Posted 6th February 2016
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Pastor’s Desk 7th February 2016 - 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time / C
When we buy fresh fish in the shop or pick it up from the frozen section in the supermarket we rarely if ever think about the hard work that’s gone into catching and processing it so that we can enjoy it at mealtime.
I discovered recently that fish don’t come to the surface during daylight - preferring instead to stay on the bottom of the ocean. As a seasoned fisherman Simon knew this but against his better judgement he decides to follow Jesus request and he â€˜pays out the nets’. We hear of his reaction when the nets are full and the two boats are filled almost to sinking point. He is astounded because they had been fishing all day and caught nothing until now.
However, this time his faith and perseverance are rewarded with this bumper catch. He is overcome and begins to feel that he is unworthy. He tells Jesus â€˜Leave me Lord, I am a sinful man’.
What happened to Simon is what happens to us. In this Year of Mercy when we recognise our own sinfulness Christ’s power becomes available to us and it helps to make us stronger individuals so that we can offer ourselves to others in his service with all our faults and failings. We can become ambassadors of God’s mercy to others. There are times when we are called to change direction in life and often journey into the unknown. To meet that challenge we need to have that trust and faith that Simon had.
Posted 30th January 2016
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Pastor’s Desk 31st January 2016 - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time / C
At the beginning of Jesus ministry, he was received with great approval by all. People came from far and wide just to hear what he had to say. However, they eventually realised that what he had to say was directed towards them individually and their lives. Their reaction is not surprising when they began to say â€˜who is he to start telling us how to live our lives’ - after all we know his family. He is one of our own. But Jesus didn’t come along just to be popular. He came to preach the Good news regardless of how it would be received.
We are all called to preach that Good News. Very often what we have to say may not be received well by those hearing it. That is especially the case when it’s a family member or someone close who is listening to us. Instead of listening and maybe taking on board what we have to say they can often come back with the retort â€˜who are you to tell me what to do’ or â€˜you should sort out your own life first’. That may be the case. Maybe our own lives may not be perfect? Maybe we could be doing better. But God chooses to speak to all of us in some of the most unlikely settings and individuals.
Today we pray that we may always have the wisdom and the knowledge to listen more closely, with open hearts and minds to what is being said to us by our fellow humanity.
Posted 23rd January 2016
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Pastor’s Desk 24th January 2016 - 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time / C
In today’s gospel Jesus proclaims that â€˜the Spirit of the Lord has been given to him and that he has been sent to bring good news to all and also proclaim â€˜the Lords year of favour’.
That same message is to be spread through us each day. At the time of our baptism when the word of God entered our souls we received that challenge to spread his message of love and compassion to all we meet. We can help those whose hearts are heavy with the ups and downs of daily living. We can listen to those who are burdened by the sadness of losing a loved one. We can touch people’s lives and be healers but usually in very simple and ordinary ways.
However, if we want to be able to channel Gods message we first have to get our own lives in order. We need to look at ourselves and ask what is it about me or my life that would inspire anyone. We need to invite Jesus into our lives in order that we can see if we are on the right track ourselves and also ask â€˜what it is about my life that might inspire others to follow the Lord?’
When God sends a messenger to us we pray that we may always welcome them with open hearts and minds and be able to discern what the Lord is revealing to us through our encounter with them.
Posted 16th January 2016
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Pastor’s Desk 17th January 2016 - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time / C
There are currently a number of advertising campaigns being run this month to encourage us to give up alcohol for the month of January. Some are to raise funds for particular charities and others are simply for the health benefits we get from abstaining from alcohol for one month. Perhaps it’s rather ironic that wine forms a central theme in today’s gospel.
John tells us that the changing of water into wine was â€˜one of the first signs given by Jesus’ but what does that mean? Well scripture scholars tell us that by changing the six jars of water into wine Jesus confirmed the goodness of wine. So like many good things in life it’s not the wine that is evil but the abuse of it.
The changing of the water into wine also helps us to understand Jesus role and purpose in coming to earth. Christ came on earth to change people and to make all things new. He came to change us just as he changed water into wine. His presence among us is an invitation to change our ways and a call to new life in him so that our lives are changed for the better.
In countries where wine is produced the arrival of the new wine from the annual harvest is eagerly awaited. Will it be a vintage crop? Will the wine taste good? In this year of Mercy, we drink the wine of the New Covenant and are filled with the joy and mercy of Christ.
Posted 9th January 2016
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Pastor’s Desk 10th January 2016 - The Baptism of the Lord / C
In recent days and weeks we have seen and heard many stories on television, radio and in newspapers about the devastation caused to people’s homes and livelihoods as a result of flooding in many parts of the country. Water, something that is essential to life for all of us also has the potential to cause damage, destruction and change lives as a result.
On today, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we see how the use of water in Baptism provides a powerful symbol of the Holy Spirit at work. Water cleanses, and washes away dirt. Water is vital for life. Without it we will dehydrate and become ill. And, like the Holy Spirit, water is a God-given resource that cannot be destroyed. In the world it is estimated that there are about 320 million cubic miles of water. The water-cycle brings us the evaporation of sea water through the heat of the sun. The water condenses as clouds and then falls back to earth as rain. Then it either flows in rivers back into the sea or eventually sinks into the ground.
So ever since the creation of the world that water has been recycled, re-used, countless millions of times. If God loves us enough to give us free life through water, how much more will he provide for us spiritually? The waters of Baptism use that never-ending water supply to welcome us into the never ending life in the spirit.