Forside arrow Liturgi arrow Sunday - Short reflection
24. sunday, year A- Readings: nm 21:4c-9, phil 2:6-11, jn 3:13-17 Utskrift
Jesus sets out a process for dealing with the hurts that we sometimes inflict on one another. We don’t always have full knowledge of one another’s situation or sensitivities, so it is possible for someone to unwittingly hurt us and not even know that this has happened.  
 
The process described by Jesus is the antidote to brooding on the hurt, or dealing with it in ineffective ways. Being abrupt in ordinary dealings with the offender, giving them the cold shoulder, running the person down to others – these reactions do not take us forward in dealing with someone who does not realize that they have been the cause of hurt for us. Dealing with our pain in these ways compounds our sense of powerlessness in the face of what has been done, and we ultimately harm ourselves.  The facts can become distorted in our minds, and everything the offender does is interpreted through this distorted glass. There may even be a point where our brooding and passive response results in a damaging outburst of emotions.
 
By “having it out alone” with the person who has caused offence we reclaim our sense of self-worth. There is an opportunity to consider what happened with the person concerned, who may have had no intention of hurting us. The sooner we do this the better, as it prevents the hurt becoming our main focus and disrupting our lives and the distortions which brooding can cause. 
 
If the person has hurt us intentionally rather than unwittingly, it is also vital that we have the courage to follow this process. It may mean that we have to go quickly to step 2, involving someone else in supporting us, especially if we have good reasons to fear the other person.  “Suffering in silence” allows the hurt to corrode our sense of self-worth and magnifies the harm which has already been done by the offender. 
 
If we have been the offender and someone approaches us about what we have done to them, either unwittingly or deliberately, our first task is to listen and acknowledge that that they have been hurt. We can seek to explain our side of the event, but it must not be done defensively or aggressively if an escalation to step 2 is to be avoided.
 
Our human dignity is a gift of God. It entitles us to respect and right treatment.  Sometimes we need to remind others of this, and sometimes we need to remember that others have this gift as well.
 
22. sunday, year A- Readings: Jer 20:7-9, Rom 12:1-2 Utskrift
Peter found it hard to understand why Jesus would take a path that might lead him into danger. It was a perfectly natural reaction on Peter’s part - why would Jesus choose to put himself in danger? Jesus made clear to him that there was a difference between a natural human choice to preserve his life and his participation in God’s plan.
 We face the same choice often. A natural human reaction to a situation pulls us in one direction; what God is asking of us calls us in another direction. An example is when another person hurts or harms us in some way. Our human reaction can be to strike back in some way; God calls us to forgive and to address the matter in a way that leads to peace in the relationship, not to an escalation of aggression.
 
The difficulty of doing what we know in our head and our heart Christ is calling us to do was expressed by St Paul in the Letter to the Romans 7:15:” For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate”. Our emotions can be powerful forces overriding our reason and knowledge of what Christ calls us to do and to be.
 
When our emotions come into play in a situation it is like being pushed towards the edge of a cliff. Giving expression to destructive emotions is like taking the one additional step which takes us over the edge of the cliff. Our action in taking that step can’t be reversed. One simple way of dealing with an emotional reaction within us is to see it as standing on the edge of a cliff and visualize ourselves taking one step back. The one step back may be pausing before reacting. It may be deciding not to do anything for ten minutes. It may be simply walking away from the situation, or saying to the person “I don’t like what you have done, and I need to think about it”.
 
Any simple action that forestalls or delays the emotional reaction can help us to re-orientate ourselves with the question “Lord, what do you want me to do here?”
 
21. Sunday. Year A - Readings: Is 22:19-23, Rom 11:33-36, MT 16:13-20 Utskrift
What does this story tell us? Jesus wasn’t just asking a rhetorical question. He wanted a response to his question who am I for you? He had spent time with people and some have accepted him. Peter’s was the remark of faith. Faith is in the  person of Jesus before any creed. Our faith is based on Jesus not on the church. It is knowing Jesus from the inside – knowing who he really is with the knowledge of the heart.

The name of that openness to God’s love on the part of the people is “faith.”

Is our faith just like a birthmark or a way of life and love?

heart-lockFor some it is just a birthmark. A label for birth, marriage and death. It has become  more like this in Ireland and the church in many ways allows this. The church is the body  of people here for Christ, concerned intimately with whatever concerns people.

Who is Christ for me? The question that will ground our faith.

Christ is bigger than the church, and God is bigger than Christ. We are here for partnership with the Lord in bringing on the reign of God.

What would that look like? That people who care for each other and particularly for the old, the child, the weaker, the unborn  and the refugee. The church is the community where the weakest are welcomed.

The son of the living God is the one who heals, cures, wants us, and is the human face of God. We are that too – he has no body now on earth but ours!
 
2. Sunday in Advent - Year A - Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10, Rom 15:4-9, Mt 3:1-12 Utskrift
We look forward the coming of the child who will bring justice and peace- the child who will guide all nations and care for the afflicted of each child. There will be truth and all will know that the Spirit of the Lord rests on him and those who follow him. And yet we look backwards for this child has grown to be a man and is with us, having John the Baptist as his herald who cries out to be ready and prepare the way for the incarnation- his birth into our lives who cries out to us to be ready and prepare the way for incarnation. The main theme of today’s readings is “ CONVERSION to the Lord. This is also the message in the season of Lent. What we really require is to belong to the kingdom of God in our pure hearts. If we allow God to do what He wants us with our lives like Our Blessed Mother and not hinder his way, then we live in the presence of God. It is actually through the conversion of ourselves God wishes to create his kingdom in this world. Amen. (Pastor Iru)
 
17. Sunday, year A - Readings 1 King 3:5,7-12, Romans 8:28-30, Matthew 13:44-52 Utskrift

What is your new life in Christ worth to you?

Do you love His words more than gold and silver, as we sing in today’s Psalm? Would you, like the characters in the Gospel today, sell all that you have in order to possess the kingdom He promises to us? If God were to grant any wish, would you follow Solomon’s example in today’s First Reading—asking not for a long life or riches, but for wisdom to know God’s ways and to desire His will?

The background for today’s Gospel, as it has been for the past several weeks, is the rejection of Jesus’ preaching by Israel. The kingdom of heaven has come into their midst, yet many cannot see that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises, a gift of divine compassion given that they—and we, too—might live.

We too must ever discover the kingdom anew, to find it as a treasure - a pearl of great price. By comparison with the kingdom, we must count all else as rubbish. And we must be willing to give up all that we have—all our priorities and plans—in order to gain it.

Jesus’ Gospel discloses what Paul, in today’s Epistle, calls the purpose of God’s plan. That purpose is that Jesus be the firstborn of many brothers.

His words give understanding to the simple, the childlike. As Solomon does today, we must humble ourselves before God, giving ourselves to His service. Let our prayer be for an understanding heart, one that desires only to do His will.

We are called to love God, to delight in His law, and to forsake every false way. And we are to conform ourselves daily ever more closely to the image of His Son.

If we do this, we can approach His altar as a pleasing sacrifice, confident that all things work for the good—that we whom He has justified, will also one day be glorified.

 
19. Sunday, year A - Readings: 1 kgs 19:9, 11-13, rom 9:1-5, mt 14:22-33 Utskrift

To get out of a boat in the middle of a storm and start walking across the water was certainly an act of faith on Peter’s part. He wasn’t even sure that the person walking across the lake to him was Jesus, but he knew that if it was he would not come to harm. When he lost his nerve and began to sink, Jesus put out his hand and held him, at once. This instant action indicates that Jesus did not take his eyes off Peter as he embarked on his walk of faith across the water. 

There is a saying that every journey begins with one small step. Peter’s journey across the water began with the step out of the boat. With his eyes fixed on Jesus, he believed he could do something which was physically impossible, and for a few steps on his journey across the water he did the impossible. But when logic took over he began to sink.

Sometimes Jesus calls us to make a journey in faith. The first steps on the journey may not be difficult, as we are buoyed by faith and the momentum which is often part of beginning something new. But there is often a “dip” period after the beginning, where the momentum flags, the easy things have been done and problems emerge. Critics appear and the return for the energy expended seems very little. Like Peter we begin to feel the full force of the wind. At this point the initial act of faith which prompted us to step out on the journey can be replaced by doubt.

It is in this “dip” period that we make the real act of faith, without the support of the enthusiasm and emotions which prompted us to begin the journey. This is the time in which we need to remember that when Peter was sinking amid his doubts, Jesus responded at once to help him. More than that, Jesus put out his hand to help him which indicates how close Jesus was to Peter during the journey across the water. 

Peter had no hesitation in calling out “Lord! Save me!” when he got into difficulties. When we start to sink, the temptation is to try to save ourselves. In trying to save ourselves we abandon the original act of faith which propelled us into making the journey. In calling out to Jesus to save us, we abandon ourselves into his hands in a true act of faith.

 
18. Sunday, year A - Readings is 55:1-3, rom 8:35, 37-39, mt 14:13-21 Utskrift

 There are many parallels in our ordinary lives for the miracle of the loaves and fishes, where a few things are multiplied and made available to many people. 

 
Every time we photocopy something in order to make it available to a number of people a multiplier effect occurs. What was available to one person has been made available in exactly the same form to many. Email distribution lists are a paperless form of multiplying availability; vinyl records, tapes, CDs and DVDs represent a succession of “multipliers”; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and podcasts are incredibly effective multipliers.
 
When Jesus gave the crowds food, it was a miracle of multiplication. The food he gave them was wholesome, and would have received the Healthy Heart tick of approval for its nourishment value and lack of sugar, fat and additives. The fish and bread were appropriate as a symbol of the Eucharist – still to be instituted – because of the bread in the Eucharist and the symbolism later to be attached to the fish as a sign of Christ’s followers. We are able to see deeper into the symbolism of the miracle than even the disciples could at the time.
 
Every time we carry out our own technological feat of multiplication using whatever method our technology skills are comfortable with, it helps to think of the nature of the food Jesus multiplied. At the very least our emails, Facebook entries, tweets and YouTube contributions should not harm others with what is in them (no fat, sugar or additives). Better still, they should nourish, sustain and lift up the people who receive them (good carbs and protein); hopefully at times they will even provide a glimpse of Jesus, the original multiplier and distributor of good food.
 
Before pressing Send, clicking the mouse, or tapping the screen, ask the question: Will this be good for the person or people receiving it?
 
1. Sunday in Advent - Year A - Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5, Rom 13:11-14, Matt 24:37-44 Utskrift
Now we begin the year of the Lord 2011, with the prophecies of Isaiah whose visions are ones of justice, peace, light and freedom, hope for all the nations, and unity among the peoples. This is the intent, the will of God for all on earth. God wants all to know wisdom and hear the Word of God, and walk in the paths of truth and communion. And there is to be no wat, no aggression, no conflicts between nations, and no preparation for killing. We are to be about the work of God: feeding the hungry, giving wisdom to all, and living in the peace and light of God. This is what God is about – is this what we are about?
If not wake up! Stop all the evil that leads to war, to killing, hate, divisions! Stop doing deeds that are faced with evil. It is time to stand in the light- the Light of the world that is Jesus the Son of Man coming to call us all to justice, to the truth. It is time to be seen for who we are and what we have done, individually and with others, in this world, in our times. There is no more time for preparation –Our God, the Son of Man is coming NOW. It is a new chance for us to be awake. Today is the day of the Lord. Amen. (Pastor Iru)
 
Christ the King feast. Readings: 2 Sam 5:1-3, Col 1:11-20, Luke 23:35-43 Utskrift
David had already been anointed King of Judah by his own people at Hebron. Now we hear how the northern tribes also acknowledge him as their king. Thus David became king of a united country. His kingship prefigured the universal kingship of Christ. The second reading is essentially a liturgical hymn in praise of Christ. The first part speaks of his role in creation, the second of his role in redemption. On this feast we acclaim Christ as head of the Church and ruler of the universe. In the gospel we see how the inscription over the cross, and all those who witnessed the crucifixion namely the crowd, the rulers, the soldiers and the thieves unwittingly proclaim the true identity of Jesus. The irony is the titles which are pronounced in mockery are true. Jesus is both Messiah and King. Amen. (Pastor Iru)
 
33. Sunday, year C - Readings: Mal 3: 19-20, 2 Thes 3:7-12, Lk 21:5-17 Utskrift
As the liturgical year draws to a close, the focus is on the end of the world and the Second coming of Christ. The prophet Malachi says that for evildoers the Day of the Lord will be a day of judgement, but for the upright it will be day of salvation. His stark message was meant to act as a warning to sinners and as en encouragement to the just. The second reading also relates to the second coming. Some of the Thessolonians believing that the Parousia was imminent, was no need to work. Paul tells them to go on living and working as normal and not to be content to live off the community. Luke talks about the parousia in close association with the destruction had predicted, had already occurred by the time Luke was writing. The Gospel goes on to address the situation of Christians in a time of persecution. Persecution will be an opportunity to bear witness to the gospel.  The Lord himself will see to it that believers will triumph in the end, provided they remain steadfast, strong and firm in the belief in God. Amen (Pastor Iru)
 
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