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

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WITNESSING IN TRUTH

Thursday 27th March – Thursday of the 3rd Week of Lent.

Reflection: Luke 11:14-23

WITNESSING IN TRUTH

As we progress through this season of repentance, there is a need to be watchful and prayerful especially with the way we handle the celebration of our faith and the way we portray Christ. To live for Christ is indeed a life of sacrifice and constant determination to fight temptations and overcome them. Withdrawing from this fact and shying away from our identity is unacceptable to God. The scripture says that we should rejoice in our trials. (Matthew 5:11-12).

Jesus Christ in our reading today was accused of a false power. What audacity they had to address Jesus that way! You and I should expect even greater accusations. This must therefore make us to examine our lives and cut ourselves away from any connection which we might have with the devil. No one can serve two masters; one must take precedence over the other. Let us therefore give full attention to the teachings of our faith in and outside the church so that we can be credible in our witness for Christ.

A life of hypocrisy is like a flicking lamp that goes on and off. Better the lamp be put off than to continue malfunctioning. If we are in Christ, the old life is gone and we should live in newness of life (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ bought us for a price; so let us walk in the Spirit if we live by the Spirit.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, deliver me from every evil attachment and fill me with your Spirit. Set my feet on your solid rock that I might remain in your love always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 453 – What does our relationship to the truth have to do with God?

Living in respect for the truth means not only being true to oneself. More precisely it means being truthful, being true to God, for he is the source of all truth. We find the truth about God and about all of reality quite directly in Jesus, who is “the way, and the truth, and the life”.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ” Ephesians 4:15 GNB

Readings for today: Jeremiah 7:23-28; Psalm 95:1-2.6-9; Luke 11:14-23

THE NEW LIFE

Tuesday 4th March – Tuesday of week 8 of the year

Reflection: 1 Peter 1:10-16

THE NEW LIFE

“Like obedient children, do not return to your former life given over to ignorance and passions” (1 Peter1:14). The New Life in the light of Christian faith is the participation in the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ right here on earth through the action of the Holy Spirit. Through our baptism, we all have been plunged into the death of Christ, and as Christ was raised from among the dead by the glory of the Father, so we begin walking in a new life (Romans 6:4). The Life referred to here is the Life with God (Romans 6:10). Thus, any way of life that is inconsistent with the life of God is not expected of us as partakers of the New Life of Christ.

In this New Life, we no longer live for ourselves but for Christ, because in our baptism we have offered our old life to be crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). In His resurrection, we share the Life of Christ Himself, the very life of God. Dear Friends, our New Life in Christ calls us to reject sin and satan and all his empty promises, and to draw close to God that He may draw close to us (James 4:7-8). In the New Life, Christ is calling us to let our lights shine before men by our words and actions that they may give Glory to God; He calls us to avoid occasions of sin not only because of punishment attached, but out of genuine love for God, our new found friend.

In the New Life, Christ is calling us to go out and preach the Good News to the whole world, to be the Living Bible others read to know God. To walk in this New Life we need the grace of God, and through prayers and participation in the Eucharist, we will receive the required grace in abundance. The grace to walk and live in the New Life is always available to you if you desire it, hope for it, and pray for it. Remember, it is a journey, so when you fall, call on God and He will help you to rise and continue.

PRAYER: Lord, please give me the grace to offer myself as a living sacrifice to you daily. Amen.

 KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1277 – Baptism is birth into the new life of Christ. In accordance with the Lord’s will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the church herself, which we enter by baptism.

 HIDE A TREASURE: “But now that you have known God- or rather that he has known you – how can you turn back to weak and impoverished created things? Do you want to be enslaved again?” Galatians 4:9 CCB

Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 1:10-16; Psalm 98: 1-4, Mark 10:28-31

ARE YOU BORN AGAIN?

Sunday, 12th January – Feast Of the Baptism of the Lord

Reflection: Matthew 3: 13-17

ARE YOU BORN AGAIN?

This is a question you and I must have encountered sometime in our lives. It is not unusual for us to meet with individuals who are ready to share their faith with us and begin with the question: Are you born again? However, as common as this question is, it is one that most Catholics avoid because they are not sure of the answer to give.

 What does it really mean to be “born again”? The phrase “born again” was used by Christ as He spoke with Nicodemus, the Pharisee who came to Him by night (John 3:3). Christ did not leave us in the dark as to the meaning of this expression. At the request of Nicodemus, Jesus explained further: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). Hence, contrary to what is commonly preached by those who put this question to you, being born again is not limited to accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour. It goes a step further to mean being baptized.

Baptism is the rebirth by water and the Holy Spirit which Christ talks about and which is manifest in the gospel reading of today as we see the Holy Spirit descending on Christ and hear the voice of God affirming Christ’s sonship at His baptism. Baptism is the sacrament that opens the way to the Christian life, cleansing us from original and actual sins and making us children of God and members of Christ’s body, the Church. Hence, if you have been baptized whether as an infant or adult, you have renounced the devil and professed your belief in God and the salvation He has won for you through His son, Jesus Christ and you are born again.

The challenge for you and I is to live in the new life of Christ. We must each day, renew our commitment to Christ, draw closer to Him in His word and in prayers and receive the strength from the Eucharist and the sacrament of confession so as to live the new life He has called us to live. (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for granting me new life in you at my baptism. Please give me the grace to allow this new life to take root in me and help me to nourish my faith so that my life will bear fruits of this rebirth. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 194 – What is Baptism?

Baptism is the way out of the kingdom of death into life, the gateway to the Church, and the beginning of a lasting communion with God.

…Baptism unites us with Jesus Christ, incorporates us into his redemptive death on the Cross, thereby freeing us from the power of Original Sin and all personal sins, and causes us to rise with him to a life without end. Since Baptism is a covenant with God, the individual must say Yes to it. In the baptism of children, the parents confess the Faith on behalf of the children.

 HIDE A TREASURE

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” 2Corinthians 5:17 RSV-CE

 Readings for today: Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29; Acts 10: 34-38; Matthew 3: 13-17