Tag Archives: josephine

18 May, Saturday – Evidence Based Faith

May 18 – Memorial for St. John I, Pope and Martyr

John (d. 526) was a priest in Rome, and became the 53rd pope in 523. Italy’s ruler then, Theodoric the Goth, was an Arian. For a while he left the Catholics alone but in later life, he became suspicious of everyone, imagining conspiracies and attempts to seize his throne. He tried to involve Pope John in his political machinations. John led a delegation to Constantinople to negotiate with Emperor Justin I; he was the first pope to travel to Constantinople, and while there crowned Justin. The mission was successful, but Theodoric thought John and Justin I had plotted against him. While returning to Rome, John was kidnapped and imprisoned by Theodoric’s soldiers. He died of thirst and starvation while in custody in Ravenna, Italy.

– Patron Saint Index

_____________

Acts 13:44-52

The next sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of God. When they saw the crowds, the Jews, prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly. ‘We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans. For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said:

I have made you a light for the nations,
so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.’

It made the pagans very happy to hear this and they thanked the Lord for his message; all who were destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread through the whole countryside.
But the Jews worked upon some of the devout women of the upper classes and the leading men of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in defiance and went off to Iconium; but the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

___________________

John 14:7-14

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If you know me, you know my Father too.
From this moment you know him and have seen him.’

Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’
‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him, ‘and you still do not know me?

‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,
so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?
Do you not believe
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself:
it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.
You must believe me when I say
that I am in the Father and the Father is in me;
believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever believes in me
will perform the same works as I do myself,
he will perform even greater works,
because I am going to the Father.
Whatever you ask for in my name I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask for anything in my name,
I will do it.

_______________

Whatever you ask for in my name I will do…         

We sometimes want all the facts in the world before we believe in something, including the Lord, the God of all. The Bible is our evidence and so is the Sacred tradition, yet we find it hard. All the more reason for us to depend on God to lean on Him, so that we don’t only see and understand, but we believe.

In today’s gospel, we are once again reminded about how powerful yet how personal our God is. He wants to carry out our requests by answering our prayers. Such a sweet Daddy God we have.

So I urge you, sisters and brothers if you are staring at a mountain ahead of you and feel helpless, fret not, we have a God who will bulldoze this mountain in a way only He can, if we just let Him. But sometimes we are guilty of trying to use our man-sized shovel to level out a seemingly large mountain. Surrender your mountains to Him and let Him be God.

Let us praise Him in our joy and our sorrow. Whatever the season of life we are in, let us make it a humble offering onto His throne and unto His feet.

Let us be diligent by remaining in the truth always, regardless of the circumstances we face; because in truth, we constantly face a loving God who fights all our battles.

Also, let us be action-oriented and reach out to others, so that we are able to be a light to others who know Him not.

I have recently been working on my baking skills and am very drawn to bring the fruits of my labour to students at my university who are sitting for exams. One of the main exam halls, is just beside my office and I see these students daily, different ones every day. I pray that my intentions turn to actions too. Please pray for me too as I pray for you all.

(Today’s Oxygen by Josephine Dionisappu)

Prayer:  Lord, show us to what extent you want us to reach the ends of the earth. Help us to trust you more. Lord, our lives are in your hands.

Thanksgiving: Lord, tune me into your instrument of worship. I lift up my hands in your name.

17 May, Friday – You are my Son

17 May 2019

_____________

Acts 13:26-33

Paul stood up in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:

‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you. What the people of Jerusalem and their rulers did, though they did not realise it, was in fact to fulfil the prophecies read on every sabbath. Though they found nothing to justify his death, they condemned him and asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out everything that scripture foretells about him they took him down from the tree and buried him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had accompanied him from Galilee to Jerusalem: and it is these same companions of his who are now his witnesses before our people.
‘We have come here to tell you the Good News. It was to our ancestors that God made the promise but it is to us, their children, that he has fulfilled it, by raising Jesus from the dead. As scripture says in the second psalm: You are my son: today I have become your father.’

_____________________

John 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God still, and trust in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house;
if there were not, I should have told you.
I am going now to prepare a place for you,
and after I have gone and prepared you a place,
I shall return to take you with me;
so that where I am
you may be too.
You know the way to the place where I am going.’

Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus said:

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.’

_________________

No one comes to the Father except through me          

No one comes to the Father except through the Son – this is one of the most powerful and true statements, it’s the truth. This truth has many implications and it affects everyone.

I recently attended a seminar on New Evangelisation where one of the speakers, a pastor, pointed out that if on the funeral day of someone we knew, they asked us why did we not tell him/her about our Jesus, what would we say? My eyes and heart welled up immediately as I thought of all my loved ones and acquaintances who have not embraced Christ. Just thinking about it caused me much distress. However, I still do not always tell others who my Lord is; in fact, I even pass on such opportunities.

Brothers and sisters, I urge you to look deep inside your life, so that you are able to see and set right everything, so that we are truly one with Him. If there is a sin we need to confess, let us go for confession. Confession is a place of affirmation, not condemnation. If you need to make peace with someone, reach out. Whatever is not right, let us pray that we can set it right through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And let us pray that the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit gives us an opportunity to share the Good News and the love of God with everyone we encounter. I can imagine that there are different methods in each situation but this should not be a reason for us not to share our words.

Recently I was at an event, and I was surprised that someone kept talking about her husband, although it seems that reference to him was not relevant. It took me sometime to realise that it was her way of telling us what a great man she married and that singing his praises was only natural to her. Most of us can be like that, when we share even the most mundane of things – the best deals and food in town, the richest person in our society or office, the well-dressed person, the high achiever and even the sweetest person we know. Why is it then do we feel that it is ridiculous to talk about the Lord and His goodness?

Lord, Holy Spirit, lead us, guide us and empower us with your gifts of steadfast spirit and boldness, so that we are your mouthpiece for all our days.

(Today’s Oxygen by Josephine Dionisappu)

Prayer:  Lord, Holy Spirit, bless us and lead us to your Son, so that we and everyone we know will know the Son.

Thanksgiving: As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, love the Lord and know the Lord and share Him with others.

16 May, Thursday – Saved by His Precious Blood

16 May 2019

______________

Acts 13:13-25

Paul and his friends went by sea from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia where John left them to go back to Jerusalem. The others carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the sabbath and took their seats. After the lessons from the Law and the Prophets had been read, the presidents of the synagogue sent them a message: ‘Brothers, if you would like to address some words of encouragement to the congregation, please do so.’ Paul stood up, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:

‘Men of Israel, and fearers of God, listen! The God of our nation Israel chose our ancestors, and made our people great when they were living as foreigners in Egypt; then by divine power he led them out, and for about forty years took care of them in the wilderness. When he had destroyed seven nations in Canaan, he put them in possession of their land for about four hundred and fifty years. After this he gave them judges, down to the prophet Samuel. Then they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. After forty years, he deposed him and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”’

__________________

John 13:16-20

After he had washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus said to them:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
no servant is greater than his master,
no messenger is greater than the man who sent him.

‘Now that you know this, happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly. I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: Someone who shares my table rebels against me.

‘I tell you this now, before it happens,
so that when it does happen
you may believe that I am He.
I tell you most solemnly,
whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me,
and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’

___________________

I know the ones I have chosen        

What does it mean to be saved by His precious blood and to be known and chosen by God? It does not get more intimate than this at all.

He shed His blood for the salvation of the entire world, no exceptions here. It is He, the sacrificial lamb, that led us to new life when He died on the cross for our sins – the sins of the whole world. His love was so great that He submitted to death to atone for us.

Now then what is it to be chosen and known? Who is in this group? To draw some perspective, I want to highlight a video I watched recently. The speaker, Jackie Francois Angel said that she is Catholic because of the Eucharist. She explained that being in union in body, mind, spirit and soul is the most intimate union, much like the union between a man and his wife. She goes on to explain that is what the Eucharist is. It is therefore also not surprising that many refer to marriage as a foretaste of heaven as it also mirrors the union we share with the Lord in the Eucharist. Jackie also quoted John 6:53-56: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarrelled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?”. Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” Therefore, essentially as a Catholic who partakes in the holy mass, we enter into marriage with the Lord, as He had commanded us to.

So are we known and chosen by Him? Initially Jesus had 12 apostles who ate His bread and drank His blood, which today we as Catholics do likewise. As Catholics, we also stayed with the Church Jesus instituted under St Peter, our first Pope. Though today, we no longer walk for miles and are immersed in technology, we are as Christian as the apostles. It is no doubt that our Church stood the test of time, amidst grave persecution, yet it stands in front of the Father, depending on Him to wash our sins through the Eucharist and through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Dear sisters and brothers, if we are but known, chosen and loved to this extent, how do we respond to this love? Let us seek answers from the Lord who lives and the One who loves.

(Today’s Oxygen by Josephine Dionisappu)

Prayer:  Lord, help us to be truly worthy of you. Though we cannot earn your love, we want to know how to love and adore you more.

Thanksgiving: I will sing of your love forever, for you washed me cleaned and kept me close.