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Reflection for Today

 

Reflection on Mark 3:1-6, Thursday 21/01/21- Jesus went into the synagogue, and there was a man present whose hand was withered. And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath day, hoping for something to charge him with. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Get up and stand in the middle!’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it permitted on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing. Then he looked angrily round at them, grieved to find them so stubborn, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and began at once to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.

Reflection - Whom do I relate with in this passage? The man with the withered hand, the Pharisees and the Herodians or the crowd in the synagogue?

 There are many people suffering in the world. Do I have a strong desire to do good and avoid evil, to save life and avoid destructive ways of living?

Is God challenging me to do more good and make a difference to the world and people around me? How can I do this? What should I do to make this place a better place?


Reflection on Mark 3:7-12, Wednesday, 20/1/21- Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lakeside, and great crowds from Galilee followed him. From Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea and Transjordan and the region of Tyre and Sidon, great numbers who had heard of all he was doing came to him.

And he asked his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, to keep him from being crushed. For he had cured so many that all who were afflicted in any way were crowding forward to touch him. And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, would fall down before him and shout, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he warned them strongly not to make him known.

Reflection - One can sense the excitement and anticipation in the “great crowds” that have endured hardships and inconveniences, to travel great distances to be with Jesus the Healer.

 In today’s modern world, do we also sense this great excitement that our ancestors felt, when we go to church to be with Jesus?

 Think about your usual disposition when attending the Eucharist. Do you participate actively, listen attentively and relate personally with Jesus in the Eucharistic celebrations?


Reflection on Mark 2:23-28, Tuesday 19/1/21- One Sabbath day Jesus was taking a walk through the cornfields, and his disciples began to make a path by plucking ears of corn. And the Pharisees said to him, ‘Look, why are they doing something on the Sabbath day that is forbidden?’

And he replied, ‘Have you never read what David did in his time of need when he and his followers were hungry – how he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the loaves of the offering which only the priests are allowed to eat, and how he also gave some to the men with him?’ And he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; so the Son of man is master even of the Sabbath.’

Reflection- All cultures have taboos that are superstitious or illogical.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus dismisses a Mosaic law because He is more concerned about the well-being of human beings than rules and regulations.

 Questions to think about - In what ways are we uncharitable to others because of our inflexible understanding of rules and our inflexible attitudes towards them?


Reflection on John 1:35-42, Monday 18/1/21- As John stood there with two of his disciples, Jesus went past, and John looked towards him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ And the two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.

Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi’ — which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ He replied, ‘Come and see’; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour.

One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother and say to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ — which means the Christ- and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ — which means Rock.

Reflection- As you read the passage think of the words / phrases that caught your attention.

The mission of John the Baptist was to prepare the way for Jesus and to point Jesus to those who were waiting for the Messiah. Andrew, on discovering the Messiah, quickly brings his brother Simon Peter to Jesus.

Questions to think - Are we like Andrew; overjoyed at having found the Messiah? If so, should we not bring others to Jesus?


Reflection on Mark 2:1-5, 10-12a, Friday- 15/01/21- When Jesus returned to Capernaum, word went round that he was in the house; and so many people were gathered,  that there was no room left, even in front of the door. He was preaching the word to them when some people came bringing him a paralytic carried by four men, but as they could not get the man to him through the crowd, they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was; and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic lay.

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’ But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority to forgive sins on earth’ – he said to the paralytic – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.’ And the man got up, and at once picked up his stretcher and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all surprised and praised God.

Reflection - This Gospel account tells us how a paralytic was healed by Jesus because of the faith of his friends, who overcame difficulties, so their friend can be brought  back to good health.  In order to emphasise that inner healing is more important, Jesus first forgave the paralytic’s sins before physically healing him.

 Questions to think- How often have our friends been God’s instruments in bringing about inner healing in us? How often have we overcome difficulties to bring others to Jesus?


Reflection on Mark 1:40-45, Thursday 14/01/21- A man suffering from a contagious skin-disease came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees saying, ‘If you are willing, you can cleanse me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him and said to him, ‘I am willing. Be cleansed.’ And at once the skin-disease left him and he was cleansed. And at once Jesus strictly sent him away and said to him, ‘Mind you tell no one anything, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your cleansing prescribed by Moses as evidence to them.’ The man went away, but then started freely proclaiming and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but stayed outside in deserted places. Even so, people from all around kept coming to him.

Reflection- The leper who was cured by Jesus was so happy that he went round proclaiming his cure to all peoples despite Jesus advising him not to do so.  As such Jesus could no longer go openly into any town . . . Even so, people from all around kept coming to him. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 says ‘there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven …a time to be quiet and a time to speak up.’

 Questions to think- How ready and open are you to God’s Plan for you? Look at the way you live your life. Is it Christ-Centred?  Do your family and others around see Christ in you?​


Reflection on Mark 1:32-39, Wednesday 13/01/21- At evening, after sunset, they brought to Jesus all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were sick with diseases of one kind or another; he also drove out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.

In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can proclaim the message there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out devils.

Reflection- In His Ministries, Jesus neither lived by the approval of others nor relied on building a positive and likeable public reputation for Himself.  Instead, He lived by His faithfulness and obedience to His Father’s Will.

 As such, He prayed fervently to keep the focus and final goal of His Ministries of leading all peoples to accept His Father.

Listen to the Word of God in Scriptures rather than ‘voices’ around you so that you find God’s (and life’s) true purpose for you.

Questions to think - Are we victims of popular trends and pressures to follow the crowd’s way of living? are we listening to God`s voice?


Reflection on Mark 1:21b-27, Tuesday 12/01/21- On the Sabbath,  Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.

In their synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit, and he shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus scolded it saying, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into seizures and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking one another what it all meant, saying, ‘Here is a teaching that is new, and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’

Reflection - God the Father’s divine Power and His Spirit was fully present in Jesus during His Public Ministries.  Thus, He had divine Authority, Wisdom to Teach and Preach, Courage to be Just and Humility to forgive.

 God’s Spirit too is within each of us to help us teach, preach, be just, to forgive and to proclaim the Good News.

 Questions to think- Do we allow the problems and pains of serving and living in God’s ways to discourage and dampen our desires or do we face them bravely as challenges to love God more fully?


Reflection on Mark 1:14-20, Monday- 11/1/21- After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Gospel from God saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Gospel.’ As he was walking along by the Lake of Galilee he saw Simon and Simon’s brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Come after me and I will make you into fishers of people.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him. Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending the nets. At once he called them and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.

Reflection - As you begin your reflection think about the words/ phrases that caught your attention.

The Apostles answered to Jesus’ call to serve in His Mission of proclaiming the Good News of Salvation to all peoples.  They each lived their calling to the full, even to the point of dying for Jesus.  All of us are “called” by God to bring the Good News to all peoples that God has and will place in our daily lives.

Question to think - Are we serious and selfless in serving this “Mission” that God expects of us?  Reflect on your past days or months and ask yourself, “Have I touched or drawn any one to God?”


Reflection on Luke 5:12-16, Friday 8/1/21- Jesus was in one of the towns when suddenly a man appeared, covered with a skin-disease. Seeing Jesus he fell on his face and begged him saying, ‘Sir, if you are willing you can cleanse me.’ He stretched out his hand, and touched him saying, ‘I am willing. Be cleansed.’ At once the skin-disease left him.

     He ordered him to tell no one, ‘But go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering for your cleansing just as Moses prescribed, as evidence to them.’ But the news of him kept spreading, and large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their illnesses cured, but he would go off to some deserted place and pray.

Reflection- The sick man recognised the power and authority of Jesus to heal him.  He asked Jesus with humility and simplicity e. g. “If you are willing. . .”

When we are in pain or afflicted with some difficult problems, we too should ask God with such humbleness and simplicity. Such prayers put God’s Will before our own will and needs.


Reflection on Luke 4:16-22a, Thursday, 7/01/21- Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written: The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to prisoners, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.

He then rolled up the scroll…and he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening.’ And he won the approval of all.

Reflection- Jesus was “anointed” to bring the Good News to change the sufferings of the poor, needy and afflicted into one of hope and salvation. We too are called to bring the Good News to others, to help others in their needs and to show love and compassion to others , just like Christ did.


Reflection on Mark 6:46-52, Wednesday, 6/01/21- After saying goodbye to the crowd Jesus went off into the hills to pray. When evening came, the boat was far out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. He could see that the disciples were tired from rowing the boat, for the wind was against them; and about the fourth watch of the night Jesus  came towards them, walking on the sea. He was going to pass them by, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke to them and said, ‘Courage! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.’ Then he got into the boat with them and the wind dropped. They were  completely amazed.

Reflection – There is a saying, “the brave hearted die once, but cowards die a thousand deaths.” Brave hearted persons put others first and themselves last.  Such “brave hearts” are exemplified in our saints and most perfectly, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven will be dominated with people who are brave hearted and who are most Christ-like.

Question to think- Are you brave-hearted?


Reflection on Mark 6:34-37a, 38, 41 & 44, Tuesday, 5/01/2021- As Jesus stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length. By now it was getting very late, and his disciples came up to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place and it is getting very late, so send them away, and they can go to the farms and villages round about, to buy themselves something to eat.’

     He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ Then he asked, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ And when they had found out they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing; then he broke the loaves and began handing them to his disciples to distribute among the people. He also shared out the two fish among them all. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.

Reflection- In today’s Gospel, the crowd was hungry and Jesus took mercy on them. The disciples told Jesus to send them away as it was a “lonely place and it was getting very late.”  However, Jesus’ kind-heartedness went beyond being aware of the hunger and needs of the people.  Jesus responded by asking His disciples to feed them.  

Questions to think- Are we attentive to the sufferings of others? How often do we feel compassion for them, yet do nothing to ease their sufferings?


Reflection on Matthew 4:12-17, 23-24, Monday , 4/1/21-  Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus…went and settled in Capernaum, beside the lake, on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!...The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who lived in a country of shadow, dark as death a light has dawned.

 From then onwards, Jesus began his proclamation with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.’ He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of disease…among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria, and those who were suffering from diseases and painful complaints of one kind or another, the possessed, epileptics, the paralysed, were all brought to him, and he cured them.

Reflection –Think of the words or phrases that caught your attention.

Jesus began His public ministry in Galilee by preaching repentance, proclaiming the Good News and curing people of all diseases and His popularity spread far and wide. Jesus, our “Great Light” will set the poor and oppressed free. For those side-lined, He will give them True Hope and dignity. Jesus will remove our burden of sin and suffering and turn our “darkness” into “light,” if we continue to place our trust and hope in Him  .


Reflection on Matthew 1:1-2a, 6b, 11b, 16-17, Thursday 17/12/20- ‘Roll of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham: Abraham fathered Isaac ….David fathered Solomon ….Then the deportation to Babylon took place. Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ. The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.

Reflection-There were 42 generations from Abraham to the time when Jesus was born. We are not even familiar with many of Jesus’ ancestors. Whether they were important personalities or not is secondary. What is important is that they were uniquely created as part of God’s plan of salvation. Each had a unique role to play. In the same way, each of us is uniquely created to fulfil God’s Plan.

Questions to think- Are we aware of our mission on earth?  Ponder on this truth and ask yourself, “How is God challenging me to live out my role in God’s plan of salvation for all peoples”?


Reflection on Luke 7:18b-23, Wednesday 15/12/20-‘John, calling two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to expect someone else?’ When the men reached Jesus they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, “Are you the one who is to come or are we to expect someone else?” ’At that very time he cured many people of diseases and afflictions and of evil spirits, and gave the gift of sight to many who were blind. Then he gave the messengers their answer, ‘Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, those suffering from  skin-diseases are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the good news is proclaimed to the poor; and blessed is anyone who does not find me a cause of falling.’

Reflection- Like John’s disciples, sometimes we ask if God is present in our lives or if He cares about what is happening around us. In reply, Jesus told John’s disciples to go back to tell John about what God had done for His people; restoring their physical well-being and proclaiming the Good News to the poor.

 Questions to think- In what ways do we, as baptised Christians, bring the Good News to our family, our friends and our colleagues? How are we drawing people closer to God, especially during this Advent season?


Reflection on Matthew 21:28-32, Tuesday 15/12/20- ‘Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people. ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. ‘The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ They said, ‘The first.’  Jesus said to them, ‘In truth I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, showing the way of righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’

Reflection- In today’s Gospel, Jesus criticised the chief priests and elders for being so inflexible in the practice of their religion that they ignored John’s call for repentance. When we recognise our sinfulness and seek God’s mercy and forgiveness, our repentance will win us forgiveness from God.

Question to think - In our busy everyday lives, are we like the first who ultimately followed his father’s instruction, or the second son who didn’t?


Reflection on Matthew 21:23-27, Monday 14/12/20- ‘Jesus had gone into the Temple and was teaching, when the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him and said, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?’ In reply Jesus said to them, ‘And I will ask you a question, just one; if you tell me the answer to it, then I will tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: what was its origin, heavenly or human?’ And they argued this way among themselves, ‘If we say heavenly, he will reply to us, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?” but if we say human, we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’     So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And he replied to them, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’

Reflection- Jesus’ actions and teaching authority come from God. Yet, why are we so doubtful about what He tells us through His Gospel and His Church’s Teachings? Understanding Jesus’ authority requires an openness of heart, a deep faith in the Spirit’s presence and guidance of the Church. This faith is deepened by a meaningful prayer life.

 Questions to think- Are my faith deep enough and my prayer life regular enough?


Reflection on Matthew 11:16-19, Friday 

11/12/20- ‘Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘What comparison can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place: We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t be mourners. ‘For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He is possessed.” The Son of man came, eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.’

Reflection - Jesus’ parable warns those who continue to justify their lukewarm attitude in the practices of their faith. We are challenged to face the prejudices of our lives and begin to listen to God’s Words more wholeheartedly and live more fully in God’s ways.

 Question to think- Are we willing to accept Jesus’ challenges during this Advent season so as to prepare ourselves to receive Jesus into our hearts and homes more warmly and hospitably during Christmas?​


Reflection on Matthew 11:11-15, Thursday 10/12/20- Jesus spoke to the crowd: ‘In truth I tell you, of all the children born to women, there has never been anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. ‘Since John the Baptist came, up to this present time, the kingdom of Heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm. Because it was towards John that all the prophecies of the prophets and of the Law were leading; and he, if you will believe me, is the Elijah who was to return. Anyone who has ears should listen!’

As you read the passage, think of the words/phrases that caught your attention

Reflection - Jesus says that ‘Anyone who has ears should listen!’ This is an urgent encouragement to listen with more than our ears. Hearing words and not putting them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house upon sand. Hearers have a responsibility to be willing to live in Christ-like ways.

Question to think - How do you intend to take up Jesus’ challenge to be more like Him?


Reflection on Matthew 11:28-30, Wednesday 9/12/20- ‘Jesus exclaimed: ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

Reflection - We are all overburdened in life; more so in today’s world of materialism, where we are all called to meet deadlines, achieve success, etc. A lot of our “burdens” are demanded by our society but Jesus is not asking us any of these. He just wants you to love him and you can do this by taking sometimes, even if it is a few minutes to be with him.

 Once we are able to put Jesus’ words of “learn from me for I am humble of heart” into practice, we will surely find “peace and rest for our souls”.  He has given us this promise.  Will we trust His Word and act on it?​


Reflection on Luke 1:26-33, 38, Tuesday 8/12/20- ‘The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said, ‘You see before you the Lord’s servant, let it happen to me as you have said.’ And the angel left her.

Reflection - “Be not afraid, you have won God’s favour.”  These words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary are so beautiful.  Do we not long to hear such praises from God? Mary found favour with God because God was always at the centre of her life.  She was favoured and praised by God because of her firm faith in God in all situations.

 Question to think- Do you, like Mary, always put God at the centre of your life?


 

 

 

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