31st Sunday Year B in Ordinary time, 2012, Helpful hints in Readings the Scriptures for the Sunday, Deep Sea Diving into the Scriptures, a realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Family Prayer around God’s Word, and a Blessing. Number 93.

31 Oct


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It is my aim that I present the Homily to you in a way that you might hear me speaking.

I do not follow the strict  rules of written prose as such; I use the techniques of oratory shared with me

in many Mission Sermons, and Mission Instructions by tried and true Mission Fathers,

from whom I am priveliged to

have been formed in that great tradition.

St.Paul of the Cross. Pray for us.


Helpful hints

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 my 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. The Second Reading is continuous, and follows on to the next Sunday.

First Reading: Deuteronomy 6:2-6

Moses said to the people: ‘If you fear the Lord your God all the days of your life and if you keep all his laws and commandments which I lay on you, you will have a long life, you and your son and your grandson. Listen then, Israel, keep and observe what will make you prosper and give you great increase, as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you, giving you a land where milk and honey flow.

‘Listen, Israel: The Lord our God is the one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Let these words I urge on you today be written on your heart.’

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)

Psalm: Ps 17:2-4. 47. 51

R. I love you, Lord, my strength.

I love you, Lord, my strength,

my rock, my fortress, my saviour.

My God is the rock where I take refuge;

my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.

The Lord is worthy of all praise:

when I call I am saved from my foes. R.

Long life to the Lord, my rock!

Praised be the God who saves me.

He has given great victories to his king

and shown his love for his anointed. R.

Second Reading: Hebrews 7:23-28

There used to be a great number of priests under the former covenant, because death put an end to each one of them; but this one, Christ, because he remains for ever, can never lose his priesthood. It follows then, that his power to save is utterly certain, since he is living for ever to intercede for all who come to God through him.

To suit us, the ideal high priest would have to be holy, innocent and uncontaminated, beyond the influence of sinners, and raised up above the heavens; one who would not need to offer sacrifices every day, as the other high priests do for their own sins and then for those of the people, because he has done this once and for all by offering himself. The Law appoints high priests who are men subject to weakness; but the promise on oath, which came after the Law, appointed the Son who is made perfect for ever.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Let’s PAUSE again after this Reading, and reflect on it like you did after the first Reading. The Community Acclamation follows and should be sung: e.g. ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday!   We never say it…  🙂

Gospel: Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection time again……. Can you see and hear the links, connecting the First Reading, and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..


If you have ever opened your eyes under water, or used a snorkel and face mask, or had the opportunity to use an aqualung, it is a very different world to explore isn’t it? I love snorkelling, and it is though the fish welcome you into their world. However, they need to be treated with respect, and one must be aware of ‘no-go’ zones especially where sharks are known to call that place, ‘home’ especially at meal times. So, this next section is going down into the Scriptures, which opens the pathway for us to be curious about The Word, and it will also develop an appetite in us to do this more often.

                                                               Focusing the word

                                                                                      Key words and phrases

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all you mind and with all your strength.

Love your neighbour as yourself.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

Let these words be written on your heart.

to the point

Our Ordinary Time journey with Mark has directed us to understand discipleship as love of God, neighbour, and self. Being a disciple and building the kingdom is not an intellectual exercise of knowing the law, but an experience of relationship founded on love.

                                                      Connecting the Gospel

                                                                                  to Mark’s Gospel

1. The last reference to where Jesus is geographically located is Mark 11:27 which has Jesus in the Temple area fielding a whole se­ries of disputes with some of the Jewish leaders.

2. Last Sunday we had Mark’s summary of discipleship and Jesus’ ministry; this Sunday we get Jesus’ own sum­mary.

3. This Sunday’s Gospel is a summation of Jesus’ previous teaching on discipleship and God’s kingdom and is the foundation for what is coming, the bridge from good news to cross.

to our culture

The movie ‘Love Story’ has been out for a long time and has been largely forgotten in spite of its sequel’s attempt to keep it going. Yet the line ‘Love is never having to say ‘I’m sorry’’ seems to endure! Jesus’ teaching about love in this Sunday’s Gospel takes us so much deeper into the mystery of love! Love isn’t never-ending romance, but self-sacrifice for the sake of others.

                                                      Understanding Scripture

                                                                                      Mark has two distinctive features:

1. Jesus begins his quotation of the Law with the Shema, ‘Listen Israel . . .’ The inclusion of the Shema roots the observance of these great commandments in the prayer life of Israel and links it to the primary affirma­tion of Israel’s confession of faith: God is God alone. Thus, both prayer and faith find their fulfilment in the love of God, neighbour, and self.

2. The scribe affirms the surpassing value of these commandments to the offering of sacrifice. Love and sacrifice come together on the cross where the love of Jesus attains its most perfect ex­pression. For disciples, then and now, the greatest commandment not only sums up the life and teaching of Jesus, it identifies the path of discipleship as the way of love.

A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh

Dear One and All,

All of us have a tremendous capacity to love! It is, and can be the most explosive force within our universe! Its power can build enduring vectors of relationships, which can radiate extraordinary light and warmth, which nurture the building blocks of solid and all embracing community-life in Christ! Remember the great American actor Steve Reeve who was famous, as you know for his portrayal of Superman in the movies.  However, as a result of a fall from a horse, he ended up in a wheelchair, paralysed from the neck down.  He said he got 100,000 letters of sympathy and support from people.  This led him to ask: ‘Why does it take a tragedy before we show our appreciation for one another?’ Well that is the big question!! It is really unfortunately true!

Over the last forty years, I have presided at hundreds of Funerals. Sometimes it takes the death of a loved one to bring about Family Reconciliations. Over the years I have heard many Eulogies, and I have often asked myself the question: “I wonder if the deceased person has heard even half of what was said about them in their life time?” I don’t really have an answer to that question of mine, but I would not be too surprised if it is true to some extent.

In the ‘high tech’ times in which we live, we are surrounded by wonderful systems of communication; yet are we able to have more time for each other, love for each other, and accept each other’s differences? Again when there is a tragedy anywhere in the world, within second’s outpourings of grief and extraordinary stories appear on Face book! However, the social media can also be the vehicle for evil and blackmail, using the iphone or Tablet as a coward’s pulpit!

So often when we go to the shops or professional services we are forced to take a number, and join the never ending queue, or hear the words on the ‘phone, ’ Your call is important to us, you have progressed in the queue’ please hold on! Unfortunately we are experiencing more than usual calls. Approximate waiting time is 45 minutes! For what? Then in frustration, you might hang up!  In your mind you are saying to yourself, “all I want to do is speak to someone…not a robot”

The twofold commandment to love God, and our neighbour, which we hear from the lips of Jesus in this weekend’s Gospel, echo the very same words found in the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy 6:4., and in Leviticus 19:18.  Yet, this twofold commandment was almost smothered within the 613 commandments of the Jewish ‘law’!! At this point I think we need to go back to the Old Testament reading and reflect upon it very deeply.

Notice that in the pronouncement of the commandment there is Invitatory to LISTEN! Then built on this listening is a sense of urgency to implement it. The icon or image where the implications of the great commandment reside is in the heart! It seems that we could safely say that the overall icon or image displayed throughout the Scriptures is the heart! Then the total confirmation of this image is the Cross with its base deeply embedded within the heart. Let’s explore this for a few moments so that its impact can be appreciated.

In all civilisations of the world, the heart has a dominant place. Being the central organ in the body, the heart is the centre of ‘Life’; its functions enable the entire body to ‘Live’. The heart has been and still is the main symbol for ‘Love.’ That in itself is very telling….without love, nothing works! Nothing is sustained, nothing develops. A heartless person is someone who is devoid of human feelings, is hardened to the plight of the ‘suffering’ in this world, and has lost the sense of compassion. Unfortunately in our world it seems that the heartless acts perpetrated by people get the headlines, inherit the ‘breaking news’ slots in the media, and tend to dominate Thriller Novels and late night Movies. So, does that mean that hard heartedness is on the front line of human advancement? I believe that the short answer is no! The countless millions of heartfelt people far outweigh its opposite. People with big hearts, don’t go looking for publicity, people who are awash with love don’t make the headlines on digital media or Television News time. Occasionally, a short segment of true love is shown on Current Affairs Program’s as a kind of a Postscript or appendix, just to give a little reminder that the world’s people are not all bad…………..

I think that we need to dwell on the imperative given in the Old Testament Reading of today, when it says: ‘LISTEN ISRAEL’ it’s more than saying, ‘Pay attention!’ It means, Children of El…Meaning children of God listen with body, mind and spirit….’holistic listening’……which is really Biblical Obedience! This is a far more positive and embracing concept of Obedience, then leaving it just with the following of Rules (well trained Dogs can do that)…or quoting Rules. So, in terms of loving, how does Biblical obedience come in to the full picture of loving? It would seem that according to the Scriptures: Listening to the truth in humility, is the precursor for us to truly love as God loves. Humility here is more like ‘poverty of spirit’ which is that constant hunger and thirst for hearing God’s Word and digesting it.

Finally, in an attempt to answer the big question: ‘Why does it take a tragedy to happen before we show our appreciation for one another?’  We so often leave it too late to love, and then we are full of regrets. We wait until it is too late to tell or show others that we love them.  We often leave it too late to mend a quarrel, too late to enjoy health or the gift of our children or our parents. It seems that if we are going to be on time, we need to be listening to God while our hearts are being touched, and that we in turn respond in the ‘now’ not maybe, and then the words of Jesus to the scribe in today’s Gospel are then spoken to us: ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’.

God Bless you and your families, and may we never forget each other in prayer.



This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. During Easter tide you might like to place some white and gold material on your devotional altar. You might like to create your own permanent ‘sacred space’ in your home, where the Word of God is open, and a small tee light within a fire proof glass, could awaken in the minds and hearts of your family of the ‘real presence’ of God in His Word.  Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. The burning of some fragrant oil also can evoke in the minds of your family, ‘prayer time’. Someone in the family might like to be the leader of the intercessions, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…

Leader: Because God loves us first, we are confident that our prayers are always answered, and so we pray.

That all members of the Church may surrender their heart, soul, mind, and strength to God in love.

That world leaders may remember that love is the foundation and motivation for making and keeping laws that sustain life.

That those who rigidly keep laws but without love may have the understanding to know what really leads to fullness of life.

That we may sacrifice self to serve our God in each other.

That the recent  natural diaster caused by Super Storm Sandy, will create within the hearts of people a desire to be with and be compassionate to their brothers and sisters in need.

Leader: God, you alone are Lord and you love us above all things: hear these our prayers and help us to offer you fitting sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.

Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.

1.                       The Cross


2.                        The bread……………


 3.                        The pain


 4.                       The joy………………


 5.                       The Gospel……………


 6.                       The love…………


 7.                       The light……………


 8.                        The darkness…………….


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