Jeremiah 18:18-20

18 Then they said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not heed any of his words.” 19 Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to my plea. 20 Is evil a recompense for good? Yet they have dug a pit for my life. Remember how I stood before thee to speak good for them, to turn away thy wrath from them. 

Matthew 20:17-28

17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 

18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, 19 and deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” 

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” 22 But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; 28 even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


THE FIRST READING summarizes the response of a people whose hearts and minds were closed to the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah that they mend their ways. The people of Israel have become hardened like clay in the potter’s hand such that they could not be reshaped and moulded into a work of art, which necessitated that these vessels of clay-a metaphor for the sinful people-be destroyed! 

Upon hearing these apocalyptic warnings, the people rebelled against Jeremiah and sought to destroy him so as to silence their consciences! 

St MATTHEW’S narrate a climatic occasion that marks the revelation of Christ’s Divinity. Our Lord’s reference to himself as the “Son of man” sheds new light on His mission and the tragic consequences that lie in waiting in Jerusalem, followed by His resurrection. Two of the twelve apostles who came to hear of this future turn of events shared this sensitive information with their mother who saw an opportunity to secure her son’s salvation and future position of authority! The other ten apostles who witnessed this discourse were not impressed by the sons of Zebedee who sought a place of power and position in God’s kingdom. 

We can deduce from this discourse between this ‘caring’ mother and Jesus that you and I cannot “claim” our place in heaven just because of our association with Christ Jesus.Furthermore, our Lord do promise that His apostles will “drink [his] cup,” implying that they will also partake in His suffering and even face martyrdom for the sake of the gospel! Here again we come to understand that suffering and pain can be meritorious acts of God’s grace when it is offered up not only for our salvation, but when we “seek the good of [our] neighbor” (1 Cor 10:24) also. Thus when we partake in the Eucharistic cup of blessings and knaw His flesh,we share in Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection! 1Cor 10:16

Let us pray: Psalms 31:5-6,14-16

5 Into thy hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. 

6 Thou hatest those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD. 14 But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” 15 My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! 16 Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love!    Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world



Isaiah 1:10,16-20

10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. 

18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 

Matthew 23:1-12

1 Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. 4 They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. 

11 He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; 12 whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.


THE PROPHET ISAIAH delivers a stinging message to the people of Sodom that is intended to warn them of the consequences of their evil ways that is a far cry from the ordinances of God. It is apparent that the way of life and the treatment of those on the margins of society has been abandoned or neglected by the leaders. 

Isaiah holds out an olive branch to entice those who have departed from the ways of God to mend their ways and be willing to submit to the will of God. Conversely, if the people refuse to embrace this invitation of reconciliation then eternal death awaits them! The substance of Isaiah’s message is that the people neceserily care for and respect the marginalized which is a condition for their eternal salvation!

St MATHEWS gospel account sees Jesus’recognition that the Pharisees occupy the authoritive seat that teaches the doctrines and prescriptions of the Hebrew faith. In other words, the Pharisees are the authoritive body in matters of the practice and doctrines that is ordered to lead God’s people to righteousness. 

Not withstanding this sacred office that the Pharisees occupy on the seat of Moses, it is evident to our Lord that the Pharisees are good at preaching and teaching the precepts of the law, but alas their way of life and behavior is a far cry from the ordinances and the teachings of God. Power, position, titles and dress codes to be seen and applauded are the hedonistic way of life these leaders persue, which is not consistent or in accord with their calling to serve the people of God! Jesus’ message is obvious, that the leaders must be humble servants who are in service of the people rather than to be seen as highflyers who is more concerned with their social status and titles to which everyone must bow! God is prepared to reason with those who are sinful with the hope that they will see the light.

LET US PRAY: Psalms 50:8-9,16-17,21,23

8 I do not reprove you for your sacrifices; your burnt offerings are continually before me. 9 I will accept no bull from your house, nor he-goat from your folds. 16 But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes, or take my covenant on your lips? 17 For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you. 21 These things you have done and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you. 23 He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me; to him who orders his way aright I will show the salvation of God!”    Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world



Daniel 9:4-10

4 I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and terrible God, who keepest covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from thy commandments and ordinances; 

6 we have not listened to thy servants the prophets, who spoke in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 

7 To thee, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us confusion of face, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those that are near and those that are far away, in all the lands to which thou hast driven them, because of the treachery which they have committed against thee. 8 To us, O Lord, belongs confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness; because we have rebelled against him, 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 

Luke 6:36-38

36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 

37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 

38 give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

NOTICE: For all future daily meditations subscribe to the blog or Google: Catholic Witness – Morning Coffee Meditations


THE FIRST READING: Sickened by fear when his dream revealed the fruit of sin that shall see the evil one destroy God’s people, Daniel “turned his face to God” and began a fast sleeping on sackcloth and ashes of a red heifer that was burned as an offering to purify him from sin. Daniels acts of fasting, prayers and invocation of God’s mercy is an intercessory act on behalf of the people in response to the apocalyptic dream that revealed to him what the outcome of sin will manifest. 

The essence of Daniel’s prayer portrays what we Catholics ordinarily refer to as an act of contrition which a sincere penitent enumerates in the confessional that leads to the revelation of the sinful state of the penitent against a spouse, brother, sister or neighbor and God. Confession is an admission of guilt that seeks God’s mercy and forgiveness to restore the soul of the believer.

THE GOSPEL READING sets the criteria that our Lord lays down in the matter of forgiveness. Moreover our Lord suggests that our seeking His forgiveness requires reciprocal acts on our part towards others. “And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us” (Lk 11:14) is the rule by which our sins will be judged in this life and at Christ’s second coming!

Whilst it is true that we will be judged as individuals our judgement presuppose that we are part of an ecclesia who are responsible not only for our own salvation, but also the salvation of our neighbors, family and strangers. Similarly the measure of our self giving, charity and sacrifice for the good of others is the standard and measure by which we will be judged. It is indeed a work of God’s grace working in love that shall propel us to be merciful, give and forgive others.

LET US PRAY: Psalms 79:8-9,11,13

8 Do not remember against us the iniquities of our forefathers; let thy compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. 

9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; deliver us, and forgive our sins, for thy name’s sake! 11 Let the groans of the prisoners come before thee; according to thy great power preserve those doomed to die!13 Then we thy people, the flock of thy pasture, will give thanks to thee for ever; from generation to generation we will recount thy praise.    Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world


Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18

1 After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, 

18 and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” 

Romans 8:31-34

31 What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? 

32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? 

33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; 

34 who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? 

Mark 9:2-10

2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, 

3 and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 

6 For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only. 9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.


THE FIRST READING recount the story of Abraham who without question or clarification or remonstration understood God’s words and instructions and dutifully acted upon it. The journey to mount Moriah was a lengthy slow journey that left plenty of time for Abraham to discern and contemplate God’s explicit words to  take and present his son as a “burnt offering!” 

Trust, obedience and love are the three words that best describe Abraham’s submission and love of  God that motivated or inspired him to do God’s will. In theological terms Abraham typologically prefigures Christ Jesus the obedient lamb of God who indisputably takes God’s words literally and acts upon it!

St PAUL’S EPISTLE seeks to embolden this community of Rome who is situated within the clutches of a very oppressive regime that intends to destroy any vestige of a people whose faith and obedience is in a God rather than Caesar Augusta! 

Paul wishes to affirm and confirm the Christian doctrine that Christ died and rose from the dead on the third day! It is for these reasons that this young believing community of Rome is called to defend their faith and be strong despite the unfavorable circumstances they find themselves in.

St MARK’S GOSPEL: Hebrew legal contracts generally required two witnesses to be present or sign a document of import when property is transferred or oaths are sworn. To certify a document, three signatures were required which implied that the third person ‘seal’ the matter and validate an event or the outcome of an event! Today’s story takes us to the top of a mountain. Moses represented the written law and Elijah represented the prophets as messengers of God who stirred the consciences of the people and held them to account!Three apostles, Peter, James and John were chosen by our Lord to witness a stupendous event that revealed God’s majesty and glory! So enamoured and in awe were the three men that they wanted to take part in this escatological event. Their individual and collective testimonies saw the unification and fulfilment of the old covenant with the new covenant which Christ Jesus was called to fulfill. 

History shows that God desires that we the people do not hide from the world in cave-like conditions, but that we ascend to a high altitude away from familial surroundings so we may be transformed into His image and testify of His great work of love. May we in obedience submit to the will of God and be messengers and partakers who God will bless, rather than mere spectators who sit in hiding in our discructable tents! 

LET US PRAY: Psalms 116:10,15-19

10 I kept my faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. 

16 O LORD, I am thy servant; I am thy servant, the son of thy handmaid. Thou hast loosed my bonds. 17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. 18 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!    Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world


Deuteronomy 26:16-19

16 “This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances; you shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day concerning the LORD that he is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his ordinances, and will obey his voice; 18 and the LORD has declared this day concerning you that you are a people for his own possession, as he has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments, 19 that he will set you high above all nations that he has made, in praise and in fame and in honor, and that you shall be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he has spoken.” 

Matthew 5:43-48

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 

46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


THE FIRST READING could be said to highlight the six positive commandments of the Torah that intended to make the people of Israel a holy nation and a kingdom of priests that is to be admired and revered.

1) To recognise God.2) Not even to speculate that there might be a god other than God. 3) To unify God.4) To love God.5) To have fear of God.6) To sanctify God’s Name.

These dogmatic expressions of faith and belief required an objective ‘doing’ which is enacted through honoring and praising God with spiritual rituals such as presenting offerings and making sacrifice to God, followed by actions of love and charity towards neighbors and strangers that shall transform the Israelites into people to be honored and admired!

St MATTHEW continues our Lord’s “But I say” teaching  that defies our conventional way of responding to one another when we have disagreements or in moments when our resolve to remain calm and collected is severely tested!  To love those who love us in most cases does not require much effort, because it comes naturally or at least so it must be! On the other hand, our lack of respectful treatment of one another can vacillate from mild rudeness to vile personal epithets that have the potential to turn violent!

In anticipation of our ‘natural’ reaction in moments of disordered anger our Lord raises the standard of our response with a seemingly antithetical proposition that we retaliate with love and charity towards our enemies! To make matters ‘worse’ our Lord rubs more salt into our wounded egos and demands that we pray for our enemies! When faithfully observed, our charitable reaction is indeed a work of God’s grace working out in love in the lives of those who profess to be children of God. Conversely our objective refusal to reciprocate with love may neuter our acts of worship and praise! We are called to be perfect- read the lives of the saints-anything less will not suffice our hope to be saved on the last day.

LET US PRAY: Psalms 119:1-2,4-5,7-8

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! 2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, 4 Thou hast commanded thy precepts to be kept diligently. 

5 O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping thy statutes! 7 I will praise thee with an upright heart, when I learn thy righteous ordinances. 8 I will observe thy statutes; O forsake me not utterly!    Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world


Ezekiel 18:21-28

21 “But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness which he has done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? 24 But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and does the same abominable things that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds which he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, he shall die. 

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die for it; for the iniquity which he has committed he shall die. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is lawful and right, he shall save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 

Matthew 5:20-26

20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 21 “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 

25 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; 26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.


ISAIAH THE PROPHET issues a candid warning that the people must obey God’s statutes and turn away from their wickedness which is a sure way to secure their salvation, because all their sins will be forgotten. It does not please God to impose any punishment on His people, moreover it pleases Him to save a people that is in right standing with Him. The substance of Isaiah’s teaching suggests that God is fair and merciful to a repentant sinner. Conversely the fate of the obstinate sinner who refuses to heed God’s ordinances is eternal punishment.

St MATTHEW’S account of our Lord’s teaching clarifies the matter of what it means to be in right standing with the Lord.In other words Jesus does not want us to be uncertain or ambivalent in our understanding and application of His commandments about our salvation that is predicated on the condition that we are a righteous people. Whilst the Pharisees and scribes were well versed with the laws of Moses and scripture, they had a cognitive dissonance with the precepts and teachings of Jesus. Our  Lord raises the bar when He calls us to exceed the ways of the Pharisees!

Our Lord teaches that to be ‘angry’ against our loved ones is a grave matter. The Latin Vulgate uses the word “iratus” which means wrathful, indignant or ragefull which implies that our hatred of another person is liable to judgement! Furthermore our Lord clarifies that anyone who insults his brother shall be liable to eternal judgement! This is the first of our Lords “But I say’ teachings and serious warnings and prescriptions that must cause us to pause and reconsider our moral outlook and response in matters of disagreement with loved ones.

Finally our Lord places His teachings in context with our act of worship when we are called to make peace with our loved ones before we present our gifts at the altar for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist! The implication of this ordinance is that we be in a state of grace before we receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist. The peace sign that the priest invokes during the second phase of the Mass is a response to our Lord’s teaching, before we can partake and be in communion with our loved ones and Christ Jesus. Righteousness is a moral state of mind and living that is the embodiment of saintliness whereby man makes use of our human cognitive faculties to discern and apply God’s word in our lives. You and I are called to reconcile and “make friends” quickly with our loved ones and neighbors so that we may not be found wanting on the last day! 

LET US PRAY: Psalms 130:1-8

Out of the depths I cry to thee, O LORD! 

2 Lord, hear my voice! Let thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! 

3 If thou, O LORD, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? 

4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. 5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the LORD more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plenteous redemption. 8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.    Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world


Esther 14:1,3-5,12-14

1 And Esther the queen, seized with deathly anxiety, fled to the Lord; 

3 And she prayed to the Lord God of Israel, and said: “O my Lord, thou only art our King; help me, who am alone and have no helper but thee, 4 for my danger is in my hand. 5 Ever since I was born I have heard in the tribe of my family that thou, O Lord, didst take Israel out of all the nations, and our fathers from among all their ancestors, for an everlasting inheritance, and that thou didst do for them all that thou didst promise. 12 Remember, O Lord; make thyself known in this time of our affliction, and give me courage, O King of the gods and Master of all dominion! 

13 Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion, and turn his heart to hate the man who is fighting against us, so that there may be an end of him and those who agree with him. 14 But save us by thy hand, and help me, who am alone and have no helper but thee, O Lord. 

Matthew 7:7-12

7 “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.


THE FIRST READING: The Hebrew people stood in the way of king Artaxerxes’s attempt to annex twenty seven provinces and bring them all under his rule. The pretext of the king is to create a “tranquil” kingdom  under his supreme governance. Artaxerxes and his deputy Haman refused to accept the Hebrew people’s position that they have only one God that they will submit themselves to. Instead he wish to extinguish the Jewish people with their “strange laws.”

Today’s reading describes the desperate state and demeanor of Queen Esther who after many sincere attempts to intercede on behalf of the people,failed to change the mind of the King and his henchmen Haman who have ordered the extinction of the Jewish people. Queen Esther’s last resort to prevent a calamitous event to befall her people was to petition God to give her courage and to help her enumerate a defence that will turn the heart of the enemy.

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW is a pretext on our Lord’s teaching that we do not judge others insofar as we wish them to die and go to hell! It is injurious to wish harm upon another irrespective of who they are or what they have done, instead we are called to pray for our enemies and present our petitions before the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord’s prayer is clear on this matter that we must forgive our enemy if we desire His forgiveness and intercession in our lives!

In the same way that we do not want to receive a “serpent” if we petition our Lord for a “fish,” so must be our desire to wish our enemies well and seek God’s blessings upon them! Our Lord is quite clear in this matter that we do not condemn our enemies and wish harm over them. These kinds of invocations and ‘prayers’ are vacuous and will not reach God’s ears,moreover it will be an indictment upon our soul! It is as if we are drinking the poison hoping our enemies would die! To be clear, this does not suggest that we refrain from admonishing or correcting one another with much love and compassion. We who acknowledge our shortcomings and wayward lives are called to seek God’s divine help without preconditions! 

LET US PRAY: Psalms 138:1-3,7-8

I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise; 2 I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word. 3 On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me. 8 The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands. 

Catholic Witness Apostolate       Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world


Jonah 3:1-10

1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 

2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 

3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. 

4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he cried, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 

5 And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 Then tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 

7 And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water, 

8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands. 9 Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?” 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it. 

Luke 11:29-32

29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 

32 The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.


THE FIRST READING describes Jonah’s changed response and obedience to heed the word of God and be unafraid to deliver the message that the people of Nineveh must change their way of living and undertake a forty day fast. The king wasted no time and without question led the way for fear that if he did not comply with Jonah’s exhortation,God’s word will come true and the city will be overthrown in forty days! 

Fasting was observed to seek God’s divine intervention. It is a kind of sacrificial offering to win God’s forgiveness of sin and to avoid calamities and seek God’s protection. Fasting is also a ritual act of penance to atone for one’s sins, evil ways or misdemeanors. The reference that God “repented” is understood to mean that God ‘had mercy’ on the people and reversed His intention to punish the people for their disobedience.

St LUKE’S GOSPEL ACCOUNT continues the discourse between our Lord and the Pharisees who demanded that Our Lord give them a sign to confirm His identity as the Messiah. Jesus in no uncertain terms denounces the request of His interlocutors and references Jonah and the Queen of the south (1Ki 10) who initially did not believe God’s word;or followed His instructions or His calling, came to repentance when they personally witnessed God’s abundant grace and mercy! 

More often than not, we are no different than the Pharisees who demanded evidence that God exists and that He lives amongst us in the Eucharist. Moreover whilst we know that there is a difference between good and evil we live during a time when evil is propagated to be good! May our forty days of fast bring about our personal repentance and conversion as we seek God’s forgiveness and our restoration when we shall witness and celebrate a greater sign than Jonah which allude to Christs death, visit to the underworld and ressurection on the third day!

LET US PRAY: Psalms 51:3-4,12-13,18-19

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment. 12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee. 18 Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, 19 then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar. 

Catholic Witness Apostolate       Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world


Isaiah 55:10-11

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it. 

Matthew 6:7-15

7 “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread;12 And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; 13 And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. 

14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; 

15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


ISAIAH THE PROPHET looks at mother nature and examples God’s care for us. He is the author of life and He sustains and nourishes us through the cosmic and earthly elements. Moreover God’s eternal word shall accomplish its purpose in that it shall not return empty-handed.


2761 “The Lord’s Prayer “is truly the summary of the whole gospel.”7 “Since the Lord . . . after handing over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, ‘Ask and you will receive,’ and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer [the Lord’s Prayer] is said first, as the foundation of further desires.The Lord’s Prayer is the most perfect of prayers. . . . In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired. This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also in what order we should desire them.”

2764 “The Sermon on the Mount is teaching for life, the Our Father is a prayer; but in both the one and the other the Spirit of the Lord gives new form to our desires, those inner movements that animate our lives. Jesus teaches us this new life by his words; he teaches us to ask for it by our prayer. The rightness of our life in him will depend on the rightness of our prayer.”

2765 “The  traditional expression “the Lord’s Prayer” – oratio Dominica – means that the prayer to our Father is taught and given to us by the Lord Jesus. The prayer that comes to us from Jesus is truly unique: it is “of the Lord.”

2776 “The Lord’s Prayer is the quintessential prayer of the Church. It is an integral part of the major hours of the Divine Office and of the sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Integrated into the Eucharist it reveals the eschatological character of its petitions, hoping for the Lord, “until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).

It is worth pointing out that the phrase “and lead us not into temptation” is our call to God to use His divine powers to fend off evil desires and temptations that seek to come our way and lure us to sin! Finally, the Lords prayer is clear that unless we forgive others, we shall not be forgiven by God. During this time of lent may we take the time to slowly, little by little meditate on the Lord’s prayer rather than indulge in personal prayer that more often than not, is focused on temporal requirements but lacks what we need for eternal life! 

LET US PRAY Psalms 34:4-7,16-19

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. 

5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. 

6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 

17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all. 

Catholic Witness Apostolate       Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world



1 Peter 5:1-4

1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. 

2 Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, 

3 not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. 

4 And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory. 

Matthew 16:13-19

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 

17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”


St PETERS EXHORTATION or pastoral letter is directed at the elders of the Church known by the greek term “presvýteroi” or priests. Peter refers to his consecrated priests as “fellow shepherds” implying (a) that they are fellow bishops who has jurisdiction and are overseers of a number of ‘perochia’ or parishes pastored by ordained priestly ministers.When Peter thus request that the bishops refrain from being domineering in behavior, (b) we can definitively conclude that Peter is the authoritative head pastor of the body of Christ, the Church and (c ) by referencing our Lord as the “chief shepherd” Peter acknowledge that he is the vicar of Christ appointed to lead His earthly Church. Jn 21:14-19

THE GOSPEL READING. Our Lord went on a three hour journey with the twelve to a rocky mountainous outcrop where pagans offered human sacrifices close to the Roman administrative headquarters in Caesarea that was named after Caesar Augusta. We can extrapolate that this location was nothing short of an evil place! Although our Lord was fully aware that the Roman authority was weary of His teachings and popularity Jesus nevertheless used the backdrop of this location to cross question and dare His disciples to speak the revealed truth about His identity and mission! 

Simon Bar-Jona by divine revelation declares that Jesus is the Christ and is given a new name by our Lord which signifies a consecration or rebirth which takes place in baptism when a neophyte is named and enters into the Church! We receive from this event the Tradition of consecrating and naming our children at their baptism. Peter is given keys to open and shut and powers to bind and loose! These are administrative, pastoral, ministerial,judicial and sacramental orders and charisms to build up the Church and destroy the forces of evil and lead God’s people to heaven! 

Our Lord certainly did not intend that the flock be separated each with their own conflicted understanding or interpretation of His teachings! Christ prayer was for oneness and unity in belief and worship.Jn 17:11 We are called to pray for the Chair of St Peter the 266th Chief Shepherd, Pope (Pappa) Francis and his fellow bishops during this time of uncertainty where secularism seeks to mislead the people and the mission of Christ and his Church!

LET US PRAY: Psalms 23:1-6

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want; 2 he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; 

3 he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. 

Catholic Witness Apostolate       Henry R SYLVESTER              

Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world