Reflection on the Gospel – 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel, we see an anxious Scribe asking Jesus, ‘which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied. ‘This 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’ – heart –soul – 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 ‘mind’ which drew my attention today.What does it mean to […]

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

Mission Sunday – 29th Sunday of Year – Year B

  The phrase which caught my attention in today’s Mass readings was: “offer his life” – we find it in the first reading – if the servant offers his life all will be well for him.In the Gospel Jesus speaks about “offering his life as a ransom” 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 – 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 […]

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

22nd Sunday – Year B

 “In Him we live and move and have our being” – these words spoken by St Paul to the people of Athensin the Acts of the Apostles came to mind as I reflected on today’s Mass readings.In the first reading Moses asks the question: “what 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 […]

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 […]

“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 […]

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 – a text that can surely help us ‘come to know the Lord’ 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 “see Jesus”. This is the desire in the heart of all of us. “I would like to see Jesus”. Jesus responds as He always does throughout the Gospels, and very pointedly in St. John’s Gospel, which always has many layers […]

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 […]

3rd Sunday of Lent

Towards the end of today’s Gospel passage (Jn 2.35) , St. John shares with us the empathy he has with Jesus. He tells us: “many believed in Jesus’ name when they saw the signs he gave – but he knew them all and did not trust himself to them – he could tell what a person had in him” – or as another translation puts it …”Jesus 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”. (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 […]

Lent Week 2 – Monday

A few words on to-day’s Gospel – Lk 6:36-38:It opens with the words: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.’ Perhaps the most important words in this passage are: ‘as your Father’. God is our Father! As the Christmas Preface puts it: “the wonder of our making is only surpassed by the wonder of our coming to life in Christ” (old translation) – i.e. by our Baptism we are inserted right into the heart of the Blessed Trinity – 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 ‘Abba, father’ and to proclaim Jesus as Lord. So that is why Jesus can ask us to have the […]

2nd Sunday of Lent – The Face of Christ

This morning’s 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 – Jesus becoming radiant – aglow – transfigured in the presence of the three chosen Apostles, Peter, James and John – then Moses and Elijah appeared in glory also and were talking with Jesus about his ‘passing’ which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem.There is one little detail I want to say a few words on – “His face shone like the sun” this is in the account given by Matthew and Luke not in Mark from which today’s account is taken. I have been struck very, very often by the number of times the word ‘face’ comes into the Psalms, the Hymns etc. in […]