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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

14th Sunday of Ordinary time

 

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THE LIGHT OF CHRIST

Well here we are at the end of another week at the beginning of July with all the local schools closed for the summer vacation with all the opportunities that this provides to get away from the hum drum coming and goings of daily life.  We also celebrate the 14th Sunday of the year on Sunday 6th July back to the hum drum of ordinary time after the various feasts that have taken place over the last few weeks since Easter including the feast of Saints Peter and Paul last weekend.

One of the most wonderful things about the person of Jesus has been and continues to be, his special love for ordinary people ­ for people like us with all our faults and failings. It comes out in a particular way within the two statements that he makes in this Sundays Gospel reading. The first is in his prayer to God: ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.’ The second is in his Invitation to all of us: ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.’

Why did he say this? The answer comes across very clearly so many times in the gospels, and may be summed up in just one word – COMPASSION. For example: – The plight and tears of the widow of Nain touches his heart to the core: ‘Don’t cry,’ he says to her, before bringing her son back to life. He is moved with compassion at the plight of a leper begging for help (Mk 4:41), for two blind men sitting at the side of a road and pleading for mercy (Mt 20:29-34), and for a crowd of people with nothing to eat (Mk 8:2). In each case he responds to their sufferings with the power, love, compassion and care of God. All through the gospels, even when the word is not used, we sense the surge of compassion rising within his heart. ‘Don’t cry,’ he says, ‘Don’t worry’, ‘Don’t be afraid’ (e.g. Mk5:36; 6:50; Mt 6:25-34). He is not moved by the grandeur and beauty of the great Temple buildings (Mk 13:1-2), but by the generosity of a poor widow who puts her last coin  into the Temple treasury to assist others (Mk 12:41-44). When everyone else around him is jumping for joy about Jairus’ daughter come back to life, Jesus is concerned that she be given something to eat (Mk 5:42-43). Also in the second reading we are called to lead spiritual lives that is lives enlivened by our faith in God and what is taught by the Church inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Today in our world we see so many people constantly searching for new idols and these  idols are so easy to find, It is a world which has left the path marked out by God it is a world where so many have little or nothing and the few have so much. To be a Christian and to have the light of faith to guide our steps in the neo-pagan darkness of today’s world, is a gift, and a blessing from God, for which we can never thank Him enough.

So, in the here And now of our daily lives  the big question for each and everyone of us has to be whose side are we on? Are we  on the side of Jesus, that is the side of compassion, kindness, help, healing, and mercy? Or on the side of the scribes and Pharisees who are  amongst us even today  and they are – fierce, fault-finding, heartless, critical, and merciless people without much compassion. Will we take our cue from their cruel, harsh, and insensitive judgments and actions? Or will we take our inspiration from what we see in Jesus, and from his touching  compassionate outreach to the poor and the broken:  ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest’?

 

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