28th JANUARY 2023

My Reflections...: 1Reflection for Saturday February 1, Third Week in  Ordinary Time: Mark 4:35-41

SATURDAY, THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Memorial of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Doctor

 

Heb 11: 1-2, 8-19;                  Lk 1: 69-75;               Mk 4: 35-41


SENSES CANNOT GRASP THE MYSTERY OF GOD

The readings today speak of the importance of faith in our lives. The passage from the letter to the Hebrews, speaks of how Abraham found justification through his unconditional faith in God. Abraham, called out of his country, and a steady life with a promise of an inheritance and progeny, gave up everything, to follow God, trusting in his promise. Thus beginning with Abraham, then Sarah, Isaac and Jacob chose to trust God, and this faith became their justification.

In the Gospel, the disciples of Jesus, simple folk with simple minds, witnessed many miracles, heard the teaching of Jesus, and are shrouded in doubt. They could not trust him unconditionally. Unlike Abraham, their faith wavers. It is not only disciples that face this predicament. We too more often than not end up in these kinds of situations of storms and choppy waters. When faced with challenges, sickness, trials, troubles and doubts, where all seems to be lost, and no way out, then we too like disciples can end up in self-doubt, falling in depression, fear, etc. We feel as if God is not even concerned with our predicaments. However, God is always in charge of every situation we face. Just as he remedied the situation in the Gospel, and restored calm, he can help us through any kind of storm in life. We have to however unconditionally put our faith in him.

Saint Therese teaches this attitude of complete trust and surrender to God, through her little way. It is in this doctrine that she teaches us that we are God’s beloved children, and he is our loving Father, who cannot but reach out to his children, and to lift them high. Today we celebrate also the memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, who is another example of living faith in God. He being guided faith and trust in God, could arrive finally that only through faith and trust can we able to encounter the mystery of God.


Response: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited his people.


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27th JANUARY 2023 (INDIA)

Today we celebrate Saints Timothy and Titus, close companions of the  Apostle Paul


FRIDAY, THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bps (INDIA)

 

2 Tm 1:1-8/Ti 1:1-5;              Ps 37: 3-6, 23-24, 39-40;                   Mk 4: 26-34


  

A CHOSEN PEOPLE WHO KNOW HIM

 

Today we celebrate the feast of Saints Timothy and Titus. They were disciples and co-workers of Saint Paul, ardent seekers of the Truth. Both were faithful companions to Paul and zealous followers of Christ, they were inflamed with his mission and were eager to spread his Truth.

 

In the passage from the Letter to Timothy, Paul expresses his deep affection for Timothy, his companion on many missions, and a strong desire to see him. He thanks God for Timothy’s faith which he owes to his Jewish mother Eunice and grandmother Lois. At the same time, he reminds Timothy of the gift he received when Paul laid his hands on him. That gift, says Paul, was not one of timidity but one of power, love and self-control bringing with it the courage of witnessing to the Gospel even when, as in Paul’s case, it involved persecution and suffering. In the alternative reading from the Letter to Titus, Paul reminds his fellow-missionary of the duties of an apostolic person. It is “to bring those whom God has chosen to faith and to the knowledge of the truth that leads to true religion”.

 

 In the Gospel, The farmer planting the seeds and of the mustard seed draw us into a deeper relationship with God. To be a contemplative, we must see ourselves as the seeds that God has planted to grow and bloom into the most beautiful of all his creation. God wants us to slow down, to spend some time in silence and solitude, and to open our hearts to his presence within us.

 


Response: From the Lord comes the salvation of the just.


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27th JANUARY 2023

Hebrews 10:35-36 | worldchallenge.org


FRIDAY, THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Heb 10: 32-39;                       Ps 37: 3-6, 23-24, 39-40;                   Mk 4: 26-34


 

OUR RESPONSE TO SUFFERING

 

The author of the letter to the Hebrews, addressing the persecuted community, acknowledges those who “not only shared in the sufferings of those who were in prison, but happily accepted being stripped of their belongings, knowing they owned something that was better and lasting.” It can be easy to ignore the sufferings of those who are in prisons not just physical detention centers, but the prisons of disease, financial challenges, mental anguish, addictions, abusive relationships, workplace stress, persistent unemployment, violence and repression. When we have an abundance of material items and the freedom to enjoy, it is easy to claim it as a birthright instead of a wonderful gift. What happens if everything is stripped away?

 

The letter goes on to remind us that the sufferings of this world are temporary and momentary. When you read it in context, it is clear that the author is encouraging and exhorting the reader to persevere. If we are faithful till our end in this world, then we will for sure be rewarded the eternal life and this is not given by any human being instead it is rewarded by the Almighty God.

 

 In the Gospel, The farmer planting the seeds and of the mustard seed draw us into a deeper relationship with God. To be a contemplative, we must see ourselves as the seeds that God has planted to grow and bloom into the most beautiful of all his creation. God wants us to slow down, to spend some time in silence and solitude, and to open our hearts to his presence within us.

 


Response: From the Lord comes the salvation of the just.


Copyright ©2023 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

26th JANUARY 2023

Today we celebrate Saints Timothy and Titus, close companions of the  Apostle Paul


THURSDAY, THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bps

 

2 Tm 1:1-8/Ti 1:1-5;              Ps 96:1-3,7-8, 10 ;                  Mk 4: 21-25


 

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE

 

Today we celebrate the feast of Saints Timothy and Titus. They were disciples and co-workers of Saint Paul, ardent seekers of the Truth. Both were faithful companions to Paul and zealous followers of Christ, they were inflamed with his mission and were eager to spread his Truth.

 

In the passage from the Letter to Timothy, Paul expresses his deep affection for Timothy, his companion on many missions, and a strong desire to see him. He thanks God for Timothy’s faith which he owes to his Jewish mother Eunice and grandmother Lois. At the same time, he reminds Timothy of the gift he received when Paul laid his hands on him. That gift, says Paul, was not one of timidity but one of power, love and self-control bringing with it the courage of witnessing to the Gospel even when, as in Paul’s case, it involved persecution and suffering. In the alternative reading from the Letter to Titus, Paul reminds his fellow-missionary of the duties of an apostolic person. It is “to bring those whom God has chosen to faith and to the knowledge of the truth that leads to true religion”.

 

Today Jesus invites to be light. Lamps illuminate the darkness about us. He then further instructs that we should be standing where we can be seen like light seen from a lampstand. I feel that this invitation to become light has two practical implications.

 

The first is at the personal level. Each one of us has received a lamp, which is the Spirit that dwells within us. When light is thrown on something, it is made visible. So also with the life of the Spirit. We get to know ourselves better. What was hidden will come to light as Jesus says in the Gospel (v. 22). This will include also our sin. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin (cfr. Jn 16:8-11). What we can see is what was there all along, just not visible because there wasn’t enough light. Now the Holy Spirit helps us understand what is unethical and sinful in our life and makes us understand the harmful consequences. With the light of truth coming from the Holy Spirit, we will grow in our understanding of who we are and what we are called to be. The second implication is communitarian. When placed on a stand, the light does not shine for itself. It is for others. What if instead of focusing our energies only on self-improvement, we also focused on community improvement? Reflect, today, upon your own calling to a life of abundant generosity. Commit yourself to this life of goodness and then anticipate all that God will pour forth upon you.

 


Response: Proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the peoples.


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26th JANUARY 2023 (INDIA)

Republic Day 2021: Celebrate Republic Day at home with decorative items,  apparels, books, and many more - Times of India


THURSDAY, THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Republic Day of India

 

1 Tm 2:1-8;                Ps 91: 1-6, 10-11;                   Jn 8:31-42


  

ONLY IN CHRIST ARE WE FREE

 

Jesus’ audiences were pretentious about their tradition; they considered themselves as the chosen race and no one could take this from them. Instead of being grateful and kind, they were arrogant and merciless. When Jesus said (Jn 8), “If you make my word your home, you will indeed be my disciples, and you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free.” The Pharisees took it as an offence since they were the descendants of Abraham and had never been slaves of anybody, though, Israel was often enslaved by the other powers. However, Jesus was speaking of the slavery of sin.

 

To evade being slaves to sin, what we should do? The Jesuit, Tony de Mello, says that ‘when you think of renouncing something; you are tied to the thing you want to renounce. In the bargain, you are simply pumping in much energy to fight it. Don’t renounce it,’ he advises to ‘see through it. By understanding its true value, you need not renounce it; it will just fall off from your hands.’ This is truly possible only with the grace of our Lord.

 

Jesus’ statement on keeping his word can be explained in this phrase of Pope Francis “The one who remains faithful to God and to his words experiences now on this earth the comfort of his love and then experiences it a ‘hundredfold’ in eternity” he urges us to live our lives according to the word of God that will not only set us free from sin but also lead us to eternal life. Jesus Christ is the only key to redeeming us from our sins, slavery, and death.

 

Today, we need to have a thorough introspection. Are we open to the word of God and to live our life according to it, or are we like Pharisees who had hardened their hearts? Do I follow Christ so that I may get all the worldly pleasures and possessions or do I willingly accept my cross and follow him in view of eternal life?

 


Response: My refuge, my stronghold, my God in you I trust.


Copyright ©2023 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

25th JANUARY 2023

Conversion of St. Paul – Jason Jenicke

WEDNESDAY, THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

 

Acts 22: 3-16 or 9: 1-22;                   Ps 117: 1-2;                Mk 16: 15-18


 

SAINT PAUL: AN APOSTLE OF UNITY

Today we celebrate the marvels of God worked in the life of Saint Paul, who, from a persecutor became an apostle. On this, the final day of the Week of Unity, let us reflect on some aspects of Paul’s conversion in the light of Christian unity. Paul was concerned for the unity of God’s people. This was precisely the reason that pushed him to persecute Christians; he could not tolerate that they had broken away from the Jewish faith and tradition. He had been educated under Gamaliel, “taught the exact observance of the Law”, and was full of zeal for God. Yet, it is possible to be full of zeal for God, but in the wrong way. Paul himself says it in the letter to the Romans: “They have a lot of zeal, but it is not a zeal according to God”, it is a zeal for God, but conceived according to men (cf. Rom 10:2).

Now, as Paul, full of zeal for God, used every means including violent ones to maintain unity among the chosen people, the Lord addressed to him those words which clearly reveal what true unity is. “I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.” These words are central to the conversion experience. Paul was not aware that in persecuting the followers of Christ, he was persecuting Christ himself. The Lord revealed to him the profound unity existing between him and his disciples. Paul had a revelation of the mystical body of Christ, of which he later spoke in his letters. We are all members of Christ united through faith in him.

“What should I do, Lord”, Paul asks, and the Lord does not answer him directly: “Continue to Damascus; there you will be told what you have been appointed to do.” He therefore sends him to the Church; he does not want an individualistic conversion for his apostle, without any relationship with the other disciples. He must insert himself into the Church, the mystical body of Christ, to which he must adhere, to live in the true faith.


Response: Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel.


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24th JANUARY 2023

Riječ dana: Tko su majka, tko braća moja? (Mk 3, 31-35) | Hrvatsko  katoličko sveučilište

TUESDAY, THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bp, Dr

 

Heb 10: 1-10;                         Ps 40: 2, 4, 7-8, 10-11;                       Mk 3: 31-35


 

CALLED TO BE PART OF THE FAMILY OF GOD

 

Imagine someone announcing to us that Pope Francis’ sister would be visiting our parish or a close relation of someone we greatly admired of considered prominent or impressive was somewhere nearby. Wouldn’t we at least be a little intrigued and interested in catching a glimpse of them? Something like this happens in today’s Gospel.

As soon as it had been announced that the mother and brothers of Jesus are outside, the attention of the crowd sitting around Jesus may have gone to the door to catch a glimpse of the people who shared such an intimate bond with the person they considered so special. They must have even experienced holy envy of Mary and the brothers of Jesus. And it is in this scenario that we see how different Jesus is from anybody else that we admire.

No matter how much we desire or try to, we can only admire our earthly heroes, we cannot have a familial relationship with them. This, however, is not true with Jesus. Saint John tells us to all who accepted Him, He gave power to become children of God (Jn 1:12). Jesus is literally saying, “Why are you looking at others when you yourself are my mother, brother and sisters!” Jesus’ Incarnation was precisely to restore this filial relationship with the Holy Trinity that our first parents had lost through sin. But this relationship needs to be nurtured by continually choosing to do the will of God.

The supreme model for this is Our Blessed Mother. She is the one who was the first to accept him at the Annunciation, giving her Fiat to the will of God. And continuing to do so all through her life, right up to the day of her Assumption into heaven. May this Mother, so gentle, kind, benevolent, pure and holy pray for us her sinful children that we too may be filled with the Holy Spirit to always do the will of God.


Response: See, I have come, Lord, to do your will.


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23rd JANUARY 2023

DAILY GOSPEL COMMENTARY: THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE KINGDOM OF SATAN (Lk  11:15–26). - Catholics Striving For Holiness

MONDAY, THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Heb 9: 15, 24-28;                   Ps 98: 1-6;                  Mk 3: 22-30


 

CALLED TO AN ETERNAL INHERITANCE

In salvation history, God established His covenant with the people of Israel. He brought them to Mount Sinai and made a Covenant with them saying, “If you will obey My voice & keep My commandments, you shall be My possession among all peoples.” The people however were unable to fulfil these commandments and became constantly unfaithful because of the hardness of their hearts. The prophets Jeremiah & Ezekiel announced the new covenant that God would take out of them, the heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh, and put His Spirit within them enabling them to love. In the new covenant, God forgives gratuitously the sins of his people.

Forgiveness opens the way to a new relationship of loving union with God which is personal & intimate for everyone. The law will now be an internal inspiration written in the hearts of men through the Holy Spirit. All of us are called to an eternal inheritance and are in the process of receiving what has been promised. Eternal inheritance is being aware of the presence of the Triune God within oneself, possessing Him and living the life of God within us. Saint Teresa of Avila in ‘Interior Castle says, ‘The soul understands as a most profound truth that all the Three Persons are one substance, one power, one knowledge & one God alone’. Commenting on ‘Living Flame of love’, Saint John of the Cross says, ‘The soul tastes here all the things of God, since God communicate to it fortitude, wisdom, love, beauty, grace and goodness. Because God is all these things, a person enjoys them in only one touch of God & the soul rejoices within its faculties & within its substance.” Jesus came to liberate us from sin and death and with the coming of the Holy Spirit the new covenant is fulfilled. Let us invoke the Holy Spirit to help us to be open to receive eternal inheritance promised to us.


Response: O Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has worked wonders.


Copyright ©2023 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

22nd JANUARY 2023

My Reflections...: Reflection for Sunday January 26, Third Sunday in  Ordinary Time: Matthew 4:12-23

SUNDAY, THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

“WORD OF GOD SUNDAY”

 

Is 8:23–9:3;      Ps 27:1,4,13-14;      1 Cor 1:10-13,17;      Mt 4:12-23


 

CONVERSION IS RENEWAL INSIDE OUT

 

The poem in the first reading may have been composed in 732 BC when the King of Assyria destroyed Israel. According to their custom, the Assyrians took many of the people to the other end of their empire. They resided in the territory of Zebulun and Napthali, which centuries later would become Galilee. Dispersed among the pagans, they were coming out of sacred history to enter into darkness. The liberation promised to them is presented as a crushing victory of the Lord, inaugurating a reign of peace, related to Immanuel. The people who walk in darkness… The Gospel sees in that people the crowds whom Jesus addresses; A people dominated by every kind of oppressors; A people seeking light without hope.

The Responsorial Psalm invites us to reflect that in the struggles of this life, the believer is not discouraged because she/ he clings to the hope the Lord has in store for him at the end of the conflict. A trust without limits. Though Father and Mother forsake me, yet will the Lord receive me. To such a God the psalmist can say: One thing seek…to dwell in the house of the Lord. All the struggles, trials and temptations will not let us forget the house of the Lord at the end of the road. I will place the victor, like a column in the sanctuary of my God. I will write on him the name of my God and my own new name. (Rev 3:12)

In the second reading, we are told that the first sin of the church is the division among believers. “Agree among yourselves and do away with divisions.” – Saint Paul admonishes the Christian communities. Understood when the church is a community sharing the same concerns. It is different when the church gathers together large numbers of people of different backgrounds, who are perhaps opposed to one another in daily life. In this case, too, the Christian community must be united not by ignoring reality and never talking of inequalities, but by recognizing individual and collective faults in daily life. The church can never be a reunion of passive or ‘heavenly’ people. That would be like getting rid of the cross of Christ. St Paul tells the people of Corinth that all Christian wisdom is contained in the cross. The cross should be present in the message we preach and in the way we preach it. The Gospel reflects on repentance. With Jesus, conversion means a renewal of life from inside out. The Gospel will tell us that this renewal follows the discovery of God’s mercy and is the work of his Spirit within us. God becomes human, Jesus shares the life of the people of his time and like the prophets he teaches by what he says and does. The time has come. Be rid of all that hampers you, of all that prevents you from seeing and believe! Believe that it is He! He alone is able to save you. This conversion was shown by the abandoning of the nets, which means their families, and work and they began to live with Jesus. Simon, Andrew, James and John. Jesus already knew them: he had met them when John the Baptist was preaching. The first nucleus of disciples is this natural group of lake fishermen of which Peter seemed to be the leader. They were most probably young men, ready to make a commitment at a time and in a culture where people were freer than we are from the constraints of work. They trusted Jesus to guide them. Conversion is also presented by the image of Light. Every Christian is a bearer of light. Enlightened by Christ and by worthy celebration of the Sacraments, every Christian is duty bound to be the light of Christ in a world enveloped by dark clouds. Light is a powerful symbol. A small flicker of light can cast away a thick and heavy surrounding of darkness. Hence each of us have to be lights, who know and show the way to the brightness of goodness and photosynthesis of human living. Let us conclude with the beautiful poem by Card. John Henry Newman. “Lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom”…


Response: The Lord is my light and my salvation.


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21st JANUARY 2023

My Reflections...: Reflection for Saturday, January 26; Saints Timothy and  Titus, bishops; Mark 3:20-21

SATURDAY, SECOND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Memorial of Saint Agnes, Martyr

 

Heb 9: 2-3, 11-14;                  Ps 47: 2-3, 6-9;                       Mk 3: 20-21


 

TRUE LOVE IS ABOUT SACRIFICE

St. Paul makes a connection with the contents of the first tent and that behind the second curtain called the ‘Holy of Holies’ to Jesus Christ. The analogy of the sacrificial system of the first covenant provided a remarkable way in which Saint Paul draws us into the history and meaning of how the first covenant attempted to bring the gift of redemption to the people. It was not a perfect system, but it foreshadowed the perfect redemption of the blood of the Cross in Jesus’ redeeming and atoning death. Saint Paul continues to show that Jesus came as a High Priest, of the good things that have come. The previous tents of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies are now a ‘perfect tent’ in Jesus Christ. This is a tent ‘not made with hands…”, Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary.

The connection to the Ark of the Covenant and the sacrifice of atonement is unique in the New Testament and draws us into the rich history of the ‘first covenant’ now brought to perfection in Jesus Christ. The perfection in Jesus Christ is now clearly spelt out: when St Paul tells us that Jesus entered into the Holy Place once, for all with his own blood – by dying on the cross and obtaining for us eternal redemption – Jesus’ act of atonement on the cross secures for us eternal redemption.

The last verse of our readings is only one sentence and tells us that the blood of Christ is the complete sacrifice that has accomplished redemption for us. Christ’s redemption has been made for all times. And it is only through the perfect sacrifice of Christ is God’s work of salvation brought to perfection and completion. In the gospel passage, the intensity of the ministry of Jesus is brought out by the assertion that Jesus and his disciples could not even eat. The passion with which Jesus lived and served His people shocked His family.


Response: God goes up with shouts of joy. The Lord goes up with trumpet blast.


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