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1st Sunday of Advent Year B, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN! COME, LORD JESUS!

1st Sunday of Advent Year B, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN! COME, LORD JESUS!

1st Sunday of Advent 1

Advent is a great time in the Church’s Year, but it is a bit of a challenge for us here in Australia, and living in the Southern Hemisphere. However, when I was stationed at St.Joseph’s in Hobart, Tasmania, a small island state in southern Australia we had three years of white Christmases! When I was stationed overseas, many people said to me that they would find it just so difficult having Christmas in Summer, as well as holidays looming for the kids, and also for many parents as well at Christmas time. In Australia the environment of all the flowers blooming, and the heat….well, for this year we are still waiting for it! I suppose that picks up the Advent theme of waiting….. In the Northern hemisphere, I enjoyed the Advent Liturgical season so much, because the climate etc was in tune, and the desire for the days getting shorter was just so real! I had better stop day dreaming, and get on with it!

Sydney’s Bondi Beach in Advent, 2017.

Let’s look at the Gospel passage for today. There seems to be an unsettled anticipation to be on the alert, keep watch; we do not know when the Lord will return. He could show up at any tick of the clock! For the Thessalonian Church, St.Paul had to give the people a swift reminder not to just sit around and wait, but get on with living the message, or don’t eat! That certainly put some reality into their response to Christ. For the early Church, they had to come to grips with the fact that the Kingdom of God is among them, among us, yet not complete, till the Lord Jesus comes in Glory. We live in between times….

Maranatha

It seems that there are two messages in the Gospel today. First; we don’t know when the Lord Jesus will return in glory, but it will happen. Second; we have the opportunity to meet Christ everyday in our sisters and brothers, in His proclaimed Word, and in Sacrament. The Gospel passage is as relevant today as it was when it was first proclaimed. We cannot rest on our laurels nor have a holiday from the Christian Life. Advent seems to be like the fine tuner that we used to have on our portable Radios; remember the smaller dial underneath the bigger dial for tuning into a station? I think that Advent has allot to do with fine tuning our responses, to meeting the Lord every day, and by doing that, we will be ready when the Lord does come in glory.

4th Advent Mary and the Angel

Now let us go back to the first reading from the Old Testament. Here we see the Prophet Isaiah, and his community calling out to the Lord God to ‘be with’ His people in a new way! Within this cry, we see a fundamental element of contrition emerge from within Israel…..then there is an acknowledgement of who they are in relation to the Lord God. In short, the faces have changed, but the message remains the same……a true and real contrite heart knows that God is the Potter, and we are the clay, fashioned by the Lord God’s saving hand!

Let’s stay with that metaphor of the Potter, and the clay for a little while. The making of Pottery has always interested me, and in the 1990’s when I was ministering in Israel, and Jordan, I had the fantastic opportunity of seeing a Potter at work at the back of his shop in Amman. It was by a fluke that I called into this shop during the afternoon ‘sleep time’. You see in Jordan, no one has to lock their shops……why? If you steal, and get caught, the family who owns the premises has the right to chop one’s right hand off, ASAP! Yes, I know what it is like to live under Islamic law….. (By the way, I still have both my hands, just in case you were worried about me…..) Anyhow, I dropped into this shop because the door was open! I was wearing my Religious Habit at the time, and I was welcomed in by the Moslem Family who were reclining at the back of the shop. But there was this old man at the Wheel fashioning a pottery Jar! The people could not speak English, but we didn’t need language, we used gestures, smiles and my excitement seemed to calm their fears. The old man could not leave his wheel because he was creating!!!!! But his son called me to come closer, and to look at what was happening. He could see that I was very interested in the process. The young man pointed to his Dad’s head, and then pointed to the pottery in the making….I could understand that the old man had an image of what he wanted to create, but it seems that surprises seem to often pop up. Sometimes a so called flaw in the pottery can be fashioned into something beautiful. I was taken around the shop to look at the most beautiful showcase of Pottery. I noticed that every object of pottery was different; no two were the same! How good is that? That’s us….no two are the same….even identical twins are different….check out their finger prints!

This experience in the Pottery shop in Amman, taught me just so much about its meaning in the Scriptures where clay and pottery is mentioned. This opened up a whole new world of understanding for me, and hopefully this adventure is contagious for you too right now!

One more thing that I noticed in the Pottery shop….there were no signs on the Jars saying, WATER or FLOUR…no, there were pictures etched into the Pottery of an Oasis with Palms, Camels, and people drinking…..that Jar was to contain water. And the pictures went on and on. So, in order to know what was inside the jar, one has to stop and be attentive to the external picture. How good is that? We need to take time and read each other, and not just make harsh assumptions about someone, without taking the time also to look inside, and being respectful, because we are all the work of God’s hands. However, we need to read, and investigate and see the Lord Jesus in our midst. Often, the Lord is in the most unexpected people and places. Advent is a remind for us to STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN, to the various ways that God speaks to us in Jesus. If we have wild music blaring in our ears through those little blue tooth headphones all the time, while ‘on the go’, we have buckley’s chance of hearing the Lord speaking to us, inviting us through the sounds of silence.

To finish off……how about a starter at the fine tuning for Advent…..how about we make a Garden; and Advent Garden, seeing that we are in the Southern Hemisphere?

(Live well with the produce of your garden.)

3rd Sunday of Advent Garden Lettuce

First, plant four rows of peas.
Pray.
Perseverance
Politeness.
Promptness.
Next to them plant three rows of Squash.
Squash gossip.
Squash Criticism.
Squash indifference.
Then plant lettuce.
Let us be truthful.
Let us be loyal.
Let us be faithful.
Let us love one another.
No garden is complete without turnips.
Turn up for the Eucharist.
Turn up for Community Advent Reconciliation. (Check out your Parish Bulletin)
Turn up for ‘Prayer’ at home with the family.
Turn up for sharing & evaluation.
Turn up to celebrate with the
Community….who needs an occasion?
Turn up on time!
Turn off your Mobile ‘phone before you pray with the community!

3rd Sunday of Advent Garden Turnips

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Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia.

kevin.w3@bigpond.com

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1st Sunday of Advent, Year B, 2017. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. WAITING AND HOPING.

1st Sunday of Advent, Year B, 2017. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. WAITING AND HOPING.

1st Sunday of Advent 1

A woman stands at the end of a pier. Her eyes scan the far horizon. She is waiting and longing for her husband’s ship to reach port. A father climbs to a lookout on the top of a hill. He is hoping and longing to see his younger son come home to his family. A little girl puts out a glass of Coca Cola for Father Christmas, hoping that that he will leave her a doll. A young married couple is waiting and longing for the birth of their first child. An old man, sitting alone in a nursing home, has been waiting for three years for his only daughter to visit him. All these people are waiting and hoping for their dreams to come true. But they are powerless to make them come true. All they can do is to wait and to keep on waiting.

Waiting, in fact, is a big part of our lives. ‘I can’t wait to see you,’ we say. Or someone says to us, ‘I will wait for you,’ or ‘wait over there, please’, or more sharply, ‘you wait your turn’.

Hoping too is a big part of life. Waiting and hoping are closely related. If we are waiting, we are also hoping that what we are waiting for will really happen. ‘I hope Mum gets well soon,’ we say. ‘I hope I passed that exam.’ ‘I hope it’s nothing serious.’ ‘I hope you have a nice time.’ ‘I hope the wars in Iraq and Syria will end soon.’ ‘I hope to see you soon.’ If we are hoping, we know too that if we don’t or won’t wait, our hopes may be dashed.

Today, the First Sunday of Advent, we begin New Year’s Day in the Church. During the four weeks of Advent we notice that our church community puts strong emphasis on waiting and hoping, waiting and hoping for the coming of God into our lives, waiting and hoping for the presence and help of God within all the pain and darkness of life.

4th Sunday of Advent Candls

Once when Mother Teresa was visiting the USA she was asked which virtue Americans need the most. She was expected to say ‘charity’, but she answered that what they need most of all is hope. When quizzed about her answer, she said that too many people have lost hope. The same may be said more or less, surely, about ourselves.

But perhaps we haven’t so much lost hope as misplaced it. Perhaps we have placed our hope on what cannot fulfil our deepest longings and needs. We have been told that if we just work hard, postpone some immediate gratifications, and wait patiently, then our dream will surely come true. The dream that promises us a beautiful house, a late model car, a wonderful paying job, a perfect partner in life and a perfect family! But perhaps far from being the great dream, this may become the big illusion.

Dreams motivate us to keep on hoping, but illusions are really false hopes that can end only in disappointment and frustration. To be spared living with illusions, our Advent readings today tell us to be watchful as well as waiting. But before we can be watchful, our readings also tell us, we must be wide awake. But if we find ourselves racing around frantically trying to get the most out of every minute, buying every labour-saving device on the market, talking nearly non-stop on our mobile phones, shopping for Christmas till we just about drop, we might think that we are wide awake. But the Word of God today suggests that to be so busy that we ignore the presence of God in our lives and of the plans of God for us, we are actually asleep. Then, maybe, we are just living with illusions.

So the prophet Isaiah reminds us of our deep-down need to stop living life as though we are in complete control, and to let God take charge of our lives. By letting God mould us and shape us! He is speaking for you and for me in all our busyness when he says to God: ‘Lord, you are our Father; we the clay, you the potter, we are all the work of your hand.’

What a wonderful prayer to keep saying to God in Advent! What a wonderful thought to keep us peaceful and focussed on the true meaning of Advent – waiting and hoping for the coming of Christ into our lives! As at Bethlehem, at the end of time, and in the here and now! Let’s hear and say it once again: ‘Lord, you are our Father; we the clay, you the potter, we are all the work of your hand.’

The message of our readings is very clear and very relevant: – ‘stay awake’, and ‘watch out’. Why? Lest the spirit of Advent and Christmas, the spirit of goodwill to all, the spirit of joy, peace and calmness, the spirit of generosity and love, the very spirit of prayer, be snuffed out of our hearts and lives by the false spirits of consumerism and materialism.

Those two demons are never far away. Always waiting to pounce on our consciousness and invade our choices. So everything I’ve been stressing is summed up in that marvellous ending to that prayer we pray in every Eucharist – our prayer for deliverance from evil of every kind: ‘… we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ’. Let’s pray it with special fervour today!

4th Advent Candles 2

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Advent! What does it mean? By Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. COME, LORD JESUS!

Advent! What does it mean? By Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. COME, LORD JESUS!

1st Sunday of Advent 1

Happy New Year! The Church’s calendar begins today. The word “Advent” means “coming” and starts with a message similar to the theme of last week’s Mass. Be ready and watch for the coming of Jesus. However, it means a little more than just coming; it conveys to us an expectancy within the person waiting. This can be understood in three ways.

4th Advent shepherds 6

First, we anticipate Christ’s advent on Christmas. We go beyond the materialism of the modern world by a focus on the real meaning of the feast: God enters human existence in a totally personal way.

11th Sunday year C 9

Second, we look forward to Jesus’ arrival in our lives through the blossoming of our faith and the insight we have as pure ‘gift’ to see God’s saving work at hand in Christ within His Word, Sacrament and Community. Thus in a mystical way we bring his body into the world through our union with him also in the communion of saints.

judgment Christ the King

Finally, we speculate on the end of this universe at the conclusion of time. The universe is not self-sustaining. Eventually it will terminate in some sort of extinction. Time is finite. It will reach a culmination either in a vast cataclysm or total dissolution. Then the real universe will begin in God.
So, welcome to Year B! During Advent and Lent, the three Readings in the Liturgy of the Word are linked….see if you can see and hear the links!

 

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.

Gods Word th36RKBOOR

It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in our being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link.

Gods word 2

 

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34th Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. EXAM TIME! HAVE WE BEEN STUDIOUS?

34th Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. EXAM TIME! HAVE WE BEEN STUDIOUS?

 

Christ the King

Today’s Gospel contains the questions on our exam papers when we die! Please note that the questions will be very materialistic. We will be asked about a slice of bread, a glass of water, or an overcoat. It is very important that we understand the implications of living and being “Good News” on this Feast of Christ the King.

Jesus takes whatever we do for others as being done to him. Like St. Paul, we have never met Jesus in the flesh, as he looked and appeared to his Apostles. We meet him now in the shape of others, whether he is happy, rejected, or marginalised.

Christ the teacher thM6Z3UGMC

It is interesting to hear those on his right being puzzled when Jesus told them all they had done for him. They were givers by Christian instinct; they were ordinary good people, who didn’t know what it was like not to be good. They were generous people, who could not be mean if they tried. They didn’t see themselves as exceptional, and they certainly weren’t always conscious that it was Jesus who was the recipient of their kindness. This is real virtue, because it becomes so ingrained as to become second nature. Their giving was never of a showy nature, where they sought the praise and approval of others.

The questions on the exam paper are so simple. ‘ I was hungry…thirsty….naked…in prison….a stranger…and what did you do about it?

The group on his left were amazed to find that they had not done what was expected, because they probably never gave a thought to others anyhow, and such actions were not within the range of their thinking.

Jesus washing the feet thBQ6O7DS4

With our final exam, we at least have the questions before time, and it is up to us to answer them through our Christ-like attitudes and actions. Fortunately, we are given the Sacramental nourishment for this journey through life to God. We have food for thought in God’s Word, and we have the opportunity to live the answers in a genuine way within a community, which we call Christian!

We don’t have to go far to find someone who is hungry for a word of encouragement, or who is in the prison of depression, of loneliness, bereavement or despair. They are all around us, and we can be one of them too!

6th Sunday after Easter Year A Go tell the world

The Feast of Christ the Universal King, is a timely reminder to us that the Kingdom that Jesus speaks about, and calls us to, is not a Kingdom of power, oppression and glory. It is about loving service, encouragement of each other’s giftedness, forgiveness, love, peace and seeking God’s will in all things, and being Christ to onenaother.

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Go and tell my people that I love them,
Go and show them that I love them, Go and gather them together as one family and bring them back to me.

Fr Kevin Walsh
Email: kevin.w3@bigpond.com Web:https://realhomilies.wordpress.com/

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34th Sunday Year A, 2017. Jesus Christ Our King. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. HONOURING AND SERVING.

34th Sunday Year A, 2017. Jesus Christ Our King. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. HONOURING AND SERVING.

Christ the teacher thM6Z3UGMC

In the Preface to our Eucharistic Prayer today, we’ll hear the kingdom of Jesus Christ described as ‘a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace’. Recently I heard this true story. A little five year old boy from the prep grade at St Mary’s School rang the doorbell of St Mary’s Parish Centre. He was about to go with his family on a holiday to India, but before setting out he brought all he had saved up for the holiday – $13.50 – to the parish. ‘Give it to buy a Christmas present,’ he told the Parish Secretary, ‘for some poor child.’

Surely in a selfish world that’s inspirational! Even though only five years old he was already taking seriously the values that Jesus both taught and practised – truth, justice, and love. He was recognising already that Jesus is both king of his life and king of the whole wide world.

In our gospel today Jesus describes the General Judgment that will take place at the end of the world as we know it. He makes it clear that as king of the world he will be the judge. He also makes it clear that the standard of judgment is this: ‘as long as you did this to one of the least of these brothers [or sisters] of mine, you did it to me.’ Or, on the other hand, ‘in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me’.

300px-Christ_of_Saint_John_of_the_Cross

The basis of judgment of Jesus on our lives, then, is, our love for others, our practical charity shown in care and kindness. To hungry people, thirsty ones, newcomers and strangers, those without enough clothes, sick persons, prisoners, and other shut-ins, persons in everyday need in one way or another! (Let me add that even as I echo those words of Jesus I am shuddering inside about my failures to love and help others in need as much as I possibly could).

Love of God th8I3C729H

Was it not to bring in a new world of overflowing compassion that Jesus called ‘the kingdom of God’ the very reason that he came among us, and the very reason that he stays with us? Did he not come to bring an end to all hostility, all wars and all terror? Did he not both live and die so that people might be set free from hunger, poverty, want and disease? Did he not come down to earth to change our hearts, to rid us of all evil and sin, to redeem, liberate, and transform us? Did he not come to bring in justice, joy, peace, health and wholeness? Did he not come among us to change our world for the better, to make God’s kind of world happen, to make come true God’s dream for a new and better world?

Suffering Servant 8

So his kingship is not about wealth and power. It is not about domination and control. It is not about military might and conquests. It is not about border control and national security. It is not about pomp, palaces, splendour and magnificence. The kingship of Jesus is about truth and honesty. It is about goodness and generosity. It is about service and self-sacrifice. It is about justice and love. It is about mercy and care – mercy and care for all people, but especially for those who are poor, broken-hearted, wounded, neglected or ignored.

Suffering Servant 3

At the trial of Jesus, Pontius Pilate found it very hard to practise both truth and justice. Witnessing to the truth in particular was something that Pilate was finding particularly hard to do. He had already found Jesus innocent. Were he to have acted on that truth, surely he would have set Jesus free, and done so there and then. It seems, then, that while he might have been sincerely concerned about Jesus’ safety, he was not concerned enough that Jesus was completely innocent. For when it was in his power to do so he refused to act on the truth of the facts!

What about us? Do you and I qualify as subjects of his kingdom? Do we belong to him or not? Do we call him ‘Our Lord’’, and if we do, do we really mean it and live it?

jesus-washing-feet-tht00nu9p6

Today our current liturgical year is coming to an end. Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, and the start of the Year B Cycle of Readings. Today, Jesus Christ our King is inviting us to bring this year of the Church to an end by choosing him once again as our Lord and Saviour, and sincerely submitting to his wise and gentle rule by rededicating ourselves to live his teachings and values.

With the help of his ‘amazing grace’, are you and I ready and willing, then, to renew our commitment to him during the rest of our prayer-time together today? Let’s make that commitment now, and make it from the heart as genuinely as we possibly can, all the time trusting in the power of his ‘amazing grace’ to support us in our dedication to him!
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33rd Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. BEING THANKFUL OR THANKLESS.

33rd Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. BEING THANKFUL OR THANKLESS.

28th Sunday year A wedding invite

Today’s Gospel tells us about what happens when God entrusts us with gifts, and how we use them, or fail to do so. It is about giving an account of our stewardship.

Living the Christian life should fill our hearts with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving. To appreciate the gift of life, and all the gifts that it brings with it, is something that should be foremost in our attitude. To have a grateful heart is a wonderful gift. ‘ How shaper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child’. To appreciate what I have, is to be happy with what I have. I may not be as gifted as someone else, but each of us has enough and we have the potential to develop our giftedness. I don’t need the special gifts of another, even if I want them, or would like to have them. If God thought that I needed them he would have given them to me.

3rd Sunday after Easter year A Question mark

Let’s run through a little checklist. Can you identify some of the gifts life has given you? What are the things for which you are most grateful? How do others confirm you for the gifts that you have? On the other hand, are you aware of the gifts of those around you? Are you good at affirming other people? The surest sign that you have had a real Pentecost in your life is your ability and willingness to confirm others.

However, with affirmation, we must be careful. Sometimes we may hunger for affirmation so much so, that it can blur our genuine intention, for not only doing good, but also being good. We can easily fall into the trap of only helping or being a friend to someone, if we get a warm fuzzy feeling about it. Hence, secretly and silently I might be responding from a deep-seated need for and ‘overdose’ of affirmation. This is when we can loose the plot! Essentially, the Christian life is about giving without expecting to receive; the Christian life is about dying to self in order to rise above, and beyond a constant need for a pat on the back. Moreover, on the other side of all this can be a ‘streak’ within us, which is quick to see the good in others, and when affirmation is appropriate, it may not be forthcoming. Why? Because we might fear loosing something of ourselves or just being jealous. Let us be reminded today that a simple ‘thank you’ or genuine word or two of support to someone else is really a word or two to Christ Himself.

catch of fish 12-boat-and-fish

 

 

 

33rd Sunday year A, 2017. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. STAYING ON THE JOB

33rd Sunday year A, 2017. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. STAYING ON THE JOB

33rd Sunday year A Crowds of people

You and I are busy people. We rush here and we rush there. We do this and we do that. All kinds of activities occupy our attention. There is work. There is shopping. There is cooking. There is gardening. There is painting and decorating. There is study. There are children to bathe and feed. There are others to mind and entertain. There are friends and neighbours to visit and help. And when we come to the end of a typical day, there may hardly be enough time left to write a letter or an e-mail, glance at a newspaper, watch the news, or speak to God in prayer.

28th Sunday year A to do lists

The amazing thing is that our list of things to do never runs out. Being so permanently busy means that we find it hard to take the Word of God as seriously as we should! At this time of the church year, the teaching in particular that the world as we know it is definitely coming to an end! This is sure and certain, St Paul insists. It will happen when people least expect it, he also insists. The suddenness of the end of the world and of the Second Coming of Christ will be like a thief suddenly breaking into a house at night or like an expectant mother who goes into labour all of a sudden.

33rd Sunday year A person waiting

Jesus teaches that while we wait for his return to earth at the end of time, we make the best possible use of all those gifts that have been given us for the love and service of God, for the benefit of other people, and to make the world a better place.

31st Sunday 1

That’s the point of the story he tells us today about the three employees who were each entrusted with a huge sum of money, while their employer went away for an indefinite time. Two out of the three invested it wisely and well, doubling their employer’s money. The other hid his allocation in the ground and therefore did nothing. So when the boss returned and called all three to account, the industrious ones received fitting rewards for their work. But the one who was too afraid to take the risks of the market place found he was on the outer and thoroughly unhappy for simply ‘playing it safe’.

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So let’s make the most of our opportunities. Let’s take a chance and visit that grumpy relative; figure out a way to feed the hungry and house the homeless; take our concerns about personal safety to that public meeting; become a reader in church or join some other ministry group; sit with a dying friend. The list of our opportunities to do good and to do it now is simply endless.

Bart 1

Several Readings around this time are a reminder that the delay in the final coming of Christ requires us to be vigilant, to be on the look-out for Our Lord’s return. Today Jesus is reminding us to be on the job, to be active, industrious and diligent in carrying out all our duties and responsibilities in life, and to be active, industrious and diligent in working for the coming of the kingdom of God on earth. After all, to be a Christian is to be a missionary, a missionary of God’s love. In short, the moral of the gospel today is to remember that ministry happens when our gift bumps into someone else’s need, and to do something positive, constructive, and life-giving with whatever gifts God has given us.

Bread and wine Mosaicmass-and-worship

So, for the strength we need to make the most of every opportunity, and to be everything we can be day after day, let us pray to Jesus in our Holy Communion today! For both ourselves and the people around us, who just like us, have also been gifted by God for the love and service of other people!

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Brian Gleeson

Bro Vicente CP with Fr Brian Gleeson CP