8th March 2021

Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock” | aunties bible lessons


MONDAY, THIRD WEEK OF LENT

Reading 1: 2 Kgs 5:1-15 Naaman, a leper, is cured by bathing three times in the Jordan River.

Gospel: Lk 4: 24-30 Jesus returns to his home town Nazareth, but he is rejected by his old friends, who want to kill him.


WELCOMING OUR SAVIOUR WITH HUMILITY

Today’s gospel speaks about Jesus’ rejection by his own people. Just a few verses earlier, we find Jesus reading from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, about the mission of the Messiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me„.” Jesus’ first words after reading the text were “This text is being fulfilled today in your hearing.” And Luke writes that he won the approval of all. Immediately however, we encounter today’s gospel passage wherein there is a drastic change in the attitude of the people. From rejoicing, they are now angered to the point of trying to kill him. What brought about this drastic change? Arrogance.

Isaiah’s prophecy proclaimed the greatness of the Messiah – God would empower him with his own Spirit – as well as the great blessings and privileges that the people associated with him would receive – ‘good news to the afflicted, liberty to the captives, sight to the blind, relief to the oppressed.’ Thus, when Jesus proclaimed himself to be the one Isaiah was referring to, the people had no trouble accepting it; in fact, they rejoiced because they had heard what he had done in Capernaum. And if he had done so much for those outsiders, how much more would he do for his own! They approved of him because they considered it their right to receive the best of those blessings and privileges, up until Jesus, recognizing their arrogant presumption, bluntly told them the truth, that he had come for all, and he belonged to all – favouring none, excluding none.

When arrogance is confronted by the truth, its only response is anger and violence. If the people of Nazareth felt they had a claim over Jesus of Nazareth, it is not impossible for the same attitude of arrogance and privilege to poison the hearts of those who bear the name of Christ. Beware therefore dear Christian, to hold close to your heart at all times, the antidote to arrogance, that of humility


Responsorial Psalm: Ps 42:1-2, 43:3-4 My soul is thirsting for God, the living God. When can I enter and appear before the face of God?


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7th March 2021

Cleansing the Temple Complex – Rays of Love


SUNDAY, THIRD WEEK OF LENT

Reading 1: Ex 20:1-17 We hear of the commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. They are a map of life for a people that has a special relationship with God.

Reading 2: 1 Cor 1:22-25 St. Paul reveals the content of his preaching, namely, Christ crucified. To some the idea of a crucified Saviour makes no sense whatsoever. But to those who can grasp it, it is a sign of the wisdom of God.

Gospel: Jn 2: 13-25 John gives his account of the cleansing of the Temple and how the Jews reacted to this “sign.”


DOING GOD’S WILL IS TRUE WORSHIP

God does not need a house to live in, like we do. We are soul and body, whereas God is pure spirit. Rain, cold, heat does not affect him; he does not need shelter. He is everywhere at one and the same time. Heaven and earth are the work of his hands, and no house, however large, can contain him. Yet God, through Moses, instructed the people of Israel to offer him sacrifices of animals, the produce of the fields, etc. Twice daily, a lamb was sacrificed in the Temple of Jerusalem and offered, together with flour, oil and wine. On solemn feast days and various occasions, pigeons, lambs, bulls and other sacrifices prescribed by the Law of Moses were done.

Why did God ask for these sacrifices? What was the motive behind these instructions to the people through Moses? God had chosen the people of Israel from the nations, so that through them, faith in him may be sustained, nurtured and shared to other nations, and that the world be prepared to receive the Messiah. Now, those nations and pagan tribes that were Israel’s neighbours practised these rituals of animal sacrifices and fruit offerings in honour of their idols. On occasion, they even sacrificed their own children to their gods. Had not the Israelites been given ways of worship similar to theirs, they would have been drawn to their idolatrous and sinful practices. History testifies to their constant temptation to imitate these neighbours of theirs, for example, their demand for a king from Samuel. Hence, God prescribed for his people, in detail, what they were to offer and how they were to do it. God, like a father and teacher, adapted himself to the narrow and shallow mindset of his people. Through these material sacrifices, he would lead Israel to express its faith and trust in himself thus preparing them for a more genuine form of worship. “For you do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you take no pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps 51:16-17).

In today’s gospel we have an episode that takes place in this same Temple; we are told that Jesus was angry at the things going on there. He certainly did not condemn the sincerity and good faith of the simple people who honoured his Father as best they knew by fulfilling the rules prescribed by Moses. He admonished instead, the greed of the religious leaders who took advantage of this simple faith to become rich under the pretense of honouring God.

All the four gospels narrate the chasing of the traders and money-changers by Jesus, and his fury at those conducting business in his Father’s house. The reply given by Jesus to the Jewish leaders was a prophecy of his death and resurrection. “Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.” Jesus called himself the sanctuary, indicating that a precious worship was being conducted within his own self. And indeed, it was. As he declared to his apostles at the beginning of his passion: “It is for this purpose that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify Your name!” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” (Jn 12:27-28)

Christ came into the world to teach us how to worship his Father in a worthy manner; to worship him in the way he himself did, by a life of complete obedience to his will. Through baptism, each of us are blessed with the same privilege of being God’s temple. God’s temple is where God’s will is done. And in this way, he is worshiped and glorified. May our external acts of worship be a manifestation of the constant attitude of worship that reigns in the depths of our hearts.


Responsorial Psalm: PPs 19:8-11 Lord, you have the words of eternal life.


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6th March 2021

The Prodigal Son Is A Story of Restoration – 21st Century Sojourner


SATURDAY, SECOND WEEK OF LENT

Reading 1: Mic 7:14-15,18-20 We see a vision of God who forgives sins, removes guilt, and delights in clemency and compassion.

Gospel: Lk 15: 1-3, 11-32 Jesus tells the parable of the Prodigal Son. It is the story of our life as sinners, whom God never gives up on!


RETURN TO THE EMBRACE OFTHE FATHER

The image of the Lord as our shepherd is always a comforting one. Today’s readings focus on how the Lord is not only always at our side shepherding us through life, but loves us no matter what. Many times as teenagers, children tend to get rebellious and ‘fight for their freedom.’ However, no matter what the child does, the mother will hide all the pain in her heart, and selflessly and compassionately love her child.

In our journey of life when things are going well, we are prone to turn away from God; however, the pleasure of sin lasts but for a short while. As soon as we face a hardship or sorrow, we run to God, pleading to be freed from the burden.

The first reading, proclaiming God’s compassion, reminds us that he is a forgiving God who never stays angry, shows his faithfulness and showers his constant love on his people. God eagerly waits for us his children to come back to him; for this, we just need a tiny spark of repentance to be ignite our hearts. The Lord patiently and lovingly waits with open arms to embrace us and surely rejoices on our homecoming. “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are unwell.” (Mk 2:17)

The parable of the Prodigal son is one of the most versatile parables in the Gospels and it is apt to any given time. Even today we can identify ourselves with the characters. Transformation is something that we are all in need of. It is never too late to turn back from an unchristian life and embrace God. Confession is one of the powerful sacraments which unburdens our soul, leaving it devoid of all debt of the past, and with the feeling of being accepted in love and equipped with new strength. This Lenten season, as we acknowledge our shortcomings before God, let us become more loving and forgiving people, thus bringing peace not only to our lives but to that of others as well.


Responsorial Psalm: Ps 103: 1-4, 9-12 The Lord is compassionate and gracious.


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5th March 2021

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy - Give Yourself Grace!


FRIDAY, SECOND WEEK OF LENT

Reading 1: Gen 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28 We hear the story of Joseph, hated by his brothers and sold as a slave into Egypt for twenty pieces of silver. Gospel: Mt 21:33-43, 45-46 Jesus relates the parable of the tenants of a vineyard who abuse the owner’s messengers, and when the owner sends his son, they kill him: a prophecy of how Jesus will be treated

COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF ALL JOY

Today’s reading reminds us of the story of Joseph and his brothers in the Old Testament. It is true that Israel loved Joseph more than his brothers. Nevertheless, he loved his other sons as well. Joseph understood his father’s love for him. This made him love his brothers who ill-treated him. The problem with his brothers was that they were so engrossed in comparing themselves with their favoured brother, that they failed to recognize how much their father loved them. Thus, all that they were left with was jealousy and hatred.

Does not the same thing happen even today? Jealousy, resentment, hatred has given rise to sibling rivalry that has led to so many crimes committed against one’s own flesh and blood. The root cause of it all is the lack of realization of one’s incomparable value of being precious in the eyes of God. He, who has created us in his own image and likeness, gives us every opportunity, to know how precious he has made us, and to enhance this exceptional dignity and worth bestowed upon us. It is we who miss out on these opportunities, by seeking to measure our value by the perishable things and fleeting affections of this world.

For Joseph, it must have been very painful to suffer hostility and rejection from his own brothers. But he rose above his natural instincts, to act by the power of grace. This we see in the course of his life. He was left to die in a well, and then sold to the Midianites as a slave by his own brothers. Yet, when God placed him in a position of authority over them, he forgave. We can recognize here his closeness to God. He trusted him and accepted his will even in his most painful circumstances, thus becoming a docile instrument to bring to fulfilment the divine plan. Joseph teaches us today to recognize our worth in the eyes of God and not of men, and to trust in his love, no matter where he chooses to lead us.


Responsorial Psalm: Ps 105: 16-21 Remember the wonders the Lord has done.


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4th March 2021

26th Sunday in OT (C) - The Catholic News


THURSDAY, SECOND WEEK OF LENT

Reading 1: Jer 17:5-10 Jeremiah presents the contrast between the person who trusts in himself rather than in God and the one who places his trust in the Lord.

Gospel: Lk 16:19-31 We hear the story of the rich man who is punished in hell on account of his indifference to the beggar lying at his gate.


GOD HAS HELPED

There comes a time in life when we are forced to pause, and reassess our priorities. At such times, we realise that we are but dependent beings in need of help. We need to trust somebody or something other than ourselves. Our choice determines our destiny. Some people place their trust in their influential friends thinking that they will provide them the security that their heart craves for. In today’s first reading, Jeremiah condemns such people because no human being can ever satisfy the yearnings of the heart. There are others who trust in material things, like fame and fortune. They resemble the rich man in today’s Gospel, whose wealth blinded him to the reality of life and hardened his heart. We know the tragic consequences he reaped in the life after. Still worse are the people who trust in themselves, thinking that their talents, strengths and abilities are all that they need. The saying ‘pride comes before a fall’ was born because of them.

But there are those who, with a humble heart, place their trust in God alone, and he never fails to help these, who make him their refuge and strength. In the eyes of the world, they may appear to be utter failures, but they are not disturbed. Suffer they will, but they will possess in their hearts a peace that the world cannot give. Lazarus is an example of such a person. He was rewarded for his disposition with life eternal. The word Lazarus means ‘God has helped’, for God really helps those who place their hope solely on him as Jeremiah explains.

The Bible repeatedly reminds us of the futility of depending on anyone or anything other than God. Only he can fill the emptiness within and without, for he can provide us with more than we can ever ask or imagine. Therefore, choose wisely where you want to deposit your trust. You will either rue your choice in eternity like the rich man, or be comforted in heaven forever like Lazarus.


Responsorial Psalm: Ps 1:1-4, 6 Blessed the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.


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3rd March 2021

Faith Quote By Elbert Hubbard - Picture Quotes - WiQuotes.com


WEDNESDAY, FIRST WEEK OF LENT

Reading 1: Jer 18:18-20 We are told of a plot to destroy Jeremiah, and we hear his prayer to the Lord for deliverance.

Gospel: Mt 20:17-28 Jesus predicts his Passion and death, and two of his disciples scheme for privileged places in his kingdom.


 JUDGED NOT BY OUR AWARDS, BUT BY OUR SCARS

We live in a tech savvy world, which is measured by one’s following. Celebrities, politicians have a great following on instagram, twitter, youtube etc. In television contests, academic exams, etc, we are judged if we are greater or better than the rest. All life seems to boil down to ‘who is the greatest?’ It is often presented as a race, made up of one competition after another and that only the those who come first count. Are we imparting a wrong lesson to our little ones to always become greater than the other? And what happens to those who fail or are defeated? Are they able to cope up or are they helped to learn from their mistakes?

Jeremiah struggled to come to terms with his call to be a prophet at such a young age. Furthermore, through his prophetic utterances, he disturbs the consciences of the people, and receives, in turn, suffering, persecution and ridicule. In the Gospel, we find Jesus embracing his call towards the cross. Jesus came as a humble lamb and offered his life for others. He was very clear about it when he said: “I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29). It is very queer that two of his very intimate friends, present a request to hold high offices in his empire, through their mother.

A Christian is like a lighted candle in a dark room, who cannot help but stand out and be noticed. S/he does not have to be great in the eyes of any person, but rather by their life itself, become a light to all those around them. Christ challenges us, “If you wish to be my disciple, take up your cross, and follow me.” It is necessary that we take a look at our own weakness and then abandon ourselves in the hands of the Lord. We will win and become great when God takes charge of our life. Let us learn to die to our self and live with the Lord. This is the journey we ought to make from Ash Wednesday to the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.


Responsorial Psalm: Ps 31:5-6, 14-16 Save me, O Lord, in your merciful love.


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2nd March 2021

Pin by Inspirational Quotes Gallery on Quotes | Gandhi quotes, Mahatma  gandhi quotes, Gandhi


TUESDAY, SECOND WEEK OF LENT

Reading 1: Is 1:10, 16-20 Prophet Isaiah urges the Israelites to make a decision. Wash yourselves clean, cease doing evil. God assures Israel that no sin is too great to be forgiven

Gospel: Mt 23:1-12 Jesus warns against Phariseeism — going through the external motions of being religious, the heart being absent.


LOSE YOURSELF IN THE SERVICE OF OTHERS

The Pharisees were great teachers of the law. There was one problem however; many of them did not practice what they preached. They reduced the exalted spiritual message of the Law to sets of laws, customs and practices, and sought after legalistic perfection, instead of being examples of holiness. They also loved sitting in the places of honour as well as being called “Rabbi.” Thus, when they went to the synagogue or a banquet, they automatically took the best seats that were available. They relished the regard and respect that were given to them due to their religious position.

Observing all these outward signs of religiosity that the Pharisees exhibited, Jesus questioned their motivation. Did they simply enjoy the reverence, esteem, and perks that were given to them, or were they sincerely and deeply spiritual? Jesus instructs his disciples that their role is to serve the people – not to be served. They are to follow the Jewish laws and customs as the Pharisees taught, but were not to follow their example. He hoped that his disciples would be humble in the best sense of the word.

We are all called to live by one law – God’s law of love. Today is a good day for us to make ourselves aware of our motivations. Why do we do what we do? Is it so that others will think highly of us? Or is it because we truly care about people and desire to help them as best we can? Service is a great gift to give others. Most of the time our service consists of small daily tasks or actions. However, in this process, perhaps the true gift is the genuine love that the service originates from and carries along with it into the heart of the other! May our eyes and hearts be opened today, to reach out to the people around us and genuinely care for them. Perhaps today, someone will reach out and care for us as well.


Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23 To one whose way is blameless, I will show the salvation of God.


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1st March 2021

Are You a Disciple of Christ? - David Servant


MONDAY, SECOND WEEK OF LENT

Reading 1: Dan 9:4-10 We hear a national act of sorrow by the people of God for their having violated their covenant and rebelled against God and his commandments.

Gospel: Lk 6:36-38 Jesus pleads with his followers for compassion, pardon, and generosity towards all peoples.


THE RIGHT ATTITUDE OF A CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE

There are things that obstruct, and those that facilitate. When faced with difficult challenges, if people around us encourage or assist us, then the achievement of that task becomes much easier. On the other hand, when faced with a relatively easy challenge, if the people around us discourage or hinder us, then achieving it becomes a lot more difficult. Forgiving and loving those who have hurt us, who have back-stabbed us – especially if they are close – is very difficult. However, if the person shows genuine repentance and asks for mercy, then the process of forgiveness becomes easier. But if the person does not show any remorse nor bothers to apologize, then forgiving becomes very difficult, if not impossible.

Not judging others, not condemning others, forgiving, generously giving and then being merciful like the Heavenly Father is what Jesus requires of his followers in today’s Gospel. Certainly, these precepts are not easy to practice. The first reading presents Daniel pleading God for mercy and forgiveness. Instead of accusing God of injustice, he accuses himself and his own people for the punishment that God has inflicted upon them. That should be the attitude of the one who cries to God for help.

Today, many Christians have become experts in accusing others and excusing themselves even in the confessional! As a result, for them to forgive others and to be forgiven by others, seems an impossible and, sometimes, an irrational act. May we become experts in excusing others and accusing ourselves when we do wrongs. Let not our compassion, forgiveness, and generosity be based on nature of others but on the nature of our Heavenly Father whose merciful love for us endures forever. Let us also help others to forgive us by expressing our genuine repentance, and to be generous, by sincerely expressing our gratefulness.


Responsorial Psalm: Ps 79:8,9,11,13 O Lord, do not treat us according to our sins.


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28th February 2021

Feast of the Transfiguration | Description, History, & Date | Britannica


SUNDAY, SECOND WEEK OF LENT

Reading 1: Gen 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18 God asks Abraham to offer in sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. Abraham’s obedience was complete. He was ready to sacrifice his son according to the wish of God, until when the Lord stopped him.

Reading 2: Rom 8:31-34 St. Paul tells us that God did not spare his own Son but handed him over to death for the sake of all of us.

Gospel: Mk 9:2-10 Jesus is transfigured before the eyes of three of his apostles on Mount Tabor. This glimpse of his glory was meant to sustain their faith in him during his passion and death.


SACRIFICE IS THE WAY TO GLORY

Abraham is called the father of faith because he was willing to sacrifice his only beloved son Isaac in obedience to the will of God. But God spares the blood of Isaac, and, looking at the great faith of Abraham, embraces him and his descendants as his own, and promises them everlasting glory. However, the sacrifice has to be completed and Abraham finds a ram caught up in a bush for the same. We see a similar instance in the New Testament when God offers his only beloved son to be crucified, that humanity may be saved, and receive eternal glory and salvation. The readings today portray two sons: Isaac, the son of Abraham, and Jesus Christ, the son of God. One (Isaac) is saved, while the other (Jesus) is sacrificed on the mountain, one needs redemption and the other is the redeemer; the sacrifice of one saves the other, and the very same sacrifice leads to glory.

This is very much vivid in today’s Gospel which presents us with the event of the transfiguration of our Lord. We find the event of the transfiguration in all the three synoptic gospels, and in all the places, the passion prediction of Jesus goes just before and after the scene of the transfiguration. It was on the top of the mountain that the transfiguration took place, an event which foreshadows the glory of the resurrection which has been offered to all of us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A glimpse of this wonderful glory experienced by Peter, makes him persuade Jesus to stay atop the mountain of glory, and he even offers to build three tents for the Master, the LawGiver and the Prophet. But when Jesus presents these passion predictions, he makes it clear that it is not that easy to achieve this glory, and that they will have to sacrifice this present glory to achieve the eternal glory. Indeed, this mount of glory is awaiting us, but not until we have passed through the mount of sorrow. And this Jesus showed us when he bore the excruciating passion and death on the cross at Mount Calvary.

We are blessed with the gift of salvation, but we also have to remember that salvation has been won for us at the cost of a great sacrifice, which is the blood of Jesus Christ. There is no other way towards salvation than that shown and walked by the Lord. When we decide to walk on this path of salvation, we cannot think of taking a shortcut by making compromises, because there isn’t one. All those who want to achieve this glory have to first accept the cross and follow Jesus as he asks of us: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mt 16:24). And, therefore, the image of the cross, a symbol of horror and death, becomes for us Christians a symbol of glory. The cross becomes the altar on which the sacrifice was offered and the glory received.

To sacrifice is perhaps the most difficult thing to do for most of us. We like to be in our comfort zones like Peter, who found one on the top of the mountain where Jesus was transfigured. But these comfort zones of ours are temporary, and therefore we need to learn to sacrifice them and embrace the crosses that our life has to offer. St Paul, in the second reading, assures us that when we accept the will of God, and make an effort to sacrifice our comfort zones and carry our crosses, the Lord will walk with us, and help us to carry the burden of our lives: : “With God on our side, who can be against us?”


Responsorial Psalm: Ps 116:10, 15-19 I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.


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27th February 2021

Glamorous, Affordable Life: { Be The Good } | Kindness quotes, Quotes,  Inspirational words


SATURDAY, FIRST WEEK OF LENT

Reading 1: Deut 26: 16-19 Moses reminds his people of the covenant God has made with them and again states the conditions for their part in the covenant.

Gospel: Mt 5: 43-48 The Jesus lays down the law of the new covenant, which he will establish as a fulfillment of the old. The law is love for others, including enemies


WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION FOR DOING GOOD?

The gospel text of today is the last of Matthew’s six antitheses. It focuses on the love of neighbour. In the Old Testament, this commandment appears in the book of Leviticus (19:18) where the context was the gathering of the people of Israel (cf. Lev 19:1). There is no command to hate one’s enemy.

Jesus encourages us to love even our enemies. He uses examples of God’s care for all creatures, and wants us to avoid restricting our love only to those who already love us or those whom we can benefit from. This is what is expected of us as disciples of Jesus. Otherwise, there is no difference between Jesus and his disciples, and the rest of humankind. When we follow Jesus and his values, we truly reveal who we are, and act as sons and daughters of the heavenly Father.

Jesus ends his discourse by telling us to “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect”. The word ‘perfect’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘tam’ which means the “wholeness” of God who cares for all humanity. In life, the love we have for others is most often conditional. It is mostly governed by the principle of ‘give and take’. When Jesus asks us to be like the Heavenly Father, he is calling us to a love that is unconditional. Let us do good things out of the goodness of our heart.

St Teresa of Calcutta tells us: “Your true character is most accurately measured by how you treat those who mean nothing to you”. It is quite natural that we would fall short, time and again, in our endeavor to do good. Nevertheless, we need to rise up and keep trying, by virtue of a conscious effort, to treat people with kindness and respect. We can refrain from malice and hostility. Our power to do the same comes from God. Love comes as a grace from God who is love itself. During the season of Lent, let us keep praying for this divine gift


Responsorial Psalm: Ps 119: 1-2, 4-5, 7-8 Blessed are those who walk in the law of the Lord!


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