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Gospel

Reflection on the Gospel – 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

In today鈥檚 Gospel, we see an anxious Scribe asking Jesus, 鈥榳hich is the first of all the commandments?鈥 Jesus replied. 鈥楾his is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength鈥 鈥 heart 鈥搒oul 鈥 mind, strength, these are extremely strong words; if we stop to ponder them deeply, each contains a great depth of meaning, a call to give our love totally to God with every fibre of our being. Most of us are familiar with these words of Jesus. For myself, it is loving God with all my heart and soul and strength, that has always struck me forcibly, but reflecting anew on this Gospel text, it was the word 鈥榤ind鈥 which drew my attention today.What does it mean to love God with all my mind? At first sight it sounds very intellectual and even calculating, though we do speak of a person having a beautiful mind, or of someone asking us to be mindful of them in our prayer or in some other way. Our minds are indeed a very precious gift from God.But it is the heart which is known world-wide as a symbol of love – we hear people say 鈥業 love this or that person with all my heart, but I have never yet heard anyone say, I love you with all my mind, there would surely be a few raised eyebrows, to say the least! It is interesting to note that the Scribe who asked Jesus this question responded by saying: 鈥榃ell spoken, Master; 鈥︹o love him with all your […]

By |November 4th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

Mission Sunday – 29th Sunday of Year 鈥 Year B

  The phrase which caught my attention in today鈥檚 Mass readings was: 鈥渙ffer his life鈥 鈥 we find it in the first reading 鈥 if the servant offers his life all will be well for him.In the Gospel Jesus speaks about 鈥渙ffering his life as a ransom鈥 and invites his disciples to follow his example.  This attitude of self offering implies a forgetfulness of self and a radical confidence in the One to Whom we surrender 鈥 the One who supplies all our needs and who makes up for our limitations and deficiencies. Perhaps we can better identify with James and John who approached Jesus to ask for secure and prodigious seats in the kingdom.  But Jesus points out that true greatness lies in serving each other in love – emptying ourselves to become slaves.  Surely this is very contrary to our modern mentality! perhaps frightening also? but the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that we have a high priest, Jesus, who understands our weakness and assures us of mercy and grace when we are in need of help. Today on Mission Sunday, as we reflect on our calling and responsibility as Christians to spread the Good News of Jesus, these readings both challenge and encourage us. We do not need to go to far away places in order to be missionary.  We are missionary to the extent that we live our lives in and through Jesus who shares with us his very relationship with the Father in the Spirit. When we freely surrender to the One who has loved us so much that He lay down His life for us and allow Him to use us as He wishes we can be confident that […]

By |October 21st, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

22nd Sunday – Year B

 鈥淚n Him we live and move and have our being鈥 鈥 these words spoken by St Paul to the people of Athensin the Acts of the Apostles came to mind as I reflected on today鈥檚 Mass readings.In the first reading Moses asks the question: 鈥渨hat great nation has its gods so close as the Lord our God is to us when we call upon him?  and what great nation is there that has laws and customs to match this whole Law that I put before you today?  Moses invites the people to listen and to put this Law into practice and he gives the reason why – so that they may have life! and may enter and take possession of the land which the Lord is giving to them.  For the Israelites we know that this land was Canaan or Palestine but for us Christians its meaning has been expanded beyond all imagining 鈥 St James in the second reading gives us a clue as he re-echoes a similar message: 鈥渋t is all that is good, everything that is perfect which is given us from above; it comes down from the Father of all light.  By his own choice he made us his children by the message of the truth鈥 鈥. And then he invites us to 鈥渓isten and submit to the word which is planted in us and can save our souls.鈥 Possession of the land in the Old Testament can now be translated as possession all the graces and blessings which have come to us through Christ 鈥 in a word the gift of Salvation 鈥 belonging to the family of the Trinity 鈥 sharing in the very relationship of the […]

By |September 2nd, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … before the world was made he chose us, chose us in Christ to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence.” (Eph 1:3-14)This doctrine of our faith inspired and sustained me during my first years of Religious Life – and still does. It fired me to learn more about Christ, to enter fully into the mystery of the person of Christ. Jesus says, “Father, this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”, and again, “no one can come to the Father except through me”.”God chose us” but first Jesus himself within the loving communion of the Blessed Trinity is chosen and sent by the Father, He who is so madly in love with His creatures, as St Catherine expresses it, to tell the world of this love, to redeem us even thoug we were/are sinners. The Incarnation cost Him dearly. He poured out every drop of blood for love of us and of His Father – in return rose gloriously from the dead.The wonder of it all is that you and I are in this same Christ – we make one with Him in the Divine thought. Jesus reveals to St Catherine in her ‘Dialogue’, “I created souls in my image and likeness, even more, in taking human nature I made myself like one of you. Consequently, I do not cease working to make your souls like to me, as far as they are capable of it and I endeavor to renew in them, when they are tending towards heaven, all that took place in my Body”. […]

“I chose you” – Vocation in Today’s Gospel

Today’s Gospel offers a very beautiful message for Religious Life and Vocation.During my Lectio this week Jesus’ words struck me very forcefully: “You did not choose me, no I chose you”. We all need to hold on to that fact. I think that a common reaction to the thought that God is calling one to Religious Life is a kind of fear. It is not so much a fear for myself and what this step will cost me but a fear of letting our Lord down. We think, ‘I’d make a very bad nun/priest/whatever; God should/would call ‘X’ who is much more holy etc. than I; I am a bearly passible Christian how could he possible want me; etc.And this text is our Lord’s answer, he says: No, I am calling you, I chose you and I know what I’m doing. And because I chose you, if you only accept this call I will make you “bear fruit, fruit that will last”. So the main thing that Jesus asks of us in our Vocation is to let him choose us, as Blessed Pope John Paul II says in Vita Consecrata, “Those who let themselves be seized by this love cannot help abandoning everything to follow him” (VC 18). My Vocation, my Religious Life, is principally something that Jesus is doing. I need not fear my sins, weaknesses and failings because it is Christ who calls and Christ who enables me to live the life he has called me to; as he said to St. Paul, “my grace is sufficient for you” (2Cor 12:9).  

5th Sunday of Lent

The Gospel passage we read at Mass today from St. John, is very full and pregnant with food for thought and reflection as we approach the holiest week of the year. As I reflected on the text I could see glimpses of the entire life of Jesus from the beginning of his public ministry, his death, Resurrection and glorification 鈥 a text that can surely help us 鈥榗ome to know the Lord鈥 and put us in touch with what is happening at this stage in his life.The pilgrims are arriving in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, including some Greek converts who want to 鈥渟ee Jesus鈥. This is the desire in the heart of all of us. 鈥淚 would like to see Jesus鈥. Jesus responds as He always does throughout the Gospels, and very pointedly in St. John鈥檚 Gospel, which always has many layers and levels of meaning, e.g. in response to 鈥渨here do you dwell?鈥, Jesus says 鈥渃ome and see鈥. In response to John the Baptist鈥檚 disciples’ questions 鈥 鈥渁re you the one who is to come or are we to look for someone else鈥? Jesus鈥 replies 鈥済o and tell John all you see and hear 鈥 the blind see, the deaf hear 鈥 lepers are cleansed and happy the one who does not lose faith in Me鈥. Here in our text today Jesus鈥 reply was 鈥淣ow the hour has come鈥 the kairos time of God for the 鈥楽on to be glorified鈥 is at hand. His words or his reply to the questions are never direct, but they are authenticating who He is.鈥淚 tell you most solemnly unless a wheat grain falls on the ground […]

Who can top good news like this?

As the Christian ethos in our Churches, schools and hospitals come under attack on all sides, a sentence in a recent Sunday liturgy stood out large and clear.”With God on our side who can be against us, since God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, we may be certain after such a gift that he will not refuse anything he can give.” {Romans 8.11} Again and again both Old and New Testaments reassure us of Gods continual care of his own people. Perhaps Psalm 121 would be an appropiate prayer for our Irish people at this time:I lift my eyes to the mountains:_______Where is help to come from?Help comes to me from the Lord______Who made Heaven and earth.No letting our footsteps slip!______This guard of yours, he does not doze!The guardian of Israel______does not doze or sleep.The Lord guards you, shades you._______With the Lord at your right handsun cannot strike you down by day,_______nor moon at night.The Lord guards you from harm,________ He guards your lives,He guards your leaving, coming back,______Now and for always. What Jesus wants more than anything else is our FAITH – courage to WAIT and BELIEVE that all will be well. He tells us himself through the prophet Jeremiah. {Chapter 31}”I have loved you with an everlasting love, so I am constant in my affection for you I build you once more and you shall be rebuilt.Is then a son to me, a child so favoured, that after each threat of mine, I must still remember him, still be deeply moved for him and let my tenderness yearn over him.”Again we listen to the prophet Isaiah {Chapter […]

3rd Sunday of Lent

Towards the end of today鈥檚 Gospel passage (Jn 2.35) , St. John shares with us the empathy he has with Jesus. He tells us: 鈥渕any believed in Jesus鈥 name when they saw the signs he gave 鈥 but he knew them all and did not trust himself to them 鈥 he could tell what a person had in him鈥 鈥 or as another translation puts it 鈥︹滼esus would not give them his confidence; he had knowledge of them all, and did not need assurances about any one, because he could read all hearts鈥. (R.Knox).Among those referred to in this passage, there were obviously some who were enthused about Jesus and his miracles but it seems there was no real depth to their enthusiasm; among the crowd too, would no doubt have been some of the hypocrites who so often tried to catch Jesus out in what he said and did during his ministry. How Jesus detested hypocrisy; with sinners he was always so compassionate and forgiving, but hypocrisy brought forth strong condemnations from him. How dear the quality of sincerity is to Jesus is highlighted in his words to Nathanael (Jn.1:45-51) – 鈥榖ehold an Israelite in whom there is no guile鈥欌揳 beautiful compliment which utterly amazed Nathanael; truly Jesus could read his heart, as he can read all hearts, and that can be a source of great consolation because it means he so well understands our weaknesses.There is not one of us who would wish to be included in the group in whom Jesus had no confidence, no trust 鈥 yet many of us realise when we reflect on our lives that we have failed his confidence, his trust, perhaps many […]

Lent Week 2 – Monday

A few words on to-day鈥檚 Gospel 鈥 Lk 6:36-38:It opens with the words: 鈥淛esus said to his disciples: 鈥楤e compassionate as your Father is compassionate.鈥 Perhaps the most important words in this passage are: 鈥榓s your Father鈥. God is our Father! As the Christmas Preface puts it: 鈥渢he wonder of our making is only surpassed by the wonder of our coming to life in Christ鈥 (old translation) 鈥 i.e. by our Baptism we are inserted right into the heart of the Blessed Trinity 鈥 into the family and inner life of God. We are sons and daughters of God the Father, sisters and brothers of Jesus, the Son of God and we have the Holy Spirit living in our spirit- thus making us cry out 鈥楢bba, father鈥 and to proclaim Jesus as Lord. So that is why Jesus can ask us to have the beautiful attitude He annunciates in this Gospel passage – being compassionate, not judging, not condemning, granting pardon and giving. These attitudes do not come naturally to us 鈥 they must be desired and prayed for, cultivated and practised 鈥 then the light of Christ will shine forth in our life and actions and so glorify our Father in heaven.

2nd Sunday of Lent – The Face of Christ

This morning鈥檚 Gospel account of the Transfiguration is so rich and full in ideas and teaching (as is every event in the life of Christ) that it is difficult to pick one out for reflection. We all know the story so well 鈥 Jesus becoming radiant 鈥 aglow 鈥 transfigured in the presence of the three chosen Apostles, Peter, James and John 鈥 then Moses and Elijah appeared in glory also and were talking with Jesus about his 鈥榩assing鈥 which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem.There is one little detail I want to say a few words on 鈥 鈥淗is face shone like the sun鈥 this is in the account given by Matthew and Luke not in Mark from which today鈥檚 account is taken. I have been struck very, very often by the number of times the word 鈥榝ace鈥 comes into the Psalms, the Hymns etc. in the Liturgy, e.g. 鈥渉ow long will you hide your face from me?鈥 鈥淚 will behold your face in righteousness鈥 and in Psalm 26 鈥淥f you my heart has spoken, seek his face鈥 鈥 鈥淚t is your face, O Lord, that I seek, hide not your face鈥 鈥 鈥淭urn your face against my sins鈥 – and Psalm 41 鈥 The Psalmist longs to stand once more in the Temple, to appear before God鈥檚 face 鈥 鈥渨hen can I enter and see the face of God?鈥 Ps.69 鈥 鈥淗ide not your face from me鈥 鈥 鈥淚 diligently seek your face鈥.The face or countenance is so important a part of every person. We know we cannot see the Face of God. In Exodus 33.20 the Lord says to Moses: 鈥淵ou cannot see My Face, […]