JOURNEYING THOUGH THE WILDERNESS

Tuesday 4th April – Tuesday of the 5th week of Lent

Reflection: Numbers 21:4-9

JOURNEYING THOUGH THE WILDERNESS

When I was growing up, my parents often told us stories about their childhood and how some of the things we see as necessities where great luxuries for them. One of the stories I found outrageous was the fact that they had to eat virtually the same meal three times a day on most days. I can’t imagine how monotonous and boring meal times would have been for them. But this feeling recalls the complaints of the Israelites in today first reading. They had been on the journey to the promised land for so long and they lost patience. They had become bored with the monotony of their lives and food – manna.

Dear friends, we all at some points in our lives can pass through a wilderness experience like the Israelites – a time when life seems tough and tiring with nothing interesting to look forward to. Times when basic needs become unattainable luxuries and we are tempted to lose patience with God. Let us pause for a while at these difficult moments and seek consolation and strength in God’s wonderful works in our lives and in His promises to us.

Wilderness experiences ultimately test our allegiance to God. Are we going to trust Him only in plenty or are we going to hold on to Him as He leads us through this fallen world full of suffering to eternal happiness with Him? Let us look up to the cross of Christ and find healing, strength and the grace to be patient on our journey of faith.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, through the difficult moments of life, help me to trust that you are right beside me and you have a purpose for me. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 102 – Why 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).

Hide a Treasure: “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” 2 Corinthians 4:17

Today’s Readings: Num 21:4-9; Ps 102:2-3,16-21; Jn 8:21-30

EMBRACE HUMILIITY

Saturday 31st October – Saturday of week 30 of the year

Reflection: Luke 4:1, 7-11

EMBRACE HUMILIITY

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk 14:11

In an era in which we are often preoccupied with concerns about how others see us, we can find ourselves going out of our way to make an impression on people around us and in the bid to do this, we are often caught up with the vice of pride. Yet, Jesus’ warning stands clear: “whoever exalts himself will be humbled.”

Though Jesus used the example of taking places at a feast to illustrate the lesson on humility, this lesson applies to all aspects of our lives. Do our words, actions and attitudes portray humility? Are we willing to listen patiently to others as they air opinions which may be contrary to ours? Are we open to correction and criticism or are we in a haste to defend ourselves against critics? Do we respect other people and uphold their human dignity even if they may be at a lower societal class than ourselves?

St Paul admonishes us in his letter to the Philippians: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit but in humility count others better than yourselves” (Phil 2:3). God praised Moses for his humility and was quick to defend him when Miriam and Aaron spoke against him (Num12: 3-8). He seeks that same humility from us. Remember, the man who humbles himself will be exalted

PRAYER: Lord, please forgive me for the times I have acted in pride. help me to be humble before you and before men in all my dealings. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 61 In what does the equality of all men consist?

All men are equal inasmuch as they have the same origin in the one creative love of God. All men have their Saviour in Jesus Christ. All men are destined to find their happiness and their eternal blessedness in God.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Romans 11:1-2, 11-12, 25-29; Ps 94: 12-18; Luke 14: 1, 7-11

HIS WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS

Tuesday 6th October – Tuesday of week 27 of the year

Reflection: Psalm 130: 1-8

HIS WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS

The way of God is far different and more perfect than ours. It is His desire and will to constantly draw us closer to him but due to our sinful self we separate ourselves from him who is our creator. Today’s readings emphasize how much different our ways are from God’s. God gave the people of Nineveh a second chance to amend their ways, contrary to what Jonah and probably many of us would think. Likewise, in the gospel reading, Martha wanted to satisfy Jesus so badly and was surprised that though she complained against her sister, Jesus commended Mary.

Dear friends, we often find ourselves in Jonah or Martha’s shoes at one time or the other. We work very hard to do what we know is right and consciously or unconsciously, despise those who do not work in our direction. Yet, God shows us that even those whom we despise are dear to Him and all judgment should be left to Him. He reminds us that human wisdom is foolishness before Him. Indeed, you are what you are only by God’s grace because as the psalmist tells us, if God were to mark our guilt none of us will stand.

God calls you and I to extend the same love, patience and mercy He constantly shows us to others. He also calls us to ask His direction as we chart our ways through life, bearing in mind that only in Him is true wisdom found. Let us free our minds from unnecessary worries and stay at Jesus’ feet, listening to him at all times. Has sin scared you away from God’s pesence? Are you at a crossroad or lost in the valley of indecision? Come to Jesus today, trusting him to have mercy on you and reach out to you for ‘his ways are not our ways’. Take joy in His word, live it out daily and you will find His peace.

PRAYER: Dear lord, help me to take solace in your word at all times, that my faith and trust may be deepened and i may realise that your ways are not same as mine.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1874– “God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us.” To receive his mercy, we must admit our faults. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “If you kept a record of our sins, who could escape being condemned? But you forgive us, so that we should stand in awe of you.” Psalm 130: 3-4 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jonah 3:1-10; Psalm 130: 1-4, 7-8; Luke 10: 38-42

WAITING ON THE LORD

Thursday 25th June – Thursday of week 12 of the year

Reflection: Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16

WAITING ON THE LORD

“To wait on the Lord, is not as important as what we do while waiting.” God made a covenant with our father Abraham to give him an heir of his own (Gen 15:4-5). After ten years in the Promised Land, Sarah thought of a way out and she gave out her servant Hagar as a concubine to Abraham. However, God’s plan of an heir for Abraham was to be fulfilled through Sarah. The result of their impatience was more trouble to contend with. Dear friends in Christ, we are not oblivious of God’s promises for us, nor are we ignorant of His good plans in store for us, however, we often lose patience while waiting.

Patience is not passivity, but a strong endurance in the face of seeming defeat and disappointment; it is a refusal to be crushed by the blow of circumstances. “He who believes, does not hasten,” and “In our patience, we must learn to possess our souls.” Possession of soul describes the state in which a person has full command and undisturbed enjoyment of himself in opposition to outside influences, which disturb and decompose his peace of mind.

The Angel of the Lord told Hagar, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” This is the word of the Lord for so many that suffer injustice, not because tyranny is just but because we too, need to be freed from our arrogance. It is true that we are worth more than what society offers us, but if, through our circumstances, the Lord humiliates us, let us trust Him, knowing that such humiliation will prepare us for a greater mission. Patience in the face of injustice is not a sign of weakness. Every man has a soul to save, but this cannot be done without steadfast loyalty to the highest and the best. Patience then, is a submissive waiting. In the words of St. Theresa of Avila, “Patience attains all that it strives for.” Dear friends, let those who trust in God, wait on Him and possess their souls while waiting.

PRAYER: Lord, please grant me the virtue of patience and the grace to be obedient and to trust you wholeheartedly. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 311What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit?

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (cf. Gal 5:22-23). In the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the world can see what becomes of people who let themselves be adopted, led, and completely formed by God. The fruits of the Holy Spirit show that God really plays a role in the life of Christians

HIDE A TREASURE: “Since this is a vision for an appointed time; it will not fail but will be fulfilled in due time. If it delays, wait for it, for it will come and not be deferred.” Habakkuk 2:3 CCB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16, Psalm 106:1-5, Matthew 7:21-29

GOD KNOWS THE BEST FOR YOU

Thursday 12th February – Thursday of week 5 of the year

Reflection: Genesis 2:18 – 25

GOD KNOWS THE BEST FOR YOU

There are times when we try to handle our life affairs ourselves. At such times, many questions spring up in our minds: ‘God, where are you?’, ‘When will my own time come?’ or ‘When will you answer me?’. Such questions are the natural results of frustration. Nevertheless beloved, God is ever faithful. He is fully in charge of all the affairs of our lives.
Adam was the first man created by God and even without asking, God knew that he needed a suitable companion – a role that could not be played by any of the animals God had created. Hence God made a ‘woman’ out of Adam’s rib, thus providing for him a suitable companion. Little wonder Adam exclaimed: ‘At last, this is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh…’ his joy knew no bounds! God’s provision was indeed the best for him.

Dear friend, God reminds you today that He knows what is best for you. He created you, gave you life and a destiny to fulfill, so He knows how best to handle every issue in your life. Will you release your life, your aspirations and your destiny to Him today? Don’t try to plan your life on your own; go to God in prayer because He has the master-plan of your life. He will lead you in the right path. You may have asked for so many things and feel that God is delaying… no, God is not delaying; He is only preparing the best for you. Trust and obey! 

PRAYER: Dear Lord, fill me with joyful hope as I await the fulfillment of your promises in my life. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 154: “Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths He has revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord” Psalm 31:24 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Genesis 2:18-25; Psalm 128:1-5; Mark 7:24-30

TINY DROPS OF WATER

Friday 30th January – 3rd Sunday of the year

Reflection: Mark 4: 26-32

TINY DROPS OF WATER

You are most likely familiar with the saying “tiny drops of water make an ocean”. This indeed is a true saying. There is nothing big today that did not begin small, and there is no significant achievement of man today that was not insignificant yesterday. This is just a fact of life. Think of a pregnant woman, at the early stage of the pregnancy, people would rarely notice that she is pregnant until after a while then the belly would grow bigger and bigger until delivery. This is just how it is with spiritual matters, as well as other aspects of our existence.

We should not forget our days of little beginnings. (Job.8:7) In other words, when you begin a good project, you are likely to encounter some challenges at the beginning, but with persistence you will overcome. In the Kingdom of God, the same rule applies; we sow seeds of righteousness, love and peace everywhere we go and in everyone that we come in contact with. As we do this, though insignificant, you shall surely reap the fruit on the long run. So let us brace ourselves today, and check the kind of seeds we are sowing with our lives on a daily basis. Are you sowing seeds of bitterness or joy, hatred or love, disunity or unity? We can ask God today to empower us to sow the right seed always.

Now, where do you get this seed from, or what is the seed? The Bible says, “the seed is the word”. (Mark 4:14). Hence it is the Word of God which you allow to permeate your heart that will produce good fruits, but if you allow Satan to sow his own words, you will definitely produce bad fruits.  Let us remember that the fruits we bear show who we are glorifying, either God or the devil. May our lives ever glorify God. Amen.

PRAYER: Lord, please fill me with courage to press on to the purpose of my existence today. Help me to sow fruits of righteousness wherever I find myself. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1808: “Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life.”

HIDE A TREASURE:  “You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what He promises.” Hebrews 10:36 GNB

Readings for Today: Hebrews 10: 32-39; Psalm 37: 3-6, 23-24, 39-40; Mark.4:26-34

PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE

Sunday 17th August – 20th Sunday of the year

Reflection: Matthew 15:21-28

PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE

In our Christian journey, we often need just a little patience and persistence in prayers for us to get what we need from God but we lose courage so easily, resorting to fate and believing that God does not want to answer our prayers.

The Canaanite woman in her encounter with Jesus today is a model for us to understand that God has listening ears for everybody irrespective of our weaknesses or strength. The Canaanite woman waited upon the Lord, she called unto Jesus until she received answers to her prayers. She was not discouraged by our Lord’s initial unfavourable answer. Persistence in prayers is an expression of great faith in God knowing that he alone can truly meet our needs. Behold, despite her unworthiness, her daughter was healed!

Beloved, when we seek God in prayers, let us not become discouraged by His seeming delays in granting our request(s). Let us not lose hope or become resentful, as God delays are never His denial. He knows the best time to attend to our situation. So, we must keep hope alive and continually petition Him until we have answers to our prayers (Isaiah 62: 6-7).

PRAYER: Almighty father, please give me the grace to be patient and persistent when I call upon you in time(s) of need. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 66Was it part of God’s plan for men to suffer and die?

God does not want men to suffer and die. God’s original idea for man was paradise: life forever and peace between God and man and their environment, between man and woman.

… Because sin crept in, Adam and Eve had to leave paradise, in which they were in harmony with each other and with God. The toil of work, suffering, mortality, and the temptation to sin are signs of this loss of paradise.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I cling to your testimonies, O Lord; let me not be put to shame!” Psalms 119: 31 RSV-CE

 Readings for today: Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; Psalm 67: 2-8; Romans 11:13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28