A very good morning to you. I am delighted that you can share with me this short time of reflection. A warmest welcome to each of you – whether you are here for the first time or a regular listener. I pray that this short time of reflection will bring you encouragement in your daily life.
We in Victoria is in the middle of another déjà vu situation with a five-day snap lockdown. We pray that the authorities have acted prompt enough this time round to stop any further spread of this mutated dreaded virus.
Let us again turn our attention to our Almighty God and heavenly Father to ask for His mercy and grace.
Let us pray:
In this challenging time
Lord Jesus Christ, our true physician and healer, be merciful to us and bring us your aid in these troubled times. Heal all our sickness and every affliction of your people. Drive out our infirmities of soul and body; free us from all disease and especially from this pestilence.
We place in your gentle Heart the elderly, the frail, people with disability, children, young people and families, our indigenous peoples, those who are poor, lonely and isolated.
As you walk with us, free them from fear, and give them patience and hope together with our loving care. In your mercy deal also with the causes of our pitiful condition, that in curing our lack of faith and spiritual weakness, you may also remedy our bodily ills. We place our trust in you, the risen Lord, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
For those who care for the sick
Father of mercies, we thank you for all who care for the sick. When they diagnose, give them patience. When they protect the vulnerable, give them your protection. When they work to heal, give them strength. When they comfort, give them consolation. When they are tired, give them rest. When they are discouraged, bring them your hope. May we welcome and respect them as we support one another in this time of trial.
For those seeking a cure for the virus
Come, Holy Spirit, enlighten the minds of women and men of medical science who are working to find a solution to this viral infection. Guide their research and help them discover what you provide in creation, sure ways of control, protection, inoculation and healing. Strengthen them in their tiring work and enrich in them the virtue of hope.
For those who govern and represent us
Eternal Wisdom, guide our leaders called to serve us in our nation and its States and territories. May they respond to the challenges of this affliction with prudence and sound judgement. With foresight, may their planning alleviate the economic burdens, compensate for losses, protect employment and ensure ample food for the poor and isolated.
Merciful Lord we stand before you in our human weakness. We confess that we have been caught up in the pride and presumption that drives our worldly society. Free us from the arrogance that afflicts our age, for now we stand confounded by conditions beyond our control or understanding. Give us humble and honest hearts to discern the greater mystery of your providence in creation. May we accept your justice and trust your redeeming mercy. We pray this in the name of Your Son our Saviour and Lord. Amen.
Prayer of the Week
Last Sunday After Epiphany
Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: give us grace that we may always thankfully receive the benefits of his sacrifice, and also daily endeavour to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
This morning our Bible Reading is taken from Isaiah 55:6-13
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”
Is She the One?
When people ask me whether I am married or single, I sometimes reply with a twinkle in my eyes, “Oh yes, I am happily married for 5 years.” Inevitably, I would see them scrambling for something to say in reply – seeing that I am no longer a young man.
Some might come back with, “It is great to know that you have decided to settle down at last.” I would say, “Oh no, I have been married for thirty-eight years.” The ensuing confusion in their faces is always priceless to watch.
When I was dating my then girl-friend back in the late seventies, I wasn’t sure whether she was really the one I should marry. My most important question back then was, “Is she the right one or should I look for someone else?”
Back then in Asia, we do not date a girl unless we are serious enough to think about marriage. I did not want to go any further with our relationship unless I was quite sure that we are meant for each other. If I broke off with her at a later stage, it would be unfair for her. If I eventually marry her, and we are not right for each other, then it would cause immense heartaches.
I was desperate and prayed to God to give me a sign so that I know my girl-friend was meant to be my future wife. At that time in my daily devotions, I was reading through Proverbs. I knew that in the last chapter of Proverbs – Chapter 31 – it talks about a wife of noble character. If I reached there before any word from God, then the point of a noble wife cannot be him speaking to my specific condition.
When reached Chapter 18, in verse 22 it unexpectedly says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord”. I was overjoyed as I felt the verse was speaking directly into my situation. I was not sure whether this was just a coincidence, or it was God reassuring me that she was the right one for me. As I read on, the fourteenth verse of the next chapter says, “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord”.
That settles it. Now I have no doubt that my girlfriend was the one God has chosen for me. Oh yes, I am actually happily married for thirty-eight years now. I am happy, you have to ask her whether she is happy!
My experience with God’s Word, the Bible, might not apply to you in the same way. I believe God still speaks to us today. He does that in a variety of ways. One of the most common way is through the Bible – His written word. Come to Him with all your questions, worries, queries, problems, difficulties and burdens. Come near to Him and He will come near to you. 
The Morning Collect
Eternal God and Father, by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to your service, and live this day in love to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Go out into the world in peace, and in Christ’s name be –
the humble who make others proud
the poor who have riches to share
the weak who help others be strong
the empty who overflow with loving kindness.
And the largess of the love of God,
and the treasure of the grace of Christ Jesus,
and the buoyant health of the Holy Spirit
will be with you now and forever. Amen. 
Thank you for sharing this short time with me. May you continue to seek Him and His will each day. Read your Bible, ask God to reveal to you what He is saying through it to you each day. May you find the Word of God sweet as honey as the Psalmist had so discovered.
Till next week, rejoice often. Do good. Love outrageously. Enjoy life. Praise God. Amen. Goodbye.
 Prayers from the Catholic Church in Australia.
 James 4:8
 Jon Humphries, Prayers that Unite