21 May 2022
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
“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?