fullertont

RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

Archive for the category “RELIGION”

15TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

img_mouseover3

 

In our Gospel reading for this Sunday Jesus is asked the question ‘who is my neighbor?”  Given the migrant crisis in Europe along with Brexit this is a very timely question for us to ask ourselves, who do we say our neighbours are. When I was a youngster your neighbours were the people that lived next door to you or those who lived in your street or road they were the families you would go to when you ran out of milk or sugar to borrow some or to share the news about the people and happenings in the area.  The Gospel story tells us about the Good Samaritan it is a story that all of us are familiar with. It was the Samaritan who stopped with the man who was lying on the side of the road it was the Samaritan who was moved with compassion to help him. The Priest and the Levite walked on and passed by on the other side of the road because they felt that it was beneath their dignity to help the man. What does our Gospel story tell us about love for one’s neighbor today?

First, it tells us that we must be willing to help even if others brought trouble on themselves for whatever reason. Second, our concern to help others must be practical. And lastly, our love for others must be as wide and as inclusive as God’s love for us.  We remember that God excludes no one from his care. So we must be ready to do good to others just as God is good to us. Jesus not only taught God’s way of love, he also showed how far God was willing to go to share in our suffering and to restore our wholeness in life and happiness. Jesus overcame sin, suffering, and death through his victory on the cross on Good Friday. True compassion not only identifies and empathizes with the one who is in pain, it also takes that pain on in order to bring freedom and restoration.  Our world is moving towards ways of doing things that hurt more people time after time. We are members of this world so we cannot pretend that it’s got nothing to do with us for it has everything to do with us as Christians.

In these days with a lot of turmoil and confusion around the words of the first reading ring in our ears obey the voice of the Lord and what is the Lord asking us to do ? we are being asked  to reach out in order to show friendship to our neighbours and those who have come to be our neighbours from other places. At the end of the Gospel Jesus askes the Lawyer Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbor to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ the lawyer replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’ There it is in the readings we are asked to go obey the words of Jesus then he asks us in the Gospel to go and  do the same as the good Samaritan to show compassion and not to walk on by like the Levite and the priest.

Advertisements

14TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

 

2019_07_07_gosp_eng.jpg

This Sunday’s Gospel tells us about Jesus appointing the 72 others and then sending them out in pairs to the towns he was going to visit. As he gives his missionary instruction Jesus seems under no illusion about the territory compared to the wolves roaming around, his own crowds are like lambs. He tells the 72 to lead the radical lifestyle of the wandering preacher who must face homelessness and renunciation of family and property. When they enter a house they should bless it with peace. The Gospel also tells us about the practical things to direct the seventy-two as they proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom and in rebuilding community life. Jesus told them to carry no purse, no haversack, and no sandals. Proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom and rebuilding community life are two sides of the same coin. One does not exist and cannot make sense without the other There is a clear urgency about the task in hand Jesus says, “Start off now” with urgency in his voice. On their return the disciples were delighted that their mission has actually worked! Their joy demonstrates that people do welcome the word of God and that the word of God is their real resource for mission.

Jesus counsels them to rejoice not because their mission has worked but because their names are written in heaven. There is a line in this gospel reading that struck me when  Jesus tells us that the Harvest is rich and the labourers are few. This is so very true today when we have a shortage of men  coming forward to enter the vocation of service that is the priesthood but here in our parish we have always been a parish of vocations to the priesthood diaconate and religious life. But that said we need to keep on Praying for vocations and encouraging people young and not so young to become priests and religious.  There will be a time of crisis and for some we are living in a time of crisis with so many things that are wrong in our world in terms of faith and so many other things. There will be times, as we know, when the scorpions will bite us, and when the wolves will have their day. Jesus speaks to us to reassure us and tells us to hold on to all that is good. May our hearts our minds be open to his words! May our hearts direct our minds! And may our minds direct our hands in the work of the Lord.  It is our responsibility as people of faith to exercise our mission as the people of God the Body of Christ. The fullness of life is the message and the mission of Jesus  who empowers us in our time and place  to do his work, and to work in his name.

Jesus assures us that we have a passport, visa, and “green card” for heaven. Our names are already registered there and our mission is to proclaim the good news of salvation to others by our words and our deeds so that the world will believe.

13TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

 

jesus.jpg

 

In our Gospel reading for this Sunday we see Jesus taking the road to Jerusalem. The story tells us that some people said that they would follow Jesus, these people really meant what they said until positive action is required. Then commitments and questions arise one man wanted to bury his father another wanted to say goodbye to the folks at home. Jesus reply to the first man was’ Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.’ Then Jesus tells the second man’ Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’   Jesus Christ sets us free. We need to treasure this freedom. We need to treasure our lives in Him. But this takes courage. This takes determination. We cannot just say we are Christian. We have to be determined to live the Christian life. We are followers of Jesus who want to live our lives according to his teaching. We are committed, inspired and determined but we all seem to have so called ‘special circumstances’ where being a Christian doesn’t apply!!  perhaps we have special reasons for not praying or going to Sunday Mass, we just have to do something else first. – perhaps we have special reasons for ignoring the call to justice, mercy and compassion for the vulnerable  we just have to secure our own place in the world first perhaps we have special reasons for disrespecting our neighbour, or family or friends .The truth is that there are no special reasons to put off being a follower of Jesus: we either are or we are not. The wonderful thing is that we are not trapped by the past  at every moment we can choose again to return to  follow Jesus. In this time, in these circumstances when our faith is getting a battering in so many ways we can ask for the grace to take one step on the road to Jerusalem, and another and we will get there in the end but we have to keep on going.

SAINT JOHNS FEAST DAY REFLECTION

MALTA CROSS

 

On Monday 24th June we celebrate the feast day of Saint John the Baptist and it is a good opportunity to stop for a moment or two and reflect on our Order and what we do within it.

John the Baptist is of special importance for followers of Christ. He was chosen before birth to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming. A desert prophet, he was outstanding for vigour, discipline and humility. In the Gospels the Baptist plays a unique roll He is the first witness who leads other people to Jesus. The same Jesus who he identifies as the messiah, the Son of God.   The readings of this feast alert us to the wonder of humanity as God’s created work. The selection from Isaiah captures two unique aspects of John’s birth: from my mother’s womb he gave me my name” and “formed me as his servant.” At a most unexpected time and in a most unexpected way God brought mercy to Elizabeth and Zechariah.  Although these two cooperated with God’s plan of salvation and gave John the name they were asked to by the angel, little could they have known that his destiny was so much more than bringing vindication to an elderly couple who were childless.

 John’s destiny was to herald the Messiah of Israel who would bring salvation. It is impossible to speak of John’s birth without noting his fidelity to his mission and his relationship to the Messiah. John the Baptist’s birth and mission remind us that God is always there amongst us especially in the poor and the sick.  Being a caring and sharing individual within society means that we should give ourselves selflessly without hesitation to people who need us without counting the cost this is what true service means. Service of others should be taken as a privilege compassion and gentleness are valuable strengths which should be willingly and freely given to others and that is exactly what our service as members of the Order of Malta should be. Being a member of the Order of Malta is so much more than wearing the Church robes or the uniform put simply it is a way of life that is rooted in the faith that we profess as Catholics.  Our vocation then, is to challenge the injustice of our times in our service to the Poor and the sick, to embrace the Catholic faith to which we are called and defend it when necessary and point people towards Jesus Christ  the only source of true life who will be with us to guide us along the road that leads to salvation.

TRINITY SUNDAY

download (7)

 

This Sunday we celebrate Trinity Sunday, which is the celebration of the Father, Son and Holy spirit the three equal persons that make up the Holy Trinity. When we make the sign of the cross we say In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit which is the invocation of the Holy Trinity. The feast of Holy 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. In the 14th century, the feast came to be observed by the universal Church. One week after the end of the Easter season, in which we gave thanks for the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday.

The feast of the Holy Trinity invites us to contemplate the mystery of God Father Son and Holy Spirit.  Paul in the Letter to the Romans reminds us that the Spirit of God makes us God’s children, destined to share in the life of God, as Christ does. The gospel reading speaks of the power of presence and the power of the name. Ancient people placed great weight in presence; the way someone dressed and acted spoke of social power. Ancient people also chose names carefully; they believed a person’s name defined their strength of character.

Both outward presence and inward character are part of the disciples’ experience. When the followers of Jesus  saw the resurrected Lord and heard his command to evangelize the entire world, they saw for themselves the Trinity in action. When we live as followers of Christ, we invite others to join us not because they see nice people living good lives. No, they, too, see the Trinity in action as God works through us. Each Trinity Sunday, we only scratch the surface of this great mystery of our faith. In gratitude and faith, let us begin and end every prayer with greater faith and reverence “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

PENTECOST SUNDAY

 

32782228_247674259331074_8591301684385284096_n

 

 

This Sunday we celebrate the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles at Pentecost which heralded the beginning of the apostolic mission to bring the Christian faith  to the world. It is the birthday of the church so maybe we should sing happy birthday instead of Veni Creator Spiritus and blow out the candles on a birthday cake instead of blowing out the paschal candle because it’s the end of the Easter season!! With the feast of Pentecost the seven weeks that is the Easter season have come to an end with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person. “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 their fear turned into great joy, and their Anxiety turned into relief. The 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 a great sense of peace of spirit mind and soul. We too have the divine presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and it brings Joy and spiritual grounding to all those who come to meet him in the Eucharist. We can’t ignore our own or the problems  other people have. Most of the time the problems in our lives just don’t go away by themselves very often we need to stop and think and pray things through.  If we pray through the problems as well as thinking them through we will find that they are much easier to get through.  Simply put Prayer Moves Mountains. Gathered at Mass we bring our prayers of intercession to God all of us have our own needs, Family and friends, someone we know may be sick, people need work. Perhaps 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 hope in the power of God made real to every generation through the Holy Spirit.  Through the Holy Spirit our relationship with God has satisfied our longings, and brings us the peace of God which is beyond all understanding. 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 through the good bad happy and sad times and we thank God for his enduring presence among us.

Come, Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.

FEAST OF THE ASCENSION

ASC 1

 

Over our lives we have seen or we will see the departure of so many people, Perhaps it is a son or daughter leaving for university or maybe it was someone leaving to go to another country on the other side of the world or the hardest departure of all someone close to us dying. Our lives are made up of so many different times and places of leave-taking and that is what Ascension is really about Jesus leaving the Apostles to return to the Father. The Apostles must have felt awful as  Jesus  told them and us go therefore make disciples of all the nations and know that I am with you yes to the end of time. This Gospel reading is all about the past the present and the future. It is about ourselves in the here and now of today, and what we are doing to make disciples of all the nations in 2019 or at least making disciples of those around us perhaps our families and friends.

In this gospel reading Jesus has little to say, but he is definite about what he has to say when he speaks. This is in sharp contrast to the fact that, even at this last minute, some of his disciples still doubted. The disciples did what he told them to do. He asked them to meet him on the mountain, and they did that. Like any gathering of people, their feelings were varied. Some of them worshipped him, while some of them still doubted. Jesus didn’t seem to have any great problem with that, because he knew that, when the Spirit came, all of those doubts would be ended. It would seem, indeed, that he was in a hurry to take his leave of them, so that the second part of his plan of salvation could get underway. The mission of the apostles was simple to understand; difficult to carry out. It was to teach others all that Jesus had taught them. Just as he asked his disciples to follow him, they were to ask that others should follow him which was so hard then and especially hard in the world of today.The programme of redemption and salvation was to begin at Pentecost and continue from generation to generation, until the end of time.

So many things have changed in the Church and society       over the years especially in more recent times. However two things that have not changed are Jesus himself and every word of his message as they are ever old and always new in each generation. The message of Jesus is ignored by many people inside and outside the Church for their own reasons. The essential message of God and Jesus his Son have never changed up to now and I don’t think that the message  will ever change. Again and again we need to ask ourselves what we are doing to make disciples of all the nations realizing that Jesus and his message are always new for each generation. May we be heralds of the message of Jesus this Ascension as we go forward with faith.

6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER

images (9)

 

This weekend we celebrate the 6th Sunday and soon we will be at Ascension and then Pentecost Sunday which is often called the birthday of the Church. In this Sunday Gospel Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to the apostles as the advocate. Although Jesus had spoken to the Apostles and told them many different things, he knew them well and realized that they wouldn’t remember everything he said Jesus also knew that they would have to endure many struggles, that they would have to face ambiguity and confusion, difference and disagreement. We see all of this in the Church today with many people agreeing with Pope Francis and many others disagreeing with him on issues of faith. The Apostles would not see eye to eye on everything; they would have different memories of Jesus; they would emphasise different things. In the conflicts that would arise they would have to put their faith to work. That is why he told them and he tells us that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in his name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.

These words are a direct pointer towards Pentecost and the gifts that the Holy Spirit would bring to them as well as us.  We don’t have the physical presence of Jesus with us the way his first disciples did when he talked with them around the table at the Last Supper, washed their feet, and gave them his reassuring promises. His farewell to them was a real farewell he was going, he would no longer be with them as he had been. But he assured them and us that he is present in a different way, in his gift of the Holy Spirit. In the Gospel Reading Jesus also promised the Apostles Peace  ‘A peace that the world cannot give.’ Sometimes we mistake this peace for our idea of quietness or tranquility, but the peace the Jesus gives is a peace that can be found even in the midst of turmoil. This peace is not something we can manufacture ourselves by our own power. It’s a gift that comes from Jesus, who doesn’t want to lose touch with us. Jesus chose his followers to carry out God’s plan of salvation. He chooses us today to do the same. By allowing us to participate in his work of redemption, he gives us a personal stake in the Kingdom of God.

With all the confusion ambiguity and disagreement that we see as people of faith we remember the great gift that is the Holy spirit is something that unites us. If we keep on trusting in the presence of the Spirit of God we will have peace in the midst of any personal, family, or community turmoil that comes our way as well as someone who will keep us going along the right Road!

5th Sunday of Easter

download (1)

This weekend we stop and say a prayer for all those who are doing exams at the moment A levels GCSE’S or University exams, Our world puts great store on education and sometimes it forgets the pressure that this puts on our young people especially at exam time and not all of them are able to deal with that pressure. During this exam season we remember all those who are finding the exams hard to get through and we pray for all those who are doing exams in the days ahead that they may be inspired to do their best and know that there are people out there family, friends teachers and lecturers who value them no matter about the exam results.

In this Sundays Gospel Jesus calls us to a new way of living when he tells us to love one another as I have loved you.  At one level this is a simple call to love, at another it is a big challenge for us to be Christ like  to others in this sometimes horrible world. This means that we should love as Jesus loves, in order to be the face and heart of Christ to a wounded and hurting world.

It seems to me that our faith should constantly challenge us to live lives of love, love of God and love of one another and this ideal is so very hard to achieve. The love Jesus speaks of seems to be narrow and restrictive. He is addressing his disciples when he says, “love one another.”  This love may seem insular and applicable just to an inner circle of his followers. Is he telling us that the sacrificial love he calls us to applies only to those around us in the Church? No, of course he is not saying that because we know from other parts of John’s gospel that Jesus’ mission of love includes an outreach to the world That outreach in our modern times must include all those who have left the Church for many reasons we should not leave them behind as many people might want to do. Jesus wants us to be united with him and one another in A loving and caring community. A loving and caring community that has a great effect on others bringing those who might be doubtful with it. What more articulate proclamation of the gospel can there be than a group of diverse people drawn together, not by similarities in education, economic status, neighborhood, citizenship, race, etc., but by the love that God has for them and their bringing that love for one another to other people? A community such as this couldn’t help but draw others into it and to one who is the source of their universal love. We are called to be that community showing the love of God to those around us and this is not easy to do but we should try and not be afraid to do that as we go forward.

5th Sunday of Easter

download (1)

 

This weekend we stop and say a prayer for all those who are doing exams at the moment A levels GCSE’S or University exams, Our world puts great store on education and sometimes it forgets the pressure that this puts on our young people especially at exam time and not all of them are able to deal with that pressure. During this exam season we remember all those who are finding the exams hard to get through and we pray for all those who are doing exams in the days ahead that they may be inspired to do their best and know that there are people out there family, friends teachers and lecturers who value them no matter about the exam results.

In this Sundays Gospel Jesus calls us to a new way of living when he tells us to love one another as I have loved you.  At one level this is a simple call to love, at another it is a big challenge for us to be Christ like  to others in this sometimes horrible world. This means that we should love as Jesus loves, in order to be the face and heart of Christ to a wounded and hurting world.

It seems to me that our faith should constantly challenge us to live lives of love, love of God and love of one another and this ideal is so very hard to achieve. The love Jesus speaks of seems to be narrow and restrictive. He is addressing his disciples when he says, “love one another.”  This love may seem insular and applicable just to an inner circle of his followers. Is he telling us that the sacrificial love he calls us to applies only to those around us in the Church? No, of course he is not saying that because we know from other parts of John’s gospel that Jesus’ mission of love includes an outreach to the world That outreach in our modern times must include all those who have left the Church for many reasons we should not leave them behind as many people might want to do. Jesus wants us to be united with him and one another in A loving and caring community. A loving and caring community that has a great effect on others bringing those who might be doubtful with it. What more articulate proclamation of the gospel can there be than a group of diverse people drawn together, not by similarities in education, economic status, neighborhood, citizenship, race, etc., but by the love that God has for them and their bringing that love for one another to other people? A community such as this couldn’t help but draw others into it and to one who is the source of their universal love. We are called to be that community showing the love of God to those around us and this is not easy to do but we should try and not be afraid to do that as we go forward.

Post Navigation