Posted 16th February 2017
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Pastor’s Desk 19th February 2017 - Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time / A
In the book of Leviticus, we hear the Lord say to Moses ‘you must not bear hatred for your brother in your heart’. If your brother does wrong then for no reason, other than love, you should to tell him what his offence is so that he can change his ways.
Jesus challenges the social norm of his time which declared that a person was entitled to claim an eye for an eye to exact vengeance for some wrong doing committed against them. Instead he declares they should forgive those who do harm or wrong them. They should even go as far as loving and praying for their enemies. By doing so they can bring about a change of heart of the part of those who have done wrong.
Living out this challenge to love our neighbour as ourselves is perhaps the most difficult of all the commandments. We are tasked with loving not just those who love us but also those who have hurt us by things they have said and done in the past. But, Jesus told his disciples that they would be judged on the unconditional love they showed to others.
We are all grateful recipients of God’s forgiveness on many occasions in life. It follows that in return we should imitate God and share that forgiveness with those who have hurt us. When we do, we free ourselves of the burden or the hurt that has caused us pain and resentment once and for all.
Lord give us the grace to put love where there is hate, forgiveness where there is resentment, and healing where there are wounds and hurt.
Posted 11th February 2017
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Pastor’s Desk 12th February 2017 - Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time / A
Our readings today challenge us to make wise choices and observe the laws given by a loving and caring God.
In our first reading from Ecclesiasticus we are told that we can keep God’s commandments and that to behave faithfully towards him in all matters is within our power. God never forces us to do good or evil. We are told we can choose freely to put our hand into fire or water.
Saint Paul challenges the people of Corinth that they should appreciate the wisdom of God’s saving plan for his people revealed to us through the Spirit.
Jesus tells his disciples that he has not come to abolish the law or the prophets but to complete them. The scribes and the Pharisees regarded themselves to be the greatest upholders of the law. By keeping all the outward observances, they believed that they were at one with God. Jesus was aware of that, so tells those listening today that if their virtue goes no deeper than that of the Pharisees they will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.
There is a message here for each of us. We may feel that coming to Mass each week is all that’s required of us. We can be like the Pharisees believing that if we pray daily and give to charity we are righteous. But righteousness is not something we earn - it is something we receive through God’s grace which allows us to say ‘Yes’ to him when we are tested in all matters of faith.
Posted 4th February 2017
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Pastor’s Desk 5th February 2017 - Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time / A
Light and Salt are two simple metaphors that Jesus uses in today’s readings. The prophet Isaiah tells those listening that they should let their light shine like the dawn and dispel the darkness of those who are less fortunate. The world will see that they are men and women of integrity who are acting for the good of their fellow humanity.
In the absence of modern refrigeration methods in years past Salt was the commonest of all the preservatives used to pickle things in jars or meat and fish so that they could be enjoyed in the future. Today we mainly use it to season our food during or after cooking.
Now we take light for granted at the flick of a switch but back then the absence of light meant danger to people. We need a lamp to guide the way forward to avoid that danger. Jesus Christ is that beacon for us all.
Jesus would have known the importance of these two commodities to the people of his time so he uses them as an example to help to get his message across. He tells his listeners in today’s Gospel that they are the salt of the earth but warns them that when salt becomes tasteless it is useless and good for nothing. By being the salt of the earth we can help to preserve the faith we have. We are also to be a light to the world and should let it radiate so that other people are drawn to him by the love, kindness, forgiveness and mercy we show to others.
Posted 28th January 2017
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Pastor’s Desk 29th January 2017 - Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time / A
All our readings today define the Christian goal of eternal happiness and explain the attitudes needed to reach them. In a sense, they form the pattern by which we should live as disciples of Christ.
There was a lot of corruption in Jerusalem at the time Zephaniah prophesied but in today’s first reading he declares that the small number who have remained faithful will receive security and not vengeance for their loyalty. Saint Paul advises the Christians in Corinth to use their gifts and blessings from heaven for the good of all the community and not simply for their own advantage.
In his sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches the Beatitudes to those who are listening. They suggest a way of life that is expected of a disciple of Jesus and invite us to identify with those who are less fortunate, the poor, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for justice. They directly challenge the listener or reader to be compassionate, to be women and men who are not only pure in heart but in all things, and to become peacemakers.
When we reach out to our fellow Sisters and Brothers who need our support, however necessary, we are truly living the Beatitudes. By doing so we are sharing with them a foretaste of what the Beatitudes promise.
In Catholic Schools Week, we need to teach our children and young people that we are truly blessed when we follow Jesus Christ in our lives, following in his way in all that we say and do. Each one of us is called to greatness and is precious in his eyes.
Posted 21st January 2017
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Pastor’s Desk 22nd January 2017 - Third Sunday in Ordinary Time / A
In this week of prayer for Christian unity we hear St. Paul in today’s second reading appeal to his followers to stand united in their practice and beliefs and to put aside any disharmony that may have arisen between them. He points out to them that they are united by the Good News that Christ sent him to share with them. In the past, too often, the Christian churches have been divided on different issues instead of focusing on what unites us all as followers of Jesus Christ.
In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus clear call to ‘Repent, because the kingdom of God is close at hand’. He then invites Peter and Andrew, then James and John to ‘follow me’. We are told that they left what they were doing immediately to follow him. They must have been wondering what Jesus meant when he told them he would make them into ‘fishers of Men’. Can you imagine if someone was to come along to any of us today and invite us to leave all we had to do the same? Would we respond freely to their request?
In a world where contracts and conditions of employment are very important today, it is amazing is that the disciples responded without questioning. They followed Jesus in the knowledge and trust that he would not abandon them. These ordinary men with no special training were given the job of bringing the knowledge and love of God to the whole world.
That responsibility to share the message of the Gospel with others in now in all our hands as the modern disciples. We are challenged to bring Gods love and compassion to all we meet in our daily lives.