1st of October / 26th Sunday

Matthew 21: 28 -32

Saying “Yes” is important. Yes to a request for help from our neighbour. Yes to a family member who needs us to hear them out. Yes to being part of a team, a cause or campaign that will make a difference in the community. Yes to our calling or vocation in life. But more important than saying “Yes” is DOING our Yes- putting our words into actions and following through on what we have promised. Kingdom of God people are people who say and do their Yes – especially when it costs, when it stretches us and when it would be easier to walk away and leave our Yes as nothing more than an empty promise or a hollow intention. This week, how can we be Kingdom of God people, faithful to living and doing the Yes we have taken on?

3rd September 2023 / 22nd Sunday

Matthew 16:21-27

Honest as always with his disciples, Jesus foretells his suffering and death. Having seen the Master’s great power as a wonderworker, Peter is appalled at the very thought of Jesus suffering and dying. The rock of
faith turns into a stumbling block within 5 short verses of Matthew’s Gospel! Peter makes a false interpretation about what kind of Messiah Jesus is to be. Christ enters our human suffering and death, not to be trapped forever in it, but to offer a way out; to provide us with an exodus and an exit – salvation, ransom and redemption from all our Good Fridays – out into the light, joy and glory of Easter Sunday Resurrection. Peter’s faith had a lot more growing to do – so does mine.

What about you?

30 April 2023 / 4th Sunday of Easter

John 10: 1-10

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells us that he is the good shepherd, who has come so that we might all have life to the full.

But what does it mean to live life to the full?

To follow Jesus does not mean living life in fear and trepidation, concerned that a harsh God will condemn us if we don’t follow all his rules to the letter. No, Jesus came to materially demonstrate God’s love for us. To correct our fears and misunderstanding of God. To show us what God is truly like. To express how much God loves each and every one of us, calling us and drawing us towards him.

This parable of the good shepherd calling us, prompts us to think about leadership, and today has become known as vocations Sunday. Often in the Church we just think of vocations in terms of ordained ministry, but we all have a vocation, we are all called by God, to live our lives to the full, by reaching out
to others, for it is only when we reach out with love to others that we find our true and deepest purpose in life to be channels of God’s love.

05 March 2023

Matthew 17:1-9

This week’s Gospel describes Jesus transfigured, revealing himself as the Divine Son of God, the eternal Word who was in the beginning with God and who was God. Before this, Peter had acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, and Jesus had foretold how he was going to suffer, die and three days later rise again. He told the disciples that they too must take up their cross and follow him and be prepared to lose their lives. This must have left them feeling rather dispirited. He was not the kind of Messiah that they were expecting. Six days later Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him to a high mountain, where they saw his Divine nature revealed and heard God the Father speak the exact same words as at Jesus baptism. Unlike these apostles, we do not have a clear vision of Jesus’ Divinity, although as Jesus said to Thomas after the resurrection, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (Jn 20:29).

However, each day we have an opportunity to encounter Jesus in prayer, both in conversation and in silent contemplation; a time to discover and connect with God who loves and cares about us, he is our closest brother.

12 February 2023

A Radical Vision

Matthew in today’s gospel asserts that Jesus’ authority is greater than the authority of Moses. Jesus’ demands are more radical; his vision sharper; his expectations greater. Moses made concessions because of the hardness of peoples’ hearts; Jesus has hope that people’s heart condition has improved since then.
Jesus’ teachings reveal something about the divine will and thus, God’s very self. Our God is a God of truth and justice, who values reconciliation and desires right relationship for all creation. In light of today’s gospel, consider: Is there a relationship in your life that needs mending? How might you take a step toward reconciliation this week?

Today’s gospel may be difficult to digest for those of us who have a personal experience with the issues named by Jesus. Perhaps there is anger festering between you and a loved one right now. Maybe you have been the victim or perpetrator of adultery. Who among us has never looked upon another with lust? Who among us does not care about someone who is divorced? Let us be gentle with ourselves and with each other as we take in Jesus’ message. In coming to fulfill the Law, Jesus did not come to shame or berate. He came to help us grow more faithfully each day and to help strengthen our muscles of repentance and reconciliation.

Matthew is calling the community of believers to face the vision of Jesus with a willing heart and a ready spirit. None of us can do this alone. That is why we are here gathered in community, to pray that God will fund our efforts to bring that vision down to earth. We are invited to rejoice in the fact that we have the one ‘in whom all things were made’ as our leader. In  the first reading when the tribal chiefs of old Israel proclaimed David to be their leader, we are reminded how important leadership is in our life. All the best things of life, we achieve together. Good leadership makes this possible; bad leadership creates most of the world’s greatest problems. ‘On this Sunday dedicated to young people Pope Francis reminds us that ‘young people always represent the hope for new unity within our fragmented and divided human family.

But only if they can preserve memory, only if they can hear the dramas and dreams of the elderly. It is no coincidence that war is returning to Europe at a time when the generation that experienced it in the last century is dying out. We need the covenant between young and old, lest we forget the lessons of history’ (Pope Francis – WYD Message 2022). Our Saviour is far more than a symbolic figure, we know; and our faith will be greatly strengthened, if we own him as the leader who can bring fulfilment to all our hopes young and old alike.

The gospel reading from Luke, reminds us that all our human expectations are overturned as we come to understand how Christ the King establishes and exercises his reign. As we look forward to the new liturgical year that begins in Advent, we remember that Jesus lives and loves for others, and calls us to do the same. The Lord, robed in majesty, offer salvation to the repentant sinner and to all of us. Let us turn to this image of Christ the King often for it helps us understand the realities of Christianity: Power comes from humility, selfishness falls to sacrifice, and death springs from life.

09 October 2022

Our Gospel this weekend concerns people suffering from leprosy, nowadays often referred to as Hansen’s disease, and which still afflicts some of the poorest and most marginalized of people, causing severe pain, suffering and disability. In biblical times, sufferers were outcasts from society, living in isolation, and regarded as being unclean.

In this passage, Jesus was travelling through Samaria, whose inhabitants were also considered outcasts by the Jewish authorities, and ten leprosy sufferers approached him at a distance shouting loudly for mercy.
When Jesus saw them, he acted immediately telling them to go and show themselves to the priests. On their way there they were made clean, and one of them realised that he had been healed, returning to Jesus to give thanks.

This prompts the thought that nine of them were made clean, cured of leprosy, but only one was healed.
Healing involves our entire being, it’s more about transforming the heart of our being, than something peripheral. The person who was fully healed was an outcast among outcasts – a Samaritan who suffered from leprosy. Only he returned to Jesus, realising that in falling at his feet he was giving glory to God.

This passage tells us of God’s loving care for even the most dejected and rejected of people, a love which heals from deep within, and which calls us to change direction, returning to Jesus to receive his love.
Today is prisoner’s Sunday, a day for us to pray for all those outcast from society, for whatever reason and wherever they may be held.

02 October 2022

Increase Our Faith

It is now over a year since I was ordained as a Deacon and it has given me time to reflect on the nature of faith. I have watched some people grow in faith while others seem to lose theirs. The apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. As a child I was told that our faith was something precious, something I should be  careful not to lose, something I should be proud to pass on to others – a gift from God. As I got older I  took the time to read books and work out arguments before deciding to remain a Christian. BUT God’s gift of faith concerns things that are beyond our power to see or discern. Faith is something very real. Jesus tells his apostles ‘believe in what I say, trust me in what I do’.

The request the apostles made to Jesus was not ‘What is faith?’ but ‘increase our faith’. Often the way our faith will be increased and strengthened will be through the experience of questioning, of seeming to  doubt. Sometimes we have the experience of losing enjoyment of prayer, or losing interest in the work we do for God. God may even ask us to do something that seems excessive, that shocks and startles us so much that we feel our whole world is collapsing. At times like these, our faith can seem to be shrinking, but somehow we keep hold of it, and we emerge feeling our faith has been deepened. When we find ourselves complaining about the stresses and trials of the Christian life, and wondering how God can ask this of us, we will remember the word of Our Lord at the end of today’s gospel reading, ‘We are merely servants – we have done no more than our duty’.

03 September 2022

Figuring Things Out


In the Gospel there is plenty of figuring out to be done. Jesus gives people notice that thy have to work out for themselves if they are equal to the demands of discipleship. That means they have to first figure out the cost of discipleship, then consider whether they have the resources to meet that cost. There is a simple, practical realism in Jesus’ advice. He does not want people rushing headlong into instant commitment while ignoring the cost and their own capabilities.

Discipleship involves having no security other than total commitment to Jesus. Much of our lives involves figuring out what is within our reach and what we ourselves can realistically achieve. Jesus knows that his disciples must prefer following him to following in their fathers’ footsteps. He calls them away from the primacy of family life because discipleship means a new and all-consuming loyalty. It means following the ‘broad shadow’ of a master who makes his way of love with a cross on his back. Nobody can do that casually.

Even though God has revealed himself through his Holy Spirit, nobody can claim to fully understand the mystery that God is. We still have much to figure out.

 

10 July 2022

Luke 10:25-37


The message of today’s gospel is about A lesson on love, on what charity is, how we should live it in our  days. The parable of the Samaritan is very simple, not a long list of prescriptions, commands, required performances… Luke in chapter 10 of his Gospel makes us understand the depth, the breadth, the  unconditional commitment with which we must be close to everyone, to every man, without placing conditions. to express love we are called to concrete actions, not only beautiful words of consolation. Concrete gestures that try to solve the problem of the other to the end, to change his life, to put him in a position to walk alone in order to fully live his being a man.

To follow the God of Jesus of Nazareth we must learn to love in this radical way: “Go and do this too!” Do we have the courage in our communities, in our families to “go out” from the walls, from the well-defined fences of our securities to go …? The courage to look at people, the world around us, the problems that exist, the injustices without fear …? Who is “our neighbor” for us? Is it just those who are close to us as a race, culture, affinity, blood ties? And with the others? What can we concretely do in our days to help? Do we dedicate some time to volunteering (there is a “sea of needs” around us …)?

 

02 July 2022

Peace to This Household

Jesus is beginning his journey to Jerusalem to meet his fate; and he is instructing the followers who must carry on his mission. He has already sent his chosen twelve out on mission. Now he sends out ‘seventy two others’. The numbers are symbolic. The mission of the apostles is to the twelve tribes of Israel. Seventy two was the number of the pagan nations – the mission of Jesus is universal. The ‘seventy two others’ represent all of us, his followers in every age, called to share in his mission to bring the Good News of God to all people. ‘Evangelisation’, being bearers of the Good News, is a basic theme in the  church’s teaching today.

The Lord invites us to learn what it is to be an evangeliser. We have to truly find joy in the meaning faith gives to our lives. True evangelisers are bearers of peace. Jesus sends the disciples out ‘two by two’: because the example of a community that lives by Christ’s teaching is an essential part of authentic evangelisation. Jesus warns against the spirit of self-importance. All that should matter is our own relationship with God.

It is not clever presentation, or anything of that order, that will make us good evangelisers, but the quality of our own response to the call of Jesus, to share in all that he stands for in the ordinary situations of our lives, in the midst of our families and our ordinary life relationships.

05 June 2022

John 14:15-16, 23-26

At the Last Supper, Jesus tells his disciples that if they love him they must keep his commandments; and his Father will send another Advocate who will be with them for all time. Jesus is leaving them, but the Holy Spirit will come to live with them forever. 
The Holy Spirit, God who hovered over the waters at the beginning of time, the source and sustainer of all life, is promised to accompany humanity for all time. Jesus teaches that if we love him and keep his word, by loving God and our neighbours, then the Holy Spirit the source of all love, will live in us filling us with love to share with others. At his Baptism, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit to carry out his mission. At Pentecost Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to empower his disciples (followers), transforming them into  apostles (envoys), to speak for him throughout the world. Awoken to the presence of the Holy Spirit, the apostles go out to preach and be understood by all nations. The apostles do more than just talk about Jesus, they actively demonstrate his love: they heal the sick, care for widows and build a community of believers who shared their possessions. Those of us who are Confirmed are likewise filled with the Holy Spirit, so we should be demonstrating God’s presence in the world. How can we do this? By spending  time with God in prayer, considering what God is doing in our lives, and sharing it when opportunities arise. By acting with loving kindness in our families, neighbourhoods and workplaces. By caring for the creation that God has entrusted to us. 
Please pray this week for all our young people who will be Confirmed next Saturday.

21 May 2022

John 14:23-29

After explaining the arrival of the Holy Spirit, Jesus declares that he is giving us peace. Have you ever considered that peace, true peace, may be the primary work of the Holy Spirit? We do not have to look far to find division in our world. Our current obsession with social media contributes so much to this sense of division. Division and disagreement were also common in the early church. Today’s reading from Acts places us in the middle of a heated conversation about what it takes to be Christian. In what ways do we see these separations in our own church? When do we make it difficult for someone to fully participate in our parish and liturgical life? How do we exclude people with different ideologies? These divisions might look like systemic injustice, systems of racism, xenophobia and sexism that have become so common place in our community, in our country, in our world that we are not even aware of them. Jesus’ words in the gospel are what will move us forward. When we are at peace in our relationships, in our communities, and in our world, we are making present the kingdom of heaven on earth. We achieve that peace with the aid and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God on earth. Jesus tells us that even without immediate peace in all areas of our lives, we can still let go of our anxiety. The Holy Spirit brings peace, and the Holy Spirit is with us.

 

20 February 2022

Luke 6: 27-38

The Gospel proposes to us today the renunciation of revenge and violence. In their place, Jesus imposes on his disciples the principle of non-resistance to evil and the commandment of love for one’s enemies. It is as if he were telling us: we do not triumph over evil with evil; we do not triumph over violence with violence. Hate can only be destroyed by the love that suffers it gratuitously. These words have the appearance of madness, accustomed as we are to seeing the power and aggression of the strong triumph, while evil rages on the weak and the unarmed. Jesus knew evil. He knew well what it meant to be detested, stripped, beaten and killed. But, he loved those who hated him, he gave more than was taken from him, he blessed those who cursed him. It is not the product of profane wisdom, which would imply criminal irresponsibility. It is not here a politician or sociologist of this world who speaks. Jesus has overcome evil through suffering. And that is why the only possible justification for these commandments of Jesus is his Cross. Only the one who says “yes” to the cross of Christ can obey these precepts and find in obedience the fulfilment of the promise contained in them: good triumphs over evil through love. Are we ready to embrace our daily cross?

6 February 2022

Luke 5: 1-11

Before being the stone on which Christ would have founded his Church, Simon Peter was the one who walked the entire path full of impulsive passion and at the same time uncertainty towards his Lord. So it was he who, before us, followed the itinerary that each of us is called to follow with all his humanity.
Simone was a fisherman: everyone has his job and everyone can find it hard in the darkness of so many nights and not catch anything.

But the presence of the Lord suddenly asks us to work on his word, that is, to live one’s existence within that powerful event which is Christ the Lord and then our work and our existence find a fruitfulness never known before. In this moment each of us perceives our distance from that merciful embrace and at the same time our extreme closeness.

We will not be called to do other things, but to keep doing them for another purpose. So Peter will continue to be a fisherman, but thereafter he will be a fisher of men. Do we recognise the presence of the Lord and his voice to guide us to review and reset our mission as Christians? And above all do we trust his voice and so decide to follow him?

30 January 2022

Luke 4: 21-30


Last week we heard Jesus, in his hometown synagogue, proclaiming the words of the prophet Isaiah about bringing good news to the poor, healing the broken hearted, liberating captives and giving sight to the blind – announcing the Lord’s year of favour. 

In this week’s Gospel Jesus tells the congregation that this scripture is being fulfilled by him. At first, they are amazed at the local lad speaking so well. They have heard about healings in Capernaum, so Jesus knows they will want to see local miracles, but he also realises that their amazement means they will not have faith in him. He tells them that no prophet is ever accepted in his own country, giving the example of Elijah during a famine going to a foreign widow and Elisha healing Naaman, a Syrian, suffering from leprosy. This talk of preferring foreigners enraged the people and they dragged him out of town to throw him over the hill, but he slipped away.

So, what is Jesus saying to us today? Do we believe in his power to console, liberate and heal? Do we want to work with him for the benefit of the poor, even if it means paying more in taxes or donating more to charity? How do we feel about benefits for foreign migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers? Have we heard of Catholic Social Teaching and do we understand it – if not try looking it up.

 

16 January 2022

John 2:1-11


“My hour has not yet come”, Jesus says to his Mother who, at first, seems to have been bothered saying: “They have no more wine.” What does it mean “yet”? According to John, it is the crucial moment, of the Calvary above all; the eye of the needle through which the whole of history must pass in order to be turned inside out, of all men and of all times; but that “yet” is also the time of the public mission that prepares the passion of our Lord: that is the time of signs, of miracles! Jesus also obeys at a time that is not his own, which the Father has assigned to him, of which he is no longer master in certain sense because, although he is God, he has left his divine form with the Father and does not want to dispose of it as man. The very human miracle at Cana is a miracle of Mary’s faith. As it will be for the Canaanite, as
will happen for the centurion, Mary’s faith obtains from the Father that Jesus anticipates the hour. And then we see the strength of the “woman” who opens the banquet here at Cana and closes the extremes of the “yet” under the cross. Will we be able like Mary to ask Jesus not only for us but for the needs of the people around us and to firmly keep faith that the Lord can do miracles in our lives, filling our hearts with joy and love, making us partakers of the banquet?

3rd September 2023 / 22nd Sunday

Matthew 16:21-27

Honest as always with his disciples, Jesus foretells his suffering and death. Having seen the Master’s great power as a wonderworker, Peter is appalled at the very thought of Jesus suffering and dying. The rock of
faith turns into a stumbling block within 5 short verses of Matthew’s Gospel! Peter makes a false interpretation about what kind of Messiah Jesus is to be. Christ enters our human suffering and death, not to be trapped forever in it, but to offer a way out; to provide us with an exodus and an exit – salvation, ransom and redemption from all our Good Fridays – out into the light, joy and glory of Easter Sunday Resurrection. Peter’s faith had a lot more growing to do – so does mine.

What about you?

30 April 2023 / 4th Sunday of Easter

John 10: 1-10

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells us that he is the good shepherd, who has come so that we might all have life to the full.

But what does it mean to live life to the full?

To follow Jesus does not mean living life in fear and trepidation, concerned that a harsh God will condemn us if we don’t follow all his rules to the letter. No, Jesus came to materially demonstrate God’s love for us. To correct our fears and misunderstanding of God. To show us what God is truly like. To express how much God loves each and every one of us, calling us and drawing us towards him.

This parable of the good shepherd calling us, prompts us to think about leadership, and today has become known as vocations Sunday. Often in the Church we just think of vocations in terms of ordained ministry, but we all have a vocation, we are all called by God, to live our lives to the full, by reaching out
to others, for it is only when we reach out with love to others that we find our true and deepest purpose in life to be channels of God’s love.

05 March 2023

Matthew 17:1-9

This week’s Gospel describes Jesus transfigured, revealing himself as the Divine Son of God, the eternal Word who was in the beginning with God and who was God. Before this, Peter had acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, and Jesus had foretold how he was going to suffer, die and three days later rise again. He told the disciples that they too must take up their cross and follow him and be prepared to lose their lives. This must have left them feeling rather dispirited. He was not the kind of Messiah that they were expecting. Six days later Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him to a high mountain, where they saw his Divine nature revealed and heard God the Father speak the exact same words as at Jesus baptism. Unlike these apostles, we do not have a clear vision of Jesus’ Divinity, although as Jesus said to Thomas after the resurrection, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (Jn 20:29).

However, each day we have an opportunity to encounter Jesus in prayer, both in conversation and in silent contemplation; a time to discover and connect with God who loves and cares about us, he is our closest brother.

12 February 2023

A Radical Vision

Matthew in today’s gospel asserts that Jesus’ authority is greater than the authority of Moses. Jesus’ demands are more radical; his vision sharper; his expectations greater. Moses made concessions because of the hardness of peoples’ hearts; Jesus has hope that people’s heart condition has improved since then.
Jesus’ teachings reveal something about the divine will and thus, God’s very self. Our God is a God of truth and justice, who values reconciliation and desires right relationship for all creation. In light of today’s gospel, consider: Is there a relationship in your life that needs mending? How might you take a step toward reconciliation this week?

Today’s gospel may be difficult to digest for those of us who have a personal experience with the issues named by Jesus. Perhaps there is anger festering between you and a loved one right now. Maybe you have been the victim or perpetrator of adultery. Who among us has never looked upon another with lust? Who among us does not care about someone who is divorced? Let us be gentle with ourselves and with each other as we take in Jesus’ message. In coming to fulfill the Law, Jesus did not come to shame or berate. He came to help us grow more faithfully each day and to help strengthen our muscles of repentance and reconciliation.

Matthew is calling the community of believers to face the vision of Jesus with a willing heart and a ready spirit. None of us can do this alone. That is why we are here gathered in community, to pray that God will fund our efforts to bring that vision down to earth. We are invited to rejoice in the fact that we have the one ‘in whom all things were made’ as our leader. In  the first reading when the tribal chiefs of old Israel proclaimed David to be their leader, we are reminded how important leadership is in our life. All the best things of life, we achieve together. Good leadership makes this possible; bad leadership creates most of the world’s greatest problems. ‘On this Sunday dedicated to young people Pope Francis reminds us that ‘young people always represent the hope for new unity within our fragmented and divided human family.

But only if they can preserve memory, only if they can hear the dramas and dreams of the elderly. It is no coincidence that war is returning to Europe at a time when the generation that experienced it in the last century is dying out. We need the covenant between young and old, lest we forget the lessons of history’ (Pope Francis – WYD Message 2022). Our Saviour is far more than a symbolic figure, we know; and our faith will be greatly strengthened, if we own him as the leader who can bring fulfilment to all our hopes young and old alike.

The gospel reading from Luke, reminds us that all our human expectations are overturned as we come to understand how Christ the King establishes and exercises his reign. As we look forward to the new liturgical year that begins in Advent, we remember that Jesus lives and loves for others, and calls us to do the same. The Lord, robed in majesty, offer salvation to the repentant sinner and to all of us. Let us turn to this image of Christ the King often for it helps us understand the realities of Christianity: Power comes from humility, selfishness falls to sacrifice, and death springs from life.

09 October 2022

Our Gospel this weekend concerns people suffering from leprosy, nowadays often referred to as Hansen’s disease, and which still afflicts some of the poorest and most marginalized of people, causing severe pain, suffering and disability. In biblical times, sufferers were outcasts from society, living in isolation, and regarded as being unclean.

In this passage, Jesus was travelling through Samaria, whose inhabitants were also considered outcasts by the Jewish authorities, and ten leprosy sufferers approached him at a distance shouting loudly for mercy.
When Jesus saw them, he acted immediately telling them to go and show themselves to the priests. On their way there they were made clean, and one of them realised that he had been healed, returning to Jesus to give thanks.

This prompts the thought that nine of them were made clean, cured of leprosy, but only one was healed.
Healing involves our entire being, it’s more about transforming the heart of our being, than something peripheral. The person who was fully healed was an outcast among outcasts – a Samaritan who suffered from leprosy. Only he returned to Jesus, realising that in falling at his feet he was giving glory to God.

This passage tells us of God’s loving care for even the most dejected and rejected of people, a love which heals from deep within, and which calls us to change direction, returning to Jesus to receive his love.
Today is prisoner’s Sunday, a day for us to pray for all those outcast from society, for whatever reason and wherever they may be held.

02 October 2022

Increase Our Faith

It is now over a year since I was ordained as a Deacon and it has given me time to reflect on the nature of faith. I have watched some people grow in faith while others seem to lose theirs. The apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. As a child I was told that our faith was something precious, something I should be  careful not to lose, something I should be proud to pass on to others – a gift from God. As I got older I  took the time to read books and work out arguments before deciding to remain a Christian. BUT God’s gift of faith concerns things that are beyond our power to see or discern. Faith is something very real. Jesus tells his apostles ‘believe in what I say, trust me in what I do’.

The request the apostles made to Jesus was not ‘What is faith?’ but ‘increase our faith’. Often the way our faith will be increased and strengthened will be through the experience of questioning, of seeming to  doubt. Sometimes we have the experience of losing enjoyment of prayer, or losing interest in the work we do for God. God may even ask us to do something that seems excessive, that shocks and startles us so much that we feel our whole world is collapsing. At times like these, our faith can seem to be shrinking, but somehow we keep hold of it, and we emerge feeling our faith has been deepened. When we find ourselves complaining about the stresses and trials of the Christian life, and wondering how God can ask this of us, we will remember the word of Our Lord at the end of today’s gospel reading, ‘We are merely servants – we have done no more than our duty’.

03 September 2022

Figuring Things Out


In the Gospel there is plenty of figuring out to be done. Jesus gives people notice that thy have to work out for themselves if they are equal to the demands of discipleship. That means they have to first figure out the cost of discipleship, then consider whether they have the resources to meet that cost. There is a simple, practical realism in Jesus’ advice. He does not want people rushing headlong into instant commitment while ignoring the cost and their own capabilities.

Discipleship involves having no security other than total commitment to Jesus. Much of our lives involves figuring out what is within our reach and what we ourselves can realistically achieve. Jesus knows that his disciples must prefer following him to following in their fathers’ footsteps. He calls them away from the primacy of family life because discipleship means a new and all-consuming loyalty. It means following the ‘broad shadow’ of a master who makes his way of love with a cross on his back. Nobody can do that casually.

Even though God has revealed himself through his Holy Spirit, nobody can claim to fully understand the mystery that God is. We still have much to figure out.

 

10 July 2022

Luke 10:25-37


The message of today’s gospel is about A lesson on love, on what charity is, how we should live it in our  days. The parable of the Samaritan is very simple, not a long list of prescriptions, commands, required performances… Luke in chapter 10 of his Gospel makes us understand the depth, the breadth, the  unconditional commitment with which we must be close to everyone, to every man, without placing conditions. to express love we are called to concrete actions, not only beautiful words of consolation. Concrete gestures that try to solve the problem of the other to the end, to change his life, to put him in a position to walk alone in order to fully live his being a man.

To follow the God of Jesus of Nazareth we must learn to love in this radical way: “Go and do this too!” Do we have the courage in our communities, in our families to “go out” from the walls, from the well-defined fences of our securities to go …? The courage to look at people, the world around us, the problems that exist, the injustices without fear …? Who is “our neighbor” for us? Is it just those who are close to us as a race, culture, affinity, blood ties? And with the others? What can we concretely do in our days to help? Do we dedicate some time to volunteering (there is a “sea of needs” around us …)?

 

02 July 2022

Peace to This Household

Jesus is beginning his journey to Jerusalem to meet his fate; and he is instructing the followers who must carry on his mission. He has already sent his chosen twelve out on mission. Now he sends out ‘seventy two others’. The numbers are symbolic. The mission of the apostles is to the twelve tribes of Israel. Seventy two was the number of the pagan nations – the mission of Jesus is universal. The ‘seventy two others’ represent all of us, his followers in every age, called to share in his mission to bring the Good News of God to all people. ‘Evangelisation’, being bearers of the Good News, is a basic theme in the  church’s teaching today.

The Lord invites us to learn what it is to be an evangeliser. We have to truly find joy in the meaning faith gives to our lives. True evangelisers are bearers of peace. Jesus sends the disciples out ‘two by two’: because the example of a community that lives by Christ’s teaching is an essential part of authentic evangelisation. Jesus warns against the spirit of self-importance. All that should matter is our own relationship with God.

It is not clever presentation, or anything of that order, that will make us good evangelisers, but the quality of our own response to the call of Jesus, to share in all that he stands for in the ordinary situations of our lives, in the midst of our families and our ordinary life relationships.

05 June 2022

John 14:15-16, 23-26

At the Last Supper, Jesus tells his disciples that if they love him they must keep his commandments; and his Father will send another Advocate who will be with them for all time. Jesus is leaving them, but the Holy Spirit will come to live with them forever. 
The Holy Spirit, God who hovered over the waters at the beginning of time, the source and sustainer of all life, is promised to accompany humanity for all time. Jesus teaches that if we love him and keep his word, by loving God and our neighbours, then the Holy Spirit the source of all love, will live in us filling us with love to share with others. At his Baptism, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit to carry out his mission. At Pentecost Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to empower his disciples (followers), transforming them into  apostles (envoys), to speak for him throughout the world. Awoken to the presence of the Holy Spirit, the apostles go out to preach and be understood by all nations. The apostles do more than just talk about Jesus, they actively demonstrate his love: they heal the sick, care for widows and build a community of believers who shared their possessions. Those of us who are Confirmed are likewise filled with the Holy Spirit, so we should be demonstrating God’s presence in the world. How can we do this? By spending  time with God in prayer, considering what God is doing in our lives, and sharing it when opportunities arise. By acting with loving kindness in our families, neighbourhoods and workplaces. By caring for the creation that God has entrusted to us. 
Please pray this week for all our young people who will be Confirmed next Saturday.

21 May 2022

John 14:23-29

After explaining the arrival of the Holy Spirit, Jesus declares that he is giving us peace. Have you ever considered that peace, true peace, may be the primary work of the Holy Spirit? We do not have to look far to find division in our world. Our current obsession with social media contributes so much to this sense of division. Division and disagreement were also common in the early church. Today’s reading from Acts places us in the middle of a heated conversation about what it takes to be Christian. In what ways do we see these separations in our own church? When do we make it difficult for someone to fully participate in our parish and liturgical life? How do we exclude people with different ideologies? These divisions might look like systemic injustice, systems of racism, xenophobia and sexism that have become so common place in our community, in our country, in our world that we are not even aware of them. Jesus’ words in the gospel are what will move us forward. When we are at peace in our relationships, in our communities, and in our world, we are making present the kingdom of heaven on earth. We achieve that peace with the aid and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the presence of God on earth. Jesus tells us that even without immediate peace in all areas of our lives, we can still let go of our anxiety. The Holy Spirit brings peace, and the Holy Spirit is with us.

 

20 February 2022

Luke 6: 27-38

The Gospel proposes to us today the renunciation of revenge and violence. In their place, Jesus imposes on his disciples the principle of non-resistance to evil and the commandment of love for one’s enemies. It is as if he were telling us: we do not triumph over evil with evil; we do not triumph over violence with violence. Hate can only be destroyed by the love that suffers it gratuitously. These words have the appearance of madness, accustomed as we are to seeing the power and aggression of the strong triumph, while evil rages on the weak and the unarmed. Jesus knew evil. He knew well what it meant to be detested, stripped, beaten and killed. But, he loved those who hated him, he gave more than was taken from him, he blessed those who cursed him. It is not the product of profane wisdom, which would imply criminal irresponsibility. It is not here a politician or sociologist of this world who speaks. Jesus has overcome evil through suffering. And that is why the only possible justification for these commandments of Jesus is his Cross. Only the one who says “yes” to the cross of Christ can obey these precepts and find in obedience the fulfilment of the promise contained in them: good triumphs over evil through love. Are we ready to embrace our daily cross?

6 February 2022

Luke 5: 1-11

Before being the stone on which Christ would have founded his Church, Simon Peter was the one who walked the entire path full of impulsive passion and at the same time uncertainty towards his Lord. So it was he who, before us, followed the itinerary that each of us is called to follow with all his humanity.
Simone was a fisherman: everyone has his job and everyone can find it hard in the darkness of so many nights and not catch anything.

But the presence of the Lord suddenly asks us to work on his word, that is, to live one’s existence within that powerful event which is Christ the Lord and then our work and our existence find a fruitfulness never known before. In this moment each of us perceives our distance from that merciful embrace and at the same time our extreme closeness.

We will not be called to do other things, but to keep doing them for another purpose. So Peter will continue to be a fisherman, but thereafter he will be a fisher of men. Do we recognise the presence of the Lord and his voice to guide us to review and reset our mission as Christians? And above all do we trust his voice and so decide to follow him?

30 January 2022

Luke 4: 21-30


Last week we heard Jesus, in his hometown synagogue, proclaiming the words of the prophet Isaiah about bringing good news to the poor, healing the broken hearted, liberating captives and giving sight to the blind – announcing the Lord’s year of favour. 

In this week’s Gospel Jesus tells the congregation that this scripture is being fulfilled by him. At first, they are amazed at the local lad speaking so well. They have heard about healings in Capernaum, so Jesus knows they will want to see local miracles, but he also realises that their amazement means they will not have faith in him. He tells them that no prophet is ever accepted in his own country, giving the example of Elijah during a famine going to a foreign widow and Elisha healing Naaman, a Syrian, suffering from leprosy. This talk of preferring foreigners enraged the people and they dragged him out of town to throw him over the hill, but he slipped away.

So, what is Jesus saying to us today? Do we believe in his power to console, liberate and heal? Do we want to work with him for the benefit of the poor, even if it means paying more in taxes or donating more to charity? How do we feel about benefits for foreign migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers? Have we heard of Catholic Social Teaching and do we understand it – if not try looking it up.

 

16 January 2022

John 2:1-11


“My hour has not yet come”, Jesus says to his Mother who, at first, seems to have been bothered saying: “They have no more wine.” What does it mean “yet”? According to John, it is the crucial moment, of the Calvary above all; the eye of the needle through which the whole of history must pass in order to be turned inside out, of all men and of all times; but that “yet” is also the time of the public mission that prepares the passion of our Lord: that is the time of signs, of miracles! Jesus also obeys at a time that is not his own, which the Father has assigned to him, of which he is no longer master in certain sense because, although he is God, he has left his divine form with the Father and does not want to dispose of it as man. The very human miracle at Cana is a miracle of Mary’s faith. As it will be for the Canaanite, as
will happen for the centurion, Mary’s faith obtains from the Father that Jesus anticipates the hour. And then we see the strength of the “woman” who opens the banquet here at Cana and closes the extremes of the “yet” under the cross. Will we be able like Mary to ask Jesus not only for us but for the needs of the people around us and to firmly keep faith that the Lord can do miracles in our lives, filling our hearts with joy and love, making us partakers of the banquet?