ARE YOU ASLEEP?

Sunday 9th April – Palm Sunday

Reflection: Matthew 26: 14- 27:66

ARE YOU ASLEEP?

The above question which our blessed Saviour asked Simon Peter in today’s gospel reading remains pertinent to us as individuals in our journey of faith. Perhaps we think we can wish away temptation(s) or sufficiently ward it off by human strength; the experience of Apostle Peter should help us to know better!

To effectively combat and overcome temptation, we need to stay awake – we need to be spiritually watchful and vigilant (1 Pet 2:8; Lk 22: 40, 46). Much as soldiers do not start preparation on the day of battle, we as Christians cannot afford to allow ourselves to be caught in the web of temptation before we start looking for a way out, otherwise we might find ourselves lacking in the needed strength to overcome it. To be spiritually awake, we must daily find time to commune with God in prayer. The complexity of the modern times demands a daily evaluation of our life before God lest our faith is drowned by the wave of secularism and relativism raging around us. This is much more important to us as youths.

Beloved, are you asleep or awake? Is your standard of living measuring up to the call and investment of God in your life or you have merely settled for complacency? Let us this day arise from slumber and be awake to a full actualization of our call and potentials in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER: Consider and answer me, Oh Lord my God; lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep death. Amen. Psalm 13: 3.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2849 –…It is by His prayer that Christ vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of His public mission and in the ultimate struggle of His agony. In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to His battle and His agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with His own. Vigilance is “custody of the heart”…the Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” Matthew 26: 41a RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 50: 4-7; Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-20, 23-34; Philippians 2: 6-11; Matthew 26:14- 27:66

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BE VIGILANT!

Sunday 5th March – 1st Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Matthew 4: 1-11

BE VIGILANT!

There is no better time to be reminded of Jesus’ temptation than now, as we begin our own journey into the wilderness, taking after the footsteps of our Lord who spent 40 days and nights fasting and praying. Lent is a time for us to take a break from our routine and examine our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is a time to turn away from the sinful patterns that weigh us down and grow deeper in our faith.

As we reflect upon the subject of sin and seek repentance, it becomes even more important for us to consider the subject of temptation if we are truly to break the sinful patterns that hold us bondage. All sin starts with temptation, yet not all temptation results in sin. Adam and Eve in our first reading were tempted and yielded to the devil but our Lord Jesus was also tempted but did not yield. What made the difference between them?

Our Lord was conscious of the enemy’s deception and recognized it quickly. To truly overcome sin, we must be vigilant – we must be sensitive to the ways in which the enemy comes to us with his deceptive tactics. The more conscious we are, the more likely we are to recognize the temptations as they come and resist them. In addition, our Lord resisted the enemy with the word of God. God’s word is the sword of the spirit; our singular weapon of offense in our spiritual battle (Eph 6:17). We can successfully fight the enemy when we soak our ourselves in the truth of God’s word and make it our rule of life.

As we begin the first week of Lent, be vigilant. Watch out for the enemy’s tactics of discouragement, sloth and temptation and resist him. Only then would we cooperate with God’s grace to grow in holiness this season.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, sharpen my spiritual senses that I may be able to recognize and resist the temptations of the enemy. Please strengthen me in the battle against sin. Amen.

Faith Pearls: YOUCAT 88 – Why was Jesus led into temptation? Could he really be tempted at all?

Jesus was truly human, and as part of that he was truly susceptible to temptation. In Jesus Christ, we do not have the sort of redeemer “who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning” (Heb 4:15).

Hide a Treasure: “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Psalm 51: 3-6, 12-17; Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11

TAKE UP YOUR SWORD

Sunday 14th February – 1st Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Luke 4:1-13

TAKE UP YOUR SWORD

Of the six weapons outlined as components of the armor of God (Ephesians 6: 10-18), only one stands out as a weapon of offense. While the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, shield of faith and shoes being the readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace serve as weapons of defense with which we protect ourselves from the devils fiery darts, the sword of the Spirit stands out as the only weapon with which we can launch back our attack on our enemy, the devil (Ephesians 6: 14-16). There are no spears, arrows or rifles on the list.

We are in a constant combat with the enemy. Our sword is the word of God. The living and active word that has the power to convict, heal, transform, teach and strengthen us is also able to destroy the tactics of the devil. In today’s reading, our Lord gives us an example of how to overcome our temptations by countering the deception of the devil with the word of God. Adam and Eve sinned because they allowed the serpent to deceive them, by making God out to be a liar and His word invalid and so they fell from the life of grace (Genesis 3: 4-5).

Dear friends, as we journey through this season of grace, let us take out time to study God’s Word and ask for the grace to be obedient to it. Only when God’s Word dwells in us can we recognize the tactics the enemy uses and destroy them with our sword. Indeed, you and I who have been baptized into Christ have been made righteous through His obedience. Let us hold on to Him and His word in faith so that we can triumph over our flesh, the world and the devil especially this season of Lent.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please help me to find strength in your word each day so that I may resist the devil and live above sin always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 475 – How did Jesus pray?

Jesus’ life was one single prayer. At decisive moments (his temptation in the desert, his selection of the apostles, his death on the Cross) his prayer was especially intense. Often he withdrew into solitude to pray, especially at night. Being one with the Father in the Holy Spirit—that was the guiding principle of his earthly life.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I have laid up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” Psalm 119: 11 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 26: 4-10; Psalm 91: 1-2, 10-15; Romans 10: 8-13; Luke 4: 1-13

FLEE AVARICE

Friday 18th September- Friday of week 25 of the year

FLEE AVARICE

1 Tim 6:2-12

A popular Yoruba adage says “when money is not at home; let no one take any decision”. Indeed, money gives answers to so many things however; there are still remains a lot that money cannot provide – salvation, peace of mind, good success, good health, journey mercies, joy etc. All these are blessings from God which money cannot buy.

It is however disheartening that people do not realise that even money is a gift from God, thus they seek money as the world gives not as the Father gives and the love for money has led so many into evils that one can never imagine. It is more disheartening that the minds of many youth have been corrupt in the search for money(1 Tim 6:10); many youth no longer want to work hard but prefer to engage in armed robbery, stealing, kidnapping, drug dealing, prostitution, assassination, money rituals, cultism, human trafficking and many such evils in their pursuit of money.

Beloved, St Paul reminds us today that we brought nothing into the world and we are taking nothing back (1 Tim 6:7). A realisation of this truth should help us to appreciate the gift of money and use it rightly. Do not be desperate in search for money but work hard and be content with whatever God blesses you with. Remember the words of the very wealthy king, Solomon: “vanity upon vanity; all is vanity” (Ecc 1:2).

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, give me the grace of divine satisfaction that I may not lose my soul as I search for money and earthly pleasure. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 285What is eternal happiness?

Eternal happiness is seeing God and being taken up into God’s happiness. In God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit there is unending life, joy and communion… God would like us to decide in favor of our happiness; we should choose God freely, love him above all things, do good and avoid evil insofar as we are able.

HIDE A TREASURE: “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires, which pull them down to ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:9 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: 1 Timothy 6:2-12; Psalm 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18,19-20; Luke 8:1-3

ARE YOU ASLEEP?

Sunday 29th March – Palm Sunday

Reflection: Mark 14: 1- 15:47

ARE YOU ASLEEP?

The above question which our blessed Saviour asked Simon Peter in today’s gospel reading remains pertinent to us as individuals in our journey of faith. Perhaps we think we can wish away temptation(s) or sufficiently ward it off by human strength; the experience of Apostle Peter should help us to know better!

To effectively combat and overcome temptation, we need to stay awake – we need to be spiritually watchful and vigilant (1 Pet 2:8; Lk 22: 40, 46). Much as soldiers do not start preparation on the day of battle, we as Christians cannot afford to allow ourselves to be caught in the web of temptation before we start looking for a way out, otherwise we might find ourselves lacking in the needed strength to overcome it. To be spiritually awake, we must daily find time to commune with God in prayer. The complexity of the modern times demands a daily evaluation of our life before God lest our faith is drowned by the wave of secularism and relativism raging around us. This is much more important to us as youths.

Beloved, are you asleep or awake? Is your standard of living measuring up to the call and investment of God in your life or you have merely settled for complacency? Let us this day arise from slumber and be awake to a full actualization of our call and potentials in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER: Consider and answer me, Oh Lord my God; lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep death. Amen. Psalm 13: 3.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2849 –…It is by His prayer that Christ vanquishes the tempter, both at the outset of His public mission and in the ultimate struggle of His agony. In this petition to our heavenly Father, Christ unites us to His battle and His agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with His own. Vigilance is “custody of the heart”…the Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” Matthew 26: 41a RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 50: 4-7; Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-20, 23-34; Philippians 2: 6-11; Mark 14:1- 15:47

IMITATING CHRIST

Sunday 22nd February – First Sunday of Lent

Reflection: Mark 1:12-15

IMITATING CHRIST

Consider the heroes of faith we read about in Scripture and in the Church’s tradition. What was their mission and purpose? Why did they have to battle against the world? These Heroes whom we look up to all lived for a single reason: the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Beloved, you and I are called to live out this same gospel in our own day and age.

Today’s reading gives us a schematic view of our Christian lives. Like Jesus, our mission begins at Baptism when become children of God. Yet, in order to live out our Christian calling and preach the good news effectively, we must be tried. As we overcome the daily temptations the devil throws at us, we can courageously proclaim Jesus’ message: “The Kingdom of God is near. Turn away from your sins and believe the Good News”. A disciple who is not ready to tread his master’s path can never become like his master. No Christian is exempted from this great commission (Mark 16:15) hence you and I cannot afford to be silent about it.

Christ’s temptation prepared Him for His ministry. To imitate Christ we must be courageous in the face of temptation and be spiritually alert so as to recognise and resist the devil’s tactics to derail us from the master’s path.  Let us never give up on God’s transforming power in the good news for as we preach it with sincerity and humility, we are transformed into what we preach.
Beloved, Lent offers us a wonderful opportunity to become more like Christ. Make use of every opportunity you have; in school, at work, on the internet, at family prayers, while hanging out with friends etc. to preach Christ, your hope of glory.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to become more like you in my words and deeds. Let your love consume me and compel me to preach the Good news. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 425: The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard”. And they invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith…” Romans 1:16 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Genesis 9:8-15; Psalm 25:4-9; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15

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