Second Sunday of Easter, Year C, 28th April 2019

‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’

We are Easter people, and in the Spirit of Easter, we are sent out to share the joy of the Resurrection throughout the world.

In today’s familiar Gospel story, the risen Christ appears to the disciples in the upper room on the day of Resurrection. Jesus breathes his spirit on them, sending them out to spread his message of love, forgiveness and peace. Thomas is not with them on this day, and cannot see beyond his own loss and grief. But eight days later, Jesus returns to the same room and reveals the reality of his Resurrection to Thomas in an intimate way. Thomas is liberated from his fear and doubt, and exclaims ‘My Lord and my God!’

In the First Reading from Acts, the Early Church is filled with the same Easter spirit that Jesus breathed upon the disciples. The growing Christian community gathers together in a public place, and people are amazed at the signs and wonders worked by the apostles through the Holy Spirit. Praying together and praising God, the community would have been familiar with today’s Easter Psalm, which  continues the song of gratitude, joy and celebration which we prayed on Easter Sunday.

In the Second Reading from the Book of the Apocalypse, John, possessed by the Holy Spirit, tells of his vision of the Universal Christ: the First and the Last, the Living One who has overcome death for ever.

Let us pray that our hearts may be open to recognising the Risen Christ present amongst us. May his words of peace drive out all our fear and doubt, and may we have the confidence to go out joyfully, transforming the world through the love of Christ.

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Easter Sunday, Year C, 21st April 2019

Christ, my hope, has risen!

Today we arrive at the oldest of the Church’s Feast Days, and the pinnacle of the liturgical year: the wonder-filled celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Psalmist joyfully foresees the resurrection of Jesus and recognises it as the work of God Himself.

The Gospel records how Peter and the unnamed ‘beloved disciple’ (and then later in the same chapter, Mary Magdalene) slowly come to realise that Jesus has risen from the dead. The relationship between Jesus and the ‘disciple he loved’ is a model for all faithful Christians, as God invites us into a loving, intimate relationship with Christ.

The First Reading demonstrates that one of the fruits of the Resurrection is to break down barriers between peoples: in this case Peter, a Jew, stays in the home of Cornelius, a Gentile. This goes beyond what is culturally permitted: Peter is risking defilement by having contact with a non-believer.

Paul, too, emphasises the consequences of the Resurrection for the followers of Jesus, and appeals to the Early Church in Colossae to be aware of the mystery of true life with Christ. He calls them to live the sort of life fitting for those raised to new life in Christ (Second Reading).

On this Easter Day, we may pray to recognise the dignity that belongs to us as Christians and for the grace needed to live it out in practice doing good as Jesus did, in our daily, ordinary lives.

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Praying Holy Week 2019 (updated)

Praying Holy Week 2019, with Word and Image

This year, our reflections for each day of Holy Week offer a poem and an image specially chosen to go with the theme of the Biblical text set for that day. As always, the Scriptural passage is also followed by a short reflection to help us pray the text. This year, the reflections are very gratefully adapted from those written by Fr Nicholas King SJ for Holy Week as part of the 2019 Pathways to God Lent retreat, Walking together with Jesus.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE BOOKLET (CORRECTED TEXT)

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Praying Holy Week 2019

Praying Holy Week 2019, with Word and Image

This year, our reflections for each day of Holy Week offer a poem and an image specially chosen to go with the theme of the Biblical text set for that day. As always, the Scriptural passage is also followed by a short reflection to help us pray the text. This year, the reflections are very gratefully adapted from those written by Fr Nicholas King SJ for Holy Week as part of the 2019 Pathways to God Lent retreat, Walking together with Jesus.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE BOOKLET (CORRECTED TEXT)

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE (CORRECTED TEXT)

Palm Sunday of the Passion of our Lord, Year C, 14th April 2019

O Lord, do not leave me alone

This Sunday we begin the prayer of Holy Week as Jesus enters Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, accompanied by crowds shouting joyfully ‘Hosanna!’ and waving palm branches. Very soon, the mood of the people changes and their cry is ‘Crucify him!’ (Gospel). We accompany Jesus as he goes to his death.

The other readings help us to understand what is happening.

We see that Jesus fulfils the Old Testament prophecies of the suffering servant from Isaiah; in the face of his Passion, he knows and trusts that the Father will help him (First Reading).

Psalm 21 (22) moves from utter dejection: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ to praise and trust in God: ‘Give him praise … revere him’! You may wish to read the whole psalm from your Bible during Holy Week to understand the prayer that Jesus prayed from the cross.

St Paul’s explanation of the meaning of Jesus’s incarnation, death and Resurrection ends with a firm declaration of faith that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Second Reading).

Even as we walk in sorrow with Jesus this Holy Week, we look forward to Easter joy in the Resurrection.

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Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C, 7th April 2019

‘Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you.’

Having journeyed through Lent for four weeks, I may well feel in need of the reassuring words of Isaiah (First Reading). Just as the Lord promised to give abundant water to sustain the exiles from Babylon on their journey home, he will also guide me through the rest of Lent, supporting me with spiritual food and drink.

In gratitude, I pray the response to the Psalm: ‘What marvels the Lord worked for me, indeed I am glad’, recalling the joy of the exiles as they returned to their country.

Paul reminds us that ‘nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus’. He is aware that he needs not try for perfection by his own efforts. I take comfort in this, and forgetting the past, look forward to what is still to come (Second Reading).

Jesus defuses a tense and potentially violent situation by forgiving the woman who sinned, and then turning the tables on her accusers:
‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her’ (Gospel). Although he does not condemn her, she is to ‘go away and not sin any more’.

Perhaps this helps me in these last days of Lent to pray to the Lord that he be ‘my Saviour again and renew my joy’. I may also want to pray for all those people around me who still feel in exile, that the expectation of new life at Easter might help them to come home.

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Living Theology, Loreto, Llandudno, 7-9 June, 2019

Book your place while there are still spaces – this event is very highly recommended and wonderful value!

Friday 7th – Sunday 9th June 2019
Loreto Centre, Abbey Road, Llandudno LL30 2EL

PUBLIC LECTURE
Friday 7th June, 7.30pm (Registration from 6.15)
Speaker: Theodora Hawksley CJ: Religion, Violence and Peace-Building

COURSES THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND

Keynote Speaker:  Theodora Hawksley CJ
With a choice of courses from:

Mike Smith SJ:
(1) Jesus Christ came to save us;  (2) Teilhard de Chardin – his life and work

James Crampsey SJ:
(1) The Sermon on the Mount (repeated both days)

John Moffatt SJ:
(1) A Planet to Heal: Achieving a plan for our world that is holistic and human;  (2) Three Reasons Why Medieval Islamic Thought is Really Rather Interesting

Suggested Donation:
£70 for the whole weekend (non-residential) including coffee/tea and a light lunch; £35 for one day; £5 donation for just the Friday lecture.
Please enquire about residential places.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING BROCHURE AND  BOOKING FORM

For further information and to book, please contact Sr Ewa Bem IBVM at the Loreto Centre. Tel:  01492 878031 or email:  loretocentre@yahoo.co.uk
http://www.loretocentre.org.uk