.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2847 – The Holy Spirit makes us discern between trials, which are necessary for the growth of the inner man, and temptation, which leads to sin and death. We must also discern between being tempted, and consenting to temptation.

HIDE A TREASURE: “My son, if you come forward to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for temptation” Sirach 2:1 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Exodus 3: 1-6, 9-12; Psalm 103:1-4, 6-7; Matthew 11:25-27

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE

Tuesday, 14th July- St. Camillus De Lellis, P. (Opt. Mem)

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE

Exodus 2:1-15

Do you truly believe that God has a plan for your life? Indeed He does and his plans are perfect for you. Look, the bible says in Jeremiah 1:5 “I chose you before I gave you life, and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet”. The same goes to the life of Moses in today’s reading. The Lord chose him for a special purpose even before he was born, no wonder he was protected from death despite the decree that all male Israelites born at that time in Egypt be thrown into the Nile.

It is the same purpose that God has for each and every one called by His holy name that despite the evils in the world, the children of God shall always triumph though the journey may be tough. Whatever God says over our lives will surely come to pass, however, consider a little part of Moses’ journey of life as we read today; have you seen that the journey was neither pleasant nor easy but notwithstanding Moses stood on the Lord side.

The same goes to us young Christians. In our journey of faith things may not be easy just like they were for Moses but let us believe that as long as we are on the Lord’s side we shall definitely triumph because the Lord knows us personally and we shall not be swept away by the storms of life.

PRAYER: Father Lord, I hold on to you in good and odd times, shield me at all times and let your will be established in my life. Amen.

Hide a treasure: “Save me from sinking in the mud; keep me safe from my enemies, safe from the deep water.” Psalm 69:14 GNB

Today’s Readings: Exodus 2:1-15; Psalm 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34; Matthew 11:20-24

MAKE A FIERY SERPENT

Tuesday 24th March – Tuesday of the 5th week of Lent

Reflection: Numbers 21: 4-9

MAKE A FIERY SERPENT

Catholics are often accused of disobeying God’s commandment: “You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness of anything …you shall not bow to them or serve them…” (Ex 20:4-5). Was God’s simply prohibiting the carving of images used in worship? Why did He ask Moses to make a bronze serpent for the Israelites to look up to for healing in today’s reading and to build the Ark of the Covenant and the Cherubim over the mercy seat? He not only gave the instruction but the very details of how these images used in worship should be made (Exodus 25: 1-22)! Was God confused or contradicting Himself? Certainly not!

God’s commandment was not a prohibition of images used in worship. Rather, it is a prohibition of idolatry. Just as the bronze serpent and the Ark of the Covenant were not to be worshipped but were symbols to arouse faith in the Israelites so are the images such as the crucifix, the statues of our Blessed Mother and the Saints etc. that we have in our Churches. These images are not to be worshipped but serve to arouse faith in God as we put our minds on whom or what they symbolize. You and I would never be able to imagine and appreciate Christ’s crucifixion had we not seen images of the crucifix.

Beloved, let the images you see truly stir faith in you. Let the crucifix increase your love and commitment to Christ who suffered for you; let our Blessed Mother’s statue remind you to always say “yes” to God and “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5); let the statues of the Saints remind you of your own call to holiness. As you do this do not be afraid to explain and defend your beautiful faith in love and gentility.

PRAYER: Lord I thank you for the gift of my faith; please help me to draw close to you through the symbols and images I find around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2132 – The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, “the honour rendered to an image passes to its prototype” and “whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.” The honour paid to sacred images is a “respectful veneration,” not the adoration due to God alone.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Numbers 21: 4-9; Psalm 102: 2-3, 16-21; John 8: 21-30