Third Sunday in Advent, Year C, 16th December 2018

The Lord is near!

This week, ‘Gaudete Sunday’, we are called to rejoice, for the coming of the Lord is near. At the same time, we are invited to live out our preparation in the details of our daily lives.

The First Reading from Zephaniah is a joyful exultation, because the Lord is bringing back Zion, his people.  God is in our midst and he dances for joy in his love for us.

The Responsorial Psalm does not come from the Psalter, but is a Song of Joy from the Book of Isaiah.  It is a joyful canticle of trust in the Lord and of thanksgiving for all that he has done for us.

St Paul, in the Second Reading, speaks of his desire of happiness for the Philippians.  The Lord ‘is very near’, so we need not worry –but trust in God who will grant us the peace of his Son.

In the Gospel this Sunday we meet John the Baptist again.  But this time we hear his direct teaching and advice to the different groups among his followers.  He also tells them of the One who is to come, who will baptise us with the Holy Spirit and fire.

This week, may we remind ourselves that the Lord is very near, in our midst, and that this is our joy.

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Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B, 6th May 2018

God is Love!

The central theme of today’s readings is God’s unfailing and overwhelming love for humanity.

In the First Reading we hear of an incident at the house of the centurion Cornelius that marks a turning point for Peter and the whole church. The Holy Spirit shows that the Christian message is for the whole human race – Gentiles as well as Jews.

The Psalm is a song of joy and wonder at the salvation offered by the Lord to all nations; a psalm Cornelius would have gladly sung.

The Second Reading gives the best definition of God to be found in the Bible: God is love. This is the very nature of God: he acts in love and sends his Son to reveal the fullness of his love.

In St John’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us of the centrality of his loving relationship with his Father. Throughout his life, he is responding to the Father’s love and making it known to us. Jesus invites his followers into the intimate relationship that exists between Father and Son. As his friends and disciples, he invites us to go and bear fruit and to love one another.

This week, I pray for the grace to recognise that I can bear fruit in my life – and to respond in unique ways to God’s love. I ask the Lord to help me live my life through loving relationships with my brothers and sisters, and with the living planet.

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Praying Holy Week, 2018

‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’

In New Testament Greek, the word for ‘holy’ is hagios, which means ‘set apart, reverent, sacred, and worthy of veneration’. Throughout this Holy Week then, we may want to set some time apart to be with Jesus as he lives his Passion.

The reflections this year are built around a well known Afro-American spiritual, ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’. You can listen to it here.

Here are some other suggestions you may like to use during this week to help you be even closer to Jesus:

  • Find an extra 10 minutes in your day, perhaps early in the morning and ponder: it’s Holy Week.
  • Copy short phrases or one-liners from the Scripture texts of the daily reflections and stick them on your fridge door or your car dashboard. Change them each day.
  • Change your phone ring tone to ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’
  • Put Lenten graphics and the words ‘Were you there …?’ on your computer or phone.
  • Every time you’re reminded it’s Holy Week, send a short prayer to the Lord, and tell him how much you want to be there to support him.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble,
But I so want to be there.

WERE YOU THERE WHEN THEY CRUCIFIED MY LORD? (version to read online)

WERE YOU THERE WHEN THEY CRUCIFIED MY LORD? (booklet version to print)

 

Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B, 11th March 2018

We are God’s work of art

The readings for this ‘Laetare (‘Rejoice’) Sunday’ reveal the Lord’s desire to save his people.

In the First Reading, the exile of the people, and later their release through the pagan king Cyrus, are understood in terms of God’s judgment and mercy.

Today’s Psalm speaks of the desolation that is experienced when the Lord’s goodness is no longer felt. In exile, the people could not be joyful. They could recall the presence of the Lord, but only with regret at its apparent loss.

The gift of the Lord’s presence is given, ultimately, through God’s loving gift of his Son to the world (Gospel). God loved us so much that he has led us back from the exile of sin, and in bringing us to life in Christ, he has made us a ‘work of art’. Jesus is the means by which we are saved, so that we might live ‘the good life’ of grace in return (Second Reading).

Let’s pray, this week, for a greater awareness of the Lord’s wonderful gift, full of grace, that frees us from the darkness of exile to the light of joyful living.

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This Sunday, the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent in Year A may be used as an alternative (please click here).

Third Sunday in Lent, Year B, 4th March 2018

Christ, the power and the wisdom of God

We continue our Lenten journey and join Jesus this week as he goes up to Jerusalem. Our readings offer us the wisdom of God’s law in the commandments, and Jesus’s forceful action regarding the true meaning of God’s Temple.

The ten commandments in the First Reading from Exodus present the Law as a freedom charter – we have been freed from slavery to serve our God.

Psalm 18 (19) is a joyful poem of praise for God’s precepts. It links the teaching of the commandments to their personification in Jesus – wisdom, truth and light.

St Paul in the Second Reading preaches a crucified Christ. This is an obstacle to some, but for Christ’s followers, through his death and resurrection, he is the power and the wisdom of God.

In the Gospel, Jesus ejects the buyers and sellers from the Temple and in doing so reveals himself as the true Temple. Like the Temple, he too, will be destroyed in his body, but will rise again.

As we journey with Jesus, may we find in him the true sanctuary, and perhaps the wisdom to know when to disturb the peace.

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This Sunday, the readings for the Third Sunday in Lent of Year A may be used if preferred (please click here).

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, 28th January 2018 (amended)

AMENDED POST

Many apologies: you may have spotted the typo in the heading to p.3 of the Prego leaflet posted last Friday (for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time). Please use the link below to access the amended version. (This now has the correct reference for the Gospel text – i.e. Mark 1. 21–28 rather than Luke 1: 26–38).

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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, 28th January 2018

Let us allow the Lord to speak through our lives!

In today’s First Reading we hear Moses announcing God’s intention to raise up a new prophet, into whose mouth God will put his own words.

The Gospel shows how this new prophet is Jesus himself, the great prophet for all times. In speaking with God’s own voice, Jesus makes a deep impression on the people. He speaks with a deep authority we cannot ignore.

The Psalm also urges us to listen to God’s voice. Focusing our attention on God’s word and deeds helps us move towards a deeper awareness of him.

St Paul, in the Second Reading, expresses his concern for the effect of worldly distractions on the faithful. He encourages us to avoid anything that might distract us from listening to God, so we can give the Lord our ‘undivided attention’.

Perhaps this week, we, too, might pray to ‘listen well’ to the Lord – asking him for a greater realisation and appreciation of the activity of God in our lives, and leading to a desire for heartfelt service.

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