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Reflection for the Feast of Epiphany: Our English word, Epiphany, has its roots in the Greek verb, phainein meaning ‘to show’ or ‘to appear’ or ‘to be seen’. The English word ‘phenomenon’ shares the same roots. The German philosopher, Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), describes that branch of philosophy known as Phenomenology, as the process whereby we endeavour to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’ (Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, Harper & Row, 1962, 58). With the foregoing in mind, we may be better placed to approach the people, events and things of our daily lives with more respect, with an increased capacity to hear what is actually going on, with the prospect of being struck by awe at what comes to light when we refrain from imposing our assumptions, prejudices, idealizations and stereotypes. These are typically born of anxiety and fear and contribute to a thicket of unreality that prevents us from experiencing and affirming what is. Both Christian spirituality and the Christian life itself, in this sense, are pre-eminently phenomenological. That is, when rightly pursued, they endeavour to let the Divine Life ‘which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’ in and through the people, events and things of our days. Thomas Merton expressed beautifully this profound and ultimately incomprehensible thought in a letter of 21 August 1967. He wrote: “We exist solely for this, to be the place He has chosen for His presence, His manifestation in the world, His epiphany” (“A Letter on the Contemplative Life” in Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master – The Essential Writings, edited by Lawrence S Cunningham, Paulist Press, 1992, 425). What a difference it would make if we lived life as epiphany? The “three wise men” of today’s Gospel – see Matthew 2:1-12 – were able to see what was there at Bethlehem because they had the disposition to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’. Herod, on the contrary had no such disposition. Where the wise men saw promise, Herod saw threat. Can we learn anything from this contrast between the wise men and Herod? Are we disposed to people in such a way that we are able to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’? What gets in the way? When we are dealing with the mundane events and things of daily life – especially the really difficult situations – are we able to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’? What gets in the way?

Reflection for the Feast of Epiphany: Our English word, Epiphany, has its roots in the Greek verb, phainein meaning ‘to show’ or ‘to appear’ or ‘to be seen’. The English word ‘phenomenon’ shares the same roots. The German philosopher, Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), describes that branch of philosophy known as Phenomenology, as the process whereby we endeavour to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’ (Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, Harper & Row, 1962, 58). With the foregoing in mind, we may be better placed to approach the people, events and things of our daily lives with more respect, with an increased capacity to hear what is actually going on, with the prospect of being struck by awe at what comes to light when we refrain from imposing our assumptions, prejudices, idealizations and stereotypes. These are typically born of anxiety and fear and contribute to a thicket of unreality that prevents us from experiencing and affirming what is. Both Christian spirituality and the Christian life itself, in this sense, are pre-eminently phenomenological. That is, when rightly pursued, they endeavour to let the Divine Life ‘which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’ in and through the people, events and things of our days. Thomas Merton expressed beautifully this profound and ultimately incomprehensible thought in a letter of 21 August 1967. He wrote: “We exist solely for this, to be the place He has chosen for His presence, His manifestation in the world, His epiphany” (“A Letter on the Contemplative Life” in Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master – The Essential Writings, edited by Lawrence S Cunningham, Paulist Press, 1992, 425). What a difference it would make if we lived life as epiphany? The “three wise men” of today’s Gospel – see Matthew 2:1-12 – were able to see what was there at Bethlehem because they had the disposition to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’. Herod, on the contrary had no such disposition. Where the wise men saw promise, Herod saw threat. Can we learn anything from this contrast between the wise men and Herod? Are we disposed to people in such a way that we are able to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’? What gets in the way? When we are dealing with the mundane events and things of daily life – especially the really difficult situations – are we able to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’? What gets in the way?

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Posted by on January 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Reflection for the Feast of Epiphany: Our English word, Epiphany, has its roots in the Greek verb, phainein meaning ‘to show’ or ‘to appear’ or ‘to be seen’. The English word ‘phenomenon’ shares the same roots. The German philosopher, Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), describes that branch of philosophy known as Phenomenology, as the process whereby we endeavour to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’ (Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson, Harper & Row, 1962, 58). With the foregoing in mind, we may be better placed to approach the people, events and things of our daily lives with more respect, with an increased capacity to hear what is actually going on, with the prospect of being struck by awe at what comes to light when we refrain from imposing our assumptions, prejudices, idealizations and stereotypes. These are typically born of anxiety and fear and contribute to a thicket of unreality that prevents us from experiencing and affirming what is. Both Christian spirituality and the Christian life itself, in this sense, are pre-eminently phenomenological. That is, when rightly pursued, they endeavour to let the Divine Life ‘which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’ in and through the people, events and things of our days. Thomas Merton expressed beautifully this profound and ultimately incomprehensible thought in a letter of 21 August 1967. He wrote: “We exist solely for this, to be the place He has chosen for His presence, His manifestation in the world, His epiphany” (“A Letter on the Contemplative Life” in Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master – The Essential Writings, edited by Lawrence S Cunningham, Paulist Press, 1992, 425). What a difference it would make if we lived life as epiphany? The “three wise men” of today’s Gospel – see Matthew 2:1-12 – were able to see what was there at Bethlehem because they had the disposition to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’. Herod, on the contrary had no such disposition. Where the wise men saw promise, Herod saw threat. Can we learn anything from this contrast between the wise men and Herod? Are we disposed to people in such a way that we are able to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’? What gets in the way? When we are dealing with the mundane events and things of daily life – especially the really difficult situations – are we able to ‘let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself’? What gets in the way?

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Christmas Day 2018. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney, Australia. WAITING! IS WORTH IT IN THE END! kevin.w3@bigpond.com

Advent 5

Christmas, is the reward for waiting: We spend so much time in our lives waiting! We wait to be born! We wait to grow up; we wait for love to come into our lives, we wait to see our children grow etc. On the day to day level, we wait in endless queues at the Post Office, Woolworths, and then on the telephone as we are continually being told that ‘your call is important to us, you have moved along in the queue’, and so on. Waiting is part of life, and we can make valuable use of it or we can drive ourselves mad by trying to fight it! I have been prone to being a little impatient at times…to say the least, so I am no model of this virtue. However, waiting gives us the prime time to prepare for important moments, especially personal growth, and personal examination as to what drives us, and what is the real meaning in living life to the fullest happens while we wait!

Advent Jesus is the reason

During Advent, God’s Word has led us on a pilgrimage of ‘waiting’ episodes. The ‘waiting’ that took place during and up till the time of Our Lord’s birth, was a test in more ways than one for Israel. However, the ‘faithful few’…the Anawim (the poor of the Lord God), reaped the benefits of waiting as the Lord God’s promise was fulfilled in the birth of a Baby, named Jesus. Christmas is the reward for waiting.

Advent joy time

Christmas is a time of hope: The prophets of doom have never had it so good! It seems that the world thrives on ‘bad news’ Television News programs increase their ratings when the most gruesome of stories can be told while we are having our Tea (Supper, Evening Meal in Australia) within the comfort of our own home. Yet, every now and then we see a really good story, and uplifting moment when people are truly reaching for their potential and are supported by others or inspired by them. We say to ourselves….’isn’t it great to see some ‘good news’?

Advent 3 joy

When all seemed lost for God’s people, we see that God is always faithful to His promises. In looking forward to a time when a young woman of marriageable age would bear a son, who would be called, Emmanuel…God-is-with-us, that took some waiting! Our Lady is a sign of hope, and a model of faith for us, the flowing Lily of the Anawim and the representative of the faithful few….Only real trust in God’s Word is lived in hope….’Let what you have said be done unto me’. Nothing is impossible to God!

images Annunciation

In our world of today, the faces have changed, but the message remains the same…..’Let what you have said be done unto me’ is an evergreen wisdom saying which bears fruit…the fruits of Hope. We are called to be people of hope in the midst of seeming hopelessness. Evil may seem to triumph so often, but the fruits of hope are mostly not seen nor heard; but we know it happens, and it begins always with us. Christmas is a time of hope.

Advent knocker

Christmas is a moment of challenge: God’s Word to humanity has always, is, and will be a challenge. If there was no challenge, there would be no everlasting value. Christmas challenged the world of Mary and Joseph; there was no place for them to stay while she who was with child could give birth. When all seemed lost; and there was no room in the Inn, the Stable became ‘home’. This time and place is the opposite of what the world sees as greatness, yet again, God’s ways are not always our ways. Greatness is not seen in foot washing either, yet the Jug of water, the towel, ministered by the Word made flesh, are the real symbols of true greatness. Jesus invites us to copy his example.

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Jesus, the human face of the Father being born to us, was an immediate challenge to King Herod! The quest for power is the opposite of servanthood, and again the action of God causes a challenge for all of us. In our place of work, in our relationships with other people, in our acceptance or rejection of new comers to our land, in our response to be living editions of the Good News, or being part of the Dog eat Dog attitude which shows up every now and then in our society. Some of these attitudes might be related to King Herod’s problems. Christmas is always a moment of challenge.

Reconciliation th7100C90I

Christmas is an opportunity for reconciliation: Within that wonderful word, Reconciliation, is conciliation. Conciliation comes from its Latin root meaning ‘a desire to meet’. So therefore before any lasting reconciliation there has to be that desire, otherwise it can all be ‘window dressing.’ Christmas can be a time of deep sadness for families due to various forms of estrangement or divisions. Some of these rifts between people may only be healed in the next life. Sometimes the pain can run so deep. It can be a form of window dressing to say to oneself…’ well all is forgiven…let’s start again.’ Maybe because the again and again has worn thin. However, we can let that inner sadness simmer for years like a Slow Cooker, and it can either make us bitter, or more loving. Some of the greatest lovers in this world are those who have suffered much. Lest we forget, that ‘the greatest sign of God’s love is His Passion and Cross.’ Says St. Paul of the Cross.

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The desire to meet each other is the first step to reconciliation; maybe that opportunity might arise for us during this Christmas time.

Christmas is a time of celebration:
The various Christmas Carols bristle with Joy! All that the Lord God had said in the Old Testament become flesh in the Living Word – Jesus! Glory to God in the Highest, and peace to His people on earth!

Advent 6

The people who walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone……Lord Jesus Christ you are the light of the world, you are the corner stone and our centre. Light of Christ, light flaming bright burn in our hearts Holy Fire. It is that ‘fire’ within that sparks the celebration. The Christmas Masses, especially Midnight Mass, has that extra special electric feeling of Holy Joy. Then there are the family celebrations at home with relatives and friends. Once again there can be the sadness of empty chairs due to members of our family going off to the Lord’s loving embrace through the gateway of death, or have gone overseas for Holidays. There can also be the sadness of being thousands of miles away from our families who live overseas. This aspect rings true for my family, and most families these days. May that spark of ‘fire’ continue to be kindled through the coming New Year? May God’s Word be a light for our path at all times, and may we continue to be nourished, through regular Sacramental moments, carried by His Word with our community-the living body of Christ into the Mission of bringing Heaven to Earth!

Advent 1 C

God sent His Angels to Shepherds to herald the great joy of our Savior’s birth. May he fill you with joy and make us heralds of his Good News, today, tomorrow and always. Amen.

Christ's body

 

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4th Sunday of Advent Year C. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. kevin.w3@bigpond.com COME, LORD JESUS!

 COME, LORD JESUS!

Christmas shopping

Here we are at the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and only a couple of days till the Christmas Celebration! According to the Television News, this is going to be a bumper time ( Big Sales) for the Shops and Department Stores…the economy is starting to move, good times are coming, while the Australian $ is way above it’s worth! Come, Lord Jesus!!The weather here in Eastern Australia is topsy turvy (Upside Down, inconsistent) …one day cold, the next day hot! Flooding Rains, and mainly a sunburnt country. What about the tourist industry that we depend on so much for income, if the weather is not going to perform nicely for us? Come, Lord Jesus! What about the plight of the poor people in Pacific Islands of Samoa and Fiji; divested by the recent Cyclones? What about the distraught people in Syria who are constantly in the middle of dreadful warfare? Come, Lord Jesus! What about the Holy Land….the place of Christ’s birth where the sound of gun fire and rocket grenades takes the place of Church Bells? Come, Lord Jesus is the Advent cry of God’s people!!!! Maranatha!!!!!!!!!

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The link between the close of Advent, and the Birth of Christ, bursts forth in joy with humility, in the sharing of the Word, within the context of visitation! With our God, the impossible becomes possible! The Prophet Micah 5: 1-4 in our First Reading, lifts up the ‘faithful few’ in hope who were looking forward intently to God’s saving action as he says, ‘ You, Bethlehem, the least of the clans of Judah, out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule over Israel’. What would that ‘rule’ be like? Would it be that of the pursuit of power and glory, and local domination? No! In the Prophet’s final words today he says,’ He (the promised One) himself will be peace’.

Advent Jesus is the reason

In the Gospel Luke 1:39-44, we see Mary as not only the representative of the New Israel and the ‘faithful few’, who longed for the fulfilment of God’s promises; she was about 15-16 years of age!! Her “Yes” to God’s invitation was nurtured through her pondering, and inner hopeful expectancy, that God is doing a new deed in an era, which lacked that general expectancy! Have the times changed? The short answer is NO! After receiving the mind blowing news that God was going to overshadow her with blessedness, and she was to be the Christ-bearer, through the birth of the Emmanuel, “ God-is-with-us”, she immediately responds with loving sensitivity to be with her older cousin, in her time of seeing the impossible become possible. The meeting of these two women at the Visitation is truly a moment when God’s Spirit rejoices. As St Luke and the community who weaved the story of this precious moment says:’ Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’ And blessed are we who believe, and know that God will never let us down; no matter how much darkness may be in the skies of our lives.

Christmas stars

Like a shooting star, the saving hand of God can surprise us and beckon us with light and love at the most unexpected times, and through the most unusual people and circumstances.

Christmas invites us to be people of ‘visitation;’ to be bearers of God’s love, to respond to the inner stirrings which call us to ‘make haste’ to be with someone. Christmas invites us to listen with the heart, through deep sensitivity, and like Mary, to be people who are alert to the opportunities in daily life which urge us to cross the hills of indifference, and intolerance, and celebrate with joy in Him who calls us to be the ‘Living Word’ every day.

Advent joy time
‘Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face in our sisters and brothers, and we shall be saved.’

 

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img_f0125012aa1 Christmas

 

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3rd Sunday of Advent year C 2018. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY! (Song by Bobby McFerrin) kevin.w3@bigpond.com

Advent 2

What is our image of God? I am sure that for each of us, lots of different pictures may come into our minds. For many, the name ‘God’ conjures up thoughts of: “Watch out, I am keeping an eye on you?” Is it an eye of love, or an eye for judgment? In the first reading today from the Old Testament, we hear about a God who sings! A God who laughs, and a God of Dance! (Zephaniah 3:18)

It can come as a bit of a surprise to know that we have a joyfully singing God! I must say that when I was growing up, that notion never dawned on me; nobody talked about it, and I didn’t know much from the Scriptures either. Thanks to Fr.Robert Crotty CP, who taught us in our Formation House; he inspired us with his teaching of Scripture, his eyes would fill up, when he spoke to us about our God of the dance…. When you think about it, it’s really a powerful metaphor; one that captures God’s joy in being what God is good at being, a God who saves!

St. Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4), but today, we learn that it’s God who leads the way by doing it first with loud, joyful singing. God in fact delights in rescuing us from our fears, from our estrangement from each other, and in so doing; we have an experience of “salvation”. The words from Anne Murray’s Song: YOU NEEDED ME; can assist us in seeing the depth to which our God will go, to save us. She says: ‘You held my hand, when it was cold, when I was lost, you took me home, and you gave me hope, when I was at the end, and turned my lies back into truth again, You even called me friend…somehow you needed me.’ In this instance, the one who saves, in fact needs the one who is being saved!

Advent 3 joy

Today is most certainly called: REJOICING SUNDAY! Or in Latin it is called: “Gaudete Sunday”, because there is a lot to be happy about, and that happiness can stay with us, live in us, and be contagious for others forever. This evening on Sydney Television, a lady won $100,000 in a Quiz show; she was over the moon with happiness, and so she should, but that kind of happiness is transient, it’s on the move, the money will eventually run out…..what will make this person happy again……win another $100,000; but we all know that generally won’t happen. That is not the kind of Joy or Rejoicing that we celebrate this Sunday, and deep down we all know that. However, it is beneficial for us to revisit the finer threads of God’s Word in the three Readings so that we can be renewed from within, so that the Advent invitation of Maranatha….Come, Lord Jesus, is refreshed, and refashioned in us, due to the evergreen invitations which are constantly within The Word, thus resulting in transforming responses, which mould us into the living image of Christ the Suffering Servant.

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In the First Reading Zephaniah 3:14-18, it sounds like the Prophet is almost out of breath as he makes this pronouncement…It is more or less like a child-like expression of the real Wow factor! There is so much to say in a short time…..but look how it is promulgated? Many years ago, and for me it is almost Old Testament times when I was a young Seminarian in Melbourne Victoria, Australia, I remember that Carey Landry came on down to Australia for Liturgical Music Seminars. The Music that he put to some of these words from the first reading was a real blast! Some of you who are old enough will remember…….” And the Father will Dance!!!!!” it was fantastic for us because we were actually getting excited about these excitable Words…God’s Words. Why? ‘The Lord your God is in your midst!’ So we have nothing to fear! We certainly need to hear these Words again these days!

Advent joy Therese.JPG

Let’s not forget similar words spoken by St. Teresa of Avila:-

Nade te turbe, nade te espante: quien a Dios tiene nada le falta.
Nada te turbe, nada te espante: solo Dios basta.

Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you:
whoever has God lacks nothing.
Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you:
God alone is enough.

Advent Jesus is the reason.JPG

The Responsory needs a mention; notice that it is not a Psalm? Isaiah 12:2-6 But it is written like a song of praise! The Stanzas of this Song give the community, reasons for their response. May I suggest that where possible we could do well to pause after the first reading so that our personal response may bubble to the surface, and then with one voice with the community we mystically gather all our responses into one response…in this case, CRY OUT WITH JOY AND GLADNESS: FOR AMONG YOU IS THE GREAT AND HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL. Says it for us as the Living Body of Christ.

Advent joy time.JPG

In the Second Reading, St. Paul Philippians 4: 4-7 pastorally encourages the young Church at Philippi to be happy, because there is a very profound reason for being happy. It is a timeless prayer! We are besieged so often with reasons not to be happy…In fact the Television News each night is full of reasons not to be happy……yet, it sells and gathers ratings. Every now and then we might see an extraordinary act of kindness from someone who does not count the cost….and in our heart of hearts, we say to ourselves….”Isn’t that great!!!!” with a smile on our face. We are to be people of optimism!

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It can be an ungainly habit to be a ‘knocker, as we say in Australia.’ That is someone who always looks for the negative side of any positive suggestion that is presented. Not only does that get on one’s nerves, as it does me, but these people are not generally happy and open folk. Here we see St. Paul with his tremendous understanding of human nature speaking about tolerance; the importance of praying with thanksgiving before one’s prayer is answered, and above all that true and unmistakable SHALOM ADONAI will guard and guide us. Why not take some time this week to spend just 10 mins away from Mobile Phones, Tablets, iPod and iPad, and anything else that has an i in front of it…to spend some ‘we time’, with the Lord, as you saunter down the Lanes of your Heart, with a sense of thanksgiving as you re discover the saving hand of God at work in your personal Gospel story.

Well, what are the words that God sings aloud in us? They are forgiveness, peace, love, gentleness, justice, integrity, and dignity. They are the fiery and cleansing Word of the Spirit that gives life, where there is none, destroys death wherever it reigns that strengthens weary hands, and gives victory to the oppressed. To each of us, this Word comes as freedom: the song to be shared with others, a song whose musical tones and harmony enable the best to come forth from each other. It is a song that enables people to feel “special”…it is a song that issues forth from us through our smiles, our words of genuine concern; it is a song that remembers those who may feel forgotten! We are never alone; as the Response to the Psalm says: ‘cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.’ (Isaiah 12:6)

Advent what must we do.JPG

In the Gospel story today Luke 3:10-18, the people in Our Lord’s time, in Luke and his communnitys’ time and our time, as the same question: WHAT MUST WE DO?
To conclude, I have something special for us…this little reflection…..someone gave it to me, but I don’t know who composed it. In the Gospel this Sunday, the question is asked of John the Baptist…’ What must we do?’ This reflection might help us in answering the question.
ADVENT GARDENING…What must we do!
(Live well with the produce of your garden.)

3rd Sunday of Advent Garden Peas
First, plant four rows of peas.
Pray.
Perseverance
Politeness.
Promptness.

3rd Sunday of Advent Garden Squash
Next to them plant three rows of Squash.
Squash gossip.
Squash Criticism.
Squash indifference.

3rd Sunday of Advent Garden Lettuce

Then plant lettuce.
Let us be truthful.
Let us be loyal.
Let us be faithful.
Let us love one another.

3rd Sunday of Advent Garden Turnips
No garden is complete without turnips.
Turn up for the Sunday Eucharist.
Turn up for Community Reconciliation.
Turn up for ‘Prayer and Christmas Carols’
Turn up for Parish sharing & evaluation.
Turn up to celebrate with the community.
Turn up on time!
Turn off your Mobile ‘phone before you pray with
Your local Parish or Cathedral Community.

Kevin in Church 11885075_10205132408778378_3148389988296886400_n

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

GETTING READY FOR CHRISTMAS: 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT C Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia

One day a preacher on the Melbourne Yarra Bank tried to make real for his listeners, the message of John the Baptist today. ‘If you had two houses,’ he said, ‘you would give one of them away to the poor, wouldn’t you?’ ‘Oh, yes,’ said the man closest to him, I certainly would.’ The preacher went on: ‘And if you had two motor cars, you would keep one and give the other away, wouldn’t you?’ ‘Yes, of course’, said the same man. The preacher continued. ‘And if you had two shirts, you would give one away, wouldn’t you?’ ‘Just a minute,’ said the man this time, ‘I haven’t got two houses. I haven’t got two motor cars. But I have got two shirts. I’m not so sure now that I would give one away.’

This time the message hit home. Here was something personal, something pointed, something practical. Here was a real challenge that triggered off a genuine struggle to respond to the demands of the message.

Something like this is happening to the people who go out to the desert to listen to the preaching of John the Baptist. He implores them to turn away from sin and turn to God, and to express their sorrow for their sins and be forgiven by being washed in the waters of the Jordan River. He is offering them what they know deep down they really need – a brand new start, a brand new way of living. But they are not sure what it all entails.

The people in general and particular groups among them ask John the same question: ‘What must we do, then?’ They receive answers which boil down to three straight-forward rules of life: – 1. Share with others both food and clothing. 2. Be fair and just in your dealings with others, never cheating anyone. 3. Don’t bully others or push them around.

baptist.jpg St. John the Baptist

The power of John’s preaching and personality makes a deep impression on the crowds. They begin to ask one another: ‘Can this be God’s chosen leader, the messiah?’ John puts them right: ‘I have washed you with water,’ he says, ‘as a sign that your hearts should be made clean. But someone stronger than I is on his way; I am not good enough even to bend down like a slave and untie his sandals. He will bring you the full power of God, the Holy Spirit. He’ll really change your mind, your heart, your attitudes, your behaviour, your whole self. He’ll be like a farmer at harvest when, wooden shovel in hand, he’s cleaning the grain on his threshing floor – storing the wheat in the barn and making a bonfire of the straw.’

Advent 5

This message of John the Baptist hits the spot with us. We are living in the time of the first coming of the Messiah, his coming at Bethlehem. Right now we are preparing to celebrate his birth, and, as our Opening Prayer puts it today, to celebrate it with love and thanksgiving.

So, our time of preparation for the feast of Christmas is much more than getting in the goodies for eating and drinking and making merry on Christmas Day. It’s a time for heeding the message of John the Baptist on the meaning of God’s special coming into our lives in the person of His Son.

Advent 6

So we are led to ask ourselves. 1. How widely and deeply will I share with other people this Christmas, especially with those who are the poorest and the most neglected in my community? 2. How fair and just am I going to be with the people in my life? 3. Will I stop once and for all putting others down, hurting their feelings, or bossing them around?

‘The Lord is very near,’ St Paul reminds us in the second Reading. So near in fact that the other Readings insist: ‘The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst’, and ‘among you is the great and Holy One of Israel’.

Advent 2

The presence and the gift of Jesus Christ to us invite us to make a triple response. In the first place, God says to us in the Readings, ‘Shout for joy … shout aloud’, ‘cry out with joy and gladness’, ‘rejoice, exult with all your heart’, ‘be happy, always happy in the Lord’. In the second place, God asks us to change our lives, as John the Baptist has suggested. In the third place, God suggests that we pray: ‘There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it …’

Advent 3 joy.JPG

As we move now from the celebration of the Word of God to our meeting with Jesus in the bread and wine of the Eucharist, let us remember the triple response to the coming of Christ which God invites. 1. Let us rejoice, 2. let us ask God for whatever we need, and 3. let us open our hearts and lives to living as both John the Baptist and Jesus the Messiah have taught us to live.

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson

Bro Vicente CP with Fr Brian Gleeson CP

33 b 2018 9

 

2nd Sunday of Advent Year C, 2018. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. PREPARE A WAY FOR THE LORD! kevin.w3@bigpond.com

 

 

On this the second Sunday of Advent, we hear the shout from John the Baptist…’Prepare a way for the lord, make his paths straight’. Is it like the sound of the man at the entrance to Wynyard Station here in Sydney, who shouts out the headlines…?’ Read all about it, people from outer space captured!” Would we really hear the man’s voice with that stunning news? Would that be enough for us to scramble among all the other people to get a copy of the newspaper? Or just saunter down to the station, keeping our wits about us, just in case we get tripped up by some person riding a scooter or texting on their Mobile ‘phone! Maybe the words, “people from outer space” might trigger our minds, and cause us to: ’Read all about it’. Why? Perhaps it might have an impact on us!

Let’s have a look at the first Reading, and again the three readings are thematically connected during Advent. The Prophet Baruch’s 5:1-9 proclamation is fantastic! God’s Word is so rich in content and import; and again, it is totally evergreen. It is for all seasons and ages….the faces have changed, but the message remains the same! No matter how gloomy and dark our world and its people can become, our God is Lord of all, overall and God’s mercy and integrity are our escort!

In the second Reading, Philippians 1:3-6.8-11, if you listen carefully as you meditatively read it, you will hear the gentle-strength in the Apostle Paul. We cannot help but be touched by his sincere love for the fledgling Philippian Church. His pastoral letter to this community is so uplifting, isn’t it? As I suggested in last week’s realhomilie, what another example for Leaders to flesh out Pastoral letters to the Church of today, using the Pauline way as a menu………….Notice his prayer for the community…….’ Is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception, so that you can always recognize what is best……’ What a wonderful prayer for the Church as it meets Christ unexpectedly, every day. Look how personal it is! Much more personal than a Christmas card in the mail, and the sender’s signature part of the printing……

Today’s Gospel 3:1-6, Luke paints a vivid picture of a man with a mission! His name is John! His message is: “Change your ways; Repent!” Does that impact on us? He quotes the Prophet Isaiah from the Old testament:” Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight!” But how was the Lord going to appear? Would he manifest himself like a meteor blazing a trail across the heavens before losing itself once again within the infinite galaxies? Would people perhaps glimpse him only for an instant before darkness closed in upon our world once again? No! For this “Word” who quietly and gently came into our world would be born in the poverty of a stable; lying in an animal’s feeding box for his bed. What heat there was, came from the breath of the animals, the love that nurtured Him, was from the hearts of Mary and Joseph as well as the inquisitive Shepherds, and the wise men from the East.

Advent 5

The Word was made flesh; Jesus the human face of the Father is the Emmanuel of Isaiah 7:14….’God is with us!’ Maybe it is the hills in our hearts, and the valleys within our being which need to be leveled, and filled in. The words of our Opening Prayer today say it all: ‘God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom, and become one with him when he comes in glory…’

May we continue with our self-appraisal in this time of Advent, using the Gospel of Jesus as our Invitation and Guide. May we have a complete ‘change of heart’ so that nothing may hinder us from seeing, and receiving Jesus in one another, and in ourselves.

Advent 1 C

Beginning Advent…..

What does it mean that we do this again?

Four weeks, four candles, ‘the people who walk in darkness” Looking for light?

What does it mean that we do this again-?

We who rush through everything who sometimes hardly notice where we are.

Having to slow ourselves enough to light one candle at a time and to understand what it is for?

4th Advent Candles 2

What does it mean that we do this again-?

Proclaiming yet once more the One whose birth we’ve

Announced every year

As long as we can remember?

Are we such creatures of habit that we’ll keep a festival?

For no good reason?

Christmas stars

Or can it possibly be that He keeps being born?

Probably so. Most assuredly so.

Otherwise the “again” would have no power for us.

But in our one candle hearts our ever-waiting-for-the-Christ candle hearts,

We somehow know that all the power is in the “again”.

The Word becomes flesh….and the people who walk in darkness rejoice again.

kevin-3

Heart Flame 4

 

 

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