Sunday, November 29, 2020

Collect for First Sunday of Advent Year B

 COLLECT SERIES

COLLECT

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


Let us pray
(that we may take Christ's coming seriously)
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.
In making this prayer tangible, the following reflection questions emerged:

  1. How will I take Christ's coming seriously this coming week?
  2. In taking Christ's coming seriously, what changes will I make to my life?
  3. Examine my will for doing good right now and decide what steps will I take to increase its strength?
  4. How will I make best use of this season of Advent to give Christ an eager welcome at Christmas?
  5.  What gift will I give Christ at Christmas this year?
  6. What short term, medium and long term goals do I wish to achieve this liturgical year?

Today's Gospel message is very clear "Stay awake! You never know when the Lord will come''.  This should give us all a knock out of our seats in Church.  However, let us consider it further. 

Consider for a moment when we are sleepy and tired. We are not physically, emotionally, spiritually switched on. We are tired, even exhausted, our capacity to make well informed decisions is greatly impaired since our capacity to concentrate is shot. It is so hard to stay awake when we are tired. We also need to think about why we are tired. Perhaps we have been burning the midnight oil or just so tired that our bodies cannot sleep.

The Church commands us to stay awake. To be awake implies that we are conscious at least- hopefully physically, emotionally and spiritually in good condition. Our senses are on heightened alert. Why do we need to remain in peak condition?  Today's gospel tells us 'You never know when the Lord will come''.

We may all had the experience of someone we love dying suddenly. For those left behind, it is a tragedy and great shock because they were not expecting it. I had this experience with the sudden death of my mother..  Thankfully mum was ready to meet her Lord.

The season of Advent gives us time to prepare spiritually for the coming of Christmas. If we only make physical preparations such as the meal, the cleaning, the Christmas tree and crib, then we  will lose the benefit of this season. We are to prepare spiritually for the coming of the Lord, not only at Christmas, but for our own meeting with Him when He calls us home. We need to be like the five sensible bridesmaids who have enough oil for their lamps so that when the bridegroom comes at any hour of day or night, we are ready to trim our lamps.

Advent too is a time to ponder His second coming.  Advent is a season of hope.  Scripture is quite clear about this also.  Scripture tells us that we do not know the hour or the day of the Lord's second coming. The Church in this season of Advent invites us to be ready for the Lord's coming and look forward to it with hope.



Saturday, November 14, 2020

In this quiet hour Lord.

 

REFLECTION AND PRAYER SERIES.


My reflection and prayer series is about sharing reflections and Prayers which have impacted upon me and have provided food for thought. I hope that they will also nurture your soul and spirit.

 

My Scripture reflection is 

 


''Is not the Lord Your God with You?
Has  He not granted you rest on every side ”’   
(Chronicles 22:18) )

 



Christ The Redeemer.

 

 

My post is called:

 

In this quiet hour Lord.

In this quiet hour Lord,

 Come to bless me

Let me know nothing  

but Your presence and Your grace.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Collect for 32nd Sunday of Year A

 

COLLECT SERIES



 

COLLECT

 The Collect for the 32nd Sunday of the Year reads as follows:


Almighty and merciful God,

Graciously keep from us all adversity,

So that unhindered in mind and body alike,

We may pursue freedom of heart the things that are Yours.

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 for during the week the following reflections questions emerged:

1.    How does God show me mercy in my life?

2.    What adversity has been part of my life? 

3.    What lessons have I learned from adversity in my life?

4.    What adversities do I want God to spare me?

5.    What are the things that hinder my mind and body?

6.    How can I purse freedom of heart and the things that are Yours this coming week?

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION.

 

What happens when we are asleep?  Hopefully we relax and sleep to give our bodies and minds rest and build up strength for the next day. We dream, even though most of us are not aware of it. It is the way our mind processes what is going on in the subconscious.

What happens when we cannot get enough sleep? We toss and turn and/or perhaps we get up and make a cuppa or sit up for a while until we are ready to fall asleep again or at least give it another try.  I know- I have many nights like this, although now I use this restlessness to pray as well as have  a cuppa.

When we are sleep deprived it is difficult to function the next day.  The mind can be foggy, our judgement is clouded, our focus is diminished and if you are like me, I need more coffee to begin to function.

 

So staying awake in a practical sense seems odd b/c our physical  and emotional reserves are depleted if we do not get enough rest.

 

Staying awake means keeping our consciousness alert.  It means being focused, motivated and driven to complete the task.

When we stay awake in the spiritual sense, we are aware and attuned to our God who loves us.  We are on the ready for anything.

 

Ask yourself ‘ are you ready for Heaven right now?   What unfinished business would you leave undone?  Are these things important?

Many catholics joke that we want to get to Heaven but not now… we might wonder why we are reluctant to get there.  Is it fear of our death or judgement?  God is always merciful- just but merciful.

 

In this month of November, we may wish to remember the souls in Purgatory.  Yes, it is a teaching of the church.  We are invited to remember those who have gone before us, who have received their personal judgement from God and who need to make reparation for their failures, sins and  unworthiness for Heaven- they are not yet perfect.

We need to pray for them as they cannot pray for themselves.  They need our prayers, our attendance at Mass, join in our communion and offering our day for them.  Everything we do can be offered for them. 

We can stay awake by considering our lives deeply now and where needed take appropriate action to rectify with God’s help what is needed.  That way we can grow in holiness and  know that should we get the call to come to Heaven, we will be ready.  We will look forward to that call from God to take us home.  Heaven after all is our home.

 

 


Sunday, November 1, 2020

All Saints Day and All Souls Day

 

THE ORIGINS OF ALL SAINTS AND ALL SOULS DAY.






The feasts of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, when Catholics are encouraged to offer Masses and prayers for our deceased family members and relatives, were the living expression of a doctrine which stretched back to the earliest era of Christianity, and which is embodied in the Apostles' Creed.

 

The origin of All Saints Day is to be found in the prayers made to the martyr saints of the persecuted Church in the early centuries.  All Souls Day reflects the constant teaching of the Church, stretching back into the Old Testament period where it is record in the Book Maccabees, " It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to prayer for the dead, that they may loosed from their sins'

 

It seems a tragedy that All Saints Day is less recognized that Halloween, now a secular celebration of what was once the day before All Hallows (Saints) Day.

 

In Australia in 2001, the Australian bishops made a decision to reduce the number of Holy Days of Obligation, with the great feast of All Saints Day and All Souls Day (albeit an unofficial Holy Day of Obligation) disappearing from the awareness of even practising Catholics. Sadly, in some parishes including mine, the emphasis in November is about students and exams, rather than the Holy Souls.  As a consequence of that decision, a diminished awareness of the doctrine of Communion of Saints has resulted, a doctrine which teaches that believers on earth are united in a spiritual fellowship with the saints in Heaven and the souls in Purgatory.

 

These beautiful feasts days are both a source of inspiration and a consolation that we, in the world as the pilgrim Church can aspire to be reunited with our families and friends who are the Church triumphant in the joyful perfection of Heaven.  We can also give the souls in purgatory- great consolation by our prayers and Masses since we can pray for them, but they cannot pray for themselves.  Let us especially pray for the Holy Souls who have no one to pray for them or have been forgotten.

 


Many Catholics like to think that their loved ones have gone ''straight to Heaven''.  However, as consoling as this thought is at the time of death, it is not Church teaching.  You may wish to check the Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph 1029-31 on Purgatory. However the doctrine of purgatory also gives us hope. We hope that we will get to heaven ourselves but we live in the hope that our loved ones have reached eternity.  We do not know for sure on most occasions, but there are times that bereaved get a certain sense that their loved ones have reached eternity.  We live in hope.

However, just for a few moments let us be practical. If a person went into confession and confessed their sins and came out and dropped dead straightaway outside the door of the confessional, then, yes, there might be a possibility of a quicker route to Heaven. If a person who had the opportunity of a plenary indulgence and died outside the confessional, then there definitely could be case for going straight to heaven, since any residual effect would be wiped. Short of that, we all have some shortfalls/sins/weakness at the time of death.

 

To enter Heaven, we want to be perfect, ''just as our Heavenly Father is perfect''.  So God, in His kindness and love provides that opportunity for our souls to be cleansed and purified. Of course, how long we are in purgatory is in a sense up to us, since we can use our time wisely here on earth spiritually, or we can squander it largely or to a lesser extent. However when we die and give an account of ourselves, God, by giving us the chance of purgatory is being kind and letting us know that our salvation is assured, but we still need to do some ''grooming'' through the efforts of the pilgrim church and the Church triumphant.  We cannot do it ourselves.
It will be one of my happiest moments in heaven if someone tells me in heaven that my prayers, works of charity or trials  and attending Mass helped to release them from Purgatory.


What about you? Would you want to hear it from someone in heaven too?

 HOW TO MAKE THESE FEASTS TOUCH YOU DURING COVID.

In this year of Covid, where some countries are coming out of lock down and some are going back to lock down, this month of November, we can be a great help to each other.  If you are in a country where Mass is celebrated in person, ( even if there are only 10 worshippers allowed), remember that the Saints and Souls in purgartory are with you there too.  I like to think of the Church being crowded with all the Saints, souls in Purgatory and all the angels too with the 10 worshippers we are allowed ot have in our country currently.  Wow what a congregation Remember too to pray for all the people in the world whose country is in lock down and they are not able to get to Mass in person.

 

If your country is in lock down, avail yourself of the live streaming Masses around the world.  Priests say of course that it is not the same as being in person. That is true but when this is the only possibility for your faith to be nurtured by attending Mass, then don’t skip it.  It is the attitude in which you participate.  Attend Mass online not watch it like you would a movie. Make your spiritual communion too. 

 

Know that when I am able to be at Mass in person, I am offering my Mass and communion for you.  When I attend Mass online, I still offer up the Mass for you too and share in the pain of not being able to receive Jesus sacramentally.  Still, with faith, God can do everything.


I know that He has supplied me with huge graces this year throughout covid. I hope not to squander them. I am so grateful for all God’s blessings during lock down.

 

Let us assist the Holy Souls by our prayers, works of charity, offering up our day and trials for them and attending Mass for their souls not only on these great feasts, but also during the month of November especially, but also during the year.

 

Let these great feasts touch our spiritual consciousness this year.

 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Have Mercy on us O Lord.

 

REFLECTION AND PRAYER SERIES.


My reflection and prayer series is about sharing reflections and Prayers which have impacted upon me and have provided food for thought. I hope that they will also nurture your soul and spirit.

 

My Scripture reflection is 

 


''I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation”’   
(Psalm 13:5)

 



Christ The Redeemer.

 

 

My post is called:

 

Have Mercy on us O Lord.

Have mercy on Your hurting world Redeemer,

To ones for who You suffered Calvary

Reach out to even those who still reject You,

And add them to the Father’s family.

 

 

 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Seeing Your Glory

 

REFLECTION AND PRAYER SERIES.


My reflection and prayer series is about sharing reflections and Prayers which have impacted upon me and have provided food for thought. I hope that they will also nurture your soul and spirit.

 

My Scripture reflection is 

 

''The name of the Lord Jesu Christ may be glorified in you and you in Him,
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”’   
2 Thessalonians 1:12)

 



Christ The Redeemer.

 

 

My post is called:

 

Seeing Your Glory.

 

Lord whatever You give me to do, I pray

 neither my self nor the work

will stand in the way of others seeing Your Glory.

 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Collect for 29th Sunday of Year A

COLLECT SERIES

 


COLLECT

 

The Collect for the 29th Sunday of Year reads as follows:

Almighty ever- living God,

Grant that we may always conform our will to Yours

And serve Your majesty in sincerity of heart.

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 for during the week the following reflection questions

1.How do I conform my will to Yours?

2. How can I conform my will to Yours this coming week?

3. What does it mean to me to serve God’s majesty?

4. What are the hindrances/obstacles which prevent me serving Your majesty in sincerity of heart?

5. What does sincerity of heart mean to me in relation to my relationship with God?

 

GOSPEL REFLECTION

The Gospel is from Matthew 22:15-21. In this Gospel the following issues are highlighted for us to consider:

1.    1. The dual role of being a Christian and a good citizen.
2.    The nature of our intentions in relation to other people.
3.    The importance of honest communication.

 

Let us examine each of these now.

1.    The dual role of being a Christian and a good citizen.

God's plan for humanity man on earth was that humanity should live in the society of his fellowmen. It is necessary that society must be governed, there must be authority which will direct the actions of the component members toward the common good, which common good is principally, though not exclusively, the material welfare of the members as a whole.

As his ultimate end, however, humanity has his spiritual welfare. This government, this temporal power to rule and direct the human groups or societies or states, comes, therefore, from God for it is his will that such societies should exist. The answer of our Lord explicitly restates this fundamental norm of the divine natural law. "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's;" the state authorities have a right to the obedience and cooperation in all things that tend to the material welfare of the state, provided always the spiritual welfare of the members is not impeded by the rulers' demands.

As a partly spiritual being we are destined to be a citizen of a spiritual eternal kingdom, and while on this earth, we have both the obligation and the possibility of preparing ourselves for citizenship in that kingdom. And since this kingdom is of a higher and much more important nature, man's primary aim in life must be to reach that kingdom. He must, in other words, find out and fulfill his duties toward God; he must "give to God what is God's."

This dual citizenship of man and the dual obligations that arise from it are the common knowledge of all from the natural law but are made more explicit still in divine revelation of which today's answer, given by Christ to the Pharisees, is a precise and perfect resume. We have duties to God and duties to our country and the fulfillment of the latter is part of the fulfillment of the former. We Christians have no doubts as to our obligations under these two headings. We fulfill our duties to God by being faithful, loyal, active members of the spiritual kingdom, the Church, which Christ established on earth in order to lead us to our eternal kingdom. We fulfill our duties to our country by loyally obeying the just laws of the State, by paying all lawful taxes, and by contributing our share, whenever called on, toward the common good.

2.      The nature of our intentions in relation to other people

In today’s Gospel we note that the Pharisees wanted to set a trap for Jesus. Note too, that they gather their disciples too, hoping that perhaps some of them at least would turn away from Jesus assuming that, of course Jesus fell for their trap.  Jesus of course did not fall for their trap because He was aware of their malice.
So what about us?  Do we set traps for other people in our lives?  Does malice reside in us?   What is malice?

Malice as a definition means the desire to harm someone; ill will.  Malice means that there is a desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness:

The desire begins in the heart and often means that the person is needy in some area of his/her life.

 

4.    Like many emotions, malice can be placed on a sliding scale, but it is still malice.  It can start out small but it gathers momentum in our hearts if we do not check it constantly. We need to examine the reasons why we do a particular action/sin against ourselves and others.   We need to bring our heart to Jesus who can read our secret intentions.  Bearing ill will towards our neighbour is not putting into practice the commandment to love- to love God, our neighbour and ourselves.  It is important to remember that when ill will resides in our hearts, it is like a cancer- it will spread and not only can we do harm to others but we also can do harm to our physical, emotional and spiritual health.

3.
The importance of honest communication.

We are taught to communicate from our earliest years.  However, what we have learned may not necessarily be a healthy and honest communication pattern.  Learning to communicate honestly is vital for our own happiness and for our relationships.

Sadly however, many people in society do not engage in honest communication.  It may be out of ignorance to know how to communicate honestly or it may be that they have continues a communication pattern that they have had most of their lives without examining and reviewing it. 
The good news for us is that we can, with commitment and work change our communication patterns to a healthier style and learn to be honest in our communication.
For example: Some people are invited to a party/ office party or dinner party. They really do not want to attend.  Instead of declining the invitation politely, they fear saying no. Instead, because of this fear, they attend a party to which they did not want to attend.  Sometimes people make up an excuse tor not attending the party and later are trapped in themselves from guilt because they know they have lied.  They may also be trapped later as they do not remember the excuse they gave.

Jesus reminds us in scripture to say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no Anything else comes from the evil one.  This is in essence honest communication.  We do not have to make excuses or attend parties that we do not want to attend.  We do not have to say yes when we mean no or vice versa.  Being truthful and honest helps us live with a clear conscience spiritually but it also nourishes our emotional and physical wellbeing.

Returning to the Gospel of today, we may ask why did the Pharisees want to trap Jesus?  Why did they feel threatened by Jesus?  Why did they gather the disciples to come with them?  When we ponder these questions, we can acknowledge that not only did they feel inadequate, threatened that their status was changing, fearful that they may need to examine their lives and change, wanted to have a power game with Jesus, force the disciples to choose that we, too need to examine our lives and see how malice appears and is operative.  It may be subtle but it can live there. 

Today therefore we are challenged by Jesus to examine our lives, to explore our intentions of our hearts and examine when/where malice exists in us.  We are to learn to review our communication pattern and learn to be honest before Him and before others as well as ourselves.  We are also to remember that we have dual citizenship both on earth and in Heaven but that Heaven is our true home.  We must live out the Gospel values.