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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

Archive for the month “June, 2017”

12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

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This Sunday the message of the Gospel is quite simple Jesus tells us not to be afraid  He does not disguise the truth that his disciples will be confronted by those who threaten, bully and intimidate others into submissive agreement.  In the first reading Jeremiah refuses to be intimidated by terror from every side. That doesn’t mean that the terror doesn’t get to him it means that he has no intention of allowing the terror to write his script and dictate who he is. Jeremiah has been abandoned by all his friends who now try to discredit him. He is thrown into prison for his preaching, and the army council threatens him with death if he doesn’t change his tune. But Jeremiah refuses to be bullied into agreement because he believes that “the Lord is at his side, a mighty hero”. What keeps Jeremiah sane amidst all this persecution is the profound belief that God cares for him. And, less spiritually, the frank hope that God will clobber all his enemies in good time!

Not only does Jesus want his disciples to refuse to submit to the merchants of death, he tells them not to be afraid of them: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” What our Lord said to His Apostles applies to all Christians including you and me in the practice of our faith. By the very fact of living our faith day and daily openly and fully we are apostles. So today we think of all of those who have given us an example by living their lives in faith. These may be parents family members or people we have known we all have people who have shown us the way of faith. So as faith filled people Jesus teaches us that our only source of freedom and strength is the goodness of our heavenly Father a goodness that is mediated through Jesus himself as well as through good people and beautiful flowers. Furthermore, the discovery of this goodness carries with it the solemn obligation to pass on one’s blessings through concern for others.

Our world is full of hype and glitter, but the only truth that will prevail is the truth taught by Jesus. The elements of this teaching are not mysterious or obscure. First, one must be honest enough to acknowledge one’s need for help in seeking liberation and fulfilment. This same honesty will enable one to see the goodness in life, both that which is visible to everyone and that which is subtle but very real. We must look for the goodness in life and learn to count our blessings as we pass them on to other people.

CORPUS CHRISTI

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This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ also known as Corpus Christi. As we celebrate this great feast we pray in a particular way for all those effected by the fire in Grenfell tower in London that god may console them.

When we gather at the Eucharist we bring ourselves and our needs in prayer to God. We bring our prayers to God because God is with us and continues to be with us in good and bad times through the sacramental life of the Church and through the Eucharist in particular. When we see the Eucharistic Bread, we believe that it is Jesus who is there before us:  such is the faith we have in the Eucharist the bread of life.  this means that, because Christ is really, truly and substantially present in the Eucharist, we recognize that all the graces we enjoy as Catholic Christians come from this great Sacrament, and all we aspire to, the fullness of the life of God, is contained in this Sacrament.

In the Gospel for this feast John picks up the theme of the manna from heaven and contrasts the bread the Jews ate in the desert with the new bread of life given by Jesus. Now the Word of God has become flesh, and the bread of heaven is Jesus himself. To eat this bread is to have a share in the life of God himself. In celebrating the Eucharist we celebrate the memory of Jesus passion, death and resurrection. We recall the radical values that put Jesus’ in opposition to so many of his own people: his talk about God and the kingdom; his insistence on forgiveness; his opposition to religious sham; his commitment to peace; his willingness to die in order to overcome sin these values should be our own values as well. In receiving the body and blood of Christ we become his body living in the world. Called to bring the values of Jesus into the world where we are.

The celebration of Corpus Christi is there to remind us that the great gift of the Eucharist is a both a gift and a mystery. Jesus is present with us in a way that is really beyond our understanding. We take Him into ourselves when we receive communion. We are united to his sacrifice on the Cross for all of us when we pray the Mass in its fullness and eat the Sacred Meal. We come before His Presence whenever we are in Church where the Eucharist is reposed in a tabernacle or exposed on the Altar. Jesus was present with the Father and the Spirit at the creation of the universe. He is present with the angels and saints in heaven now. He is present in the Blessed Sacrament and he is with us in all of the ups and downs that are part of our daily lives. So in the words of  a great eucharistic hymn “Come let us adore this wondrous presence”.

Trinity Sunday

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This Sunday we celebrate Trinity Sunday which is a celebration in honour of  the Father Son and Holy Spirit.  The three persons in the trinity reveal the fullness of the unity of God’s love. How do we understand the Trinity? We don’t! God, by definition, is beyond imagination, beyond language. The Christian belief that God is a trinity helps underscore how rich the mystery of God is and how our experience of God is always richer than our thoughts  and language about God. The feast of the Trinity goes back to 12th century England and St Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Historians say the great Thomas celebrated a Liturgy in honor of the Trinity in his cathedral. So was born the observance. In the 14th century, the feast came to be observed by the universal Church.   

The belief in the Trinity goes back to the New Testament. There it is mentioned about forty times. We open each Liturgy especially the Mass invoking the Trinity . We also close Mass and so many other liturgies by calling upon those same 3 Persons (Father Son and Spirit)  in blessing us as we go out into the world. Trinity Sunday is the day when we stand back from the extraordinary sequence of events that we’ve been celebrating for the previous five months—Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension and  Pentecost  it is the day when we  are asked to rub the sleep from our eyes and discover what the word ‘god’ that is Father Son and Spirit might actually mean for us. This is a feast which should speak to us of this simple fact of faith: the Father loves us, has revealed that love in his Son, and has called into a relationship sustained by the Spirit. It is our joy that, as baptized members of the Church, we can somehow share in that divine life and love which is the Trinity becoming children of God.

God has chosen us, and we are his own people, just as he chose the people of Israel long ago. Each Trinity Sunday, we only scratch the surface of this great mystery of our faith. In gratitude let us begin and end every prayer with greater reverence when we say “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Pentecost Sunday

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This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the day when we celebrate the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the beginning of the apostolic mission to bring the Church to the world. It is the birthday of the church so maybe we should sing happy birthday as well as Veni Creator Spiritus and blow out the candles on the birthday cake instead of blowing out the paschal candle because it’s the end of Easter!! With the feast of Pentecost the seven weeks of Easter have come to an end, Christ’s Passover is fulfilled with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. (Cf. Acts 2:33-36) (CCC 731)In the Gospel reading, Jesus, gives the apostles the power to forgive and reconcile those who sin. This is God’s mercy in action working through the Apostles and the priests down through the ages to ourselves in our time and place!

By the time John wrote his gospel, Jewish Christians had been excommunicated for their belief in Jesus. Ostracized and socially persecuted, some Christians reacted in fear, while others boldly proclaimed the gospel. The First Christians needed a sense of stability, a sense of serenity and peace. Through the words of Jesus, “Peace” was John’s prayer for his readers as it is for us as we listen to this gospel reading. With the sight of Jesus, fear turned into great joy. Anxiety turned into relief. Desperation turned into vindication. Most important, a lack of spiritual direction turned into a sense of deep spiritual grounding. The divine presence stood close to them and with the divine presence came peace. We too have the divine presence in the Blessed Sacrament and it brings Joy and spiritual grounding to all those who come and Jesus says to each and every one you are welcome. We can’t ignore the problems that are there for ourselves and those around us.

Most of the time, the problems just don’t go away by themselves very often we need to stop and pray through the problems as well as thinking them through.  Simply put Prayer Moves Mountains but we shouldn’t stop climbing. Gathered at the Eucharist week in week out we bring our prayers to God. We each have our own needs. Family and friends may be sick.  Kids need work. The person who has been in our lives for so long has died.  We bring these and all our concerns in prayer to church because they remind us of our need and they raise our hopes in the power of God made real to every generation through the Holy Spirit.  Through the Holy Spirit our relationship with God produces fruitfulness, satisfies our longings, and brings us serenity and peace. Because of God’s faithfulness, we give thanks, offer sacrifice, and once again present our needs this Pentecost Sunday as we remember the presence of God with us in all our lives.

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