Sunday, September 26, 2021

Collect for Twenty Sixth Sunday of Year B

 

COLLECT SERIES

 

The Mass
The Mass: Collect Series Icon.

COLLECT 


The Collect for the Twenty Sixth Sunday Year B reads as follows:

 

O God, who manifest your almighty power

above all by pardoning and showing mercy, bestow,

we pray, your grace abundantly upon us

and make those hastening to attain your promises heirs

to the treasures of heaven.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

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

one God, for ever and ever.

 

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

 

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

1. How does God manifest His almighty power to You this last week?

2. What mercy and graces has God given me in my life?

3. What is my attitude to the sacrament of Reconciliation?

4. How do I show God my gratitude for the grace and mercy God provides me?

5. What are the treasures of heaven that I need to aspire to attain this week?

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION

 The Gospel is from St Mark 9:38-43,45,57-48.  There are three very practical lessons we must learn from today's Gospel: the grave obligation we have of not causing scandal to our fellow-Christians or indeed to any person and secondly, the willingness we should have to sacrifice any earthly possession which is a cause of sin to us.

Scandal, the sin of being a cause or an occasion of another's sin, is doubly sinful involving one's own sin and the sin of the person scandalized. Scandal can be caused by word—that is, by teaching or propagating wrong doctrine or by giving sinful advice, and it can be caused by one's own sinful deeds which may be imitated by others. Those in positions of authority such as parents whose duty it is to bring up their children in the Christian faith, are especially liable to give scandal if they fail to live truly Christian lives. Christian parents who fail to live according to their faith will be held accountable not only for their own sins, but for the sins of their children and perhaps their children's children for generations to come.

The second lesson for all of us in today's Gospel is that we should ever realize that eternal life is worth any sacrifice which we may be called on to make. The road we have to travel in life is not an easy one. As our Lord says in another place: "Enter by the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. But the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few" (Mt. 7: 13). We wish to reach heaven, therefore we must be prepared to follow Christ; we must not allow others to lead us astray but be prepared and determined to conquer and resist our own evil inclinations also.

The third lesson relates to working together as fellow Christians. When we see or hear about another person in need – the cup of cold water, we need to assist them if we are able precisely because he/she is a fellow Christian- a fellow follower of Christ.  Being united with other Christians helps to build community. Letting go of competition and ego for the greater good of a parish, or parish group is vital.  How many times have great ideas or great leadership been squashed by other people who have put their ego and competitive streak override something worthwhile?

We as Catholics must endeavour to live by the standards that Christ set us not the standards of the world. When we fail, which  we will do as we are human, God has provided us with the sacrament of mercy and reconciliation to be restored and to move forward.  Let us take full advantage of this sacrament and use it regularly so that we will become more finely tuned to what God wants of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Collect for 25th Sunday of Year B

 

COLLECT SERIES

The Mass

The Mass Collect Series Icon.




COLLECT 


The Collect for the Twenty Fifth Sunday Year B reads as follows:

 

O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law

upon love of you and of our neighbour,

grant that, by keeping your precepts,

we may merit to attain eternal life.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

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

one God, for ever and ever.

 

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

 

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

1.How well do I know and keep the commands of God and His sacred law?

2. How will I improve my knowledge of faith this coming week?  What steps will I take to know my faith better?

3. What steps will I take to live my faith better this coming week of love of God and love of neighbour?

4. How strong is my desire to attain eternal life?  Am I living with my eternal home in mind or living day to day here on earth with no or little thought to my eternal home?

5. When I look back on this coming week in a week’s time, what will I see?  What improvements or growth will I notice or will it be exactly the same as I am now. In this present moment?

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION

 The Gospel is from St Mark 9:30-37. The Apostles were still very worldly-minded. They were full of the hope that Christ would establish an earthly messianic kingdom, that he would not only free their holy land from the hated pagan rulers but that he would set up a worldwide empire for the people of God. Many of the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament spoke of a worldwide kingdom; all nations would submit to the descendant of David; Jerusalem would be the magnet which would attract all peoples. The prophets, however, were speaking of the true messianic kingdom, the spiritual kingdom that Christ would establish. 

The Apostles were as yet unable to see the true meaning of these prophecies. They took them as referring to a worldly kingdom. They had come to believe that Christ was the promised Messiah, therefore, he would overcome all enemies and all opposition and set up this kingdom. How, therefore, could his enemies overpower him much less put him to death before he had accomplished his task?  As a consequence of their thinking, they refused to believe his prophecies concerning his coming tortures and death.

Now, either in trying to understand what he had so plainly told them, or maybe in putting this disturbing thought far from their minds, they began disputing with one another as to which of them would have the highest post of honour in the earthly messianic kingdom which they had envisaged. How worldly but how human they were! We must not forget though, that they were not yet really Christians — they needed the death and resurrection of Christ to make them what they became — His true followers and loyal disciples.

There was in the unformed Apostles a desire to turn Christ's kingdom into an earthly welfare state, rather than into a preparation for heaven. All Christians know that Christ suffered and died for their salvation, and that he asked his followers to take up their cross and follow him if they wished to be his disciples. The first generations of Christians fully understood this and faithfully followed him even to martyrdom. However, as time went on and opposition to the Christian faith disappeared, so too did the zeal and fervor of many Christians. For centuries we have had nominal Christians in Christ's Church -- men and women who tried to make their paradise in this world, and forgot the everlasting heaven.


Today sadly many nations have turned their back on God, on Christianity. Many people have turned their back on God, on faithful practice of their faith. Even in this time of pandemic where with lockdowns and not being able to be physically present at Mass, we have to make the choice to attend online Mass- not just to watch but to attend Mass- to be truly present, to long to receive Jesus sacramentally and to want to be make a difference in our lives and the lives of others through this pandemic. We need to put our faith into action but there needs to be faith as well as action. Sometimes the action is given so much focus that the reason for the action is overlooked.  It always needs to be love of  God that we are called into action- belief in the God who loves us that we act lovingly, behave lovingly and walk humbly with our God.

Today's thought for each one of us is this: Christ became man, suffered and died as man, for our sakes. By his resurrection He conquered death and opened heaven for us. Heaven is our true destiny. Loving God and our neighbour and carrying our cross is the only way to reach heaven.  We need to examine  our motivations and foget this "heaven on earth" doctrine; it does not and never will exist! Accept Christ and you are accepting the Father who sent Him. He in turn will accept you.

Place God first place in our lives this coming week in all we think, do and say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Collect for the Twenty Third Sunday of Year B

 

COLLECT SERIES

The Mass

The Mass: Collect Series Icon.



COLLECT 


The Collect for the Twenty Third Sunday Year B reads as follows:

 

O God, by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption,

 look graciously upon your beloved sons and daughters,

that those who believe in Christ may receive

true freedom and an everlasting inheritance.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

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

one God, for ever and ever.

 

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS
 

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

1.What is it to be a son/daughter of God?

2. Do I truly consider myself to be a son/daughter of God?  What are the hindrances I experience accepting this truth?

3. What area in my life do I need God’s gracious look?

4. What does it mean for me to believe in Christ?  How does it change the way I live each day?

5. What is true freedom?

6. How will I live this coming week with my everlasting inheritance in mind?

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION

 The Gospel is from St Mark 7:31-38.  Jesus heals the deaf and dumb man.

There are a number of aspects to this Gospel.  However, I would like to turn our attention to our own deafness and dumbness whether it be physical, emotional and spiritual.  Many of us are blessed with good hearing and have the ability to speak clearly. 

Have we stopped to thank God for these gifts? 

Have we every stopped to pray for those who are deaf and have an impediment in speech? 

Have we  taken steps to have better diction especially if we are an lector for Mass?  Do we take the role of lector seriously proclaiming the Word of God?

 

Currently my parish priest has an impediment in his speech.  It has made me realise how difficult it is for him to communicate well and to be understood.  Many parishioners complain because they cannot understand him.  Many have gone to other parishes as they have given up trying to understand him.  However, it has made me acutely aware of the personal suffering he endures because of this condition.  I am sure he would love Jesus to touch his tongue and loosen the ligament so he could speak clearly again. It will be my prayer for him and for others who suffer in this way today as I attend Mass online. 

 

Of course, those people who have the condition of being deaf too can suffer as they can feel left out, ridiculed, alone.  Some give up attending functions because of it and feel socially isolated.  Even though there are huge advances in the technology for hearing aids, it is still not the same as one’s own physical hearing.

My parents both wore hearing aids in their advancing years.  I cared for them and I came to realise what it was like at a very human and personal level what it was like for them.  My dad was not fond of wearing his hearing aids.  He did not think he was deaf but he used to get out the hearing aids on Sunday along with him missal. When he came home, the aids would go back in the drawer until the following Sunday.

My mum decided that the hearing aids were best in the drawer until years later she attended a requiem Mass and decided that she had missed out on the homily.  She came home and wanted to wear the hearing aids.  Obviously we had to get new ones more suited to her needs at that time. I have to say that after that experience, mum used to wear the aids constantly.  I had to change the batteries regularly and also clean them.  Any build up of wax in the ear can cause them to whistle and make horrible noises.  Also if we were not placed in the ear correctly it affected her ability to hear.  Many of us are like that too- we may not wear hearing aids but it is as though we ae deaf to what others say, deaf to our surroundings and the needs of others.

 

However most of us have emotional and spiritual deafness and dumbness. Some of our emotional deafness and dumbness may be due to upbringing.  However, if we truly wish to be emotionally alert in our hearing and speech, we can learn again and seek help.

Are we deaf to what another person is saying?  Much of communication is said in body language.  Are we aware of this language in ourselves and in others?   Are we defensive when someone offers us constructive criticism and tune them out or are we open to hear what they are saying to us?

 

Then we may wish to consider our speech patterns.  Are we saying what we truly want to say or are we communicating mixed messages and hoping that others will pick up our clues?  How do we feel when we are truly heard, truly listened to and truly understood?  How often do I provide that type of active listening to others or am I only interested in what I want to say?

 

Are we deaf or do not communicate with God?  Do we tune Him out of our lives?  It is important to turn off the devices and set aside time for God regularly.  If we have not done this or have got out of the habit of spending time with God, then why not start again this week.

Jesus is our best friend.  What do we want to say to Him?  Imagine sitting there having a coffee with Jesus.  What would you want to say to Jesus?  What would Jesus say to you?  Good communication is a two way dialogue.  So we need to listen to the still whisper of Jesus?

 

This Gospel has a lot to offer us especially if we consider the above thoughts. Why not ponder and reflect upon this Gospel and what it means to you and with Jesus, come up with an action plan for this coming week?

 

 

 

 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Collect for 22nd Sunday Year B

 

COLLECT SERIES

The Mass

The Mass: Collect Series Icon.



COLLECT 


The Collect for the Twenty Second Sunday Year B reads as follows:


God of might, Giver of every good gift,

Put into our hearts the love of Your name,

So that, by deepening our sense of reverence,

You may nurture in us what is good and, by Your watchful care,

Keep safe what You have nurtured.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

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

one God, for ever and ever.

 

 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS

 

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

1. Name the gifts God has given you in this last week and say thank you to God for these gifts.

2. How do I speak about God?

3. Do I take the Lord’s name in vain or do I use it to honour and praise Him?

4. What do I do when other people misuse God’s name. What strategy can I use this week to bring to awareness the rightful use of God’s name and stopping its misuse?

5.What do I see good in Me?  How does God see me?

6. Spend time this week giving thanks for all God is doing in my life.

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION

 The Gospel is from St Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. In today's encounter with the Pharisees, Jesus tells them that they are hypocrites: "they honour God with their lips but their heart is far from God"; they obey the Law and the traditions, not to please God, but to be seen and admired by men; their motive, self-glorification, vitiates every otherwise good act they perform. Christ then addresses the people — the crowds who most likely had overheard his dialog with the Pharisees — and he tells them that it is not legal or cultic uncleanliness that matters, but cleanliness of the heart before God. Eating with unwashed hands, or using unwashed vessels for drinking, does not defile a man, this does not make him less worthy before God. It is not from things outside him that a man incurs defilement but from his own innermost self. Every serious sin against God and neighbor has its beginning within a man, in his intellect and will; the evil design is the forerunner and instigator of the evil deed.

The Pharisees should have known all this. They did know it. They knew very well that before a man breaks any of the commandments of God he must first plan and decide to break it; it was not their theology that was defective but their practice. They despised their neighbours and called fellowmen "sinners," because through ignorance they violated many of the man-made precepts the Pharisees had added to the Law of Moses. There were also fellow-Jews of theirs who violated the law itself, but it was not their right to judge or condemn much less excommunicate them, as they so often did in practice.

Christ condemned the Pharisees by word and deed. He was merciful, kind and understanding to all sinners. He forgave sin and promised forgiveness to all who would repent of their past misdeeds. Not only that: for he left to his followers for all time his sacrament of mercy and forgiveness, by means of which they could have their sins forgiven by his minister, acting in his name.

Should we ever forget all he has done for us and disobey in a serious way any of his commandments, let us remember that we are not excluded from his company as the sinners were excluded by the Pharisees: we have banged the door on ourselves but he has given us the key with which to reopen it. Let us never be so foolish as to fail to use that key.

Let us recommit to receiving God’s mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly.

‘In this time of pandemic where we may not be able to receive this Sacrament because of lockdown restrictions, we can turn to Christ  and ask His forgiveness and prepare to make a good confession at the first opportunity.  Lockdown can be an opportunity to review our lives and to prepare the way of the Lord to receive His mercy.

 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Collect for 21st Sunday Year B

 COLLECT SERIES.


the Mass.

The Mass: Collect Series Icon.



COLLECT


The Collect for the Twenty First Sunday Year B reads as follows:


O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose,

Grant your people to love what You command

and to desire what You promise,

that, amid the uncertainties of this world,

our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

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

one God, for ever and ever.

 

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

 

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

  1. What is the single purpose that God is causing in my mind?
  2. What are the commands of God that I need to love this coming week?
  3. How will l live out these commands?
  4. What does God promise?  What does God promise me this coming week?
  5. What are the uncertainties, concerns, anxieties, worries that pull my heart away from God?
  6. How will I keep my heart fixed on God this coming week? 

 

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION

The Gospel for today is from Mk 6: 60-69.   This Gospel is in the context of Jesus telling his listeners about the Eucharist and teaching them about His real presence.  Just as many of His listeners turned away since they did not have sufficient faith to believe- they could not accept that Jesus would give them His own body and blood to eat and drink, we too can suffer the same fate as them and turn away from Jesus.

 

This gospel is therefore a wonderful opportunity to consider what is our own attitude to the Eucharist.  We may wish to ponder:

  1. Do we receive communion with desire to receive Jesus body, blood, soul and divinity into our body, mind and spirit? 
  2. Do we receive communion with our earthly concerns on our mind or unthinkingly?
  3. What have we experienced during a lockdown when we were not able to receive Jesus sacramentally- did we hunger for Jesus, feel deprived, long to receive Him again sacramentally?
  4. What difference has making a spiritual communion made during lockdown when we were not able to receive Jesus sacramentally? 

What we really need to ask ourselves is I think, can we say like, Peter: Lord, who else do we turn to, You have the words of everlasting life.

 

Hopefully, we will turn to Jesus this week first before we engage in worry, anxiety and stress and with an act of faith in Jesus in our hearts say each day/during the morning, during the afternoon or evening or on the hour”

 

 Lord who shall we turn to, You have the Words of everlasting life.

 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Collect for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

COLLECT SERIES


The Mass

The Mass: Icon of the Collect Series.



COLLECT


The Collect for the Mass of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary reads as follows:

Almighty ever-living God, 
who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary,
 the Mother of your Son, 
body and soul into heavenly glory, 
grant we pray, that, always attentive to the things that are above, 
we may merit to be sharers of her glory.
.


REFLECTION QUESTIONS.


In making this prayer tangible for my life during this week, the following reflection questions emerged: 
1.            In what ways do we need Mary to help us with her prayers?
2.            What is our relationship with Mary?
3.            Why is the Assumption a Holy Day of Obligation? What difference does
           this Solemnity feast have in your life?
4.            How do the prayers of the Virgin Mary bring me to the salvation of Christ?
5.            How do her prayers raise me to eternal life?
6.            How will Mary be the Mother of Christ impact on my life this coming
          week?
Let us rejoice in this Solemnity feast since it is a feast of faith, hope and love. May we live in faith and hope that we too will be raised to eternal life when God calls us to His eternal dwelling place.

GOSPEL REFLECTION.


All the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later (Jan. 1) on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) marks the preparation for that motherhood, so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being throbbed with divine life from the very beginning, readying her for the exalted role of mother of the Saviour.

The Assumption completes God's work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God's crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over.

The feast days of the Church are not just the commemoration of historical events; they do not look only to the past. They look to the present and to the future and give us an insight into our own relationship with God. The Assumption looks to eternity and gives us hope that we, too, will follow Our Lady when our life is ended.

In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: "The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven."

With that, an ancient belief became Catholic doctrine and the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God.


In today's Gospel from Luke 1:39-56,, we enter into the scene of the visitation when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth who is also pregnant.  We can enter into the joy of these expectant mothers.  Elizabeth is carrying John the Baptist who will point the way to Jesus and baptize him. Even in his mother's womb, he lept for joy, recognizing the Messiah in Mary's womb too.

Elizabeth is overcome by the moment ' Why should i be honoured with the mother of my Lord'.  Perhaps too we can understand that expression and make it our own when Mary too 'visits' us in our daily lives with her kindness, wisdom and correction too.  Perhaps we may wish to reflect on what some of the  official apparitions of Mary mean to us?  We are being honoured with the visit of the mother of my Lord if we choose to embrace the official apparitions.

Mary's response is the hymn of praise- the magnificat.   Although she would have prayed it intensely at that moment with Elizabeth, it is not a prayer that she composed herself.  The Magnificat came from the scriptures and she would have been familiar with it.  Nevertheless,  she gave praise to God rather than have the attention on herself.  In other words, everything was in its right perspective- God first and give Him the praise and honour due to Him rather than accepting praise and power for oneself.  

May we celebrate this Solemnity in a special way regardless of whether we are in a lock down or not.  Let us give praise to God for giving us Mary, His mother to us.  

Let us celebrate with the hope that one day too we will be in Heaven.