Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 21st July 2019

‘Welcome Lord!’

Our readings and prayers this week may lead us to open our hearts to Christ, our welcome guest.  May he increase our faith and our love, so that we may see him amongst us as our friend.

In our First Reading from Genesis, Abraham gives us the wonderful example of Bedouin hospitality.  Nothing is too good for the stranger, and Abraham does not hesitate to offer comfort and food because he recognises God in them. God rewards him with the promise of a son.

The well-known Gospel story of Martha and Mary shows us Jesus himself as the guest, welcomed into their home where they receive from him as well as give to him.

In the Psalm, it is we who are the guests in the Lord’s house.
What readiness might we have to dwell in his house?

St Paul, sharing in Christ’s suffering, is proclaiming God’s message to the Colossians.  As we hear ‘the mystery of Christ among us’, may we welcome him, ‘our hope of glory’.

May we also welcome God’s word this week and ponder it.

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Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 14th July 2019

‘The Word is very near you’

The Liturgy this Sunday takes us to the very heart of how we are called to live fully human lives as the Body of Christ alive in the world today.

We are reminded in the First Reading that we do not have to search far to find God. The Word of God is in our hearts to be felt, and on our lips to be proclaimed to the world. God is within us and all around us!

In the letter to the Colossians (Second Reading), this revelation is expanded further. Christ is the beginning and centre of all things, forever expressed throughout creation. Christ is in all that we see and all that is known to us, and is also in all that is hidden and beyond our comprehension. As a community of believers in God’s law of love, we are Christ in the world today, united as one through Christ.

The Psalm is an expression of our need and yearning for God’s compassion and love. God is forever turning towards us with that love.

The Gospel challenges us to take our faith to a deeper level. We are called to love God with all our heart, soul and being, and this love is to be demonstrated not only in how we relate to ourselves but in how we relate to our neighbour. Jesus wants us to be aware that his Spirit of love is being expressed in the world by people we might even hold in contempt. There are no limits to God’s love, and God will always find a way to break through the barriers of our fear and prejudice. This challenge may seem overwhelming, but we are not alone; we are one in Christ. Let us encourage and support each other through prayer, confident that God’s law of love will be our guide.

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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 7th July 2019

Peace to this house!

This Sunday’s readings celebrate the grace of Christ’s peace, and invite us to become messengers of that peace to all around us.

Isaiah calls the people of Israel to trust in God’s loving presence with them. He compares the care and comfort God lavishes on us to that of a comforting, nurturing mother. (First Reading)

Today’s Psalm reverberates with the joy of a people conscious of God’s care.

In the Second Reading, Paul tells the Christians of Galatia that they are a new creation; a new people of God. The ‘marks’ that matter now are not the marks of circumcision, but those of a new creature who follows the way of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the Gospel story, Jesus speaks of the urgency and magnitude of the task of proclaiming his message to all the peoples.  He sends out the 72 disciples to prepare the way for him and to spread his peace.  On their return, Jesus reminds the rejoicing disciples that their success lies in his power working through them, not in their own strength.

This week, let us pray to the Father to be shown our mission individually and collectively in our church community, as we are called to become messengers of peace and hope in word and deed.

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13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 30th June 2019

‘Follow me!’

The readings this week focus on the answers different people make to the call to follow the Lord.

In the First Reading, Elisha leaves his people to follow Elijah, the Lord’s prophet, but only after he has fed them and said goodbye to his parents.

However, that is precisely what Jesus won’t allow one of his potential followers to do along the road towards Jerusalem. Being Jesus’s disciple involves total commitment and support, without any looking back, even when the conditions are demanding. (Gospel)

If we serve the Lord in freedom, and love our neighbour as ourselves, then the Spirit will guide us and help us not to become self-indulgent. (Second Reading)

Then we can trust, with the Psalmist, that the Lord will show us the path of life: joy and happiness will be ours forever if we keep him in our sight and follow him.

This week, we might want to reflect on great disciples who have followed the Lord unconditionally – like St Oscar Romero or St Teresa of Calcutta – and be encouraged by their example.

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Saint Peter and Saint Paul Apostles, 29 June 2019

Glorify the Lord with me. Together let us praise his Name!

This week we celebrate the feast of the two ‘chief apostles’ – St Peter and St Paul. Both were faithful rocks on whom Jesus built his Church, unshakeable in their belief that Jesus was the Christ, and ever-faithful to the universal mission he gave them. They can greatly encourage us as we, too, try to be Church today, following Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

The Church prays continuously for Peter throughout his ordeal as he lies enchained in Herod’s prison. But then an angel comes to release him and Peter realises that the Lord really has saved him.  (First Reading)

The Psalmist has also been released from his distress, and invites us to glorify God with him. We, too, can trust that the Lord will answer when we seek refuge in him, and will free us from our terrors.

Paul, like Peter, is also in prison, and knows that the end of his life is near. But he rejoices that he has kept faith: God has always been with him in his struggles and will bring him safely home. (Second Reading)

As Peter acknowledges Jesus as the Son of the Living God, Jesus establishes him as the rock on which he will build his Church, and entrusts him with the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.  (Gospel)

This week, as we give thanks for the lives of St Peter and St Paul, we pray for that same courage to put our trust in Christ Jesus, whatever trials we may face in life. Let’s ask, too, for God’s help as we work together to try to build up his Church.

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The Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Corpus Christi), Year C, 23rd June 2019

‘It is the Lord!’

Following the great feasts of Pentecost and the Holy Trinity, this Sunday we celebrate the wonderful gift of the Body and Blood of our Lord.

In the First Reading we have the brief appearance of Melchizedek, king and priest, offering bread and wine to God in thanksgiving of Abraham’s victory over the Canaanites.

The Psalm, naming Melchizedek, is aptly chosen, but also points to Jesus Christ, king and priest, who offers his sacrifice under the form of bread and wine.

St Paul, in the Second Reading, gives one of the earliest accounts  of the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist.

The Gospel narrates the feeding of the five thousand.  It foreshadows the institution of the Eucharist, and also the continuing role of Jesus’s disciples.

As we give God thanks this week particularly for the Sacrament of the Eucharist, may we be ever more conscious of the Lord’s presence pervading all things.

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Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 23rd June 2019

The Lord is the strength of his people

This Sunday we are invited to consider God’s invitation to each one of us—to repentance; to knowing God as our deepest desire; to oneness with others in faith; to following Jesus by imitating his way of life. The readings give us much to ponder.

Zechariah (First Reading) is writing at a time of exile, but there is hope. The Lord will pour out a spirit of kindness and prayer over the people of Israel, and springs of new life will be opened, cleansing the people from their sins. What seems a catastrophe will open them to God in a new way.

First-hand testimony is given in the Psalm. The yearnings of the psalmist are met with the fullness of God’s love.

St Paul (Second Reading) shows that this fullness of God really means that we are all children of the One God. In Christ there are no distinctions, only unity.

Finally, the Gospel reveals the source of this new life and unity with God. The cross, which is Christ’s destiny and the beginning of his life in us, sends us out with strength to bear our own crosses.

This week, we might pray especially for all those around us who carry a heavy burden, asking that they feel able to seek shelter and be strengthened in the shadow of the wings of the Lord.

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