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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

Archive for the month “February, 2016”

SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT

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This weekend we continue our Lenten journey of mercy as we hear the gospel story of the Apostles going up the mountain were the voice of God reveals Jesus’ true identity: «This is my Son, the Chosen One Listen to him». For many, mountains are a place of encounter with God with Moses encountering God on a mountaintop, so did Elijah, and it was a favorite place of prayer for Jesus too. This particular gospel scene is traditionally considered as Jesus’ transfiguration and is reported in the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It’s not possible to reconstruct with certainty the experience that led to this surprising story: we only know that the Gospel writers give it great importance, since it is told as an experience that gives a glimpse of Jesus’ true identity as the Son of God. The splendid vision in our Gospel for this Sunday comes after Jesus had said that “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Lk 9:22).

This was not the good news that the disciples wanted to hear as they expected Jesus, as the Messiah, to drive out the Roman army of occupation and restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). Many of them would have begun to have second thoughts: Is Jesus really the expected Messiah? The transformation or transfiguration of Jesus that the disciples experienced was not simply something they were to see and experience as happening to him alone. It was also an invitation for them to undergo a transformation and transfiguration of their own. How is that transformation or transfiguration to take place in each of our own lives? We will be transfigured by listening to Jesus, listening to all that he invites us to be and do, however much it may seem to go against the conventions that we were brought up on and the conventions of today. It means especially listening to those words which caused such difficulty for Peter and his companions and integrating them into our own vision of life. In short It means having a total trust in walking his Way, a total trust that only his Way brings us  into full union with God, the source of all truth, love, happiness and peace.

We know that Christ “had to suffer and thus enter into his glory.” We also understand the purpose of Christ’s passion was that we, in spite of our own mortality and weakness, might enter into eternal glory through his suffering. So the question for all of us this Sunday is are we prepared to be transfigured this Lent from what we are into Gods new creation remembering that Jesus underwent his Passion so that we might have life and have it to the full.

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT

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Well here we are at the First Sunday of Lent having placed the ashes on our heads on Ash Wednesday we have embarked on our annual time of renewal. In every area of our lives there is an ongoing need for mending, renewing and refocusing. Lent is our annual spring clean of our spiritual lives renewing our faith as a preparation for celebrating the events of Holy Week.

In the Gospel reading for this Sunday we hear the reading from Luke that details the temptation of Jesus in the dessert. Before Jesus set out to do his Fathers work he went out into the dessert for forty days of fasting and prayer and during this time he was tempted by the devil. The devil tempted him to use his power  to take care of himself, prove his identity by performing astounding signs and make alliances with political and military powers to get himself and his message across. It is immediately after His time in the desert that Christ began His work, of proclaiming the kingdom of God.”

In proclaiming the message of the Kingdom Jesus gives us all  the good news of truth, hope, peace, and salvation and this enables us to live life to the full and conquer sin.  As well as this there is great encouragement for all of us to know that Jesus not only shared our human nature but, like us, he was subject to temptation. In the course of our daily lives we too face temptations to put comfort and material possessions over the sacrifices involved in being a disciple. We often get sidetracked and lose sight of what and who are important in our daily lives. This Gospel highlights that we are dependent upon God for all that we have and all that we are. God’s desire for us on this first Sunday of Lent in the Year of Mercy is that we Come back to him with all our heart. God does not want empty words but full hearts.  Hearts full of remorse when appropriate; hearts full of trust as we face the realities about ourselves; hearts full of love as we realize how much we are loved; hearts full of joy as we journey towards Easter, the moment when life, and everything else changed forever when Christ died and rose again for us in all our ways good and not so good.

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