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How to Love Jesus: Be More Mary

Posted on March 21, 2016 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Today’s Gospel: (John 12: 1-11)

‘Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him – said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions. So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’
Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.’



It’s hard to imagine what went through Jesus’ mind as he sat at table in the home of his friend Lazarus.  He was just days from that most horrific persecution, when his detractors would finally have their wicked way with him and he would be hung on a cross and left to die.  Yet here he is, sitting with his friend while the busy Martha scurries about waiting on them, and the more relaxed Mary pours an expensive fragrance over his feet.


The question often arises: are you a Martha or are you a Mary?  Would you be too busy rushing around to appreciate the King in your presence, or would you recognise him immediately and desire to be at his side?  Martha’s role in this episode is not without purpose.  Her waiting on the Lord is a noble act and one deserving of praise.  Mary’s actions are quite different.  There is something quite beautiful about the simplicity of Mary making a beeline for Jesus with the jar of expensive ointment.  Her focus is not so much to make everything perfect for Jesus as seems to be the case with Martha.  Rather, Mary’s focus is to simply be by his side and spoil him with gifts. 


Mary simply wanted to be close to Jesus and to show him how much she loved him.  Martha undoubtedly loved Jesus too and she spent considerable effort in order to show this love.  But she didn’t get close enough to him.  Perhaps she kept what she thought was a ‘respectful’ distance, only periodically getting close in order to serve him his meal.  But Jesus doesn’t just want us to flit in and out of his life.  He wants something more concrete.  He wants the closeness shown by Mary.  If we are busy running around we perhaps forget the most important thing when it comes to our faith.  That is, being close to Jesus.  There is no need for a respectful distance.  While Jesus is a King, he is a King with a difference.  Unlike the many Kings and Queens of our world, Jesus does not care for pomp and ceremony in order for his people to get close to him.  He is accessible 24/7 and he wants all people to come to him, from the lowest of the low to the greatest.  We are all his children.


This Holy Week, think about your relationship with Jesus and how you can develop it for the better.  Don’t get too caught up in the chores of the day at the expense of spending some time with Jesus, and be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that Jesus isn’t accessible to you.  He is right there by your side, right now!  So stop and talk to him.  Tell him what you think of him; tell him all your joys as well as your troubles and difficulties.  And if you haven’t been to Mass for a while, consider coming back to be in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, where he is truly present…. body, blood, soul and divinity. 


Jesus loves you more than anyone else and he just wants a little love back.  So give him it.  Be more Mary.

Another Eucharistic Miracle?

Posted on December 14, 2015 at 10:43 AM Comments comments (0)
The Eucharistic Miracle of Buenos Aires
 
The National Catholic Register has reported a possible Eucharistic miracle in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, USA. 
 
 
It is reported that a host started to bleed at St Francis Xavier Church in Kearns, Utah during November.
 
 
As is standard in such situations, the substance will be subjected to a simple blood test to establish whether the blood is human.  The Church, which adopts a cautious reverence in the case of possible miracles, will then proceed to instruct further tests to ensure that there are no other explanations. 
 
 
 

Are we prepared to accept the gift of Jesus Christ?

Posted on July 31, 2015 at 6:09 AM Comments comments (0)
 
From Sunday’s Gospel (John 6:24-35):
 
‘Jesus answered:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven,
it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven,
the true bread;
for the bread of God
is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.’
 
‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’
 
Jesus answered:
 
‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.’’
 
 
Reading this Gospel passage and, in particular, the words of Jesus leave us in no doubt.  He is the bread of life.  He is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the only way to God.  Yes it is true!  In the Eucharist we receive Jesus Christ body, blood, soul and divinity!  Just as the bread came from Heaven in order to feed the Israelites so Jesus comes to us in the form of bread to feed, nourish and sustain us.
 
 
Jesus is offering himself to all of us.  He is offering us the chance of eternal life with him in Heaven.  Will we be like the disciples and say to Jesus: ‘Sir, give us that bread always’?
 
 
 

A Living Bread, Made for Sharing (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 26th July 2015)

Posted on July 24, 2015 at 8:12 AM Comments comments (0)
 
Sunday’s Gospel (John 6: 1-15):
 
‘Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.
 
Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.’
 
 
 
Did you know that a barley loaf was considered to be the bread of the poor?  God chose the food of the poor in order to satisfy the hunger of His created people.  He could have chosen to feed them with a grand banquet fit for a king but no, he chose a simple loaf of bread.
 
 
Yet this simple loaf represents something truly great; something more satisfying than a grand banquet.  It is the means by which God has chosen to come to us and to develop His relationship with us. 
 
 
Through a simple piece of bread God shows His great love for us and showers us with graces.  Why He decided to do this is a great mystery and it is a mystery that may well be revealed to us one day.  But the intricacies of this mystery is not something we need concern ourselves with right now.  Our concern must be the bread with which He feeds us….the Eucharist.  It is through the Eucharist, given to us in Holy Mass, that we are truly satisfied.  It is through the Eucharist that we receive the graces we need to live our daily lives. It is through the Eucharist that God comes to us in love, inviting us to an ever deeper relationship with Him, and encouraging us to never tire of trusting in Him.  And it is through the Eucharist that we will be saved; saved by the blood of Christ who sacrificed himself on a Cross so that we may live forever.
 
 
Yet even though we receive this great gift from God, there are still many basketfulls left over.  Our job, brothers and sisters, is to go out to the world and find a home for this bread.  God doesn't just want a few willing participants to come to Him and receive Him in the Eucharist.  He wants all of His created people to take part!  There are so many basketfulls of bread left over after we receive the Eucharist!  Let us find more homes for God to shine His great light in our world.  Let us be open to speaking highly of this great gift of God so that others may come to share in it.
 
 
 

Join in the First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Receive the Graces Necessary for Salvation

Posted on June 5, 2015 at 7:32 AM Comments comments (0)
 
The First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is an incredibly rich, and ultimately rewarding, devotion to Our Blessed Mother Mary. 
 
Please try to participate in this most incredible act of devotion and allow Jesus to pour his abundant graces upon you.
 

This Sunday is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi; why not join a procession in your area?

Posted on June 3, 2015 at 4:37 PM Comments comments (0)
The West End Corpus Christi procession has grown in recent years

This Sunday the Church celebrates the great solemnity of Corpus Christi.  It is an occasion for us to celebrate the beauty and truth of the Eucharist; the real body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The solemnity is often marked by a procession led by the Blessed Sacrament and Catholics around the country are encouraged to join in.  In Glasgow the West End Corpus Christi Procession has become increasingly popular in recent years with hundreds participating.  This year the procession will leave from the University of Glasgow and travel to St Peter's, Partick.  Events start at 11.30am with Holy Mass in the University's Turnbull Hall. 


If you are unable to attend one of the larger processions please try to join in one in your local area.  Your parish might even be having one so check your bulletin or ask your parish priest.


The importance of the Eucharist cannot be overstated.  It is the centre of our faith.  It is Jesus, truly present among us.  Please try to support a Corpus Christi procession in your area this Sunday, and encourage others to do the same.  Let us be witnesses to our faith and let us be witnesses to Christ crucified, Christ risen, and Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament.


Click here to find out more about the West End procession in Glasgow - http://www.rcag.org.uk/index.php/item/431-corpus-christi-procession-sunday-7-june-2015








Is Jesus using symbolism when he tells us to eat his body and drink his blood?

Posted on April 14, 2015 at 8:57 AM Comments comments (1)
For the answer to this common question click the link below to see what Catholic Answers apologist Tim Staples has to say...
 

What’s in a miracle? Does God really reveal Himself to us?

Posted on March 23, 2015 at 10:04 AM Comments comments (0)
Pope Francis reacts to the miracle
 
Isn’t it intriguing that the world pays little attention to supernatural miracles?  For example, if you were to put a no-hoper with the voice of a sick frog on the ‘The Voice’ and they ended up winning the coveted reality TV show’s top prize, the world would proudly announce it to be a “miracle”.  However, witnessing the sudden liquefying of the blood of a near 2,000 year old man or the sudden transformation of a communion wafer to real flesh is something that is given little attention.
 
Perhaps the most disappointing thing is that it is not only mainstream media and sceptics outside Catholicism who are guilty of ignoring such miracles.  Indeed the number of Catholic people who pay little heed to these miracles is quite voluminous.  It sadly means that God’s visible intervention in our daily lives here on earth simply goes unnoticed.  Didn’t that happen before, around 2,000 years ago?  You know, with the one they called Christ? 
 
Indeed, aren’t those sceptics among us, especially the ones of a Catholic persuasion, simply following in the footsteps of the Sanhedrin in Jesus’ time; rejecting any notion of God coming to earth and influencing our world.  They might ask: Why should I believe it?  God coming to earth to reveal Himself?  God making the scientifically impossible happen?  Are you mad?  But then, who would have thought a woman could conceive a child without sexual relations?  Who would have thought water could be turned to wine in an instant?  Who would have thought bread could be turned to flesh, and wine to blood?  Who would have thought a man could rise from the dead? 
 
God has been performing miracles for thousands of years, and He continues to perform them to this very day. In fact, you are a miracle!  You are a gift from God to this world. Without His intervention you wouldn’t be here.  And without His intervention you wouldn’t have the chance to take your place in Heaven for all eternity.  The Eucharist is another daily miracle given to us by God.  Indeed it is Jesus Christ truly present in all the tabernacles of the world; body, blood, soul and divinity! 
 
The reported miracle of St Januarius in Naples at the weekend is just one in a long list of God coming to earth to reveal His true power.  The fact that Pope Francis was present for the miracle has perhaps nudged it slightly more into the spotlight than would normally be the case (after all, this miracle of St Januarius has been taking place for years!).  But it gives us an opportunity to stop and consider how we feel about such miraculous events.  Why aren’t we shouting from the rooftops and telling people about these great happenings? Why don’t we tell the world that God has revealed Himself yet again and encourage them to believe?  Are we perhaps sceptical?  Does it just seem a bit too far-fetched?  If so, why?  Do we outright reject the supernatural?  Will we simply not be satisfied until we hear of authentic scientific evidence confirming that no scientific explanation can be given for the ‘miracle’?
 
There are a lot of questions for us to consider when it comes to miracles such as this.  But consider this….what if the children of Fatima had simply rejected their vision of Our Lady as nonsense?  What if St Bernadette did the same at Lourdes?  And St Juan Diego in Guadalupe?  And what about the disciples when Jesus rose from the dead?  What if they simply considered it all to be scientifically impossible and thus false? 
 
Our role as Catholic people is to spread the Good News throughout the world.  This means taking the Gospel out into our daily lives and living out our faith in love for God and neighbour.  But it also means being full of joy, and what better excuse to be full of joy than to know that God still interacts with His people by performing miracles before our very eyes? 
 
The Eucharistic miracle of Buenos Aires
 
The miracle in Naples is no fluke, no hoax, and it is no lie.  Just consider the Eucharistic miracle of Buenos Aires in the 1990’s (see picture) or the miracle of Lanciano, Italy. There are hundreds of genuine examples of miracles like this throughout history.
 
Don’t let the doubts creep into your mind.  Those doubts come from a sinister source; a source that does not want you to believe in God and His work.  Instead, be open to God’s great power and just enjoy knowing that His presence is near!  Bask in the wonder of God’s glory and His unbroken covenant with His people, with you!  He wants you to know that He is there for you!  Not one person is forgotten by God.  We are all His children and He wants us to experience His presence, His love.  It is for this reason that miracles happen.

What would St Patrick do?

Posted on March 17, 2015 at 9:42 AM Comments comments (0)
St Patrick, perhaps one of the most celebrated Saints in the world, was born in 387 in the little town of Kilpatrick near Dumbarton in Scotland.  He died in 461, aged 74, in Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland.
 
At the tender age of fourteen Patrick was taken from his family in Scotland to be a slave in Ireland, the country he would ultimately become patron saint of.  And it was during this time of captivity that he turned to God, praying fervently day and night and seeking the comfort of his heavenly Father.
 
At age twenty, Patrick had a dream in which he was told to go to the coast to escape his captors. He would heed this call, and by the grace of God some sailors picked him up and took him home to Scotland so that he could be reunited with his family.
 
However, he had another dream not long after, where he experienced the people of Ireland calling him back to them.  Not one to shy away from God’s call, young Patrick once again set off, and it wasn’t long before he set out on the road to the priesthood, eventually being ordained by the Bishop of Auxerre in France.  He returned to Ireland as a Bishop in 433 and settled in Slane, County Meath.  Patrick then preached the Gospel throughout Ireland for forty years, converting many to the Christian faith.  He worked many miracles throughout his life and he always put his love of God first in everything he did.  He was completely devoted to God and put all of his trust in Him. 
 
So what would St Patrick do today?  What would his reaction be to all of the excitement generated by his Feast day?  While he would undoubtedly enjoy some of the celebrations which take place in his honour, he would never have lost sight of the real meaning of the day.  St Patrick would have put God first before anything else.  So while he might enjoy a little celebratory dance with friends, he wouldn’t do this until after he had spent some time praying to God.  He might even enjoy a little tipple, but again, he would only do it after spending sometime with God. 
 
If St Patrick walked among us today as we celebrate his Feast he would, without a shadow of a doubt, want us to celebrate his day; but he would want us to praise God for it. And what better way to give praise to God than to enjoy the gift of His Son Jesus Christ in the Eucharist at Holy Mass?  This is the kind of celebration St Patrick would want.
 
And while St Patrick is clearly a remarkable man, the truth is….he shouldn’t be.  Why?  Because we are all called to be like St Patrick.  We are all called to be holy, to love God, to put God first at all times, and to take the Gospel message to the four corners of the earth.  To be holy should be the rule not the exception. Yet St Patrick is remarkable because he is very much the exception in today’s world.  But we can change this.  We can be just like him if we are prepared to put God first at all times and trust completely in His love for us. 
 

Is there really no salvation outside the Catholic Church?

Posted on February 9, 2015 at 9:26 AM Comments comments (1)
Is the Catholic Church the only way to eternal life?
 
Tim Staples, Director of Apologetics and Evangelisation at Catholic Answers, considers this most crucial question in his latest blog piece at catholic.com. 
 
In a thoroughly detailed and considered view on the matter, Tim comes to the following important conclusions:
 
1. No one who knowingly and deliberately rejects the truth will be saved. It doesn’t matter how good of a Muslim, Jew, Baptist, or anything else he may be. If anyone rejects the truth of Christ and his Church—even one definitive teaching—they will be lost.
 
2. Religions that have as tenants of their respective faiths the rejection of Jesus and his Church have no power to save anyone. It is “the truth that makes us free” (cf. John 8:32), not falsehood.
 
3. In the case of one who is ignorant of the truth of the Catholic Faith, “through no fault of [his] own,” he can be saved, if he is truly “invincibly ignorant, [is] given the supernatural virtue of faith and [has] perfect charity in [his heart]” (cf. Instruction of Holy Office of Dec. 20, 1949).
 
4. We must remember that we are not the judges of salvation. God is the sole and final judge. We do not know who is truly “invincibly ignorant” and who is not. Therefore, we must be careful to “evangelize all men” as the Catechism commands us and leave the judging to God.
 
5. “Whatever good or truth is found amongst [other world religions] is considered by the Church to be ‘a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life’” (Lumen Gentium16). And if they seek the true God given the light they have received, they have the possibility of salvation.
 
6. This does not mean they are not in need of the Eucharist! Without the grace that comes from the sacraments, one is at a decided disadvantage to get to heaven. And if one has rejected the truth, then there is no way he can merit heaven apart from repentance and the acceptance of the truth. The Church makes very clear: “The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God” (CCC 1445).
 
 

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