Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B, 13th May 2018

God Is Love

As the joyous season of Easter comes to a close, this Sunday’s Scripture brings our focus onto Christ’s loving relationship with us.

We see how the very early Church decided that the person who was to replace Judas needed to be someone who had known Jesus personally from the very start of his ministry, and had witnessed his suffering, death and resurrection. (First Reading)

We can pray with great joy the Psalm of thanks for all the blessings of God’s love – a love that is calling all of us into a deeper personal relationship.

John’s letter (Second Reading) is like a summary of the Good News and the mystery of the Resurrection. We are encouraged to love one another. It is through our loving relationships that we will come to know God more fully. God is love, and God shares the Spirit of love with us when we die to self and give ourselves fully to love.

In John’s Gospel we hear Jesus praying to the Father for his followers. Jesus wants us to share fully in his joy. It is in this spirit of Easter joy that we are sent out into the world to draw all people into that relationship of love of which each and every one is invited to be a part.

Let us pray for the grace to be able to live out the joy of the Gospel of love in every part of our life!

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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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Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B, 29th April 2018

The one who lives in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit

Today’s readings remind us of the amazing intimacy that God offers us.  Jesus himself invites us to make our home within him – for if we can allow him to live within our hearts, God will make us truly fruitful.

St John’s Gospel shows us this closeness through the wonderful image of the vine and branches. Only when we remain connected to Jesus, the vine, can we bear fruit; cut off from him, we can do nothing at all. As ‘branches’, we may sometimes need pruning – but that process can help us produce more plentiful fruit.

St John similarly reminds us in the Second Reading that God dwells within us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we dwell in him. We are urged to be real and active in our loving, for our goal is quite simple: to believe in Jesus and try to love one other as he taught us.

The Psalm of lament Jesus prayed on the cross concludes today with verses of praise and love to God’s faithfulness. We and all nations are invited to worship the Lord joyfully.

Though Saul’s (Paul’s) preaching still upsets the Greek-speaking Jews, the disciples gradually come to accept him, and the local churches experience consolation as they begin to grow. (First Reading)

As I ponder the relationship God yearns to have with me, and the fruit he enables me to bear, perhaps I can pray with St Ignatius: ‘Lord, I want and I choose whatever better deepens your life within me.’

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Third Sunday of Easter, Year B, 15th April 2018

Christ, our Advocate with the Father

We are celebrating the Easter season with joy. This week’s readings remind us how much Jesus has won for us, and that his forgiving love is always there for us all.

In the First Reading, Peter clearly puts the responsibility for the death of Jesus onto the Judaean people, who had received so much. Yet they can still turn to the risen Christ and repent.

They, and we, may well use Psalm 4 (5) as our cry and prayer for mercy. The Psalm is at the same time full of confidence and trust.

The Second Reading, from St John’s letter, speaks unambiguously of sin, but reminds us that we have the remedy – Jesus Christ, our Advocate with the Father.

The Gospel offers us another of the appearances of Jesus after the Resurrection. He meets the fear and agitation of the disciples by offering peace, allowing them to touch him and share a meal with him.

Our readings also underline our role as witnesses. May we go forward this week, confident in God’s love for us, and eager to witness to him.

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Second Sunday of Easter, Year B, 8th April 2018

Divine Mercy Sunday

Since 2000, at the instigation of Pope John Paul II, the Roman Catholic church has kept the Feast of Divine Mercy on the Sunday after Easter. The readings, however, are still bathed in the joy of the Resurrection.

In the First Reading we see the effect the Risen Lord has on the life of the young Christian communities, led and guided by the Apostles.

The Psalm joyfully shows that Jesus, through his Resurrection, is the rejected cornerstone first mentioned by Isaiah (Isaiah 28: 16)

St John is his letter (Second Reading) reminds his readers that the true believer is the one who loves God by keeping his commandments – that is, by loving one another as he loved us. Jesus, fully man and fully God, was baptised by water but shed his blood for us.

In the multi-faceted Gospel text, we encounter the Risen Lord twice, as well as the Holy Spirit and the disbelieving Thomas. We are reminded of Jesus’s patience and infinite mercy; we are also able to witness at first- hand the transformation of Thomas and his deep act of faith as he comes to believe that the Lord is truly risen.

This week, I may want to pray particularly for all the ‘Doubting Thomases’ around me, and ask the Risen Lord that, in his mercy, he shows them his hands and feet so they may come to believe too.

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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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Trinity Sunday, Year C, 22nd May 2016

Blessed be God the Father, and the Only Begotten Son of God, and also the Holy Spirit, for he has shown us his merciful love. [Entrance. Antiphon]

The First Reading this week, from the Book of Proverbs, is taken from a collection of wise sayings attributed to King Solomon.  It seeks to show how Wisdom, superior to the whole of creation, is one with, yet distinct from, the Lord.

Today’s Psalm affirms God’s majesty, but a majesty that reaches out toward the whole of creation, to all of God’s people.  St Paul, in the Second Reading, tells of the extent of God’s commitment – the reconciliation of humanity to God, which Paul describes as being “at peace with God”.

The Gospel, from St John, emphasises this generosity of God.  Our God is a God who holds nothing back.  The Father, having given all to the Son, gives all to the Spirit, who leads us to complete truth.

This week, I pray for a similar response of generosity and commitment toward all those I meet.

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