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Lent

3rd Sunday of Lent – Year C

 “Strong is His love for us” – we could say that this phrase from the responsorial psalm sums up the message of today’s Mass readings.Our God is a ‘consuming fire’ who “forgives all our guilt” and “heals our ills” (Ps 102).  He is “compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.”In the Gospel Jesus explains in the parable of the fig tree which did not bear fruit that he is always prepared to give us a second chance, to give us more time, in the hope that we will repent of our sins and failures.  “Give it (ie the fig tree) one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it – it may bear fruit next year!” (Gospel – Lk 13:1-9).It is the same God who appeared to Moses while he went about his daily work of tending the flock […]

1st Sunday of Lent – Another Reflection

Having set for myself a headline for Lent “It is your face, O Lord, that I seek, hide not your face” – it is encouraging to find that Jesus in today’s gospel gives me inspiring texts to guide me on my way. His responses to the devil can become ours. Indeed each of these quotes are taken from the book of Deuteronomy, that story of the people of Israel’s forty years wanderings through the desert to the promised land – a blue print of our struggles too on our journey home to our Father’s house. ‘Man does not live on bread alone’ – Though immersed in, and in need of many material and tangible things to sustain us in life, yet our faith tells us that this is not our real life, no, our real life is the faith we have in the Son of God who loved us […]

By |February 19th, 2013|Liturgy|0 Comments

First Sunday of Lent – Reflection on Deuteronomy

In today’s First reading at Mass, taken from the Book of Deuteronomy, we are presented with the prayer of the Jewish man to God on presenting to Him the first-fruits of all the Lord had given to him. In a few short – actually long! – sentences, he summarises all the Lord has done for him since the call of Abraham, through the formation and election of Israel; her persecution at the hands of the Egyptians; to her deliverance and after wandering in the desert, at last, entering into and taking possession of the land given to her by God. (That was a fairly good imitation of the long sentences!!)And this is the First Sunday of Lent; that time of year again – already – when we know we would like to make a concerted effort to be cleansed of everything that separates us from God; prevents us from […]

By |February 17th, 2013|Liturgy|0 Comments

Palm Sunday

During the past week as I reflected on St Mark’s Passion narrative,(Ch 14 &15) which we heard at Mass this morning, my attention was drawn to the woman who broke the jar of ointment and poured it out on Jesus’ head – a very good symbol of our monastic contemplative way of life. St Mark tells us that she broke the jar and poured out the precious ointment while the disciples murmured and criticised her action as being wholly foolish and wasteful: “why this waste? Ointment like this could be sold and the money given to the poor! And they were angry with her.” We hear similar comments regarding our way of life: “why waste your life away within an enclosure apparently doing nothing while there is so much need in our modern world.” However Jesus praised the woman’s action saying: “leave her alone […]

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 […]

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 […]

1st Sunday of Lent – Desert Experience

In this morning’s Gospel St Mark tells us that “the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert and he remained there and was put to the test by Satan” (Mk 2:12f)– a very stark picture at first glance!Immediately before this passage we read about Jesus’ Baptism when He, the sinless One, took on the burden of our sins and was baptised by John. The heavens were opened and the Spirit descended on him and the voice from heaven declared: “You are my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on you.” Strengthened in the conviction of being the Beloved of the Father, at once the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert…..In the Old Testament the desert symbolised both the place of testing and the place of intimacy with God. We read in the Book of Deuteronomy: “Remember the long road by which the Lord led you for forty […]

By |February 26th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

Lent and Vocation Discernment

A few thoughts for the beginning of Lent.I have always found Lent to be a very fruitful time for Vocation Discernment. I think it was because since I was a small child the high point of Easter for me was Holy Saturday night when, having intensely lived all that God had done for us in Christ (during the Triduum) I renewed my Baptismal Promises. I think part of the attraction was that it was a real, public, solemn, formal commitment to God that I could make before I was old enough to make my First Communion. So I always saw Lent as a time to prepare to make this re-commitment. To examine my life and see where I was failing to live as a Christian; to give more time to God (prayer, ‘holy’ reading, daily Mass etc.) and also to do things for others – Jesus said “Truly, […]

By |February 23rd, 2012|Vocations|1 Comment