Thursday 30 June 2011

The Story of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

God made us just to love us.
He wants us to love Him back.
He knows that loving Him is the only way we can be truly happy.
For thousands of years people who became close friends of God
have been telling us that God's heart is full of love for us.
A heart means love.

God loved us so much that He came to earth to be born as Jesus.
When He was here, the Heart of Jesus burned with love for all people.  It still does.
To show His great love, artists paint His heart all on fire 

Jesus came to show that God loves even those people who don't care about Him.
Jesus was willing to suffer and die on a cross to show God's love for all.
Remembering this, artists draw a cross above His burning Heart.

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, a soldier pierced his side with a lance.
Blood and water gushed out, showing us again how much He loved us.
Artists place the wound from the lance in the Heart of Jesus. 

People who hated Jesus put a crown of thorns on his head, hurting him.
Today people hurt Jesus when they ignore God's love or hate God.
Artists show that hurt by placing a crown of thorns around His Heart.

Jesus, I  love You!  I thank you for loving me. I adore Your Sacred Heart.
Fill my heart with more love for You every day.
Let me be like You, loving and gentle to others at all times.
Help me to pray every day for those who do not know You or love You.
I offer You all I do--my prayers, my words, my actions, and my whole self.
Sacred Heart of Jesus! I give myself to You today and forever.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Do you believe that God has forgiven you all your sins? Will you now extend the same forgiveness to at least one person whom you find it difficult to forgive? Genesis 22,1-19; Amos 7,1-10; Mt 9,1-8

The miracle of the healing of the paralytic who was let down from the roof which forms our text for today is found also in Mark (2, 1-12) and Luke (5,17-26). Matthew has omitted some details from Mark and thus shortened his narrative. Through these omissions, Matthew allows the reader to focus exclusively on Jesus and his words. It is unusual that Jesus does not respond to the paralytic’s immediate need but first forgives him his sins. The healing of the man is done later and only as demonstration of the fact that Jesus has power and authority to forgive sin, because the scribes consider Jesus’ pronouncement of forgiveness of sins as blasphemy. Since Jesus heals by the power of God, he can forgive sins by the same power. In Matthew, the crowd does not praise God for the miracle like they do in Mark and Luke, but for the authority to forgive sins attributed not only to Jesus but to human beings (“such authority to human beings” – Mt 9,8).
Most doctors today are convinced that there is an intimate connection between negative feelings and especially unforgiveness and physical ailments and advice a positive attitude and forgiving and letting go, for quicker healing. If we persist in our unforgiveness, we will continue to have a variety of ailments and sometimes no amount of external medicine will help at all. Forgive it is good for health.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Which demons are possessing you and so not allowing you to be free? Do you believe that Jesus can exorcise them from your life today? Genesis 21,5.8-20; Amos 5,14-25.21-24; Mt 8,28-34

The text begins by stating that Jesus arrived on the other side, which because of the presence of pigs mentioned in 8,30 is clearly Gentile territory, since Jews considered pigs as unclean. While in the story in Mark 5,1-20 there is one demoniac, in Matthew’s story there are two (8,28). The version in Matthew is considerably shorter than the one in Mark, since Matthew omits many details that Mark gives. One possible reason for this is that Matthew wants to focus attention in his story solely on Jesus. The demons recognise Jesus and also recognise that they belong to two different worlds. In Mark, the demons enter into conversation with Jesus, but in Matthew they do not, but only beg Jesus to send them into the herd of swine., and Jesus exorcises them with just one word, “Go”. Matthew does not tell us what happens to the demoniacs after the demons leave them. However, when the people of that town are told what happened to the demoniacs, they beg Jesus to leave their neighbourhood.
More than physical demons that may possess us, we may be possessed by psychological demons. These can be feelings of fear, anger, revenge, jealousy, envy and a pessimistic attitude. If we continue in these feelings we are not living fully the life that God wants us to live. We need to decide that with the help of Jesus we are going to get rid of them today.

Monday 27 June 2011

Have the “storms” of your life sometimes overwhelmed you? Will you believe that with Jesus in the boat of your life these can be controlled? Genesis 19,15-29; Amos 3,1-8;4,11-12; Mt 8,23-27

The miracle in our text for today known sometimes as the Calming of The Storm is found also in Mark (4,35-41) and Luke (8,22-25). It is only Matthew, however, who emphasises that the disciples “followed Jesus into the boat”. The miracle is not only a nature miracle but also a story told to indicate that Jesus has control over the storms of life itself. In Matthew the “storm” indicates the stormy experience of the community (represented by the disciples in the boat) who follow Jesus. While in Mark the cry is one of distress (“Teacher do you not care if we perish?”), in Matthew, it is a liturgical-sounding cry for help (Save, Lord; we are perishing). In both Mark and Luke the reprimand about “little faith” is after Jesus has calmed the storm, whereas in Matthew, the reprimand precedes the calming. This is an indication that “faith” is primary, and if the disciples had the faith needed, they would not be agitated.
We may sometimes get disturbed and agitated when thigs do not happen the way we expect them to or when we are faced with a difficult situation. At times like the disciples in the Gospel of Mark we may accuse Jesus of not being concerned about our plight and at other times like the disciples in the Gospel of Matthew we may plead with him to come to our aid. No matter which approach we may use, we need to remember that he will let nothing happen to us that is not part of his plan and will. We have to continue to do what is required of as and confidently leave the rest to him.

Sunday 26 June 2011

What excuses have you been giving to the call to follow Jesus? What will you do about them today? Genesis 18,16-33; Amos 2,6-10.13-16; Mt 8,18-22

Today’s text follows immediately after the first three miracles of Matthew’s Miracle Cycle. In the first three miracles, the disciples are not mentioned at all and the focus is solely on the authority of Jesus. The text of today and the miracles that follow emphasise discipleship. The scribe who addresses Jesus in the text of today is clearly not a disciple because of the term he uses to address Jesus, namely “Teacher”. In Matthew, only disciples address Jesus as Lord. The scribe is informed through Jesus’ response that firstly Jesus is the one who will take the initiative to call and secondly that his priorities need to be changed. The life to which Jesus calls will need a reversal of priorities. To the second disciple, Jesus’ response seems hard and brusque. Some interpret this to mean that the spiritually dead must be left to bury the physically dead. However, the point is that absolutely nothing can come in the way of Jesus’ call.
Following Jesus on Mission means become an “other-centred” person from being self-centred. It will mean giving up the Ego and placing the other’s need before my own. It may mean giving up what one holds dear and near. It is an unconditional following.

Saturday 25 June 2011

CORPUR CHRISTI - THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST- Deut 8:2-3, 14b-16a; 1 Cor 10:16-17; Jn 6:51-58

A team of Russians and Americans were on a common expedition. Among their cabin foodstuff was Russian black bread. It was tasty but hard on the teeth. It happened during a meal that an American bit into a piece and snapped a tooth. He threw the bread overboard and growled: “Lousy Communist bread.” The Russian countered: “It is not lousy communist bread, but a shaky capitalist tooth.” Some of us complain in a similar manner about the Eucharist. However, if we do not experience the transforming power of the Eucharist it is not on account of a lousy Eucharist but on account of our shaky faith and lack of understanding of what the Eucharist really means.

The feast of Corpus Christi has been interpreted to mean the feast of the Eucharist and while this is certainly true, it would be a mistake to restrict the understanding of the feast to the ritual of the Eucharist. The feast goes beyond the ritual to life itself just as the Eucharist does. Communion with Christ has always been a mark of the follower of Christ.  We would make significant gains in our life of following or discipleship if we would focus on the Eucharist as the deepest expression of our communion with Christ and not simply a "going to" or "taking of" that begins and ends in the sanctuary.
The Eucharist is sacrament, sacrifice and covenant. The Eucharist is a sacrament, an outward sign in and through which we meet Christ who shares His life of grace with us. We meet him under signs of bread and wine to nourish and strengthen us for our journey through life. We see with human eyes what looks like bread and wine. We see with eyes of faith, not bread and wine, but the Risen Living Lord Jesus.
The Eucharist is a sacrifice, the re-presentation or re-living of Christ’s sacrificial death on Good Friday and of his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

The scripture readings today stress how God made a covenant with his People, first through Moses which was manifested in a variety of ways. These included leading the people of Israel from slavery to freedom, from wilderness and barrenness to fertility, from waterless places to water even from rocks and through manna like they had never eaten before. This covenant had to be constantly renewed because God’s people kept going back on their word. However, in and through Christ it was made finally and forever, a covenant sealed and ratified by the shedding of blood. This covenant or bond of love between God and us is renewed and deepened through and in every Eucharist or Mass.

The second reading today, from Paul, is the earliest recorded story of anything Jesus did. And that earliest story is about a meal, the Last Supper, which Jesus shared with his disciples. In a very particular way, he made that meal a way to remember him. It brings forward his sacrifice and death and resurrection, his fellowship and unity with us, and everything he taught us. And he did not want his followers to eat it just that once on the night before he was handed over. Rather, he wanted us to do it again and again, so that we continue to remember.

St. Augustine often stressed to his parishioners a unique quality of the Eucharistic food we receive during mass. The ordinary food we eat daily at meal times becomes part of us. We are what we eat. But the Eucharist is unique in that we become part of it. We become more Christlike, more patient and kind, more forgiving and understanding. We still live our ordinary daily lives, but it is Our Lord who inspires our motives, attitudes and actions. We begin to see people and events through his eyes, to think as he did. When Jesus was on earth, he used his own human hands to reach out to people, but when he wants to feed the poor today, he uses my hands, your hands to do this. We are the descendants and we are doing – with Jesus – what he once did by himself: bringing the love of the Father to those we meet.

This Feast, then, of the Body of Christ, sums up three important confessions about our Faith. First, and most important, that God became physically present in the person of Christ - True God and True Man. Secondly, that God continues to be present in His people as they form the Mystical Body of Christ in his church. And, thirdly, the presence of God, under the form of bread and wine, is made real for us on the altar at Mass and preserved there for our nourishment and worship. When, then, at the conclusion of the prayers of consecration, we proclaim our "Amen", we must remember that we are saying "Yes" to the real and inseparable presence of Christ in time and in eternity.

Life in communion with Christ is not confined to a few moments in public worship but is a morning 'till evening, every waking moment feeding on the One who gives us his very self to feed upon and in the process becoming also bread for others.