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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

3RD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

 

ANS ALL EYES WERE ON HIM AS HE BEGAN TO SPEAK

AND ALL EYES WERE ON HIM AS HE BEGAN TO SPEAK

Luke tells us that Jesus began his public ministry in his own land of Galilee where he was raised as a child. Just think about it for a moment Jesus’ first public words in his hometown synagogue amazed both his family and townspeople. I wonder do these same words amaze us in the here and now of today because more often than not they are  an accurate description of what we are and what we are not in our modern world.  In the time of Jesus It was customary for the president of the synagogue to call on different people each week to read from the Hebrew bible and say a few words. Jesus read the text from the prophet Isaiah that explained how the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and evil (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus told his audience that he himself had been anointed to fulfil this prophecy.

Now the way Jesus works today in 2013 is through his mystical body, the church that is through you and me in our own time and place. Through each of us and all who are baptized into his body, Jesus strives still to live out his mission, bringing good news to those who don’t have any, setting free those chained in captivity, opening the eyes of the blind, helping the oppressed and exploited find their life, and unrolling the floor plan that sets out God’s reign where justice and peace prevail.

Jesus did these things while he walked upon the earth and still does these things, because we his church do them. The poor gain hope, whether it’s their souls or their bodies that are starved. The captives experience freedom, whether they are prisoners in a jail or prisoners in a mansion and there are many more types of prisoners than these. The blind receive sight, whether it’s cataract surgery at the local   hospital or the scales of prejudice falling off the eyes of a bigot. The oppressed are set free, whether oppression is a political regime or a chemical dependence of any sort. When Jesus read  that passage in the Nazareth synagogue, he announced a mission statement for himself and for us members of the church.

As we strive to keep faithful to those words Jesus read aloud in the synagogue and lived out in his life, let us remember the words he said relating them to ourselves and our lives.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us.

The Spirit of the Lord has anointed us to bring and be good news to the poor.

The Spirit of the Lord has sent us to proclaim release to the captives and there are many more captives in our world of today

The Spirit of the Lord has sent us to help the blind recover their sight and that may be physical or maybe even spiritual.

The Spirit of the Lord has sent us to free the oppressed.

The Spirit of the Lord has sent us to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and for those of us who are Catholic we have our year of faith. But the year of the Lord’s favour is open to all who will accept it.

Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in our hearing and seeing through Christ the Lord. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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The Baptism Of The Lord

BAPTISM

This Sunday we celebrate the baptism of the Lord, when Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan by John. None of us remember when we were baptised when we were infants having said that I have had the privilege of knowing two adults who were baptised in our parish in the last year and I wish them well for their future faith journeys.

 It may seem strange, but this is a Christmas Feast. Not if we think of Christmas only in terms of the Baby in Bethlehem, but if we have followed the ideas of the Feasts of Holy Family and especially Epiphany, and have seen the Season in terms of the growing manifestation or appearing of the Son of God: first to the shepherds and then to the wise men from the East. Now in the River Jordan, Jesus, Son of Mary, is revealed to all and everyone as the fullness of all God’s promises: “This is my Son, the Beloved“. On this day we stand before the revelation of God’s love for us, such that he would send his only Son into the world. Christmas without the Baptism of the Lord, and the words that are spoken from heaven, would be incomplete, since it is only in them that we fully see the wonder of what happened in Bethlehem, that we fully understand the reason for the joy with which we celebrated Christmas Day.

As we come to the end of Christmas time we do so having been shown who it is we listen to: the only Son of God, the Beloved in who the father is well pleased. As 2013 unfolds, will it be truly a Year of Faith for us and a new opportunity for truth and love to overcome the evil that surrounds us? Light always has power over darkness, especially when it comes through Jesus Christ  who is the way the truth and the life and His followers that means you and me. let us not be afraid to show the light of Christ to others in the months ahead.

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

 

 

 

THE THREE WISE MENJOURNEYING TO JERUSALEM

THE THREE WISE MEN
JOURNEYING TO JERUSALEM

 

By long standing sacred tradition Christians celebrate Christmas as a season, with the twelve days between Christmas and the Epiphany as one long “Christmas day.” The season ends with the Baptism of the Lord which is also the first Sunday of ordinary time and that takes place next Sunday. Christmas celebrations with friends and family, decorations, and all of the other means of rejoicing, should continue throughout the season. We can never rejoice in the Lord’s birth too much. As Christians, we will very often find ourselves living in contradiction to the styles and preferences of the present age. We should get very much used to the fact that we will face conflict among friends, and even at times within families, as we seek, more generously and more regularly, to live out and celebrate the mysteries of our redemption in Christ Jesus.

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”(Is 60:1) Isaiah the prophet describes the glory of Jesus Christ, who is “full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father”(Jn 1:14), our Messiah. The prophet also foretells the reality of those first three wise men, who represent the kings and the peoples of the whole earth, all of whom are called to realize their full dignity as sons and daughters of God in worship and praise of him for his glory and goodness. “Above you (US) the Lord now rises and above you his glory appears. The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness.” (Is 60:2-3)

The story of the magi  or the three wise men carries with it an extraordinary richness. In it the evangelist teaches us about the mission of the Son of God. Jesus is ‘made manifest’ (epiphany = manifestation) as Messiah not only for his own people, but for those who come ‘from the east’, for all the peoples of the earth. At the same time this is the Messiah heralded by the prophets. The Scriptures are fulfilled.

This Messiah is born into danger, as the cruel tyrant, known to history as ‘Herod the Great’, is the first to threaten his life. The gift of myrrh alludes to the death he is to suffer. The presentation of gifts from the peoples of the world completes the Christmas scene. The magi represent the nations, but also the age-old quest among the peoples of the earth for true wisdom. This wisdom is found in Christ. May we not be afraid in the year that has just begun to seek the wisdom that God wants for us, that is the wisdom and the light of faith

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