Sunday, December 11, 2022

Collecct for Third Sunday Advent- Gaudate Sunday

 COLLECT SERIES
The Mass

T

The Collect for the 3rd Sunday of Advent  Year A  reads as follows:

O God who see how your people 
faithfully await for the feast of the Lord's Nativity
enable us we pray to attain the joys of so great a salvation
and to celebrate them always 
with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ
who lives and reigns with Him and the Holy Spirit, 
one God for ever and ever.


 
In making this prayer tangible for my life during the week, the following reflections questions emerged:


1. How will I faithfully await for the Lord's Nativity?
2. What are the joys of so great a salvation- what does this mean to me?
3.How do I celebrate these joys always?
4. What does solemn worship mean to me?
5  What might glad rejoicing  be like to me?
6. What will I do this week to maintain a spirit of waiting with joyful expectation?

O God who see how your people 

who lives and reigns with Him and the Holy Spirit, 

 Today is also known as Gaudate Sunday- which means rejoicing Sunday.  Click on the link to read more about it.


 

 

 

 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Collect Prayer First Sunday Advent Year A

 


First Sunday of Advent Year A
 


As we commence a new liturgical year, what will YOUR new year spiritual resolution be?
I hope the Collect Prayer series for Year A will add to your spiritual nourishment.

The Collect Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent reads as follows:

        COLLECT PRAYER 


All powerful God,
increase our strength of will for doing good,
that Christ may find an eager welcome at His coming
                                               and call us to His side in the kingdom of Heaven,
                                 where He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
                                         one God for ever and ever.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS


Converting this prayer into spirituality in action, the following reflection questions emerged:
1.            What are my hindrances/obstacles which prevent my will from doing
          good?
2.            Name one hindrance/obstacle that I commit to change during this first
           week of Advent?
3.            What is my attitude to Christ in my life (strong? Luke-warm, care-less)
4.            What will I do this week to prepare my body, mind, heart and will to give
           Christ an eager welcome?
5.            Prepare my account of my life that I would present to God when He asks
           me to give 'an account of my life' to God? 
6.            In what ways do I hope to spiritually grow through God's grace in this
           season of Advent?


GOSPEL REFLECTION


Today's Gospel message is quite clear-

  'stay awake because you do not know the day when your master is coming'.   

Jesus reminds his disciples that the Second coming will be like in Noah's day- people going about their business unsuspecting of what is to come.  Advent provides us with the opportunity to refocus our attention, to jolt ourselves out of our sleepy ways and stand ready. We are preparing of course during Advent for the birth of Christ at Christmas, but Advent too is also a reminder of the final second coming of Christ.

At the beginning of this liturgical year, let us spend some reflection time asking God to show us how we need to grow. Let us stay awake to God's advice and be committed throughout this year to spiritually grow in this/these area/s of our lives.  

Let us be swept away with a passion and enthusiasm for our Catholic faith
and stay awake to God throughout this coming year,
so that we may be ready when He calls us.

PERSONAL NOTE

Thank you to my readers throughout this year.  I have had an unusual year and because of that was not able to write regularly.   Thank you for continuing to look around and keep reading from my blog.

I began New Horizons blog in 2009 on my 50th birthday.  Now today again I say Happy Birthday to New Horizons readers.  I hope that throughout this coming liturgical year that I will be able to write regularly ( and hopefully recommence my podcast)  and in my own way through the grace of God to encourage and inspire you in your faith journey.


Monday, April 11, 2022

Collect for Palm Sunday and Holy Week

 Almighty ever-living God,

who as an example of humility for the human race to follow,
caused our Saviour to take flesh and submit to the Cross,
graciously grant that we may heed His lesson of patient suffering,
and so merit a share in His resurrection.

NB this is the Collect for the Mass.  There is also a Collect during the Procession of the Palms. 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

In making this prayer tangible, the following reflection questions emerged:

1.  What does it mean to me to be humble?
2.  How does my level of humility reflect the humility of Christ?
3.  How do I respond to suffering? 
4.  What does it take for me to heed His lesson of patient suffering?
5.  How will enter into Holy Week this year? 
6.  How will it be different than previous years?
7.  How will my Lenten journey so far be intensified during Holy Week?
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 

SYMBOLS OF PALM SUNDAY.


Did you know that every donkey has a cross marked on its back?  It is there clearly marked in the fur.  Tradition says that this is because of the donkey that carried the Lord on that first Palm Sunday.  

On Palm Sunday the palms that are blessed are given out at Mass.  Usually there is a procession, either in the shorter or longer form depending on pastoral considerations.  Where there is the traditional procession, the reading of the Gospel for Palm Sunday is read outside. During that time, palm branches are held to recall the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem. The hymn 'all glory, praise and honour to Christ Redeemer King is traditionally sung during the procession.

When we take the palms home, it is important to remember that they have been blessed, and therefore should be treated as holy objects. Some palms can be created into crosses, and these are excellent for using as a book mark in the missal or our bibles.  It is a timely reminder for the whole year of the start of the Church's holiest of weeks- Holy Week which commemorates the great events of Christ's passion, death and resurrection.

 PASSION READING

During Mass, the reading of the Passion is read according to the appropriate yearly cycle, whereas on Good Friday, the reading of the passion according to St John is read.  When the passion is read, the whole triumphant mood is changed.  It signifies also the fickleness of the crowd towards Jesus- they were crying out ' Hosanna to the Son of David' and later on Good Friday- 'crucify Him'.

There are many aspects of today's gospel which could be spoken about.  However,  I will not present a gospel reflection on this Sunday, but suggest that during this week, that we spend some time re-reading and reflecting on the passion of Christ presented in today's Gospel of Luke. Enter into the characters and their motivations and put ourselves into it. Whose character/s resonates with us? Perhaps there will be a phrase or line of the Gospel that will speak to you this Palm Sunday.

JOURNEY OF HOLY WEEK


With the end of Lent, we are now about to embark on the holiest days of our journey, Holy Week, culminating in the greatest event in history, Christ’s Resurrection on Easter. .

Together with the faithful we remain united to the suffering Christ in prayer and praise during Holy Week. We seek the hope of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing for all of our own suffering and for those we love. as we look to Jesus during these holy days.

May we also remember at Masses during Holy Week those who are unable to attend Holy Week Ceremonies because, like Jesus they were accused and framed for a crime they did not commit and as a result, they are in jail.  There are prisoners too who are in prison because they committed a horrible crime. We need to pray for them for the grace to repent and to desire to be like the good thief.  We also need to remember those who are unable to celebrate their faith in their country with freedom.

I have a very busy schedule for Holy Week singing and/or playing from Palm Sunday through to Easter Sunday Night.  It is always a very special time but I hope that my voice holds out the distance.  However, on  Palm Sunday, I  wont be reading the Narrator’s part at one of the Masses. I am disappointed because I felt it was both a huge responsibility and such a privilege to read the Passion in this way.
I also look forward each year to Tenebrae on Good Friday and Holy Saturday morning with the Dominican Friars and my very special delight is always Easter Sunday Vespers.
May you enter into this greatest week of the Church's calendar -Holy week-
with great spiritual enthusiasm.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Collect for First Sunday Lent

 

COLLECT SERIES

 
The Mass

The Mass: Collect Series icon.



COLLECT

 

The Collect for First Sunday of Lent Year C reads as follows:

Grant, Almighty God,

through the yearly observances of holy Lent,

 that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ

and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever.

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

1. Review my past observances of Lent.  How have they been?

2. From my review of past observances of Lent, how is my observance of this past week been? What has improved and what needs tweaking at this point.

3. What are the riches hidden in Christ?

4. What areas in my faith need to grow in understanding? How will I pursue my faith journey this coming week?

5. What are the temptations in my life, sins/faults, weakness that I need to bring to Christ for healing in the sacrament of Reconciliation?

 


GOSPEL REFLECTION

Today’s Gospel is from Lk4:1-13.  It is the Gospel account of the Temptations of Christ. We might wonder why Jesus was tempted by Satan. What does this Gospel tell us at this point in the Lenten journey considering that the Church provides this Gospel account each year for the First Sunday of Lent.

Jesus did not need to be tempted by Satan. The temptations are one of power, fame and fortune/wealth.  All of these temptations can be very enticing. We can even justify them to ourselves.  However, Jesus did not need to be tempted in this way for Himself, since He is sinless.  Jesus wanted to show us that He was willing to undergo this humiliation to give us an example and to show us His priceless infinite love.  This gospel is there to help us understand that  the value Jesus places on our eternal salvation.  We need to remember throughout Lent that Jesus came to earth and was born to be like us in every way (except sin) so that we can strive to become like Him and be renewed in our true identity as a son/daughter of God.

 

This gospel account invites us to consider our own weakness, flaws, sins, temptations and even areas in our hearts where the doors have been firmly shut.   It invites us to turn away from whatever holds us back from Him and to turn towards our Loving God who wants to wash us clean and redeem us in His love. Jesus provides us with many opportunities to come back Him with all our heart especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

 

If we have not received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for a while, then do not let that stand in your way.  I recently received the Sacrament after squandering many opportunities to come back to Him fully and being restored in God’s image and likeness.  It was indeed a very powerful experience.  On a practical matter, I found it better to ring this priest first, make an appointment and let him know of my situation. This gave him the opportunity to give me enough time to confess fully. It also helps the priest to prepare/pray beforehand as well.  However, if you are a regular penitent, then continue to grow in the love of God and on the road to holiness.

 

May you have a blessed week during this Lent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

What is Repentance?

 WHAT IS REPENTANCE ?


Ash Wednesday.


What is Repentance?
 

When receiving the Ashes on Ash Wednesday the priest signs with

·         “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you will return’ or

·         Repent and believe the Good news.

As I received the ashes today at Mass, the priest said to me ‘Repent and Believe the Good news’.  As there quite a number of people including school children receiving the Ashes, I had some time to think and reflect.  I asked myself what really is Repentance.   I had some thoughts obviously, but later in the afternoon, I decided to delve deeper into the word and its implications for myself.  These are some thoughts which emerged from my reflection and research. 

What is Repentance.

 

There are a number of aspects to Repentance.

1.Repentance is to recognise our own wrong doing and humbly denying oneself to turn around and face the One we have wronged.  It is regretting our sins and acknowledging them before God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

2. Repentance is to rearrange our entire way of thinking, feeling and being in order to forsake that which is wrong.

3.Repentance means more than saying sorry.  It means to show transformation by returning to what is right and pure and returning to innocence. It means returning to our baptismal right as a son/daughter of God. We must have faith to want to return to God and know that God will see our move, however tiny it might be and be there to meet us where we are at.  Through the Sacrament, we will be restored.

4.Repentance means to return to the plan of God- that is, to live with Him, consult with Him, fellowship with Him and obeying Him, In other words we put God first in our lives and have a deep intimate relationship with Him.

 

5. Repentance involves showing remorse for what we have done and saying sorry but if we are to be sincere in that act of contrition, then we also need to commit to a new path in order to take the path of correct to receive true freedom.

 

During the Lenten season the church provides us with the opportunity to review our lives, our sinfulness, our need for God to be first place and encourages us to make that turn back to God and walk a new path of transformation. We have 40 days to be serious about our desire to change and walk the path of holiness.

Of course we can walk this path the whole year every day.  However Lent provides us with the opportunity to be focused on this transformation.

 

Will we choose to walk a new path, to claim again your inheritance of being a son/daughter of God and to Repent and believe the Good News.

 

 


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Collect for Seventh Sunday Ordinary Time

 

COLLECT SERIES

 

The Mass

The Mass: Collect Series Icon.


COLLECT

 

The Collect for Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C reads as follows:

Grant, we pray, almighty God,

that, always pondering spiritual things,

we may carry out in both word and deed

that which is pleasing to you

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever.

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

1. What are the spiritual questions/ confusions/uncertainties that I currently have? Make a list.

2. If you do not have any spiritual questions/confusions/uncertainties right now, then make a list of areas that you would like to know more for spiritual growth.

3. Word and deed come from the heart and flow from what is in our hearts. What words and deeds will we carry out this coming week that will be pleasing to God.

4. What one area in my life will I try to improve through the power of God’s grace this week?

5. Spend some time with Jesus and ask Him to show you what you need to do this coming Lent to become a pleasing dwelling for Him this Easter.

 

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION

Today’s Gospel is from Lk 6:27-38.  It is a continuation of the Beatitudes.  It is important to realise that in the time of Jesus that when some one did wrong to another person there was retaliation, retribution, payback.  Scripture says ‘ an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.  The punishment and the crime were as if they were measured. A person payed back with a punishment that fitted the crime/hurt.

So when Jesus taught to Love One Enemies and do good to those who hurt you it would have been shocking to hear.  It also needs to be shocking for us to hear because we too, in a sophisticated and ungodly way can pay back and retaliate by the way we act and in what we say.

Forgiveness is indeed a process and it does not happen by our own means overnight.  However, what Jesus offers us is  a way forward to being at right with our neigbour.  There are some relationships that are toxic and we need the grace to move away. God never expects us to be a human doormat either.  However, when someone does us wrong and we are hurt   we need to pray for that person that they actually come to realise the wrong that they have done and are given the grace to repent. 

When there are situations where a person is badly hurt and the other party does not say sorry, it can be salt into the wound.  In this case, it is even more important to be honest with God with our feelings and ask for healing for these wounds.  It is a great opportunity to delve deeper with Jesus to see whether we have responded from a place of a past wound/past experience and that is why we have reacted to this current situation in this way.  It is also a great opportunity to put this teaching of Jesus into practice by praying for the other party.  We all enter into the process of forgiveness in our own way.  We need to draw close to Jesus the healer and be open to the Holy Spirit as we explore in God’s presence how the current hurt is affecting me.  We need to check that it does not lead us into greater sin such as anger, resentment, unforgiveness. If and when it does, we need to talk to our spiritual director/confessor in Sacrament of Reconciliation and ask advice in the areas of struggle.  We need to repent of our own sins, our own failures, and ask Jesus to forgive us.  We need to remember the words of the Our Father too.

We need also to remember that Jesus said on the cross’ Father, forgive them’ they do not know what they do’.  Jesus suffered the greatest betrayal, the worse possible suffering and yet before He died hanging on the cross, He forgave them- He forgave humanity.

Perhaps our enemy can also be ourselves. We need to ask God to come into our deepest part of our being and heal the wounds we inflict on our own selves. Loving our self in a healthy Godly way can also be a challenge. Yet we are called to love our selves too in the commandment of love.


There is a lot to ponder in this Gospel. If you are at peace with loving your enemies and praying for those who treat you badly, then thank God for that grace.  You may wish to focus in your reflection time on some other phrase or attitude that Jesus calls you to in this Gospel.

 

May Jesus lead you further along the path of Holiness this coming week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Collect for Sixth Sunday Ordinary Time Year C

 

COLLECT SERIES

 

The Mass

The Mass; Collect Series Icon.


COLLECT

 

The Collect for Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C reads as follows:

O God, who teach us that You abide in hearts that are just and true,

grant that we may be so fashioned by Your grace

as to become a dwelling pleasing to you.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever.

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

1. Spend some time in gratitude for all the many times that God has abided in my heart and helped me to remain just and true.

2. Ask forgiveness for the times when my heart strayed from His abiding by being unjust and untrue to God.  Repent of these areas in Sacrament of Reconciliation.

3. Ask Mary, who was fashioned by grace and held a pleasing dwelling place for Jesus to intercede for me so as to refashion my life and be open to receiving the graces I need.

4. What one area in my life will I try to improve through the power of God’s grace this week?

5. Spend some time with Jesus and ask Him to show you what you need to do this coming Lent to become a pleasing dwelling for Him this Easter.

 

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION

Today’s Gospel is from Lk 6:17,-20-26.   This is Luke’s account of the Beatitudes.

We are very familiar with the Beatitudes, however Luke’s account  gives us a very important lesson- every action has consequences whether for good or for bad.

Often the psychology of the world teaches us to promote the positive in our lives. This is good in itself but what it often does not encourage is to really examine our attitudes and the consequences of them either for good or for evil.

Luke’s account  reminds us that there are consequences.

Jesus is not opposed to riches per say but it is what we do with them and the attitude we have towards them that is important.  For example someone who is wealthy can spend their money on themselves having a good time and either not give a toss about others in need or worse still not even stop to think about them.  They may even take the attitude that they have worked hard for their wealth so why should they get it on a plate- a handout.  This type of attitude will have consequences.

However, the wealthy person who works hard, shares his/her wealth for the betterment of other people in ways small and great and uses his/her money as an instrument and is not governed by it will have a very different attitude.  There is a danger too here if the wealthy person does not abide in God constantly.  Pride/ Fame/Power and Greed could easily lurk around too.  There will be consequences too without the constant abiding in God and remembering that God is the Creator and we, are the created.  God gives and God can take away.

I remember back in 2000 at World Youth Day having a glimpse of what the beatitude of ’Happy are you who are hungry now: you will be satisfied’.

On the long 19km walk in 46 degree heat, every country had its checkpoint for food. Unfortunately when we reached our checkpoint the food was gone and we were told to ask at the next checkpoint. We did with the same result at every checkpoint until we reached our destination.  Yes there was physical hunger but as my mind turned towards what I was doing there at World Youth Day and the anticipation of  being at the Mass with Pope John Paul 11, my hunger increased for the things of God and my mind did not focus on my physical hunger.  As it turned out, I eventually had some food when I returned back to where I was billeted 24 hours later.

Yes on that day I can honestly say that my soul indeed was satisfied.

Of course, this is just one aspect of one of the beatitudes. 

 

  • There are many great commentaries on the beatitudes that we can read and reflect upon.   For Example: Read a summary of St. Bernard's advice for living the Beatitudes, and the Holy Father's exhortation to the youth at Toronto's World Youth Day to be people of the Beatitudes.
  • For some ideas on how to live the poverty and detachment prescribed by the first beatitude (Blessed are the poor in spirit), read this interview with spiritual director and writer Fr. Dubay.

These links were taken from Catholic Culture.org

However, the message from today’s account is clear. Live out the beatitudes and remember to consider its consequence when it is not lived out well.

We have the Sacrament of Reconciliation to assist us to strengthen us and to repent of our failures, and through God’s grace may we continue to abide in Him and live out the Beatitudes in faith, hope and love for God.

 

May you have a blessed week.