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THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.
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: Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord seated on a high throne; his train filled the sanctuary; above him stood seraphs, each one with six wings.
And they cried out one to another in this way,
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.
His glory fills the whole earth.’
The foundations of the threshold shook with the voice of the one who cried out, and the Temple was filled with smoke. I said:
‘What a wretched state I am in! I am lost,
for I am a man of unclean lips
and I live among a people of unclean lips,
and my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of hosts.’
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding in his hand a live coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. With this he touched my mouth and said:
‘See now, this has touched your lips,
your sin is taken away,
your iniquity is purged.’
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:
‘Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?’
I answered, ‘Here I am, send me.’
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 137:1-5. 7-8
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
I thank you, Lord, with all my heart,
you have heard the words of my mouth.
Before the angels I will bless you.
I will adore before your holy temple. R.
I thank you for your faithfulness and love
which excel all we ever knew of you.
On the day I called, you answered;
you increased the strength of my soul. R.
All earth’s kings shall thank you
when they hear the words of your mouth.
They shall sing of the Lord’s ways:
‘How great is the glory of the Lord!’ R.
You stretch out your hand and save me,
your hand will do all things for me.
Your love, O Lord, is eternal,
discard not the work of your hands. R.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Sisters and Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you – believing anything else will not lead to anything.
Well then, in the first place, I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; and that he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve. Next he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died; then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles; and last of all he appeared to me too; it was as though I was born when no one expected it.
I am the least of the apostles; in fact, since I persecuted the Church of God, I hardly deserve the name apostle; but by God’s grace that is what I am, and the grace that he gave me has not been fruitless. On the contrary, I, or rather the grace of God that is with me, have worked harder than any of the others; but what matters is that I preach what they preach, and this is what you all believed.
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: Luke 5:1-11
Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.
When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES
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
I am a sinful man.
Do not be afraid.
They left everything and followed him.
Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of my people.
Here I am, send me.
In the sight of the angels I will sing your praised, Lord.
to the point
In responding to God’s call personal worthiness is not the issue, for all humanity is sinful. All that matters is the call of God, the mission God gives, and our fidelity to it.
Connecting the Word
to the first reading
In the selection of Isaiah, though the holiness of God overwhelms Isaiah, the nature of God’s call always remains as an invitation: ‘Whom shall I send?’
Contemporary culture sets up standards of acceptability: body shape, fashions, job performance, etc. The good news is that God calls us precisely as we are and works through our humanity.
Understanding the Word
The call of Simon Peter
In his introduction Luke had promised ‘to write . . . down in an orderly sequence’ (1:3) ‘a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us’ (1:1). This Sunday’s episode – the call of the first disciples – is a good example of Luke’s ‘orderly sequence’. Mark’s gospel begins with a telescoped account of John the Baptist’s ministry, a very brief report of Jesus’ baptism and temptations in the wilderness, and a two verse summary of Jesus’ initial preaching. Then, out of the blue, Jesus meets and calls his first disciples in the sixteenth verse of the first chapter! Apart from Jesus’ announcement that the Kingdom of God is at hand, he has done no preaching, performed no miracles, expelled no demons; yet when he calls Peter and Andrew, James and John, they drop everything and follow him.
By contrast, Luke carefully prepares the ground for this dramatic call. After an elaborate infancy narrative that explicitly lays out the identity of Jesus, Luke begins with an extended presentation of John’s ministry, a more detailed narration of the baptism, a dramatic account of the three temptations in the wilderness, and Jesus’ inaugural sermon in the synagogue in Nazareth; then (omitted from the Lectionary) Luke gives us more of Jesus’ teaching in Capernaum and several healings (a possessed man, Simon’s mother-in-law, and the sick villagers). Only now does Jesus call Simon Peter. By this time the credentials of Jesus have been clearly established and Simon has personally witnessed the healing of his mother-in-law. Further, in Luke’s account, there is a miraculous catch of fish – not reported in the other three versions of the call of Simon. Luke provides a record of accomplishment and a factual basis on which Simon and the others can make their response. Luke makes both Jesus’ authority and Peter’s response something readers can relate to.
The presence of Jesus brings about great transformations: empty nets become overflowing and a man who protested to Jesus, ‘depart from me!’ ends up following him. In this last transformation Jesus’ power turns a sinner into a disciple.
A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh
THE WRITTEN STYLE OF THE REALHOMILIE
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 privileged to
have been formed in that great tradition.
St.Paul of the Cross. Pray for us.
Dear One and All,
Have you ever had the experience of wanting to watch Television in the evening, and you flick around the Channels, and nothing really catches one’s attention, and then for good measure you try it again, and suddenly you land on a channel that is showing a fantastic Documentary and you know this is the one to watch? Well, it happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I had looked up the Television Guide for the week and had completely missed seeing this one advertised on The Works of Michelangelo! One of the many absolute inspiring works of art which makes my heart jump a beat or two is the Pieta. Now let’s refresh our memories about this famous work of art.
The Pietà (1498–1499) by Michelangelo is a marble sculpture in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the first of a number of works of the same theme by the artist. The statue was commissioned by the French cardinal Jouhnd-Billairesz, who was a representative in Rome. The statue was made from a single block of marble and it was for the cardinal’s funeral monument, but was moved to its current location, the first chapel on the right as one enters the basilica, in the 18th century. This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus in the arms of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. In the Cardinal’s memoirs it is recorded that he marveled at the finished work of art! Michelangelo responded by saying that he chipped away at the block to unveil what he could see within. Let’s stay with that last point for a little while…..what he could see within the block of marble.
Now as we look at the call of the Prophet Isaiah, and the call of the Apostles, the Lord God sees within, what can be! Let’s have a closer look at the Call of Isaiah in the first reading for today, and then carefully see the stages within this call, where finally he can say…’Here I am, send me’.
The context for this Vocational change in Isaiah’s life is very, very important. It is a moment, captured in the ‘faith-life’ of Isaiah, it is a deliberate gazing into the void, and within that stillness and conscious focusing, it is as if floating, unbounded but totally consumed in body, mind and spirit that this religious experience takes place. Isaiah sees himself within a place of Holiness, par excellence, where he is experiencing in 3D and surround sound an invitation to ‘change’ in order to become what the Lord God sees in him, but Isaiah does not yet know it. Now let’s go through the stages of awareness of self before the Lord God, and then on to the mission. If you are at home as you read this, you might like to make a cup of Coffee or some strong Irish Breakfast tea to sustain you for the rest of the read……
This picturesque Theophany, which comes from the Greek, theophania, meaning an appearance of God/YHWH which reveal the divinity, power and glory of The One, who has always been, and will continue to be…..the loving architect and cause of all that was, all that is, and all that will be…..who issues forth the breath of life to all that lives and breathes. The Temple…Holy of Holies, this Sacred Space is the Templum, and for Isaiah, it becomes the tempus…the time to gaze within this atmosphere of profound impact. It is here, that Isaiah realizes his poverty of spirit, and that of the people whom he represents, his and their ‘missing the mark’ ( wretchedness/sin) both personally and corporately. He experiences a sense of ‘lostness’ momentarily which develops into a realization of his contrite heart. The similar contrite heart which sings and lives Psalm 50/51 The Miserere: Isaiah becomes the embodiment of this Psalm…here are a few verses…
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Now this Psalm and its motifs, had already become part of Isaiah’s bone marrow……he would have prayed this kind of prayer many, many times, and actualised it in and through the Covenant Renewal Ceremonies, and Atonement Liturgies. This is not about reciting the prayer regularly, it is about praying the prayer habitually. My pet Galah ( Pink and Grey Australian Parrot) can recite lots of things…for example…it often says, “I love you Kev, does the Bishop know? That’s the big question!” I could teach the Parrot to recite Psalm 50/51, but it could never pray it. Praying the sense of this Psalm has to be done often…it is like applying Polish to a timber floor that hungers for it…..one application is never enough! With Isaiah, the inner disposition was already present, and hence within this Dream of the Parable of his conversion and calling, is teased out, and put into action his holistic response…..”Here, I am, send me!”
As we cross over the bridge to the Gospel, we see a similar embodiment of Psalm 50/51 in the Apostles when they were called by Jesus, and the deliberate invitation by Jesus to make happen the seemingly impossible……the huge catch of fish! So much so that the ‘faith-activity’ of the Apostles became so contagious that only a signal was needed for help, because the new comers could see what was happening, from the point of view of faith. This is just not information for the readers that the catch was so big that help was needed to get the fish out of the breaking nets, but also to the Markets. No, the Gospel community who put this narrative together was not interested in that, they were deeply convinced of the “faith-response” of the Apostles.
After the catch of fish and the filling of two boats to almost sinking point, Simon, seeing this and processing this in his mind and heart, feel at the feet of Jesus…..this being a living action of Repentance and conversion, similar to that of Isaiah in the first reading. In the face of such a miracle…..that is the inner change in Simon, and his companions…notice the reaction…..”They were frightened”. Jesus, sensing their fear, as Simon represented the group, Jesus says, “Do not be afraid, from now on it will be people that you will catch”. To conclude the activity of Conversion preceeded by contrition, they hauled in their boats; dropped everything, and followed Jesus.
When I was a kind, I used to often think that the Apostles were rather thoughtless in just leaving all this gear on the beach and following Jesus. Well, of course as I later discovered, the authors of this Gospel were not concerned by the details of leaving boats and nets for someone else to pick up….not it is a “faith-response” that the evangelistic community were keen on….In other words, it was an immediate change of life style…..in terms of faith, meaning in this instance, insight; the ability to see the saving hand of God in Jesus. Hence with the pre condition of a contrite heart, the change could then become immediate……but not necessarily final. Continued work would need to be done to fortify and nourish their faith response as we see further on in the unveiling of the Good News.
What about us? The message is the same, but the faces have changed! In order for our ‘faith life’ to be highly tuned, we need to nourish our inner contrition, so that we can see more clearly the invitations to Mission that come to us each day. We don’t go looking for the Mission, the Mission finds us. Are we as keen on nourishing our inner conversion, as we are to getting our cars put in for Service? Do, we regularly spend time working at our sense of contrition, by prayers Psalm 50/51 or other kinds of Life Reviews and associated meditations? Is our response to given mission invitations each day taken up promptly, or done in our time? These questions are just as important for me as they are to you. Then their is the feeling of ‘powerlessness and fear’ when face to face with the enfleshed Christ within our communities; do we give the time to hear the comforting words of Jesus: Do not be afraid!”
Finally, who gives us the push, the urge to press on with the Mission of Christ in today’s world? An answer could well be that which alerted the Apostle Paul to the very same thing…’ I can do all things through Him who gives me the strength….’ Food for thought, eh?
As a concluding Twitter message to comfort us, and give us strength, may the prayerful words in the concluding verse of our Responsorial Psalm 137:8, echo throughout of being always… “ You stretch out your hand and save me, your hand will do all things for me. Your love is eternal…..”
God Bless you and your families, and may we never forget eachother the next time that we are held in conversation with the Lord, Fr.Kev
PS: A little Reflection to warm our hearts and tickle our fancy about the choice of the Apostles……
Jordan Management Consultants.
33 Angel Place.,
Thank you for submitting the resumes’ of the twelve men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests. We have run the results through our computer, and also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologists and vocational aptitude consultants. The results of all the tests are included, and we advise that you study each of them carefully.
It is the opinion of the staff that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. Besides, they do not have the team concept. We have found ample evidence of jealousy and rivalry among them. Therefore, we would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience and proven ability.
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper – definitely not the man you would want to head your organization. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. He is just a follower. The two brothers, James and John, are too hot-headed. Besides, they place personal interests above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would undermine morale. Matthew, the tax-collector, is undoubtedly a man of ability, but would project the wrong image for an organization such as yours. James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus have radical leanings. Hence, their unsuitability.
There is one candidate, however, who shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, good with people, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. That man is Judas Iscariot. We recommend him as your controller and right-hand man.
We wish you every success in your new venture,
Jordan Management Consultants.
OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………
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: The same power that Jesus manifested in the great catch of fish God will manifest in answering our prayers. So we are encouraged to place our needs before such a generous God.
That the Church may always show forth God’s holiness and goodness. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
That peoples of the world become holy as the God they worship is holy. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
That sinners repent and embrace the presence and holiness of God. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
That each of us leave whatever we must to be faithful followers of Jesus. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
That the millions of people who are suffering through famine, civil wars, and unjust Dictatorships, be never forgotten by people in other parts of the world. Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.
Leader: God of holiness: you come in many different ways, calling us to be disciples. Hear these our prayers that we might one day share everlasting life with you. We ask this through 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
ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.
2. The bread……………
ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.
3. The pain
ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT.
4. The joy………………
ALL WE SHALL SHARE IT.
5. The Gospel……………
ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.
6. The love…………
ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.
7. The light……………
ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.
8. The darkness…………….
ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.