fullertont

RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

In our gospel reading for this Sunday Jesus tells his disciples, this is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. The language of commandment is deliberate; the author of John’s gospel is making an explicit reference to God as law-giver to accomplish at least two purposes: to affirm Jesus’ divine mandate, and to help readers to understand the weight given to loving one another. As Peter discovered when he went to the home of Cornelius, we do not have anything like exclusive access to God’s truth, God’s Spirit or God’s love. We have a piece of the puzzle, and others – people who in all likelihood don’t look or talk like us – have other pieces. God is bigger than we are, and by definition, not comprehensible in full by humans. It takes all of our puzzle pieces – and more – to begin to comprehend the reality of the Holy among us. There is a humility required of us if we are going to manage to love one another as we are commanded to do in this gospel reading. If a person believes that he or she has all the answers and there are many people in the Church, the country and the world at large who think in this way, those people have no need of community, except perhaps to make them feel superior as they lord it over other people.

If, however, we understand ourselves to be limited beings, loving an unlimited all loving God, we might choose to seek God wherever God might be found – in the least and the greatest, in the communities of which we are a part, and outside their borders.  We might find ourselves stretching our boundaries of mind and heart, to bother personally and in community, to include the multiple voices of so many harmonizing on the same theme: love of God and things of the spirit, and love of one another united body and soul in the church. It might be helpful to remember that Jesus loves us all and gave up his life for the love of his father and all of us. Jesus loved Peter, a Galilean fisherman with a tendency to speak first and ask questions later. Jesus loved Cornelius, a devout Roman soldier. Jesus loves you, and Jesus loves me with all our lumps and bumps and all the things that we don’t want other people to see and hear about us. Jesus doesn’t love me any more than you, or vice versa. By grace, we are all beloved, sons and daughters of the father and all have the opportunity to exercise that love in how we treat others. In the world of today and in our own country we see the Church getting such a hammering as a result of a number of clergy and religious doing so much damage from within. There are so many who have been hurt by the misdeeds of the few and we have a duty to remember them in prayer and in our care for their needs. Showing the love of God to all those who feel the hurt of betrayal, by our prayer and our action and reaction to all of them they will see the love of god given to all through us.

It is human nature to want to draw a circle around ourselves and maintain borders that define who is part of us, and who is not. It is the Holy Spirit’s nature to push us past our borders, and ask us to grow. If there’s a sure-fire test for whether the Spirit is prompting us or not, it’s this:

if we think we are called to shrink our borders, include fewer people, be more selective in our society, we can be absolutely sure that those feelings don’t come from God.

God’s desire for us is that we expand our understanding, make the effort to love people who are not like us and to accept with grace the fact that our vision of God and God’s kingdom is limited. We need to hear about the vision of others to broaden our perspective and perhaps eve broaden their outlook on the world. We need to stop and listen to the stories of those who were hurt in times that are long past in order to help them to heal their brokenness and in their brokenness we one and all will see the Church that we are meant to be an all caring place where everyone will be valued as a son or daughter of God. The film ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ has a particularly good line spoken by one of the main characters several times during the film when things had not worked out quite as people hoped: ‘Everything will be all right in the end, so if is not all right then it is not yet the end.’ For us it is not the end for at this time we certainly are in a Mess but for us as people of faith all things will work out for the good of this we can be sure.

Being a person of faith is not easy at the present time but this is our calling as members of the Church, which is the body of Christ.  In June Ireland will host the 50th Eucharistic Congress, 80 years after the Eucharistic congress was held here in 1932.

There have been many changes in Ireland in the intervening period of the last 80 years and a great number of these changes were not for the better. The contemporary context of modern Ireland is very different in so many ways. The style, purpose and outcome of Eucharistic Congresses have also altered considerably over the years. In recent times an International Eucharistic Congress is more like a festival of faith, consisting of seminars, concerts, workshops, exhibitions and most importantly and above all else  the daily celebration of the Mass..  From the 10th to the 17th June many people will come to Dublin from all over the world in celebration of their faith that is faith in God in communion with Christ and one another. As I said at the start of this and I repeat this again In our gospel reading for this Sunday Jesus tells his disciples, this is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. This is what Eucharist is all about loving one another as Jesus loves us no one has ever sent his or her son into the world to die for all of us and yet that is exactly what our father in heaven did he sent Jesus his son into our world to give his life as a ransom for many, and though we are many we are one. We cannot forget the great sacrament of the body of Christ, Corpus Christi the sacrament Par excellence instituted on that first Holy Thursday in the upper room what love and joy there are within this great sacrament. This Sacrament of the Body of Christ truly shows the love of the Father not as some far off thing or person away out there somewhere but as a person that we can see in the eucharistic bread who has a part to play in our daily life and living.

My hope is that we will listen to the voice of Jesus in the broken hearts, and in the victims of our society the people out there who are hungry or lost, lonely or frightened, helpless or sick; and then in the days, weeks months and years ahead we can truly say that we are In loving communion with Christ and one another

In our gospel reading for this Sunday Jesus tells his disciples, this is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. The language of commandment is deliberate; the author of John’s gospel is making an explicit reference to God as law-giver to accomplish at least two purposes: to affirm Jesus’ divine mandate, and to help readers to understand the weight given to loving one another. As Peter discovered when he went to the home of Cornelius, we do not have anything like exclusive access to God’s truth, God’s Spirit or God’s love. We have a piece of the puzzle, and others – people who in all likelihood don’t look or talk like us – have other pieces. God is bigger than we are, and by definition, not comprehensible in full by humans. It takes all of our puzzle pieces – and more – to begin to comprehend the reality of the Holy among us. There is a humility required of us if we are going to manage to love one another as we are commanded to do in this gospel reading. If a person believes that he or she has all the answers and there are many people in the Church, the country and the world at large who think in this way, those people have no need of community, except perhaps to make them feel superior as they lord it over other people.

If, however, we understand ourselves to be limited beings, loving an unlimited all loving God, we might choose to seek God wherever God might be found – in the least and the greatest, in the communities of which we are a part, and outside their borders.  We might find ourselves stretching our boundaries of mind and heart, to bother personally and in community, to include the multiple voices of so many harmonizing on the same theme: love of God and things of the spirit, and love of one another united body and soul in the church. It might be helpful to remember that Jesus loves us all and gave up his life for the love of his father and all of us. Jesus loved Peter, a Galilean fisherman with a tendency to speak first and ask questions later. Jesus loved Cornelius, a devout Roman soldier. Jesus loves you, and Jesus loves me with all our lumps and bumps and all the things that we don’t want other people to see and hear about us. Jesus doesn’t love me any more than you, or vice versa. By grace, we are all beloved, sons and daughters of the father and all have the opportunity to exercise that love in how we treat others. In the world of today and in our own country we see the Church getting such a hammering as a result of a number of clergy and religious doing so much damage from within. There are so many who have been hurt by the misdeeds of the few and we have a duty to remember them in prayer and in our care for their needs. Showing the love of God to all those who feel the hurt of betrayal, by our prayer and our action and reaction to all of them they will see the love of god given to all through us.

It is human nature to want to draw a circle around ourselves and maintain borders that define who is part of us, and who is not. It is the Holy Spirit’s nature to push us past our borders, and ask us to grow. If there’s a sure-fire test for whether the Spirit is prompting us or not, it’s this: if we think we are called to shrink our borders, include fewer people, be more selective in our society, we can be absolutely sure that those feelings don’t come from God.

God’s desire for us is that we expand our understanding, make the effort to love people who are not like us and to accept with grace the fact that our vision of God and God’s kingdom is limited. We need to hear about the vision of others to broaden our perspective and perhaps eve broaden their outlook on the world. We need to stop and listen to the stories of those who were hurt in times that are long past in order to help them to heal their brokenness and in their brokenness we one and all will see the Church that we are meant to be an all caring place where everyone will be valued as a son or daughter of God. The film ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ has a particularly good line spoken by one of the main characters several times during the film when things had not worked out quite as people hoped: ‘Everything will be all right in the end, so if is not all right then it is not yet the end.’ For us it is not the end for at this time we certainly are in a Mess but for us as people of faith all things will work out for the good of this we can be sure.

Being a person of faith is not easy at the present time but this is our calling as members of the Church, which is the body of Christ.  In June Ireland will host the 50th Eucharistic Congress, 80 years after the Eucharistic congress was held here in 1932.

There have been many changes in Ireland in the intervening period of the last 80 years and a great number of these changes were not for the better. The contemporary context of modern Ireland is very different in so many ways. The style, purpose and outcome of Eucharistic Congresses have also altered considerably over the years. In recent times an International Eucharistic Congress is more like a festival of faith, consisting of seminars, concerts, workshops, exhibitions and most importantly and above all else  the daily celebration of the Mass..  From the 10th to the 17th June many people will come to Dublin from all over the world in celebration of their faith that is faith in God in communion with Christ and one another. As I said at the start of this and I repeat this again In our gospel reading for this Sunday Jesus tells his disciples, this is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. This is what Eucharist is all about loving one another as Jesus loves us no one has ever sent his or her son into the world to die for all of us and yet that is exactly what our father in heaven did he sent Jesus his son into our world to give his life as a ransom for many, and though we are many we are one. We cannot forget the great sacrament of the body of Christ, Corpus Christi the sacrament Par excellence instituted on that first Holy Thursday in the upper room what love and joy there are within this great sacrament. This Sacrament of the Body of Christ truly shows the love of the Father not as some far off thing or person away out there somewhere but as a person that we can see in the eucharistic bread who has a part to play in our daily life and living.My hope is that we will listen to the voice of Jesus in the broken hearts, and in the victims of our society the people out there who are hungry or lost, lonely or frightened, helpless or sick; and then in the days, weeks months and years ahead we can truly say that we are In loving communion with Christ and one another

 

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