Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, Year B, 25th November 2018

‘Mine is not a kingdom of this world’

The last Sunday of the Church’s year is celebrated as the Feast of Jesus Christ, the Universal King.  We celebrate the resurrection victory of Jesus over suffering and death, a moment in historical time that has everlasting meaning, and look forward to the end of time when we will know fully the glory, holiness and peace of God’s kingdom.

The readings all bear witness to the glory of Christ Jesus.  The First Reading is a prophecy from Daniel that can be seen to foretell the coming of Jesus, when people of all nations and languages will become his faithful servants.

The Second Reading describes the love of Jesus for each one of us; a love that makes us not simply servants, but fills us with his glory even as we mourn his death.

We can trust all that Jesus has done and said; his majesty, power and holiness are unchanged to the end of time (Psalm).

The Gospel recounts the dialogue between Pilate and Jesus in the hours before the crucifixion. Jesus tells us that his kingdom has values that are not of this world.  If we seek the truth, we will listen carefully to his voice and live by his words.

This week, we pray that we may learn to know him more fully in our prayer and follow him more faithfully in our lives.

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Birth of St John the Baptist, Year B, 24th June 2018

Testify to the light

John the Baptist is the only saint whose birthday is observed by the Church.  Today, in the Gospel, we celebrate that birth and the joy it brought. We also remember John’s identity and mission as he is named – just as God calls each one of us by name even before we are born, and invites us to respond to his call.

As a forerunner of the Lord, John was not given his father’s name, but that given by the angel – even before his birth he was chosen to be a bearer of light to the nations (First Reading).

The Psalm affirms that I, too, am chosen to go out testifying to the light.  I am moulded and fashioned for this purpose.

I can trust the Lord.  It is his promise and his work in me (Second Reading).  God will choose people after his own heart to bring the message of salvation to the ends of the earth.

Let us pray this coming week that we, too, might live according to the gift of salvation, asking the Lord for strength to be faithful to the name by which he has called us, as we try to spread light to others.

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Easter Sunday, Year B, 1st April 2018

ST BEUNO’S OUTREACH WISHES YOU A VERY HAPPY EASTER!

Rejoice!

I have journeyed with Jesus through Holy Week, in whatever way was possible for me. Now I come to share in the joy of my Risen Lord on this Easter Day.

The Gospel tells the story of Mary of Magdala, who goes to the tomb but finds it empty; she runs to the disciples to report her loss. Peter and John come to see for themselves. Finally they understand the meaning of Jesus’s words about ‘rising from the dead’.

Peter offers his personal witness: he has seen the life and death of Jesus, and eaten with him after his Resurrection. He now proclaims that Jesus is Saviour and Lord. (First Reading)

In the Second Reading, Paul stresses that this faith in the Risen Lord means we too have died and been brought back to true life in Christ. Our life is now ‘hidden with Christ in God’.

The Psalm is a song of triumph, proclaiming the glory of God. ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the corner stone; this is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes’.

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The Baptism of Our Lord, Year B, 7th January 2018

‘Come, all you who are thirsty!’

The readings for this coming Sunday invite us to freedom: to open wide our minds and hearts to receive the God who chooses to reveal God’s own self to us; and who may surprise us in doing so!

God invites me to fulfil my thirst for all that is good.  I am called to receive the gift of life itself, freely given in Baptism, and asked to assume an attitude of trust and ‘not knowing’ before the God who says ‘my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways’ (First Reading).

The result is joy and gladness, as I begin to realise just how deeply I can trust the God who is ‘my strength, my song’, who ‘became my saviour’ (Psalm); the ‘God who is rich in forgiving’ (First Reading).

Having received the gift of being loved as a child of God, I am asked to love God and all God’s children in return.  I know that, through faith in Jesus Christ, I will be given the Holy Spirit’s help to overcome whatever difficulties I may experience (Second Reading).

John the Baptist speaks of Jesus with great reverence as ‘one who is more powerful than I am’, who will ‘baptise you with the Holy Spirit’.  Jesus receives John’s baptism, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit unite to reveal the truth of God made man for us (Gospel).

I pray that I may grow ever more deeply in trust and love of our God, who says to me too, ‘You are my Beloved’.

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Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Year A, 26th November 2017

‘But Lord, when did we see you in need?’

This Sunday brings the Church’s liturgical year to a wonderful conclusion. Christ Jesus, King of the Universe, has conquered death and reigns in eternal glory as our Judge. Those now called to share in his Kingdom are the ones who have tried to reach out in love and care to others – for whatever we do for any one in need, we do as for Christ himself.

In the First Reading, the people of Israel have been failed by their own self-serving leaders. But the Lord himself now promises to come as the Shepherd-leader who truly cares for his flock, seeking out the lost, the injured and the weak. He will also sit in judgement when needed.

The familiar Psalm is full of strength and consolation. Our Shepherd-Lord walks with us continually, supporting us no matter where life takes us.

The Second Reading tells us that the resurrection of Christ is the starting point for all to share in eternal life. At the end of time, all things will be subjected to Christ, and he will surrender the kingdom to the Father. This power of the risen Christ is the power to give life to every one of us.

At the Last Judgement, Christ the King will divide his flock like a shepherd (Gospel), separating us in accordance with how we have treated others, especially those in need. All who have tried to act with the very same care that God shows us, will take their place in his kingdom.

This week, I might ask the Lord to show me his own face more clearly in each person that I see, and to help me remember that whatever I do for another, I do it for my Lord too.

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The Transfiguration of the Lord, Year A, 6th August 2017

“Listen to him!”

On this feast of the Transfiguration, we are invited to step aside from the busyness of our daily life so that God can make himself known to us. As we listen to God, through Scripture and by being fully present to our daily experiences, our lives will be transformed.

In the Gospel, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a mountain and reveals himself as the Universal Christ. He is transfigured as they look on. Although he counsels his disciples not to tell anyone what they saw, it is through following Christ that his followers are transformed with the same power and light.

The prophet Daniel in the First Reading describes a vision of the same eternal Universal Christ being shown to the nations by God in all his glory.

A similar vision of Christ’s kingship and sovereignty of all the earth is proclaimed throughout today’s Psalm.

Peter tells us to listen to the teachings of prophets like Daniel who foretold the coming of Christ. He would be like a light for our lives, guiding us through darkness (Second Reading).

We are called to listen to Christ and to deepen our relationship with him. Are there people who need you to reveal God’s transforming love to them? Let us pray for them and for ourselves, that we may all be drawn deeper into the wonder of that love.

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Corpus Christi Sunday, Year A, 18th June 2017

This is the bread come down from heaven

For 700 years or so, the Church has celebrated the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi.

In the First Reading, Moses reminds the people of Israel that it is God who ensured they did not die of hunger and thirst in the desert, by providing them with manna and water. They are not to forget their faithful Lord who has always guided them.

The Psalm praises the Lord for sending wheat to feed his people, and his Word to feed their spirit.

In his Letter to the Corinthians (Second Reading), St Paul confirms the intimate link between the body and blood of Christ and the blessing-cup and bread of the Eucharist. This one bread shared by all has a unifying effect.

In the Gospel, we find Jesus instructing the crowds after the feeding of the 5000. He seeks to explain the difference between the food needed to keep our body in good health and the bread ‘come down from heaven’, which is his body. It will feed them spiritually. They will draw life from his body and blood, just as he draws life from his Father.

Christ is our food and drink.

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