Tuesday, 19 February 2013 : 1st Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Matthew 6 : 7-15

When you pray, do not use a lot of words, as the pagans do, for they believe that the more they say, the more chances they have of being heard. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask Him.

This, then, is how you should pray :

Our Father in heaven, holy be Your Name.

Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts, just as we have forgiven, those who are in debt to us.

Do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from the evil one.

If you forgive others their wrongdoings, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 : 1st Week of Lent (Psalm)

Psalm 33 : 4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

Oh, let us magnify the Lord, together let us glorify His Name! I sought the Lord, and He answered me; from all my fears He delivered me.

They who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces never clouded with shame. When the poor cry out, the Lord hears and saves them from distress.

The eyes of the Lord are fixed on the righteous; His ears are inclined to their cries. But His face is set against the wicked to destroy their memory from the earth.

The Lord hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 : 1st Week of Lent (First Reading)

Isaiah 55 : 10-11

As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return till they have watered the earth, making it yield seed for the sower and food for others to eat, so is My word that goes forth out of My mouth : it will not return to Me idle, but it shall accomplish My will, the purpose for which It has been sent.

Monday, 18 February 2013 : 1st Week of Lent (Scripture Reflection)

God told us today, to be active in our faith, to live our faith, and to act out our faith. For indeed, faith without any act of love and justice is simply dead. Faith alone cannot guarantee us salvation. The Lord indeed said that if you have faith in Me, you will be saved, but He did not mean that we just have faith, staring at Him and just concern ourselves with Him all the time, ignoring all the sufferings that are around us, ignoring the plea for help made by our less fortunate brothers and sisters,

No, the Lord wants us to believe in Him and have faith in Him, but mainly through concrete action. How else to prove our faith to the Lord who is love and compassion, by doing what He is doing, that is to love and to be just to our neighbours, to our fellow men, and more so to those who are considered least and lowest in our respective societies. To God, we are all equal, but sadly, in our human society, more often than not, social hierarchy threw down many people who are poor, sick, and rejected into the bottom of the society, shunned and reviled by the people.

What God taught us, through Christ, is that the commandments that He has given through Moses to the people of Israel, had been perfected into the commandments of love. For all the commandments and rules He gave to Moses in the first reading today, it is clear that all of them are based on love. Love of our fellow men, and of course love for God. To love is to reach out to them with love, to reflect love in all things we do, and to make love the centre of our being, that through our actions, the love of God is made manifest in our world. For God’s love reaches all, but very often, this love becomes concrete and real through us, especially when we take on works of charity, approach those who are lonely and rejected, comfort those who sorrow and those who face tribulations and trials in their lives.

For God loves everyone so much, and equally, even to the least among us. Therefore, if we turn a blind eye to them, or even to join in persecuting them, the Lord will not be pleased. For to God, even those who are least, will also be worthy of His Kingdom, and sometimes it is true indeed, that those who have nothing, like those who are poorest and weakest, who loves God the most.

The failure to help and do good for our less fortunate brethren is what is called the sin of omission, just as we sin by doing something bad and evil, something displeasing before the Lord, so is the failure to do what is good and what will be able to alleviate the suffering of others, if we are fully capable to do it, but choose not to do so. Such is the sin of omission, which we are always repeatedly reminded in the Penitential Act we do in the Mass, “…what I have done, and what I have failed to do…” Let us therefore, not only make these declarations emptily, and let us from this moment onward, mean what we say.

Begin with those immediately around you, and those that you met along the way. If someone is asking you for help, even a simple one, do not outrightly reject them or shoo them away. If it is within your ability to help, why not lift a hand to give aid to those in need? But remember, not to do so in order to be praised ourselves like hypocrites, who show their acts of charity to make their fame increase, by trumpeting what they do in the streets. Do acts of charity with true sincerity and humility and out of love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let us pray today, that God will give us a heart of love and compassion, to be moved by the plight of those suffering around us, and those who lack love in their heart, that we may bring love to them as well. May God bless us all, always. Amen.

How the Conclave proceeds : A very nice and concise animation!

http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/come-si-elegge-il-papa/

Go and visit this site, which offers a very good and detailed though simple explanations on the way a Conclave proceeds. Not only that it is easy to follow, step-by-step from the beginning of the Conclave to after a new Pope is elected, I believe it’s quite neat too, with all the animations they did for the occasion. Good job Vatican Insider!