3rd Sunday of Easter. A beautiful reflection from my friends at the Benedictine Abbey Jamberoo Australia
Easter Sunday 2019. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org The Resurrection, the triumph of the Father.
Easter Sunday is with us again! Is it with a sigh of relief that we have a ‘break’ at this time of the year? Is it just another Sunday? Is it just another time of the year for the commercial world to make more money using a solemn Christian Feast to make more Dollars?
Resurrection implies new life! This is the gift we receive every morning when we wake up! Today is a totally different day from yesterday. Part of something being a gift is that someone gives, someone else receives, and there is no price tag attached. If there is a snag, it is that God gives me nothing for myself! If God gives me the gift of life today, it is because I can be a life-giving person to someone else. The Easter Liturgy celebrates the Father re breathing ‘life’ into His Son, and that ‘new life’ is to be shared among all people, and by all people.
Easter is about hope; it is unthinkable that a Christian should even entertain the ideas of hopelessness, even when we live in a world, which thrives, and makes money on bad news! Jesus triumphed over darkness, sin and death, and in the words of St. Paul, ‘having given us Christ Jesus, will the Father not surely give us everything else?’ There is a tremendous need for people of hope in today’s world, and in today’s Church, because the doomsday prophets have never had it so good! One notable Shepherd in the Church said that we Christians are under siege! What rubbish! The whole Christian way of life has been under siege since the crucifixion of Jesus! However, Easter Sunday is the answer to those who claim that we are under siege! Jesus said, @ I am sending you out as lambs among wolves…’ So what new! Sensationalism of the moment, and it can be seen as a tactic to win favour and solace from others. St. Peter wrote these words to the early Christian community: ‘Always have an explanation to give to those who ask you the reason for the hope that you have.’ Peter had experienced, witnessed, and lived through many a failure, so his point about hope is deeply relevant. I am sure that he is not alone in this regard… surely, we can identify with him!
Easter time is a reminder of our Baptismal responsibilities. We have a very real sign of that within our Parish community with the welcoming and admission of our Elect, into full communion with the Church. We are therefore reminded strongly, that we must be a community of hospitality, a community of mission, a community of Thanksgiving. Underpinning all that, we are as St Paul’s says, ‘planted on love and built on love, so that together with all the Saints we will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, we are filled with the utter fullness of God.’ Ephesians 3:18.
Easter time in not a ‘one off time’ to celebrate Christ Our Light! Easter time offers an enormous challenge to everyone. Do we personally believe in the community, which we call the Church, to that point of wanting to really know, and care about each other? Or are we sometimes tempted to see the Sacramental life of the Church as some kind of Spiritual Service Station, where we fill up every now and then, like we do our cars at the Petrol Station? The Sacramental Community nourishes us, and we are called to nourish it by our active participation in every way possible.
We pray that through this Easter Season, we will be stronger in our hope, lively in our love for one another, and sensitive to see, with the eyes of faith, the saving hand of God in our lives and within our community.
Good Friday, 2019, a realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. ‘It is accomplished!’ email@example.com
After Jesus had taken the vinegar, he said: ‘It is accomplished!’
With these words, Jesus gave up his spirit.’
These Words are taken from the Passion of Our Lord according to St. John. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
I wonder what kind of a Messiah the people in Our Lord’s time were really looking for? Was it a Messiah who would gather an army around him, and drive out the foreign occupation of the Romans? Could it have been a Messiah, who would restore the ancient tribes of Israel into one community again? Would it be a Messiah who would spread Israel’s Spirituality by force throughout the known world? The simple answer to all of this is: – NO! None of these……
From the poverty of the stable in Bethlehem, to the cruelty of Crucifixion, Jesus, the Human face of the Father, was the Messiah who ruled in loving service; not from the stance of power and glory! Jesus the radical Son of His Father, Jesus the new ‘trend setter’ of loving outreach to the ‘poor’ and to those who lived on the fringes of society. Jesus the daring Son of the Father, who was not afraid to break traditional Religious rules, if they got in the way of loving unconditionally! Jesus was not tied up and paralysed by Religious Customs which saw God’s Governance in black and white terms, and unforgiving practices, which created an image of a cruel God, a power filled God, or an untouchable God. Jesus challenged all those images!
Jesus, through his birth in the stable, and then taking on the status of a Refugee, entered into the mess of this world! A Mess whose answers could not fit into neat tidy boxes of Religion’s way of seeing the world, through pompous and arrogant lenses. Jesus, saw the world and its people through the Eyes and Heart of His Father. This way of seeing the world and its people, was new, it was real, it was true, and it was forgiving and loving!
Jesus the Messiah, could truly say the opening words of our Homily today…….’It is accomplished’….
Can we say with all our heart, ‘It is it accomplished’? If we say YES!!! That means that we are taking the responsibility given to us at our Baptism, to be Christ in our World. The YES that we say, is not like a yes that we would say for a Bucket full of KFC! It is a serious yes! It is a solemn yes! It is a challenging yes! It’s an exciting yes!
It is a thrilling yes, because we are not called to take up the Cross daily just by ourselves! We are called to take up OUR Cross daily……that means a community project, not just for now, but for always. Christians are not lone rangers…….we are a Community, we are a group, WE ARE the living Body of Christ. With this ‘community strength’, we must act ‘as one body’ in responding to our sisters and brothers in our midst. As a community we must act as one body in our loving outreach to those who are in personal, family and International difficulty.
As a community we are to serve each other like Jesus ministered to His apostles, by washing their feet, prior to celebrating the Passover meal; the meal of Christ’s body. We, as a community in Christ, are called to be Foot washers of the Lord! We are not called to be self-centred, or grasping for only that which satisfies us. We are not called to be a community of Christ who has no backbone…..which is courage! We are not called to be a Community who has no wishbone….which is hope, and above all we are not called to be a community of sad sacks who have no funny bone. We are called to live life to the fullest in every way, and to be strong, to be hopeful and to have a sense of humour, and be funny.
Good Friday, places the suffering Servant into our minds, hearts and hands…..Our yes, has the most serious consequences for a life which is open to all that God asks of us. We fail, if we put conditions on our YES to Christ, we pass with flying colours when our Yes to Christ has no conditions. Following the faith response of Mary the Mother of Jesus, Mary the Mother of the Church, our YES, like hers, is open to the endless designs of God for us.
I would like to conclude with a verse from a Song, composed by John Michael Talbot, using the words of the great St Therese….
Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through He looks compassion on this world, yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Holy Thursday realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. We are the Lord’s Footwashers. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jesus said, ‘If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet’.
Hospitality towards each other, is one of the most beautiful and respectful gifts that we can offer to one another. One does not have to go to some fancy, expensive Restaurant to expect genuine hospitality! There is no price tag on proper hospitality. There is an ordinary Fish and Chip Shop not far from where we live. However, it is not ordinary, it is extraordinary! Apart from the scrumptious Fish that they cook and sell, which melts in one’s mouth, and the delicious Chips made from real potatoes, and not some kind of fake potato; the respectful smiles, the welcome that customers are given, tells us that the food is prepared with an essential ingredient, which you can’t buy in Woolworths….it is called LOVE.
The Celebration of Holy Thursday is part of a triptych; Thursday, Friday and Sunday….. That is a threefold picture of Hospitality, Deep Love and New Life.
In the Gospel reading today, we see Jesus doing an action of well-known hospitality! Washing the feet of his guests, his friends, his companions. This customary action is never just attending to cleaning feet, so that there is no dirt on the Carpet! Now, this action has more to it than meets the eye. Let’s go deep sea diving into this hospitality ritual, which Jesus, by his words and actions, has made this washing of feet……Sacramental!
The washing of Feet cannot be seen as not connected to the Eucharist. It is connected to the real understanding of trust, humility, tenderness, respect and new life. The ritual action of the washing of the feet, is a unique connection between the one washing and the one being washed. Our feet are literally the gateway to our whole body. The way that the washing is done, is done with deep consciousness, respectful attitude and spiritual intimacy. Jesus calls us to follow his example in the fullest sense of the action, and wash each other’s feet.
When we literally get down on our knees before someone that is a gesture of real trust! Remember, when Moses was confronted with the Angel of the Lord in the Burning Bush, Chapter 3 of the Book of Exodus? Moses was asked to take off his sandals, which was an act of trust! The angel of the Lord said that he was on Holy Ground! What made that ground Holy? The answer would seem to be that the conversation taking place on the ground……the earth from which we were made, is a ground breaking experience of communion with the Lord God…….hence, the ground and place is Holy because of it.
The action of Jesus, was a ground breaking conversation of trust, love and service. In short, we are called to be Foot washers of the Lord! We are not called to overpower others by having Christ’s living Body subordinate to us! We are called to be genuine, real, Christ like Servants. In the new order of things, initiated by Jesus, we are cautioned not be part of a dog eat dog society, and we are not called to be ladder climbers……particularly in the Church. We are not called to be superior beings in charge of lesser beings. In the eyes of God, we are all on the ground floor……there are no top dogs, or top shelf treatment!
Holy Thursday’s message is a clarion call to all of us, to not only imitate what Jesus did in the washing of the Disciples feet, but to see Christ in those who feet we wash! This is a radical invitation because its ramifications are to turn us, and the people of the world upside down……to see other people, not as objects, but as respectful jewels within the Crown of Christ. The deep message of the washing of the feet, demands that there are no ifs and buts when it comes to acceptance of others; they must be approved of just as they are, not what we would want them to be.
The Celebration of the Lord’s Supper reaches its climax within the overwhelming dispositions that we bring to it. If we have not been washing each other’s feet in our daily life…, we have missed the boat in experiencing the full import of the Lord’s Supper, and the ongoing Mission entrusted to us.
The Celebration of the ‘real presence’ of Jesus is three fold. We hear God’s Word full of invitations, every time that we listen, it always invites our response, which has the power to change us. We do not come to the Celebration of the Eucharist like we would go to a Service Station to fill our Cars up with Petrol, to keep us on the road! We arrive at the Celebration of the Eucharist as living members of Christ’s Body, to be nourished by His Word, from the Eucharist and from the faith community. We are then sent out to proclaim what we live through our attitudes, actions and hospitality for all…..If we leave our Hospitality for a select group of people, we have then missed the mark, and are not truly convinced that what we are Christ’s living body, and it can be world changing if we do! If it can be world changing! It must change us first!
May our Holy Thursday Liturgy re-ignite us in understanding of the full implications of who washes the feet and whose feet are to be washed? Our celebration this evening, is the entrée for the Celebration tomorrow of the greatest sign of God’s love for us, in the Passion and Death of Jesus.
I would like to conclude by sharing a very wise and true saying from the great St. John Chrysostom, ‘If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find him in the chalice.’
Poor old Fr Kev with his constant companion: Shauna
Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday & Easter Sunday Year C, 2019. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. ‘COME, AND JOIN ME’, SAYS THE LORD! email@example.com
One week from today is Easter Sunday! We will celebrate the triumph of Jesus over the final enemy … death! It is only correct and just that if we wish to join in the victory, then we should enter into the struggle, which precedes it. During Lent, we have been given the opportunity to reflect upon the quality of our lives in the face of the Lenten Invitation: Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. To help us in our Lenten response. The Readings for the five Sundays of Lent have given us a great deal of Food for Thought, and ample opportunity to reawaken our inner spirit to follow Christ wholeheartedly. As we said at the beginning of Lent, this is our Spiritual Training time. Any athlete who is serious about staying in ‘good nick’ knows that if the training fades away, we don’t fade away…we just get bigger in body weight and sluggish in most of our ways. The same can apply to our Spiritual life.
Lent is the perfect opportunity to put our Spiritual Fitness First! The rest of the year is not ‘holiday time’ it is all about keeping in practice the lessons and guidelines that we have embraced during Lent. This will help us in a big way to keep us on track till next Lent.
Today, as we receive our Blessed Palm, and give thanks and praise to God, we are given the chance to enter into the spirit of Holy Week. We can take this opportunity to walk with Jesus through this week in all its moods and complexities, and to finally rejoice in the Father’s glory when ‘life’ was re breathed into Jesus His Son: that new life which is offered to everyone which is celebrated on Easter Sunday is refreshed in us.
When we speak about Jesus in the Mass, for example, we use the past tense. “Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life” … “By your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free”. In other words, Jesus has already completed his part of the formula for salvation; now the rest is up to us. Of course, we are not alone in this venture; the Holy Spirit is alive within God’s household, to stir is, guide us and remind us of all that Jesus has said and done. This week is a sacred time; it is up to us whether we wish to enter deeply into the spirit of it or not.
The secular world is well and truly geared up for huge Easter egg sales, Hot Cross Buns, and massive attendances at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney; let alone getaway holidays, BBQ’s at home, and just taking it easy. The beginning and the end of these secular activities is often the $$$$ and relatively short intervals of happiness. … But for us, the end of this week is New Life! A renewed zest in living the Good News, and being part of THE ultimate joy, that God’s plan will always win out, even as it’s opposite forces try to stamp on it. The Faces have changed, but the methods of God, remain the same.
Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega; all time belongs to him, and all the ages; to him be glory and power, through every age for ever. Amen
By his holy and glorious wounds, May Christ Our Lord, guard us and keep us. Amen
May the light of Christ, rising in glory, dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds!
When we enter into the Church’s Liturgy at the Easter Triduum … Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil/Sunday, this newness of life and attentiveness to God’s Mission for us must be nourished and sustained. If we take ‘time out’ as family and individuals to make this journey, the results will be far more lasting for us than from a Chocolate Easter Bunny or a dozen Hot Cross Buns! Lent/ Holy Week is the most important time of the year. It’s all about the fortifying of our inner selves; it is about letting God’s Word shape and reshape our Spirituality so that we can deal with the real issues of day to day life as a Christian. If we let Holy Week pass by as just time off from work, holidays, fishing, camping or just laying around at home….we can’t expect our spiritual selves to deal with anything much. In short, as people, we can become just living objects who just exist, and are generally a pain in the neck to most other people, lacking life and drive….vegetables with legs!
There is a time and place for celebration, but it becomes all the more worthwhile when it has been earned through solid attentiveness to Jesus, who invites us to be truly servants of each other; to be responsive to His constant invitation to be with Him in prayer; to walk the Way of the Cross; and to allow the Cross to speak to our hearts. By entering into this mystery, we can rejoice in our God who loves us into life, and gives us the responsibility through our Baptism, to share it with others.
Now is the time to plan our week! Now is decision time! There will be many inviting alternatives, which could take up our time and promise us rewards. However, this is the week of all weeks in which we as a community, can be renewed through prayerfully and seriously walking the road to Calvary together … and then into the light of Resurrection.
Our reward? A greater alertness to the suffering Christ in His people today, and the strength and quality to be ‘Easter People’ in a world where His Word is still to be proclaimed and heard.
May this week be a source of blessing for all of us.
PRAYER REFLECTION: What Faith does?
Some people think that if you have enough faith life will be plain sailing. But this is not so.
The fact that we can swim doesn’t prevent us from being knocked about by the waves.
In the same way faith doesn’t shield us
from the hard knocks of life or death.
What, then does faith do?
It gives us bearings, and thus enables us
to live in a fragile world
without getting lost or giving in to despair.
Just as swimmers trust that if they don’t panic,
and if they do a few simple things,
then the power of the sea will uphold them.
So believers entrust their lives
to a greater power than us all.
This power is the creative dynamic of God,
who rebreathed new life into his Son at the moment of His Resurrection! We are called to re breathe new life into our sisters and brothers, our Society, our country, our world!
A Pep talk for Palm Sunday year C 2019 by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
We are beginning today the best week in the whole liturgical year. Centuries ago it was called the ‘Great Week’. Nowadays we call it ‘Holy Week’. We follow Jesus every step of the way. We have started with his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where he is welcomed, applauded and acclaimed, by a big crowd of followers. On Thursday we will join him at table and receive the gift of himself in bread and wine. After dining with him we will walk with him along the path that leads from the Upper Room to the Garden of Olives. There we will see him falling to the ground in fear and anxiety about the cruel death that awaits him. Friday will find us standing beside his mother at the foot of the cross, and feeling compassion for him in both his physical agony and his mental torment.
We will be feeling especially some of his sense of being alone and abandoned, betrayed and deserted, not only by friends and followers, but even by God. On Saturday we will be quiet and silent around his tomb, as we remember the injustice, hostility and cruelty, of all those evil men who murdered him. Then, late on Saturday, we will move from the darkness of our journey to the place of the brightly burning fire. There we will join the procession of the great Easter Candle, representing the risen Christ, as he lights up the darkness of our church and lives.
There and then, the pain and sadness of our journey with Jesus to Calvary, will give way to the hope and joy that comes with our awareness. Jesus Christ is not dead and gone. No, he is alive, strong and powerful, alive in himself, and alive in us. And so we will be hearing in our hearts those assuring words that the mystic Juliana of Norwich, in her vision of Christ crucified, heard from his own lips: ‘All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.’ Do we also believe that?
Bro Vicente CP and Fr Brian CP
5th Sunday of Lent Year C 2019. A realhomilie by Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. email@example.com ‘NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU’ said Jesus to the woman.
Every day when we watch the T.V News, or read the Headlines and stories on line, most of the eye catching events are about people getting into trouble. Either this one was caught robbing a Jewelry Shop, or someone has ripped off the Tax Office, and has been caught, or some unfaithfulness in marriage, or some personal argument about a couple players in a Cricket team etc. I wonder if the TV ratings would be the same if they were all good stories about the positive and noble things that people have done?
Most probably the ratings would really slip. There is something within our human nature that gets enjoyment and satisfies our curiosity in seeing someone get caught, and the issue made public. Most certainly there are times when you would hope that some people do get caught for the way that they have gravely disturbed and abused other decent people, through robbery, murder etc.
In today’s Gospel John 8:1-11, we see some excited Scribes and Pharisees, who were really trying to catch Jesus out by using a person, in this instance, a woman, who they really didn’t care about, but abused her by making a spectacle of her in front of the crowd, and in front of Jesus. For the Jewish Leaders they treated her like an object, not a person, in order to satisfy their sinister curiosity. The woman was really used and re abused in order to try and trick Jesus. So, their overall motives were not meritorious….far from it; they were scoundrels! The faces have changed, but their methods remain the same!
Let’s go back to the first reading for a minute…Isaiah 43:16-21 is recalling to the ‘community mind’ of Israel, that the Lord God would always do new deeds, like the deeds that God did in the great Exodus from Egypt, and the initiation of the marriage contract with His people on Sinai…In fact the brotherhood of Isaiah, were looking forward to a time when their God would do new deeds again and again, so that the world order of people would be turned upside down in a totally new way of relating, loving, forgiving and living as a Community in a Marriage relationship with their God. Notice, it is God in Jesus who sets about restoring Israel’s relationship with God. It is always God’s initiative to alert a response in us. Our God breaks a stipulation in the Book of Leviticus, where it says that it is unlawful to receive back and adulterous wife………we, God’s People are the wife….the sometimes adulterous wife; the unfathomable love of God, breaks God’s own law in order to have us back! Doesn’t that cause us to pause? My O My, that in itself is enough from us to respond to the Lenten call…..’Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel.’
PERSONAL REFLECTION TIME:
Do we want to be part of that new world order? Are we daring enough, like the brotherhood of Isaiah to pin all our hopes on our God’s present and future hopeful actions, while the dark clouds of apathy and indifference cover the skies? Do we stay rock solid and become unmovable when it comes to being part of a ‘new deed’ of the Lord? Are we willing to launch out into the deep with Jesus, during the storms taking place in our global village? Or are we prepared to stay on the Wharf were it is seemingly safe and secure? Are we prepared to ask our God in Jesus, to do with us what He wills for the good of all? Are we willing to be unfettered from traditions in the Church, and in Society, so as to be free in order to be faithful to Christ’s call to be a vital part of a ‘new deed’??
In today’s Gospel passage I can’t imagine the Scribes and Pharisees gently and respectfully bringing this lady to Jesus! We can only guess from the tone of their words that she probably would have been jostled, man handled and roughly brought to Jesus. There is an atmosphere created by the Scribes and Pharisees or delight in what they were doing. In short, it was a low act! Here in this Gospel story we see Jesus, the human face of the Father precisely doing a new deed……’neither do I condemn you, go away and sin no more’ Notice Jesus did not give a quick response to their question….they had to wait, they had to stew, and perhaps given the chance to review their condemnation. Jesus turned the tables on the Jewish leaders, and any onlookers who sided with them….’one by one, they left the scene’ because the simple message of Jesus hit the ‘quick’ in all their fingers that pointed in condemnation of the woman.
PERSONAL REFLECTION TIME:
Are we on red alert to catch someone out? Are we more ‘at home’ with negative thoughts about other people than positive ones? Do we sometimes get pleasure in seeing good people being condemned? Even though we fast……this is Lenten Food for thought!
Shauna, with her companion Fr Kevin Walsh