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29th Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. Priorities in life.

29th Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. Priorities in life.

28th Sunday year a divided heartFirst Reading: Isaiah 45:1,4-6.  Gospel Matthew 22:15-21

As we read today’s Gospel, we can have a sense of being alongside Jesus in the story. Knowing the kind of person that Jesus was and is, it surely must cause us to take a serious look at those who hated him so much, that they were totally taken over by the compulsion to destroy him. We have seen such evil in Syria, Afghanistan Somalia, and in parts of Africa, and close to our own country as well. The quest for absolute power as a compulsion has not changed over the years; only the faces and methods have changed in bringing it about. For those who support this kind of power, they can become frightfully vicious at the prospect of losing all they had accumulated over the years. Power can become all consuming. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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However, let us take a look at the Pharisees; there is a deviousness in their behaviour and attitude towards Jesus, but by and large they were actually good people, in that they acted as they were expected to act, they enforced what they considered ought to be protected. Their behaviour was dictated to them by tradition and custom, and it would be really difficult for them to see themselves as being wrong. Any one of us can fall into this trap, and we should search our hearts, with the help of the Spirit, to discover the truth about ourselves, and have an openness of mind to what new deeds and words that God is addressing us today.

28th Sunday year a priorities ahead

As we examine the Gospel, we can see rigidity and narrow mindedness within the attitude and behaviour of the Pharisees. This can be a trap for us too. So often, we can easily condemn people or changes in religious practice because of our own narrow mindedness and a compulsive desire for stability, security, and a black and white format, which we think will lead us to the complete truth with absolute certainty.

Jesus healing a deaf manth

We live in a world of change…change is natural! Good changes are about growth! If there is no change, stagnation takes over. However, not all changes are good, so therefore we need to take a deep breath, think deeply, and weigh up what may be facing us. We were told years ago that modern technology would enable us to spend more time with our family and friends. But look what is happening; more and more demands are placed on us. We can easily apply today’s Gospel to our lives, as we ensure that there is a proper balance in our relationships with God and others. If we look at our use of time and money, we can get the idea of the priority God has in our lives. Even if we are active Christians, we can become so busy with the work of the Lord that we haven’t time for the Lord of the work!

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It would be a very worthwhile exercise for us to examine our lives against the background of today’s Gospel.

STORY OF THE RICH MAN WHO WENT TO HEAVEN

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A very rich man died and arrived in Heaven. He looked around at the beautiful buildings, and he already had his eye on a building that would be very suitable to him, because he had been used to the good life, and worked very hard during his life to maintain his self-centred status. However, Peter beckoned him to follow, so he went along. The choice of beautiful buildings was breath-taking, but he was led past the whole lot. Finally, they came to an area where there was a little run down house with just the bare essentials, and no creature comforts of any kind. When the man discovered that this was for him, he was furious, and demanded to know why he was given this unattractive place, when all the others had mansions. ‘Well, you cannot blame me’, says Peter. ‘You see, all we do is build with whatever material you sent on ahead when you lived on the earth. With what you sent, this is the best we can do!’

Fr Kevin Walsh

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

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29th Sunday Year A, 2017. A Biblical reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. OUR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES

29th Sunday Year A, 2017. A Biblical reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. OUR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES

29th Sunday year A scales of Justice

‘To avoid arguments,’ people tell us, ‘don’t ever talk about religion or politics.’ In real life, though, it’s not possible to leave them out of conversation altogether. Our gospel story today illustrates this.

It may come as a shock that the good, the great, the kind, the loving, the merciful, the compassionate, the fair-minded and forgiving Jesus, could make so many enemies. Yet bit by bit more and more people turned against him and even hated him. Today we meet two groups of them – the Pharisees and the Herodians. The Pharisees were totally opposed and hostile to the occupation of their native land by the Romans, to their cruel and brutal rule, and to having to pay tax to Tiberius Caesar, the Roman Emperor at that time.

29th Sunday year A Denarius

The Herodians, on the other hand, for their own motives, together with their puppet king Herod, ‘crawled’ to, and collaborated with Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, and with his army. While both of these Jewish factions hated each other, they hated Jesus even more. In this incident we find them hanging out together, and ganging up on Jesus. It’s another instance of the truth of the saying that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’.

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Their plan is to trap Jesus, to catch him out and bring charges against him, and in the long run to get rid of him, once and for all. Their opening statement is both true and clever. They praise Jesus for his honesty and integrity, for always telling it like it is without fear or favour. But after the flattery of their introduction, they go in for the kill by asking him this seemingly straightforward question: ‘Teacher],’ they ask, ‘should we pay taxes to Caesar or not?’

It was a loaded question, something like that old trick question, ‘Have you stopped beating your wife?’ If Jesus were to say that the tax should not be paid, he would be agreeing with the Pharisees. But then they would report him to the Roman occupiers for treason, and have him arrested. On the other hand, if he said the tax should be paid, he would be agreeing with the Herodians, but at the cost of finding himself totally alienated from, and completely offside with his own people, who believed that they had only one Lord and Ruler – their God! So either way, Jesus finds himself in a sticky ‘no-win’ situation.

He is well aware of the malice and insincerity of their question, but also of the danger of giving them a straight answer. So in a very ingenious way he answers these hypocrites with a question of his own: ‘Let me see the money you pay the tax with,’ he says, ‘whose head is on the coin, and whose name is in the inscription around its edge?´ ‘Caesar’s,’ they answer. This gives Jesus the perfect chance to return to them the responsibility for answering their own question. ‘Very well,’ he goes on, ‘give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’ He is saying In other words, ‘don’t look to me to settle your alleged taxation issue. It’s up to you to work out and decide for yourselves, what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God.’

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The answer Jesus gave should not be taken to mean that we have no responsibilities to our local, state and federal governments. In fact, in a democracy like ours, they represent us. To deny having any responsibility to our ruling powers is to take the line of anarchists. On the other hand, no civil power has the right to require the complete submission of the persons they govern. They do not have absolute authority over their people. They are accountable to their people, and they are also accountable to God. In their dealings with their citizens they must therefore respect the requirements of truth, fairness, integrity, justice and decency. Where they fail to do so, there must be consequences.

refugees Boat people

In the name of truth, justice and charity, we are entitled to criticize and protest the actions or non-actions of our governments, whenever they violate human dignity, our own or that of others. When people really love their country and its people, they sometimes have to show strong opposition. The protests around Australia against the cruel, callous and inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers reflect this need, concern and commitment. In South Africa’s apartheid system many good people found they had to disobey the immoral laws of the state. In the USA, both black and white people found they had to oppose and disobey the unjust laws of segregation operating in some of the southern states. As St Thomas More, a famous dissident and martyr expressed the conflict: ‘I am the king’s good servant, but God’s first of all.’

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We are all citizens of two kingdoms: citizens of the political territory where we live and citizens of the kingdom of God. As Jesus says, they both require our loyalty. We all depend to a large extent on our civil governments. Very few if any of us can supply our own water, electricity and telecommunications. We look to our civil governments for education, hospitals and roads, and for welfare services for the unemployed, the handicapped and the elderly, etc., etc. It’s obvious that these services will continue and improve only through the cooperation and support of the community at large.

For the most part we give this support through paying taxes. Taxes are not, as they are sometimes misrepresented, necessary evils. They are our contributions to making available the community services and benefits we may tend to take for granted. In a just tax system, we help to spread more evenly the wealth of the community, so that every member of the community has access to what is needed for a life of integrity, human dignity and contentment. It’s a matter, as the Three Musketeers put it, of being ‘all for one and one for all’.

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There’s just so much wisdom, then, in that famous reply which Jesus gave his questioners: ‘… give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’ So, let’s take it to heart! Let’s do it!

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Brian Gleeson cp 11222948_140219116318911_4640266038134517623_n

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28th Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. COME TO THE WEDDING, READY OR NOT!

00005585_h Wedding Banquet

From time to time, we receive Wedding invitations; some of them, when we open the envelope hundreds of little glitter hearts fall out, and eventually end up of the floor…..what a mess! Then the dog starts licking them up and we get worried for its health…and then the Vacuum cleaner has decided not to work! Oh bother!

So, a typical Invitation could well be like this……….

Mr and Mrs Hughes request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their son Jason, with Suzanne Fairburn, at St. Polycarp’s Church, Cherrybrook , on the 22nd of November, 2017 at 2.00 PM, afterwards at the Wedding Reception Centre ‘Romeo and Juliet’s’, 210 Lovers jump Creek Road, Dural. Dress Formal. RSVP: November 1, 2017. Our email address is: togetherforlife@bigpond.com

No Confetti to be used, just gold coins!

To assist you with Gift ideas, please visit our website:

www. ourhouseisyourhouse.com.au

(Gifts range from $50 -$5,000)

So runs a standard invitation.

28th Sunday year A wedding invite

After we have wiped up all the glitter with a damp cloth and rinsed the Dog’s mouth out, we really are not in a good mood to look at the Calendar…..But we do! Oh No!!!!!!!!!!! Its Aunty Maye’s 100th birthday, and we are having a celebration at the Lady of Grace Nursing home, and a letter from Queen Elizabeth, marking the grand occasion will be read out!….. Then we say to ourselves……we’ll deal with it later………do we????? Or is it like a whole Litany of things lately, like the following: – TO DO CHECK LIST:

28th Sunday year A to do lists

  • There is that email letter I know that I should write, but just now I’m just not in the mood.
  • There is that sick person I know I should visit, but right now my favourite TV programme: ‘Vera Stanhope’s Murder Mysteries is due to start in 5 minutes.
  • I know I need to pray, but I just don’t seem to be able to find time for it.
  • I know I should make an effort to get to Mass on time (or just to get to Mass at all) but something always gets in the way, and somehow I am sort of pleased about the outcome.
  • I know that I should be more charitable towards X, but I just can’t summon up the will to make the effort.
  • I know that dishonesty is wrong, but I tell myself that everybody does it, and what I do is minor compared to what others are up to.
  • I know I don’t do my job as well as I should, but why should I break my back when others aren’t pulling their weight?
  • I know that I should go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the Church, but I just can’t be bothered…the list goes on….. ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock……whoever hears my voice and opens the door…..’
  • Christ the light of the world

  • READINGS: Isaiah 25:6-10  Psalm 22 Matthew 22:1-14

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  • Today in the First Reading from the Prophet Isaiah, we get a lovely picture painted for us about the joy and excitement of the Lord God’s deep desire to celebrate a huge Party on the Mountain of encounter between the Lord and His people. The description of the foods for sharing and the accommodation for God’s people far exceeds that of the Dorchester Hotel, in Park Lane, London!
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  • For God’s people who recognise the quality, the call and the hope that the Lord God has for us is limitless. With that in mind the Responsorial Psalm is just as appropriate as our community Response to the First Reading….’I shall live in the House of the Lord, all the days of my life.’  In St. Matthew’s Gospel for today, this theme of the Wedding Invitation, the need for a RSVP, and the Banquet itself, takes on a deeper meaning………Namely, that the Lord God has been inviting His beloved people to His Wedding Banquet for Centuries…..Let’s remember that in the great Marriage relationship, par excellence, is the Marriage between the Groom….God, and His Bride….Us….yes, men and women just like us. The clarion call has been going out for Millennia; the Gospel invitation is about that constant invitation and a variety of responses……the face have changed, but the message remains the same…..However, there is an important development in today’s Gospel, which should not be put in the TOO HARD BASKET. What about the person who as a last resort, with all the others, responds to this fantastic invitation, but is not wearing his Wedding garment?
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  • Can’t he be forgiven for not having time to go to the Department Store in Jerusalem and hire a suit? Let’s be careful not to slip in to a literal explanation for showing up in his jeans and T shirt, and not in a suit! Let’s be curious then………What did not Gospel community of Matthew have in mind as they put together this important story which throws heaps of light of the mystery of God’s call to all of us? It would seem that the Wedding garment which in this case, is missing, is the fruits of heeding the Law of God, and wearing the fruits of a positive to the Lord God’s Covenant love……In short, if God’s Word has not been responded to after hearing it proclaimed throughout history, the unfortunate chap, who gets kicked out, represents those of like mind. Remember that grand judgement scene where the good people will say, when did we feed you and clothe you and visit you? The just Judge will respond…’Whatever you did to the least of my sisters and brothers, you did it to me.’…..The opposite reply comes from the bad people! Let’s not get caught up in feeling sorry for the bad people: – the Lord God’s mercy and love is always asking us to return to the sheepfold, so it is deafness and selective hearing on behalf of the bad people.As we come closer to the end of the Church year, and the Year of Matthew, we really need to SEE, JUDGE AND ACT on our ongoing response to God. We can easily fall into the trap of lethargy as we saw in the Litany of the TO DO LIST, earlier on. We can easily drift on and on as if there is unlimited time for us, when in fact our human life will definitely come to an end in death, and our life will continue in a changed state of being. The measure of that quality of ‘new life’ after death, will be commensurate with the living of our faith, good works, and mercy and love today

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  • FRACTION RITE: This takes place at the Lamb of God. (you might like to pray this at that time.)  We give thanks to God our Father. He invites us today to celebrate the Wedding Feast of His Son, with His Church. From all the sea roads of the World, we who are many, gather as one, around this Eucharistic Table. From here, we are sent out to all the crossroads to give His invitation to everyone we meet.

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

kevin-3

Fr Kevin Walsh   Sydney Australia

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28th Sunday Year A, 2017. A Biblical Reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. SHARING AND CARING.

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If we look deep into our hearts, we will discover that among our many longings there is one for good relationships with other people. We long to be at peace with them, to be at home with them, to live in peace and harmony, to get on well with them, to cooperate with them, to be, to support them, and to enjoy their company. In a nutshell, we have a very deep longing for companionship, community and communion. We know deep down, that try as we might to be masters of our own fate, to be captains of our own souls, to be rugged individuals, to make it on our own, to be self-made and self-sufficient, we simply cannot survive and we certainly cannot thrive without other people in our lives. Our longing for belonging makes that very clear.

Picture-21 Wedding pic outside the church

While the French philosopher, John-Paul Sartre has said: ‘hell is other people’, he was surely overlooking the greater truth that so too is heaven. I suggest too that the call to community, to togetherness, is some part of what Jesus meant when he said that the kingdom of God, the reign of God, is like a wedding feast to which all sorts of people have been invited to come together. In fact, we cannot have the company of God, and we cannot experience and savour the love of God, without being connected with and in contact with, other human beings. This is so true that the Second Vatican Council, in its document on the meaning of the Church, said that God saves us (and therefore re-makes and transforms us), not as isolated individuals but as members of a people – the people of God, a sharing people, a people in communion. (The Church #8)

00005585_h Wedding Banquet

But perhaps in response to God’s invitation to share Jesus Christ as embodied in one another, to dine together at the table of the Lord, to enjoy one another’s company, to offer friendship and love to others both at Mass and beyond, and to reach out to them with acceptance, interest, care and concern, that like those selfish and self-centred individualists in the gospel today we keep saying: ‘No! Not now! Not yet! I have to work my farm. I have to look after my business. I have no time to mix with others, no time to socialize. I don’t want to get involved and mix with them. Don’t expect to find me standing, kneeling, and sitting down with all those strangers, let alone meeting them personally. I’m just not coming to the feast. What do you take me for?’

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If we find ourselves saying ‘no’ to others, no to companionship, no to communion, no to community, no to caring and sharing, how are we ever going to make God’s dream come true for us all – people of our faith, people of other faiths, and people of no faith? How on earth are we going to help God’s dream come true, his dream for us all, his dream that is reflected in that popular anthem: ‘We are one, and we are many, and from all the lands on earth we come … I am, you are, we are Australian?’ If we keep on saying ‘no’ to others, blocking them out of our lives, or worse, discriminating against anyone who is different, how are we going to make that dream of Jesus come true for his followers: ‘There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all’ (Ephesians 4:5), so ‘love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15:12)?

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There is yet another application of the image of the wedding feast. It is summed up in the challenge that is expressed in a fourth-century inscription on the wall of an ancient church in Syria. It says to the people as they assemble for every Sunday Mass: ‘Let no one stay away. If you do, you will deprive the body of Christ of one of its members.’

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So let’s remember that, any time we would rather stay home from church – to surf the net, wash the car, prune the roses, bake a cake, walk the dog, paint the spare room, anything at all but join with the rest of the body of Christ in praise and thanksgiving to God. For God’s gifts of life and health, and for God’s gift of life together, life shared, life in common, the life and soul of our parish community!

Examination of conscience

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Brian Gleeson

Bro.Vicente CP with Fr Brian Gleeson CP

 

27th Sunday year A, 2017. A Biblical Reflection on the Sunday Readings from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. BEING FRUITFUL AND PRODUCTIVE.

27th Sunday year A Paul O Riely

Paul O’Reilly, an Irish priest and doctor, has written about his experience of working in a dysfunctional hospital overseas. It had a bad reputation and patients didn’t want to go there. The staff was always angry, bickering, and rude to the patients. Many came late to work. Some didn’t come at all. Some came drunk.

As a result, the patients didn’t get good service. Equipment seldom worked. When one tried to call the maintenance persons, no one answered. Or they couldn’t come. Or they wouldn’t. The pharmacy didn’t have most of the medicine it was supposed to have. So when a doctor tried to get medicines for patients, the medicines were never available, or only available by handing over a bribe.

The laboratory had only a few tests that the technicians would do, even though they had the equipment for many more. The whole place was dirty and untidy. In fact, the total scene was one giant mess.

6th Sunday after Easter year A Truth

Then one day, the management called a meeting. It was a tense, horrible meeting. The chief executive explained that because of the very poor performance of the hospital, it was threatened with closure in six months’ time. If that happened, everyone would lose their jobs.

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Very quickly there was a change in the attitude of the staff. They didn’t like to work, but what they did like was getting paid at the end of each month. Suddenly, people started coming to work on time, staying their full hours, and working hard and cheerfully. And almost immediately the whole atmosphere in the hospital changed. People were co-operative.
Pieces of equipment were nearly always working when needed. Clinics worked efficiently. The pharmacy was well stocked with medicines. The laboratory did all its tests. Staff became very polite to patients.

Six months later, the management called another meeting. The CEO reported that the hospital had come within three days of closing. But now it had a reprieve and could continue. So management and staff threw a big party, pooled food and drink, and danced the night away.

So, what happened next? Did it slip back to the way it was before it was threatened with closure? Or did it stay good? A most pleasant surprise, Paul reports, is that it remained an efficient hospital.

At first the staff had made a big effort for one reason and one reason only. That was to save their jobs! But now that that their jobs were safe, they discovered that they actually liked the feeling of being good workers in a good hospital with a good reputation. They also now realized exactly what it had taken to make their hospital good. It was a price they were prepared to keep on paying. So, just in time, they had learned what their lives as health workers was all about, and how a hospital exists to serve people.

We Christians like to think of ourselves as the new tenants of God’s vineyard, God’s people today. We have taken over from the old tenants, the scribes and Pharisees, the chief priests and the elders of the Jewish people. They failed to care properly for their people. They neglected, bullied and oppressed those in their care. They tortured and killed God’s messengers, the prophets. They even rejected and killed Jesus, God’s very own Son and God’s greatest messenger. In short, they kept letting God down, turning their backs on God, and failing to produce the fruit that God expected from his vineyard.

27th Sunday year A Vineyards

What about us and our responsibilities and commitments? How fruitful and productive are our lives? How well are we caring for our people, the ones who are our responsibility and concern? How much time and attention are we giving them? How much do we put ourselves out to serve them? How strong is our love for them? How generous and unselfish are we towards them? Can we truly say that we have made other people the centre of our lives, just as Jesus, known as ‘the man for others’ [Dietrich Bonhoeffer] made his people the centre of his life? What have we done so far for Jesus and for the people in our care? What do we intend doing for him and for others from now on? More immediately, in this coming week, how will we make our lives more fruitful and productive? How?

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Brian Gleeson special photo

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26th Sunday year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY, TO GOD AND EACHOTHER.

Ezekiel 18:25-28. Psalm:24:4-9, St.Paul to the Philippians 2:1-11, Gospel Matthew 21:28-32

God's Word

Today’s Gospel points out the difference between talking the talk, and walking the walk. It tells us that what we do is more a test of what we are, than anything we say. So, this is exciting stuff; why not make yourself some Tea of Coffee, and lash out with a nice Doughnut, even though this is your third one for the day. eh eh

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In order for us to enter deeply into the Gospel, let’s dive into the First Reading from the Prophet Ezekiel. Notice his name and the spelling? His name is a very important one, because it has el as part of it; so his name bears an important element of the Lord God; it means “may el strengthen”. Now we do need to keep this in mind as we read what the Prophet says, as he speaks the word of God, because his name always has a bearing on what the Lord God is delivering through him.

26th Sunday year A Ezekiel

Therefore in this short first reading, we see the strength of the Lord God’s truth! Ezekiel, speaking the word to Israel has to correct a misunderstanding among God’s people…in other words; it is the Lord God’s deep mercy which constantly receives back the wayward child. In other words, the Lord God break’s His own Law by receiving back his unfaithful Bride. (Let’s keep that marriage relationship in mind as we enter into God’s Word; the Lord God is the Bridegroom and we, His people are the Bride. It was the Bridegroom who proposed to His Bride, Food for thought, eh? That being the case, let’s look at the text message given in the Antiphon of the Responsorial Psalm………Remember your mercies, O Lord. What a ‘community response’ is that to the first reading? My goodness, as we let that response enter into us, it is really us who should be praying….May we always remember your mercies, O Lord. The Lord God does not forget!

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‘I will never forget you my people, I have carved you on the palm of my hand’, says the Lord.

But let’s not go away too quickly from that fantastic word remember! Let’s check out the root derivative of this word….. re means, bring together, or gather; member also comes from Latin meaning a limb a branch. So, as we put that word together, we get: bring back together as one, but Biblically speaking it means even more than that; it means that the recalling to mind makes present the salvific action initiated by the Lord God. Makes present! It is a real presence!!!! When do we ‘make present’ the saving action of the Lord Jesus? You got it; at the Eucharist!

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So, keeping all that in mind, try praying the Psalm, slowly and reflectively, and then when you have done that…just glide…just be with The Word, coast, like you would if you put the car into neutral……..now, let the ‘prayer’ spontaneously pray in you! That’s right; let the ‘prayer’ pray in you. It won’t be many words, but take note of the words…then coast again……you are in the midst of Meditative Prayer; howszat? It may not be satisfying at first, because in is in our DNA to use plenty of words to impress and get the message over……not the case in Meditative Prayer….it is about a state of being not the recitation of words…..saying words in our prayer is another kind of important prayer……the prayer of Intercession, praise and thanksgiving or contrition.

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Now, let’s move onto the Second Reading. Let’s pause on the sentence….’ In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:’ what does that really mean? How can we be like-minded with Christ? Here are some hints….Think of the vine and the branches…..pruning time…….being, re grafted to the vine…..it’s a bit like remembering isn’t it? You might like to think more about that….but there is more to it……when we really and truly love someone, we unconsciously take on some of their characteristics; the same applies with Christ. When we deeply ponder God’s love for us in Jesus and live it and breathe it, we put on the mind of Christ!

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The next part of the Second Reading is said by Biblical experts to be part of an ancient Hymn to Christ; a magnificent reflection of the Incarnate Son of God. OK, let’s get into the Gospel………
The parable of the two sons is a good example of doing what you say and saying what you mean, and sticking to it. I am sure that you have come across lots of instances where someone have said to you that they will do this or that, and in the final outcome, they do not come up with the goods. In short, you might say to yourself, “why did I rely on what they said in the first place?’ In our everyday lives we come across people either in business or in our relationships that are quick to make a promise, but often fail to carry it out.

26th Sunday year A Ikea

For example, you might go looking to buy a lounge suite, and the very one you want is not in stock. You are then told that it will take two weeks to come from the warehouse. You are also told by the Salesperson that you will get a telephone call when it arrives. After two weeks you do not hear from the Furniture shop, so you give them a call, only to hear that it will be another two weeks, and so on. When this happens, it can be devastating and very frustrating, and it confirms our doubts in the first place. On the other hand, we can always make excuses for the person who thinks twice, and finally comes up with the goods, because they have arrived at a truth, even though they may have been a little cautious at first.

 

The Good news today calls for immediate action. Jesus puts before the two sons an idea; we know that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. There is no scarcity of ideas, but there can be a real scarcity of goodwill to put those ideas into practice. The Christian message is intended to ignite us into action. The best way to avoid doing something is to talk about it at length! Jesus wants decisions rather than discussions. There is such a thing as a moment of grace…when that time comes; a stirring within us gives us a choice…now or never!

3rd Sunday of Lent Year A Brian 3

When we reflect on the two sons in today’s Gospel, let’s ask ourselves, how do I see myself relative to each of them? I may find a little bit of each in me, and that is not bad. The idea is that I continue to renew my commitment to Jesus, and I continue to open my heart to the fullness of his message. In striving to do this within the difficulties of daily life, progress is made. Mistakes and excuses, once recognized by us, can offer us the graced opportunity to receive the abundance of God’s mercy and forgiveness, and become living editions of God’s truth!

PRAYER TOGETHER AS A FAMILY

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(Someone in the Family might like to be the Leader, and the others could take a prayer each….it is always good to keep the window open for spontaneous prayers from the family. Some precious symbols are also good to enable everyone to know that this is a ‘sacred’ time…e.g. like a Lighted Candle, next to an open Bible, and a Crucifix)

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LEADER: Instructed and encouraged by the word of God, we confidently make our petitions.

1. For the strength to persevere in fulfilling our baptismal promises, we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.

2. For the willingness to forgive even the deliberate offences we suffer from those we love, we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.

3. For the wisdom to refrain from imputing motives behind the actions of others, we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.

4. For an understanding of those who do not share our religious beliefs, we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.

5. For an appreciation of the gift of faith, we pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our prayer.

LEADER: Lord, as we continue this celebration of the Eucharist, open our hearts and minds to your Spirit and to the needs of one another. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Heart Cross
Fr Kevin Walsh
Sydney, Australia
Email: kevin.w3@bigpond.com Web:https://realhomilies.wordpress.com/

kevin-3

 

26th Sunday year A, 2017. A Biblical Reflection by Fr.Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. SAYING YES TO GOD.

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It’s one thing to talk the talk, but another to walk the walk. We’ve been listening to the story Jesus told us about a father who said to his two sons: ‘Go and work in the vineyard today.’ The first answered: ‘No! I won’t.’ But later he changed his mind and went. That story reminds us that one of the wonderful things about being human is that we have free will. Having free will, we can change our minds and make a decision to say ‘yes’ to God and start living a new and better life.

5th Sunday of Lent year A Brian 2

A man turned to drink. He began to live for his next drink. Drink became such an obsession and compulsion, that he also turned away from God and his family. One day while he was walking along and thinking of the mess he was making of his life, he saw a bent, rusty nail in the gutter. It reminded him of himself and his life. So he picked it up and took it home. He put the nail on an anvil, and began to straighten it out and clean it up. An hour later, it looked like new again.

Then the thought hit him that he could straighten out and clean up his life too. That thought triggered his conversion. He turned away from drink and back to God and his family. Today he keeps that nail, now straightened out, clean and bright, in his wallet. It reminds him to remain on the right path.

Family photo

Both stories tell us that as long as we are alive, we can change, change for the better. Both stories tell us that actions speak louder than words, and louder than just good ideas and good intentions. Indeed there is much truth in the proverb: ‘The way to hell [which is to say, separation from God and goodness] is paved with good intentions.’ The second son in Jesus’ story knows the right words: ‘Certainly, sir,’ he says, but he does not keep his word. The first son, on the other hand, has second thoughts about his refusal and shows his repentance by going to work in the vineyard after all.

That story Jesus told us is a powerful illustration of the truth he taught in his famous Sermon on the Mount: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord”, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven’ (Mt 7:21).

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Next, Jesus blitzes his opponents, the religious leaders, by turning his parable on them. You’ve been mouthing all the right words about God’s law, he tells them. You’ve been carrying out all the prescribed rituals. But you have not been doing what God wants. You have not been living in God’s way. And when John the Baptizer called on you to repent, you took no notice of him. On the other hand, tax collectors and prostitutes, who used to say ‘no’ to God, have now been saying ‘yes’. They have meant what they said, and are now living in God’s way as good, law-abiding and honest people. So they well and truly belong now to God’s kingdom. But you, he tells his opponents, are not there yet, and you are not even close.

Examination of conscience

Jesus has a message for you and me as well. We are church-goers. We say the prescribed words every time we come together to pray. We carry out the right rituals as laid down in the book. Then we go back to the world from which we came. Now there are many good and beautiful and wholesome things about our world. But there are also many evil and corrupt things. It’s a world where God has been pushed in the back, gang tackled, elbowed out of the way, and shoved across the boundary line. Few blows the whistle about it in protest, and not enough face the tribunal for what they do to God and the interests of God. All too often, in fact, rough play and dirty tricks get applauded and rewarded out there. Our world has been saying to God: We don’t want you in our state schools. We don’t want to call on your name when asked to tell the truth in our courts. We don’t want you calling us to financial responsibility. We don’t want any mention of you on any public occasion. And we simply refuse point blank to stop polluting this planet you gave us.

After all, our world protests in its defence, not everyone believes in God. And with God out of its way, and out of its consciousness and conscience, our world has decided that just about anything goes. In movies and on television there is so much profanity, violence, manipulation, seduction, casual and promiscuous sex. Pop music occasionally endorses drugs, suicide and witchcraft. Our world calls it entertainment. I call such excesses empty, superficial, meaningless, loveless and heartless. Our world has well and truly lost its innocence. It is also putting you and me in serious danger of losing ours. And should we have already lost our innocence, our world makes it difficult for us to straighten out our lives and clean up our act. But all is not lost. From having said ‘no’ to God, perhaps many times, we can start saying ‘yes’, and saying it not just many times, but saying it every time.

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Our greatest hope for achieving this remains the person of Jesus, Saviour of the world and our personal Saviour. Every time we come together for the Eucharist, he comes to us, and joins us to himself. Here at the Eucharist we remember all that he has taught us. Here we are inspired by his example. Here we are influenced and empowered by him. Here he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us along the path that leads to both goodness of life and the goodness of God. Thank God, then, for our mighty and merciful Saviour!

Jesus at Emmaus thU3VNDEZG

So we place our trust in him, not only to survive the presence of evil and corruption in an otherwise good and wholesome world, but even to thrive, to thrive as his followers. He is the medicine we need for our weakness. He is the food we need for our strength. He is our way, our truth, and our life. So we thank God for Jesus then, over and over again, as our personal and community Saviour!

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson

Bro. Vicente CP and Fr Brian Gleeson CP

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