Friday 31 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Saturday, June 1, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, June 1, 2019 click HERE

Saturday, June 1, 2019 - Do you remember to add at the end of your prayer the words “not my, but your will be done”?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts18:23-28; Jn 16:23-28
The death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus will be the event that will enable the disciples to pray, not only in Jesus’ name, but like he prayed. Through this event, the disciples will enter into a new relationship with Jesus and with God through him. This relationship will be a relationship of love. As God showed his love for the world in sending Jesus, and Jesus showed his love for the world by accepting the cross, so the disciples have shown love for Jesus and God by accepting and believing that Jesus has come from God.

In the last verse of today’s text the entire mission of Jesus is summarized. Jesus has been sent by God and has come from God. After completing the mission entrusted to him, he is returning to where he has come from: God. The story of Jesus, which began with his coming from the Father ends, but also continues with his ascending to the Father.

Prayer in Jesus’ name and praying like Jesus means to believe, before we receive something, that it will be given to us. It is a confidence that God is on our side. We may not always be able to see at first glance how what we receive is for our good, much like the cross that Jesus carried. However, it means that we continue to trust and believe that all will be well because God is always in control of any and every situation.

Saturday, June 1, 2019 - Acts 18:23-28; Jn 16:23-28

Saturday, June 1, 2019 - Acts 18:23-28; Jn 16:23-28

  1. Who did Apollos show was the Messiah?

  2. The Father
    The Spirit

  3. To whom is Jesus going when he leaves the world?

  4. The Father
    The heavens
    To his destiny

  5. Whose baptism did Apollos know about?

  6. Jesus'
    His own

  7. What was the name of the Jew who came to Ephesus?

  8. Silas

  9. Where did Apollos wish to cross to meet believers?

  10. Galilee

  11. Of which place was Apollos a native?

  12. Israel

  13. Besides Galatia where else did Paul go strengthening the disciples?

  14. Phillipi

  15. How many chapters does the Gospel of John contain?

  16. Twenty-one

  17. Besides Aquila who explained the way of the Lord more accurately to Apollo?

  18. Paul

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. We must realise that God's will for us is better than what we want
    We must add to our prayer, "Your will be done"
    Our prayer must be God centred

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Chapter Two of the Gospel of Mark

Mk 2:1-28

  1. Which king is mentioned in Jesus response about the Sabbath?

  2. Solomon

  3. Who was plucking grains of corn as they passed through grainfields?

  4. Jesus
    The disciples
    The people

  5. Which priest of the Old Testament is mentioned in Jesus' response?

  6. Ahi'melech

  7. Whom did Jesus see at the tax office?

  8. Matthew

  9. What bread did David eat when he was hungry?

  10. Fresh bread
    Stale bread
    The bread of Presence

  11. Who does Jesus say need a physician?

  12. Those who are well
    Those who are sick
    Those who have money

  13. How did the crowd respond to the healing of the paralytic?

  14. They said "We are stunned"
    They said “We never saw anything like this!”
    They said "We believe in you"

  15. Who alone was meant to eat the brad of Presence?

  16. Holy men

  17. What did Jesus first say to the paralytic?

  18. “My son, your sins are forgiven.”
    ‘Rise, take up your pallet and walk'
    "Do you want to be healed?"

  19. Besides the Pharisees who else was fasting?

  20. The scribes
    John' s disciples
    The Herodians

  21. How does Jesus refer to himself in his response to the scribes?

  22. As Son of God
    As Son of Man
    As the Messiah

  23. On what was the paralytic let down from the roof?

  24. A pallet
    An iron cot
    A wooden bed

  25. What was Levi's father's name?

  26. Joseph

  27. Who questioned in the hearts about Jesus' ability to forgive sins?

  28. Pharisees

  29. How many men carried the paralytic?

  30. Three

  31. Into what is new wine put?

  32. Old skins
    New skins
    Big skins

  33. To whom did the scribes complain that Jesus was eating with tax collectors and sinners?

  34. His mother
    His relatives
    His disciples

  35. To which place does Jesus return at the beginning of Chapter 2?

  36. Galilee

  37. On what day was Jesus going through the grain-fields with his disciples?

  38. Sunday
    Feast day

  39. Whom did Jesus say he has come to call?

  40. The righteous
    The good

Thursday 30 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Friday, May 31, 2019 the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

To hear the Audio Reflections of Friday, May 31, 2019 the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary click HERE

Friday, May 31, 2019 - The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - When it is shared joy is doubled and sorrow is halved

To read the texts click on the texts:Zeph 3:14-18; Rom 12:9-16; Lk 1:39-56

The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her kinswoman Elizabeth was begun by St. Bonaventure among the Franciscans in 1263 C.E, and became a universal Feast in 1389 C.E., during the papacy of Urban VI. It celebrates the visit of Mary to Elizabeth after the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus.

The call of the first reading chosen for the feast of today is a call to rejoice. This rejoicing is for many reasons. The first of these is that judgement has been taken away. The Lord is now in the midst of his people. This being in the midst of his people is confirmed by the Gospel text of today where Jesus is already in the womb of Mary and so among his people. There will be no more reproach or condemnation. Now, there will only be unconditional love.

This unconditional love is confirmed both by the physical act of Mary’s visit to her kinswoman Elizabeth and also the Magnificat which is attributed to Mary. In this hymn, Mary extols God’s greatness because God has indeed redeemed his people. The verbs that are used in the hymn are all in the past tense though signify future actions. This is an indication of the faith and confidence that Mary has in God who she is confident will accomplish all that he has promised.

Though on the surface level the Visitation may appear to be Mary’s concern and love for her cousin, on the deeper level it means that Mary wants to share with Elizabeth what God has done in each of their lives and through the sons to be born of them, what God will do in the world.

Friday, May 31, 2019 - The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Zeph 3:14-18; Rom 12:9-16; Lk 1:39-56

Friday, May 31, 2019 - Zeph 3:14-18; Rom 12:9-16; Lk 1:39-56

  1. What does Zephaniah say the Lord has taken away?

  2. The fortune
    The judgements
    The riches and wealth

  3. Whose house did Mary enter to greet Elizabeth?

  4. Zechariah's

  5. What does Mary say generations will call her?

  6. Graceful

  7. What does Paul say love must be?

  8. Great

  9. For how many months did Mary stay with Elizabeth?

  10. One

  11. Whom does Zephaniah ask to exult?

  12. Judah

  13. To whom must the Romans extend hospitality?

  14. Their family members
    Their friends

  15. Whom does Zephaniah ask to shout?

  16. Jerusalem

  17. Which ancestor does Mary mention in her hymn of praise?

  18. David

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. Joy is doubled when shared
    Sorrow is halved when shared
    Mary is blessed among women and blesses them in turn

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Wednesday 29 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Thursday, May 30, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, May 30, 2019 click HERE

Thursday, May 30, 2019 - Can you be courageous even when it seems that the whole world is conspiring against you?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts18:1-8; Jn 16:16-20
In the first verse of today’s reading, 16:16, the focus is turned back from the Paraclete to the impending departure of Jesus and the response of the disciples to that departure. The first “little while” in this verse refers to the time before his death, which Jesus sees as fast approaching, whereas the second “little while” refers to the events after his death to his resurrection appearances and even beyond. The disciples are not able to understand the meaning of Jesus’ words and keep questioning among themselves what they mean.

Though they have not addressed Jesus with their questions, he is aware of what they are discussing. Yet, he does not answer their question directly, but moves the question to a new direction. A new teaching is introduced by the use of the words, “Amen, amen”. There will be contrasting responses to the death of Jesus. The disciples will weep and mourn, whereas the “world”, which here must be translated as those opposed to the revelation of God in Jesus, will rejoice.  However, this will only be a temporary response. The pain and sorrow of the disciples will soon turn to joy.

It is easy to be happy and believe that God is on our side when things go the way we want. However, when we are faced with obstacles and difficulties, when we do not get the due we think we deserve and, when the road is steep and the going is difficult, then we begin to wonder if God is on our side. The text of today is a call to believe, even in the most difficult circumstances. It is a call to know that there will be joy, even in the midst of pain, and happiness, even in the midst of sorrow. It is a call to have faith and see the risen Jesus, even as he hangs on the cross, and to see in the crosses that we have to carry every day, our own resurrection. 

Thursday, May 30, 2019 - Acts 18:1-8; Jn 16:16-20

Thursday, May 30, 2019 - Acts 18:1-8; Jn 16:16-20

  1. Who had ordered all Jews to leave Rome?

  2. Pilate

  3. What does Jesus say the pain of the disciples will turn into?

  4. Mourning

  5. What was Paul's trade?

  6. Carpenter

  7. To whom did Paul say he would go because the Jews opposed him?

  8. Romans

  9. What was the name of the Jew who was a native of Pontus?

  10. Timothy

  11. Where did Silas and Timothy arrive from?

  12. Rome

  13. Where did Paul go after he left Athens?

  14. Damascus

  15. What was the name of the official of the synagogue who became a believer in the Lord?

  16. Titius

  17. What was Aquila's wife's name?

  18. Priscilla

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. We must be courageous even in challenging situations?
    We must be able to smile even when things do not go the way we want?
    In times of trouble we show what we are made of?

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Tuesday 28 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Wednesday, May 29, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Wednesday, May 29, 2019 click HERE

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - What contemporary symbol describes Jesus for you? How will you share this symbol with at least one other person today?

To read the texts click on the texts:Acts17:15,22-18:1; Jn 16:12-15
The Paraclete is mentioned for the last time in the Farewell Discourse in these verses. Jesus has taught the disciples all that they are to know and understand about the present time. There is nothing more about the present that he can say to them. What they need to know about the future will be revealed to them at the appropriate time and when the Spirit that is sent comes. This means that, even when they are faced with the future which is uncertain, God’s presence will be with them. They are not alone. The Paraclete is the “spirit of truth” since he comes from Jesus, who is “the truth” and will guide the disciples into the way of truth, into the way of Jesus. Since the Paraclete will be sent by Jesus, he will only explicate and make clearer what Jesus has already said. He will not give a new teaching but will continue what Jesus has begun. As Jesus taught what he heard from God, so the Paraclete will teach what he hears from Jesus.

He will also declare “the things that are to come” which here means the preparation of the disciples for the time after Jesus. This also indicates that the words of Jesus are not time bound, but available anew for every succeeding generation of disciples. The Paraclete always makes the teachings new and relevant for the times. Just as Jesus made God visible through his words and actions, so the Paraclete will make Jesus present through the inspiration and support he provides to the disciples.

The Paraclete thus makes Jesus present even after his death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father. He is the teacher and witness of all that Jesus has said and done. That is, the Paraclete enables the Christian community, at any time in its life, to reach back to the teachings of Jesus and “remember,” and bring Jesus’ teachings to life afresh with new understanding. However, the Paraclete’s role as teacher is also creative. The Paraclete enables the word of Jesus to move forward from its moment in history to the present life of the church. The Paraclete gives new meanings to the teachings of Jesus as the changing circumstances of faith communities and the world demand.

The Paraclete that Jesus sent two thousand years ago is the same Paraclete that is available to us today. The presence of the Paraclete will be seen and felt when we make the teachings of Jesus relevant and alive today. The idiom, symbols, and language that we use have to be understood by contemporary hearers. All too often, language about Jesus is too pious and even outdated and so, does not touch the lives of many. If we open ourselves to the working of the Paraclete in our lives, we will be able to make Jesus present even now.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - Acts 17:15,22-18:1; Jn 16:12-15

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - Acts 17:15,22-18:1; Jn 16:12-15

  1. Under whose feet did Paul say he studied?

  2. Hillel's feet
    Gamaliel's feet
    Shammai's feet

  3. Whom did the centurion approach when he heard Paul was a Roman citizen?

  4. The Emperor
    The Tribune
    The Captain

  5. In Paul language did Paul speak in the barracks?

  6. Greek

  7. Who came to Paul in Damascus?

  8. Peter

  9. Besides Silas who else joined Paul?

  10. John Mark

  11. Whose death did Paul say he approved?

  12. Jesus'

  13. To which place was Paul brought by the believers?

  14. Damascus

  15. In which place did Paul say he was born?

  16. Damascus

  17. Where was Paul going to bring the Christians back for punishment?

  18. Damascus

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. Jesus revealed the Father. We must reveal Jesus
    The Spirit leads us to Jesus
    The Spirit of Jesus must our paths

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Monday 27 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, May 28, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, May 28, 2019 click HERE

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - If people heard you speak and saw your actions today, would they recognize you as a follower of Jesus?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts16:22-34; Jn 16:5-11
These verses continue the farewell Discourse which was begun in 14:1. Since Jesus had been physically present to the disciples, he did not need to give them instructions about the time when he would not be with them. However, since that time has now come, they need to be informed about how they are to handle the future without him. They are dismayed and troubled, even though they know that he is going to the Father. They must realize and accept that it is to their advantage that Jesus goes. If he does not go, the Paraclete cannot come. Jesus’ departure, which means his death, resurrection, and ascension, must precede the Paraclete’s coming. When this happens, Jesus will have completed the work given to him by the Father and the Paraclete will continue the work begun by Jesus.

The Paraclete’s work in the world will be to bring people to trial. This, however, is only one of the many functions that the Paraclete performs. It will bring out into the open the true meaning of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and the “world”, which here means those who rejected Jesus, will be held accountable.

The “world’s” sin is exposed because they have not believed in Jesus as the one who was sent from, and by, the Father. This means that the focus is not on one particular act, but on the attitude of rejection. Though the “world” might assume that Jesus’ death is the end, it is mistaken and, in this is righteousness exposed. Jesus’ death is not the end; rather, it is the completion on earth of the work entrusted to him by the Father. It is to be seen in the context of obedience to his Father’s will for him and the world. The final judgment will be that of the “ruler of this world”. By his death, resurrection, and ascension, the devil, the embodiment of all that is opposed to Jesus, will be judged. It will be proved, through this decisive act that God has triumphed in his Son.

The “world” continues to be opposed to Jesus and to love. However, Jesus continues to be present to the world in his Spirit, made manifest in his disciples. It is the task of the disciples inspired and guided by the Spirit to continue to expose the sin of the world and bring the world to judgment. While this may be done by verbal proclamation, it must also be, like in the case of Jesus, a proclamation that is shown in action.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - Acts 16:22-34; Jn 16:5-11

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - Acts 16:22-34; Jn 16:5-11

  1. What was the jailer about to do when he saw the prison doors wide open?

  2. He sounded the alarm
    He drew his sword to kill himself
    He called his captain

  3. Besides sin and righteousness what else will the Advocate prove the world wrong about?

  4. Judgement
    The future
    The parables of Jesus

  5. At what time were Paul and Silas praying?

  6. Early morning
    At midnight
    In the afternoon

  7. Where were Paul and Silas sent after being beaten?

  8. They were set free
    They were sent to prison
    They were sent home

  9. Who asked the jailer not to harm himself?

  10. God

  11. Who does Jesus will not come if he does not go?

  12. The Father
    The blessings he sends
    The Advocate

  13. How were Paul and Silas beaten?

  14. With rods
    With stones
    With a belt

  15. What did the jailer do before he was baptised?

  16. He knelt down and prayed
    He washed the wounds of Paul and Silas
    He confessed his sins

  17. In which cell were Paul and Silas put?

  18. In the outermost cell
    In the innermost cell
    In the middle cell

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. People must know whom we believe in through our actions
    Our deeds must show our faith
    Verbal proclamation is not enough

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Sunday 26 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Monday, May 27, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, May 27, 2019 click HERE

Monday, May 27, 2019 - Will you persevere in love today? When you are repaid with ingratitude for your kindness, will you continue to love?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts 16:11-15; Jn 15:26-16:4
This is the third promise of the coming of the Paraclete in the Gospel of John. Jesus had made the first promise in 14:16-17, and the second one in 14:26. The Paraclete or Advocate is sent by Jesus and the Father. The Paraclete is sent by Jesus, but is sent from the Father. The Paraclete is sent here to testify or bear witness to Jesus. This means that the teaching of the Paraclete will not be new teaching but a confirmation of what Jesus has already taught and done. Just as the Paraclete bears witness, so must the disciples, since they have seen and heard Jesus from the beginning. The Paraclete will give strength to the disciples in their time of trial so that they will not fall away. The Paraclete will work in and through the disciples. The work of Jesus continues through the Paraclete working in the disciples.

Because of this work of Jesus, the disciples will have to face persecution from those who do not accept them. As a matter of fact, those who engage in such persecution will think they are right and, by so persecuting the disciples, will think they are, in effect, worshipping God. This is because they have not understood the meaning of the incarnation and so, have not been able to recognize God’s unconditional and gratuitous love made manifest in Jesus. Jesus predicts these happenings, to both prepare the disciples in advance for what is to come and also, to warn them about the consequences of following him. Their perseverance and standing firm, even in the midst of persecution, will reveal their love for him and the Father and will be the tangible expression of their faith.

Believing in Jesus is not easy. It is one thing to verbally profess faith in him and another to live out all that he taught and did. It is especially difficult to follow him when things do not go the way we want them to and when things happen contrary to our expectations. When those to whom we are good repay us with goodness, we are not surprised, because we expect them to do just that. However, when those to whom we have reached out in love are ungrateful and sometimes openly hostile to us, we get shocked at their behavior, simply because we did not expect them to react in that way. It is at times like these that we must remember the predictions of Jesus made here. His love for the world, shown in the most tangible manner on the cross, was spurned by most of his contemporaries, yet that same love continues to be made new, even today, two thousand years later. We, too, are called not to fall away but to persevere in love.

Monday, May 27, 2019 - Acts 16:11-15; Jn 15:26-16:4

Monday, May 27, 2019 - Acts 16:11-15; Jn 15:26-16:4

  1. Why did Jesus not say what he said from the beginning?

  2. Because the disciples were not with him
    Because he was with the disciples
    Because he did not want to alarm his disciples

  3. From where did Paul, Silas and Luke come to Samothrace?

  4. Phillippi

  5. On which day did Paul and Silas speak with the women gathered?

  6. A feast day
    The Passover
    A sabbath

  7. What was the name of the woman worshipper of God who was listening to Paul and Silas?

  8. Salome

  9. Who does Jesus say will testify on his behalf?

  10. The Father
    His miracles
    The Advocate

  11. From where will the Advocate come?

  12. Heaven
    The Father
    The Son

  13. Which city was a leading city of Macedonia?

  14. Troas

  15. From which place was Lydia?

  16. Troas

  17. In what did Lydia deal?

  18. Gems and precious stones
    Purple cloth
    Gold and silver

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. We must persevere in love
    Love keeps no record at all
    Even in the face of ingratitude, love still loves

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Saturday 25 May 2019

Sunday, May 26, 2019 - Sixth Sunday of Easter - Am I living out the message of love?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts15:1-2, 22-29; Rev 21:10-14, 22-23; Jn 14:23-29

A priest was invited to a meal by one of his parishioners during the season of Lent and on a Friday. He sat down at table and was surprised when most of the dishes placed in front of him contained meat. He remarked to the parishioner that they were in the Lenten season and, even more significant, that the day was Friday and meat could not be eaten. The parishioner replied, “Do not worry, father. I sprinkled some holy water on all the meat, baptized it, and called it fish.” Did the meat become fish? Did the priest eat the “meat”? Was he guilty of sin if he did eat? Was the parishioner making a joke of the whole Lenten season? These are questions for which we find responses in the readings of today.

Christianity was never meant to be a religion of rules and regulations. More than once, Jesus encountered people who had made rules and regulations ends in themselves. And, more than once, indeed often, in his responses to such people, he would ask that the focus be on love rather than on law, that it be on the person rather than on the rule, and that it be on the heart rather than on the body. Yet, it seems that, more and more, we continue to focus on the external rather than on the internal.

This is evident in the first reading of today when, a few years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the first Christian community is debating about what makes a Christian and a disciple of Jesus. However, even as they debated, they realized that this is not what Jesus had intended at all. The Spirit inspired them to change their focus to the internal, to the heart. This is the same spirit that Jesus promised the disciples in the Gospel text of today. This Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus and so, will not teach something different from what Jesus taught. Rather, the Spirit that Jesus sent, and continues to send, will reinforce and confirm all that they have been taught by Jesus. By listening to this Spirit of freedom, they will be empowered to keep the word spoken to them and enable Jesus and the Father to make a home with them. The word spoken to them by Jesus was not a set of rules and regulations. The word spoken to them was not a list of commandments. The word spoken to them was not, primarily, a word about the law. It was always, with Jesus, a word of love. This is why the gift that Jesus leaves with the disciples is the gift of peace, which means wholeness and well being. The focus of the gift is the heart.

Since this is so, the Book of Revelation, in the second reading of today, can speak of the apostles as being the foundations of the new Temp0le and of God and Jesus being the Temple. There are no bricks and no walls that make up the new Temple. It is a Temple which has as its cornerstone, Jesus himself. This new Temple will not need external light. It will not even need the sun and the moon. Jesus will be all the light that the Temple needs.

Why is it that, almost from the “foundation” of Christianity, and continuing even today, the Church has focused on externals and on what constitutes and does not constitute sin? There could be a variety of reasons for this. The core reason, however, seems to be that, like Jesus was misunderstood so often in his lifetime, he was misunderstood also after his death and resurrection Instead of being content with living out the message of love, the Church became more interested in converting others to Jesus. Instead of showing, in and through the reality of love, what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus, the Church focused, on merely proclaiming the word. Instead of concentrating on Jesus and his Spirit, the Church shifted the focus to everything else. We moved our gaze away from the crucified Jesus and risen Christ.

What must we do to bring back this focus? What must we do? Only one response is required: the response of love. As Jesus lived out throughout his life, and in the face of all opposition, the reality of unconditional and absolute love, so we, as Church, are called to do so today. We need not concern ourselves so much with numbers and statistics, but with living out the message that Jesus brought. We need not concern ourselves with external conversions, but must focus more on the conversion of the heart. We need not worry so much about eating or not eating meat and fish and thus, what goes in, but must concentrate instead on what comes out from within. Then, that Temple, which John speaks about in the second reading of today, will become a reality. Then, its light will be the glory of God and the Lamb. Then, the Spirit that Jesus sent, and continues to send even today, will not be stifled and will be free to transform our lives and the lives of those we encounter and so, win them over to love.                      

Sunday, May 26, 2019 - Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Rev 21:10-14, 22-23; Jn 14:23-29

Sunday, May 26, 2019 - Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Rev 21:10-14, 22-23; Jn 14:23-29

  1. What was Judas also called?

  2. Barabbas

  3. Where was John carried away in the spirit?

  4. To a valley
    To a cliff
    To a high mountain

  5. To which type of believers was the letter sent from the Council?

  6. Pharisees
    Jewish Origin
    Gentile origin

  7. How many gates did John see in Jerusalem?

  8. Three

  9. Whom did the apostles and elders send besides Judas?

  10. Timothy

  11. What name does Jesus give the Holy Spirit?

  12. Paraclete

  13. Where did Paul and Barnabas go to discuss the matter of circumcision?

  14. Galilee

  15. Who does John say is the lamp of the city?

  16. The Sun
    The Lamb
    The Moon

  17. How many foundations did the wall of the city have?

  18. Seven

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. We must live out the message of love
    Love is shown in deeds not words
    Love has to be acted out

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Friday 24 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Saturday, May 25, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, May 25, 2019 click HERE

Saturday, May 25, 2019 - How often has your comparison with what others have led you to feel jealous of them? Will you realize that you can be the most contented person if you so decide today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts16:1-10; Jn 15:18-21
These verses of the Discourse on the Vine and the Branches focus not on the relationship of Jesus and the disciples, like the earlier verses did, but on the relationship of the disciples with the “world”. Here, the word “world” is used to represent, not the physical world, but those who are opposed to God’s revelation in Jesus.

The challenge of love will be truly encountered when the community faces the “world”. The “world” will hate the disciples because of their relationship with Jesus and because they live out his teachings. If the disciples want the world to love them, they must give up the teachings of Jesus. However, because they have been chosen by Jesus and set apart from the “world”, they too, like Jesus, will have to endure the “world’s” hatred.

The disciples must realize that following and obeying Jesus, as servants obey their masters, will lead to persecution. What has happened with Jesus will be repeated in the disciples’ lives. While the authority of the one sent is the same as the sender, it is also true that the response to the one sent will be the same as the response to the sender. Those who do not accept the word of truth, spoken by God in Jesus, will indulge in persecution. Those who accept the word will respond by living out that word in their lives.  Rejection of the disciples means rejection of Jesus because it is Jesus who sends them.  Rejection of Jesus means rejection of God who sent him.

In a world in which the resonating message is to “have more”, it is not always easy to speak and live Jesus’ message to “be more”. Those who do this are labelled as crazy and out of touch with reality. Possession of things has so possessed us that we do not even realize that, most of the time; it is things that possess us rather than the other way round. We are held by the things we want to possess and they will not let us rest. Often, it begins with a small possession and then goes on to something bigger and soon gets so big that we lose control of ourselves and who we are. Our identity is linked with what we have and what we have achieved. In a situation like this, we need to take stock and decide when enough is enough. We need to ask ourselves whether we will live our lives moving from one possession to the next, often not even having the time or energy to enjoy what we possess.

Saturday, May 25, 2019 - Acts 16:1-10; Jn 15:18-21

Saturday, May 25, 2019 - Acts 16:1-10; Jn 15:18-21

  1. From which place did Paul see a man in his vision?

  2. Damascus

  3. In which place were the disciples forbidden to speak the word by the Holy Spirit?

  4. Phrygia

  5. Where did the disciples go from Mysia?

  6. Macedonia

  7. To which place did the Spirit not allow the disciples to go?

  8. Galatia

  9. What nationality was Timothy's father?

  10. Roman

  11. Why was Timothy circumcised?

  12. Because it was known that his father was a Greek
    Because he was unclean
    Because he wanted to be

  13. Whom does Jesus say the world hated before the disciples?

  14. His father
    The spirit

  15. What was the name of the believer in Lystra?

  16. James

  17. Who does Jesus say are not greater than their master?

  18. Servants

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. Comparisons are odious
    Comparisons lead to conflict
    Each of us is unique and special

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Thursday 23 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Friday, May 24, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Friday, May 24, 2019 click HERE

Friday, May 24, 2019 - Have you received Jesus’ gift of unconditional love? Does this show in your sharing of that love?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts15:22-31; Jn 15:12-17
The first verse of today’s reading repeats the love commandment of 13:34, which there, was referred to as a new commandment. This love is expressed in the most perfect of ways in the willingness to go to one’s death for the sake of a friend. The disciples are indeed friends of Jesus, as has been manifested in their keeping his command to love. It is important to note that Jesus is not placing a condition for friendship here (you can be my friends only if…); rather he is stating what and who the disciples are (because you are my friends, you do what I command).

The friendship that the disciples share with Jesus is grounded in love. This means that Jesus keeps back nothing from his disciples and reveals to them all that they need to know. His primary revelation to them has been of God as a loving and compassionate Father.

It is Jesus who has taken the initiative in calling and choosing the disciples and this fact reinforces the idea of grace. It is not one’s effort that can earn discipleship but the grace of God which, when received, results in one living out the call to discipleship. The living out of the call is not merely a once for all act, but something that is done constantly and with perseverance. This will ensure that the effects of their love are abiding and lasting. The last verse of today, with its reminder to “love one another”, forms an inclusion with the first.

The relationship that we share with God because of Jesus is one of sons and daughters. We are Jesus’ brothers and sisters, even friends. This is because he has given us everything in all its fullness. He held nothing back, not even his own self. The manifestation of this self giving, which began with the incarnation, was completed and continued on the cross, and through his resurrection and ascension. He continues to give, even today. However, the giving is only one side of the story. Without a receiver, the gift has no value. This is why, while the grace of God given as a gift in Jesus is first, our reception of that gift is as important if the act of giving is to be completed. We show that we have received this gift when we, like Jesus, also dare to reach out in love. When we speak an enhancing word, perform a loving action, behave a little less selfishly, and a little more selflessly, then the gift is given and received, again and again.

Friday, May 24, 2019 - Acts 15:22-31; Jn 15:12-17

Friday, May 24, 2019 - Acts 15:22-31; Jn 15:12-17

  1. Whom did the apostles and elders send besides Judas?

  2. Barsabbas

  3. To which type of believers was the letter sent from the Council?

  4. Jewish origin
    Gentile origin

  5. What does the Lord call his disciples?

  6. Slaves

  7. How does Jesus want his disciples to love one another?

  8. More than others
    As he has loved them

  9. Why were the apostles appointed?

  10. To make God known
    To spread God's word
    To bear fruit

  11. What does the Lord not call his disciples?

  12. Friends
    Brothers and sisters

  13. What was Judas also called?

  14. Silas

  15. Who appointed the disciples?

  16. The Father
    The Holy Spirit

  17. Where did Silas and Judas go?

  18. To Jerusalem
    To Antioch
    To Damascus

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. The love we receive from Jesus has to be shared
    Jesus' love is unconditional
    The only true love is unconditional

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Wednesday 22 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Thursday, May 23, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, May 23, 2019 click HERE

Audio Reflections of Wednesday, May 22, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Wednesday, May 22, 2019 click HERE

Thursday, May 23, 2019 - How often has fear ruled your actions? Will you dare to act from love today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts15:7-21; Jn 15:9-11
The love which the Father has for Jesus is the same love that Jesus has expressed and shown for his disciples. It is a love that is unconditional, a love without end. It is not merely a verbal expression, or an emotion, but a love that is shown tangibly and in every action that Jesus performs. The disciples have to act in the same manner as Jesus in order to make this love visible. There is only one commandment and that is the commandment to love. If the disciples keep this commandment, it will result in their being like Jesus, their master, who before them, revealed God’s love for the world.

Keeping the commandment of Jesus is thus not a chore or burden but done willingly because one has experienced this love first. The outcome of this sharing and manifestation of love is unbounded joy.

The word “love” has been a word that is used so often that it has been abused. We speak of our love for the good things of life, and of our love for the members of our family, and of our love for God in the same breath. “I love mixed vegetables” we might tell our spouse and, in the next breath, say “I love you”. Love is not primarily an emotion; it is not even a feeling, but reality. As a matter of fact, the only reality is love. Fear, which is regarded as the opposite of love, is not real, it is only an illusion. If there is fear, there cannot be love, and where there is love, there is no fear (1 Jn 4:18). While Paul gives a beautiful definition of love in 1 Cor 13:1-9, my own definition of love is simple, but not simplistic. “In love, there is no “I””.

Thursday, May 23, 2019 - Acts 15:7-21; Jn 15:9-11

Thursday, May 23, 2019 - Acts 15:7-21; Jn 15:9-11

  1. Who spoke after Paul and Barnabas had finished speaking?

  2. Simon

  3. How does Jesus say he has loved the disciples?

  4. Unconditionally
    As the father has love him
    Without counting the cost

  5. How does Peter say we shall be saved?

  6. Through our good works
    Through the grace of Jesus
    Through living in the present moment

  7. Who does James say is read every Sabbath in the synagogues?

  8. Isaiah

  9. How does Jesus abide in the Father?

  10. By keeping his commandments
    By making him known
    By revealing him to all

  11. Among whom did Paul and Barnabas say the God had done signs and wonders?

  12. The Jews
    The Gentiles
    The Sadducees

  13. Which prophet does James quote?

  14. Isaiah

  15. Why has Jesus spoken these things to his disciples?

  16. So that they may know the truth
    So their joy will be complete
    So that they may be satisfied

  17. Whose dwelling will the Lord rebuild?

  18. Solomon's

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. In love there is no "I"
    Fear and love are opposite
    There cannot be fear in love

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Tuesday 21 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, May 22, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, May 22, 2019 click HERE

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - Do I consider myself as part of the vine or do I regard myself as an individual branch? How will I show that I am part of the vine?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts15:1-6; Jn 15:1-8
John 15:1-17 are the verses for today and the next two days. These verses contain the final “I am” sayings in the Gospel (vv. 1, 5) and introduce the central metaphor of this unit: the vine and its branches. Jesus uses, in the first verse of Chapter 15, a common symbol of the world at that time: Vine. While in 15:1, the relationship with Jesus and the Father is stressed, in 15:5, when the metaphor is used again, Jesus does so in the context of his relationship with his disciples. Thus, the focus of the metaphor is interrelationship. If God is the vine dresser, Jesus is the vine and the disciples are the branches. All three are required for the production of fruit.

God, as the vine dresser, is the origin or source and, because Jesus comes from the Father, he is the true vine. God acts in his capacity as vine dresser and does what is best for the vine. Those branches that do bear fruit are pruned and those that do not, are cut away. This means that those of the community who express their union with Jesus by acting it out in works of love are pruned, whereas those who do not show their faith in action are cut off. The disciples have been given an insight into how they must remain in the vine, through the words that Jesus has spoken to them and through the loving actions that he performed, symbolized in the washing of the feet. They must learn from these actions and realize that, without abiding or remaining in Jesus, they can do nothing. Their own power or effort will never be sufficient for the works they have to perform. These can only be done if accompanied by the grace that Jesus gives.

“I am the vine, you are the branches” in 15:5 is not a repetition of what was said earlier. Rather it stresses the relationship of the community with Jesus. Without the vine, the branches are nothing. Mutual indwelling will result in bearing fruit. If a branch decides that it wants to live apart from the vine, it is in effect asking for death. Life apart from the vine is not possible for any branch.

Mutual indwelling is not merely with a single branch and the vine but with all the branches in the vine with one another. This unity of the branches among themselves will result in fruit bearing. This unity will also be a witness for the world and the glorification of the vine dresser: God. When people see the works of the disciples, it will lead them to glorify the Father.

All too often Christianity has been understood as a religion that has only the individual dimension. The communitarian dimension has been neglected. This is seen in so many of the Sacraments (which are both individual and communitarian) being treated and regarded as private devotions. The approach of many Christians has often been: My God and I. This approach is to misunderstand Christianity and all that Jesus stood for. The metaphor of today makes explicit that mutual indwelling is at the heart of the preaching of Jesus, and that Christianity, while it surely has an individual dimension, just as surely has a communitarian dimension. I am, as a Christian my brother’s and sister’s keeper. Their joys and sorrow, their trials and tribulations, their successes and failures, have to be as real to me as my own if I am to be a Christian in the true sense of the word. The Christian does make an individual commitment and choice to follow Jesus but he/she makes it in and through a community

Monday 20 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, May 21, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, May 21, 2019 click HERE

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - When adversity knocks at your door do you open with dread and fear or hope and courage?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts14:19-28; Jn 14:27-31
A new promise is given to the disciples. This is first occurrence of “peace” in the Gospel of John. Peace here does not mean simply a wish, but must be seen as a legacy or bequest that Jesus leaves behind for the disciples. This peace that Jesus gives is not merely a sense of security, not merely the end of conflict and strife, but it embraces every aspect of a person’s life. This peace makes the weak strong and the fainthearted brave. It is a wholeness which makes one courageous to face all the trials and tribulations of life without getting overwhelmed. It is a peace which gives them the strength to face every kind of adversity with equanimity and faith.

Even as he offers this gift to them, Jesus reminds them of his departure because this is what God wills and it must come to pass. It is a reality that cannot be avoided and the peace given to them must make them able to accept it. The disciples must accept this reality, not out of resignation but, with an active joy. The reason for this joy is that Jesus goes to the Father after having completed the work given to him. It is the Father who has sent Jesus and given him the work to do - the work of making the Father known to the world - and now, after completing it thoroughly, Jesus goes back to where he has come from.

The foretelling of the events is Jesus’ way of preparing the disciples for what is to come and also to reveal to them that Jesus continues to go to his departure willingly and knowingly. It is not as if some unseen hand or “fate” is responsible for what is to come. Since what will happen fits in with God’s plan for Jesus and the world, Satan is never in control. He cannot have any power over Jesus. Jesus does what he does willingly and in obedience to the will of the Father..

The event of the death of a loved one sometimes shatters our world. We find it difficult to cope with the loss and wonder if the God we believe in really is a God of unconditional love. Does our God really care what happens to us? If he does, then why did he let this misfortune befall us? Where is he when we need him most? Why does he not answer? The answers to these questions are provided by Jesus in the Gospel text of today.  He tells his disciples, and us, to rejoice at such happenings because they fit in with God’s plan for us and the world. We may not be able to see this plan at first glance, like the disciples were not able to see it when Jesus spoke it to them, but we also know that Jesus’ words are true because of his resurrection and ascension and because of the transformation in the lives of his disciples because of these events. We have to continue to dare to believe.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - Acts 14:19-28; Jn 14:27-31

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - Acts 14:19-28; Jn 14:27-31

  1. Where did Paul and Barnabas go from Perga?

  2. Pamphylia

  3. Who does Jesus say has no power over him?

  4. The Father
    The ruler of this world
    The Spirit

  5. To whom did Paul and Barnabas say God opened a door of faith?

  6. The Jews
    The Samaritans
    The Gentiles

  7. What gift does Jesus give his disciples?

  8. Riches

  9. Where did Paul go from Lystra?

  10. Iconium

  11. From where did Paul and Barnabas sail to Antioch?

  12. Pamphylia

  13. Whom did the Jews stone?

  14. Stephen

  15. Why does Jesus say he will not talk much longer with the disciples?

  16. Because he does not want to burden them?
    Because the ruler of this world is coming
    Because they are not listening to him

  17. From where did the Jews come to Lystra?

  18. Jerusalem
    Nazareth and Capernaum
    Antioch and Iconium

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. The peace that Jesus gives is wholeness
    Jesus goes to the father to prepare a place for us
    Jesus and the father share an unbreakable bond

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Sunday 19 May 2019

Audio Reflections of Monday, May 20, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, May 20, 2019 click HERE

Monday, May 20, 2019 - Do Jesus and the Father dwell in you? How will you show this through your actions today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts14:5-18; Jn 14:21-26
To be a true disciple of Jesus, it is not enough to make a verbal proclamation of faith in him. One is also required to keep his commandments. It is important to note here that one does not earn Jesus’ love by keeping his command to love.  It is because one has already experienced that love that one wants to love and obey in return.

Judas (not Iscariot) does not appear in any of the Synoptic Gospels. He is the one who misunderstands here and asks a question about the revelation that Jesus is to make, not realizing that the revelation has been made already. If the disciples want to continue to experience the love that Jesus has made manifest to the world, they must continue to love one another. It is in the love of one another that they will experience the love of God and Jesus. This will result in a mutual indwelling. Just as Jesus dwells in the Father and the Father in him, so Jesus and the Father will live in the disciples and the disciples in them. This abiding presence of God and Jesus within the disciples as a community is both the foundation and the result of love expressed in deeds. Where there is no love shown, Jesus and the Father cannot be made present.

Though Jesus has made explicit what the disciples are to do if they are to make him present, it is possible that they may not have grasped all the implications of the command. The Paraclete or Advocate, only here in John identified with the Holy Spirit, will “remind” them of Jesus’ teachings. This clearly indicates that the Holy Spirit will not give new or different teaching, but only reinforce all that Jesus has already taught. The Spirit will be sent in Jesus’ name and so, like Jesus was the exegesis of the Father, the Spirit will be the exegesis of Jesus.

To keep the words of Jesus means to live them out in action. The ones who do that have already experienced the indwelling of God and Jesus in them. This indwelling will strengthen them and enable them to live out the word more fully each day. This is not a linear but cyclic process. More living out means more indwelling and more indwelling means more living out.