Sunday, May 21, 2017

6th Sunday of Eastertide Collect

The Collect for the 6th Sunday of Eastertide reads as follows

Grant almighty God,
that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion
these days of joy,
which we keep in honour of the risen Lord,
and that we relive in remembrance
we may always hold to in what we do.
In making this prayer tangible for the coming week, the following reflection questions emerged.
1. What is the quality of my celebration of Eastertide?
2.  Why do I want to celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy?
3.  What does Christ risen mean for me in my life for this coming week?
4.  What difference does celebrating the risen Lord make to my life/to my coming week?
5.  How does what I hold in faith and what I do compare?

The challenges in today's readings are important for us to consider and for us to decide on what we can do.
1. Are we able to give the reasons to others for which we hope?  Are we able to encourage others to know and love Jesus?
2. Are we able to live by our faith by keeping the commandments, living the beatitudes and having a strong sacramental life?

So  in light of these questions on today's readings  and those that I have posed for reflection on the Collect,  what will you do this week to live your faith more deeply and to love God more fully?
     May you continue to receive many Easter blessings.   Alleluia.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Collect for 5th Sunday Eastertide.

The Collect for 5th Sunday of Eastertide  reads as follows:

"Almighty ever-living God,
constantly accomplish the Pascal Mystery within us,
that those who You were pleased to make new  in Holy Baptism,
may under your protective care bear much fruit
and come to the joys of life eternal".

In making this prayer tangible, the following reflective questions emerged:
1. What does the Pascal mystery mean to me?
2.  Why should I want to accomplish the Pascal Mystery within me?
3. What does Baptism mean for my life?
4.  What newness of life have I received this Eastertide?
5.  What have I done with these new graces?

In the Gospel today, Jesus tells His disciples ( and us) " I am the way, the truth and the life''.  We might ask ourselves"' What does this mean to me''.  Sometimes, we might know what to do- we may be puzzled by what is the right route for us. We only have to ask Jesus since He is the way, the truth and the life. 

Yesterday was the centenary of the apparitions of Fatima.  It is interesting to note that despite after 100 years that the message of Fatima of Prayer, Fasting and Saying the Rosary remains as relevant today as then- perhaps even more so.    If we put these two aspects together, then it seems to me that Fatima gives us a practical way to follow Jesus in His way, His truth and His life.

I hope that the blessings of Eastertide have been wonderful for you all and continue to be so.




Saturday, May 6, 2017

Good Shepherd Sunday-4th Sunday Eastertide

On the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Church highlights Christ as the Good Shepherd.  The Pope and the Bishops are the shepherds of the flock of Christ. It is fitting to acknowledge their special teaching and Pastoral ministry. You may like to:
  • Pray for the Pope and Bishops of the Church, especially the Bishop of your diocese.
  • Send a card to acknowledge and thank the Bishop for his ministry.  If you know a bishop personally, this is indeed fitting.
The Church also highlights on this fourth Sunday of Easter known as 'Good Shepherd Sunday' Vocations to the Priesthood and religious life.  All the baptized have a vocation. We are all called to holiness.  For those called by Christ to the Priesthood and religious life, they are called in a special way and need our love and support for them to carry out the work Christ has asked of them.

May Christ the Good Shepherd encourage and embrace us,
May we listen to the sound of His voice,
Hear His call and follow Him.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

3rd Sunday of Eastertide Collect Year A

The Collect for the Third Sunday of Eastertide Year A reads as follows:

May your people exalt for ever O God,
in renewed youthfulness of spirit,
so that, rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption,
we may look forward in confident hope,
to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection.
In making this prayer tangible for during the week, the following reflection questions emerged:
1. What does youthfulness of spirit mean to me?
2. In the light of your reflection on youthfulness of spirit, how do you relate to the first 2 lines of the collect?
3. What does it mean to me to be God's adopted child?
4. How will I rejoice this week in the restored glory of my adoption?
5. What is my attitude/feelings towards my own death and resurrection?
6. How will I continue to sing and live alleluia throughout this week?
Today's gospel of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is an interesting one.  Throughout this story, Jesus invites the disciples ( and us) to listen to Him through His word, to receive Him in the Eucharist and to go out and spread the Good News. 
LISTEN: What did these disciples say? Did not our hearts burn within us as He explained the scripture to us?
Do  we feel that burning of love and understanding when we listen and contemplate the scriptures?
Do we feel that burning and understanding when we listen to the homily given at Mass? Do we organize our shopping list or switch off to the homily instead?  Perhaps we feel we have heard it all before.  However, in the light of today's gospel let us renew our efforts to listen to God through the scripture (both our own reading of it and when it is read at Mass) and when God speaks to us through the priest in the homily.  Let our hearts burn with love for God as we listen.
RECEIVE: What did the disciples see?  The Scripture says 'they recognised Him in the breaking of the bread'.
Do we recognise Jesus as we receive Him in the Eucharist?  Has our reception of  the Eucharist become perfunctory or just a habit- we go to Mass, receive communion and go home without much thought.
Perhaps we might like, in the light of this gospel to consider our attitude to receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.  Do we desire to receive Jesus often?  What is our preparation for receiving Jesus in the sacrament?  What is our level of thanksgiving afterwards?  Do we recognise Jesus in the ''breaking of the bread''- after all the ''bread'' is in fact Jesus.  It is His real presence.  How awesome is it to receive Jesus?
Go out and spread the Good News:  Once the disciples recognise Jesus, they leave immediately to go back to tell the other disciples.  What do we do when we recognise Jesus.  Do we spread the good news too?
Many catholics feel that they are incapable of spreading the good news.  However, we spread it by how we live our lives- in the day to day encounters we have with family, parishioners, work colleagues. We spread it by our hope and enthusiasm even in the face of the suffering in the world. We spread it by our longing to share what we ourselves have. We want to share the good news.
If we assume that we need a listening ear to what we share, then we may not bother to share the good news.  If we share the good news and allow God to open hearts and ears, then we are, like the disciples, partnering in the work of salvation.
We cannot however spread the good news if we, ourselves are not convinced in mind and heart that it is indeed good news.  So we need to consider this point carefully- do you really consider your faith to be good news and do you want to share it with others?  If you feel that you do not know your faith to be able to share it, then why not start to fill in the blank spots.  Some time ago, I started a series on this blog working my way through the compendium of the catholic church and making it relevant to me.  Perhaps this might be a starting point.  If not, then do not give up, explore other options.
Before you attend Mass this Sunday, I encourage you not to make it the same as all the other sundays-  make a decision to
  • listen as best you can to God's Word as it is read and to the homily as the scriptures are explained- let your heart burn as you listen.
  • Receive Jesus in the best possible way you can- make a preparation, be actively engaged at Mass and show Jesus your gratitude for receiving Him in your thanksgiving.
  • Spread the good news:  Before you leave the church, choose one way you will spread the good news this coming week.
I had an interesting encounter during the week on spreading the good news.  On a personal note- my neighbour ( not a catholic)  is going overseas and was quite stressed because the accommodation through her work had not been organized. This was a week before her family was due to move, and yet the removalists had already been.  She was feeling totally anxious. 
I was heading off to Mass so I said I would light a candle for her and pray during Mass for their needs.  She smiled, but I felt it was a smile of '' politeness''.
When I came home, about 2 hours later, she rang on my front door- she was so excited and relieved- ''I cant believe it , the accommodation was sorted whilst you were at church.   How amazing is that''.  She was one very happy neighbour.!!!
So sometimes spreading the good news can be as simple as speaking out our faith even in the face of ''that smile of politeness'' knowing that  God listens and hears our prayers for others. It is believing ourselves first and then taking the risk to step out. 
                                                              How will YOU listen, receive and spread Jesus this week?
                                                               ALLELUIA TO YOU ALL.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday Collect Year A

The Collect for Easter Sunday Year A reads as follows:

O God, who on this day,
through Your Only begotten Son have conquered death,
and unlocked for us the path to eternity,
grant, we pray, that we who keep
the  solemnity of the Lord's Resurrection,
may through the renewal brought by Your Spirit,
rise up in the light of life.
In making this prayer tangible for during the week, the following reflection questions emerged:
1. What does the resurrection of the Lord really mean to me and for my life?
2.  What will I do this week to show God my gratitude for His resurrection?
3.  What is my attitude to my own death?  
4   How does the Lord's Resurrection affect my attitude to my own death?
5.  What is the path to eternity? How will I walk on this path this week?
6.  How will the renewal of the Spirit rise up in my life this week?
7.  How will I celebrate Eastertide?
This is the day that the Lord has made
Let us rejoice and be glad.
Image result for free picture of the resurrection of Jesus Christ
First of all, I would like to wish all my readers a very Happy Easter. 
May the blessings of the Easter season be yours.
Well, we have made it... it is Easter morning.  Alleluia.  Praise God. !!!
It is wonderful to know we have reached Easter morning and the joy of the Alleluias ringing in our hearts.
However it is great opportune moment today to think about how we went in Lent.  What was our penance that we set ourselves?  How did we go with it- did you have dip in the Lenten journey like I did? It is timely to consider why?
As committed Catholics, it is not time to say hurray- Lent's over and I don't need to worry about it until next year.  No, we need to build on whatever graces we received during Lent during Eastertide.
Perhaps, we can also make up for any dips in the Lenten journey too with a little extra effort. Why not set aside some time during Eastertide to do that.  Why, you might ask?  God knows we are human and we often do not set ''achieve'' what we hoped or desired.  I find that  setting some time aside to make  an effort to make amends in some way during Eastertide is helpful.  It not only makes amends for my dip in Lent, but it also pulls in my mind the Lenten and Easter seasons together.  It is a great opportunity to continue on what worked well in Lent for us as well- hopefully we have set a new/different pattern in our prayer life, in our almsgiving and in our fasting.  Fridays during the year are still days of penance, so why not use them well.
I don't want to set a heavy mood on this glorious Resurrection morning.   I just want so much to encourage us to remember though Eastertide is 50 days of joy and 50 wonderful days we can grow in our faith.  Make the most of this season of joy.  Enjoy the chocolate eggs and wonderful Easter delights, but gain weight in the graces of Eastertide.
This is the day that the Lord has made
Let us rejoice and be glad.
Happy Easter to you all.  


Friday, April 14, 2017

why is Good Friday called Good?

  • sorrow, solemnity and mourning occur in the Liturgy.
  • represents it being 'God's Friday'.
  • the good thief rebuked the other thief dying with Jesus and Jesus granted him ' today you will be with me in paradise'.
    The Church decrees that Ash Wednesday and Good Friday  are days of fasting and abstinence for all adult Catholics from 14-65 years.  It is only a minimum requirement laid down by the Church, but fasting, prayer and almsgiving are essential tools in our journey of conversion of heart  in this season of penance. For health reasons, the Church does not expect the sick and infirm to fast and abstain..

What does the Church mean by fasting?   The Church's expectation of fasting means to eat much less than would normally be eaten on these 2 days specifically, by eating one main meal and two light snacks. A traditional main meal dish on Good Friday is either fish  or vegetable casserole. Hot Cross buns are usually served as the light snack.  It is highly recommended that we maintain fasting by not eating between these snacks and main meal on these two days.  Abstinence requires that we abstain from all meat and meat products.

Good Friday is vital to every Christian as it is the day Christ gave His life for humanity so that salvation may be won for all.

May this Good Friday bring you new meaning and appreciation 
for the eternal life won for you by Christ's death on the cross.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday Year A Collect.

The Collect for Palm Sunday Year A reads as follows:

 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. 

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?

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.

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 Matthew. 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.

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 as we look to Jesus during these holy days.

May you enter into this greatest week of the Church's calendar -Holy week-
with great spiritual enthusiasm.

Image result for free picture of palm sunday