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The Most Holy Trinity. Solemnity. Year B 2015. Sunday Readings, and a realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia www.realhomilies.com

The Most Holy Trinity. Solemnity. Year B 2015. Sunday Readings, and a realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia  www.realhomilies.com

The Most Holy Trinity. Solemnity

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One of the iconic works of Renaissance artThe Holy Trinity with the Virgin and Saint John and donors (1428) can be seen in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella, in Florence. Like many paintings produced during the Renaissance, it is both religious and secular: it depicts the Trinity of God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Ghost (symbolized by a white dove), and also functions as a commercial portrait of the donor or patron. The work is believed to have been commissioned by Domenico Lenzi and his wife, as a mural painting for the family remembrance chapel at Santa Maria Novella. However, the feature that makes it one of the greatest Renaissance paintings of the 15th century, is its use of single-point linear perspective to organize its composition. Its 27-year old creator Tommaso di Giovanni Masaccio (1401-28) was to Early Renaissance painting what Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) was to architecture, and Donatello (1386-1466) to sculpture.

This feast, was first celebrated in monastic communities in the ninth century, as an expression of praise, to the triune God, was extended to the entire Western Church in the fourteenth century. It celebrates the mystery of God’s self-revelation, through the experiences of the people of Israel, the disciples of Jesus, and the Christian people since Pentecost.

VIEWING THIS BLOG

If you subscribe to this Blog, which of course is FREE, the format that arrives in your inbox is sometimes all over the place. Might I suggest that you use the Blog alert for you to go back to: – www. realhomilies.com

And view it in the way in which I originally posted it….hopefully it will appear neat and tidy. However, you might find a typo every now and then, sometimes they escape my eye, sorry,  Fr.Kev

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THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.

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 to answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter into us just like liquid polish enters timber flooring which 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, Lent, and Solemnities 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.

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First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:32-34. 39-40

Moses said to the people: ‘Put this question to the ages that are past, that went before you, from the time God created man on earth: Was there ever a word so majestic, from one end of heaven to the other? Was anything ever heard? Did ever a people hear the voice of the living God speaking from the heart of the fire, as you heard it, and remain alive? Has any god ventured to take to himself one nation from the midst of another by ordeals, signs, wonders, war with mighty hand and outstretched arm, by fearsome terrors – all this that the Lord your God did for you before your eyes in Egypt?

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‘Understand this today, therefore, and take it to heart: The Lord is God indeed, in heaven above as on earth beneath, he and no other. Keep his laws and commandments as I give them to you today so that you and your children may prosper and live long in the land that the Lord your God gives you for ever.’ 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 32:4-6. 9. 18-20. 22

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  1. Happy the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

The word of the Lord is faithful

and all his works to be trusted.

The Lord loves justice and right

and fills the earth with his love. R.

By his word the heavens were made,

by the breath of his mouth all the stars.

He spoke: and they came to be.

He commanded; they sprang into being. R.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,

on those who hope in his love,

to rescue their souls from death,

to keep them alive in famine. R.

 

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.

The Lord is our help and our shield.

May your love be upon us, O Lord,

as we place all our hope in you. R.

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Second Reading: Romans 8:14-17

Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son and daughter of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory. 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… 🙂

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Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20

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The eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.’

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, Second Reading, and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..

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DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES

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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’ and 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.

A realhomilie from Fr.Kev

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. With such a Feast as this one, we might be tempted to think … ‘Well, it’s all a bit of a mystery, and far too deep for me, and I’m not sure where to start in trying to understand it; so perhaps I’ll come back to it another time’. Yes! It is indeed difficult … and mysterious … having provoked some of the greatest thinkers in the world to offer explanations. In reaping the benefits of their efforts, we come to realise the immeasurable depths of our creative, redeeming and sanctifying God. The Trinity as such, is a very helpful way in understanding the complexity of God. Let’s look at the helpfulness of the Trinity, and not get bogged down in the mystery, to the point of saying…as I said earlier, “let’s put it in the too hard basket!” No, it is absolutely necessary as with all parts of Scripture and Theology, to be as equally curious about the Trinity, as we are about the Incarnation. We need to have the daringness and curiosity of Explorers who, in going to any part of the World, Moon or Planets; nothing is out of reach for them!

Solar System

Let’s briefly look at God’s Word. The First Reading talks about the power and glory of God, who nonetheless, entered into a close and loving relationship with his people Israel, and of the obligations and blessings that flow from that relationship. This reading stresses the oneness of God.

In the Second Reading this relationship is taken deeper; we are not just members of God’s people, but related members as in God’s wider Family and living in a Marriage covenant initiated by the Lord God. We are also reminded that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, and has made us co-heirs with Jesus. This reading makes clear reference to the three persons in one God.

The Gospel also makes reference to the three persons of the Blessed Trinity.  Jesus, who has total power over the whole universe, now empowers his apostles to preach the Gospel to the whole world. He also highlights for them that they, and the Church, (the new Israel) will never be left as orphans, but will be accompanied by their Risen Lord.

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Now, let us look deeper and with curiosity into the mystery of the Trinity. By acknowledging God’s loving outreach to everyone; ‘WE’ are called through Baptism to continue the Lord’s Mission, empowered by the Holy Spirit, which is given to us by the Father, and promised by Jesus.

Another angle to reflect upon in the celebration of our Triune God, is the defining of the Creative, Redemptive and Sanctifying God Head, who in Jesus, calls us to follow suit. Thus these three aspects are really the inner core of the Christian, and the outer fabric of the community, whose mission to the world is God’s mission! Through the constant incorporation of the Word of God into us, as individuals and a community, through prayer and sacred listening, we become creative instruments in continuing to fashion the Kingdom of God here; but its completion will happen till Christ comes again.! This is done in the simple and profound ways of being ‘in Christ’, and Christ for each other; a challenge, yes, but a real experience impelled by the love of God in us, and for us.

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The human experience of salvation which is truly Sacramental, i.e., entering into the Holy Mind of God, and taking hold of those moments, which unexpectedly arise, where the Lord uses us, or we respond to the Christ in our community. Within those moments; the saving hand of God is seen, felt, experienced and expressed using signs and symbols. That is an experience of Salvation! Now, let’s get down to the grass roots of this. There was a wonderful Song called, ‘You needed me’ and it was sung by Anne Murray, and it’s in her Album called, Let’s keep it that way’. Let us have a look at this song:

I cried a tear, you wiped it dry,

I was confused, you cleared my mind,

I sold my soul; you bought it back for me,

And held me up, and gave me dignity,

Somehow you needed me.

YOU GAVE ME STRENGTH TO STAND ALONE AGAIN

TO FACE THE WORLD OUT ON MY OWN AGAIN

YOU PUT ME HIGH UPON A PEDESTAL

SO HIGH THAT I COULD SEE ETERNITY

YOU NEEDED ME, YOU NEEDED ME.

 

And I can’t believe it’s you, I can’t believe it’s true,

I needed you, and you were there,

And I’ll never leave, why should I leave, I’d be a fool,

‘cause I’ve finally found someone who really cares……..

 

You held my hand, when it was cold,

When I was lost, you took me home,

You gave me hope, when I was at the end,

And turned my lies back into truth again,

You even called me friend.

Looking back over your life, as there been a special person(s) who have been the HUMAN FACE OF GOD to you? Who was this person? Alternatively, who were the people, and what was it about them, that mirrored the face of Jesus for you?

Let’s briefly look at what I am talking about….I cried a tear……..who wiped it dry????

I was confused, who cleared my mind?

I sold my soul….who bought it back for me??

And held me up, and gave me dignity!

Somehow, you needed me….so the point is that the one who is coming to the rescue, needs the person who is being rescued…….remember Mary of Magdala? Jesus need her, and was an example to others to do the same and be instruments of salvation!

What can our response be, when Salvation is happening to us?

Possibly, the only response to those moments, is like that of Thomas himself, when he was invited to enter into the woundedness of Christ….’My Lord, and My God!’ However, that was not an academic response!!! It was a full bodied response; hence a changed life because of that salvific experience.

Moments like these can arise daily, and ‘out of the blue’ and they are often experiences of ‘Salvation’. They call a response from us with spiritual curiosity and a changed life! Those times become ‘sacred’ ‘holy’ ‘sanctifying ‘experiences and it happens on holy ground.  Experiences of Salvation call us to be creative, redeeming and sanctifying, as we continue to become causes of Salvation in other people. I am not saying that these events only happen in Church; no way! Wherever the Lord is, and  Salvation is experienced, the ground, the place, the people, are ‘holy’.  I would like to use the word, holy in these cases as wholesome! Remember in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 3, we see that when Moses was invited to come closer to the Burning Bush, the Angel of the Lord said that it was holy ground, hence take of your sandals!  But there is more to that than meets the eye; the action of Moses taking off his sandals without someone keeping guard because in the process of taking off the sandals, it is not like kicking off one’s slippers or shoes…..for Moses, it would have taken some precious minutes to be fully engaged in undoing the platting of the leather thonging. (Wide strands of leather or twine which not only held the sandal on, but it is connected to the leg for support. You can’t undo this kind of foot ware in a hurry!)

Sandals

The taking off of one’s sandals is always done as part of the hospitality ritual that an Adult would do in the presence of their host, and then the washing of the guest’s feet completes the ritual. For Moses, and the meaning behind and within this story, is that of a profound act of trust which had to be made by him as a response to the Angel of the Lord’s invitation. Hence, the conversation and the actions are in a way Sacramental and the place becomes Holy – Ground. So with all that in mind let’s have a further look at our mission!

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Jesus announced that the kingdom is here within us, but not yet complete, and it is the constant love of the Father, which draws us on. Jesus’ message is life, which invites us to seek the Father. Its demands, which the Spirit makes known to us, are always new, surprising and life-giving. ‘The Spirit will guide us into all truth which comes from the Father’: John 16:13. Jesus shows us the way to the Father and the Spirit guides us on our journey.

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If the Feast of the Ascension reminds us that we must take the Lord’s work into our own hands, Pentecost assures us that because the Spirit is with us, such a mission is possible. The Feast of the Blessed Trinity teaches us that we must be creative, redeeming and sanctifying in our commitment to God, and to one another, and to the Mission of the Church!. Hence, we must be mindful that our God is a God of surprises, inviting us to trust, to follow, and be daring in our Gospel living, and loving outreach. We must rid ourselves of doubts, which tempt us to cling on, and immerse ourselves within insecurities, which cripple our ability to live as a truth-seeking community. We are called to speak the truth in love! However, I believe that the precursor to being able to do that is, listening to the truth in humility. We are called to proclaim the Gospel with loving boldness, knowing that we can do all things through Him, who gives us the strength. (St. Paul). If we cling with all our might to paltry security, how can we be in solidarity with human suffering, and love?

refugees Boat people

 If we are not imaginative in our ways of exploring, expressing and listening to God, our spirituality and life will stagnate.  We then would we  uninspiring, lacking life and totally pessimistic about most things, and to top it off, very sad and lifeless people. The Mission of the Church does not necessarily start in Rome; it is ever alive, and it can happen everywhere, when there are Christians allowing themselves to be of ‘the Spirit’ and being excited about the Mission. So often when I have presided at the Sunday Eucharist, a lot of the people and some Priests look like ‘death warmed up’. This is not all the people’s fault! Sometimes the Priest, Deacon, or Prayer Leader looks as though they are in pain, and need to go to the Emergency Unit in the Hospital. Looking in appearance and demeanour of being ‘over solemn’, ‘over pious’ and unable to communicate positively with the community, does not inspire people, it alienates them. This all might sound pretty strong from me, but I have been at the wheel for over 40 years, and thanks to our fantastic Pope Francis, it’s all about ‘being real and authentic, wholesome and humble Ministers of the Gospel, who truly inspire others, and can lift them up, because it is the Lord who is doing the heavy lifting in us.

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Today’s Feast invites us to give thanks and praise to our God, and there is no better way of doing this, than through the Celebration of the Eucharist.

Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: to God who is, who was, and who is to come. Alleluia!

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

PLEASE PRAY FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY:

The Church reminds us especially at this time of the year that the Priestly Prayer of Jesus in John 17:21 ‘Father, May they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you.’ Is still in the process of being answered. We must do all that we can to promote unity, firstly through prayer, flexible attitudes, and finally by openness to what unites us more than what divides us. Do try and pray this prayer around the family table each day this week.

PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

O God, holy and eternal Trinity,

We pray for your church in the world.

Sanctify its life; renew its worship;

Empower its witness; heal its divisions;

Make visible its unity.

Lead us, with all our brothers and sisters,

Towards communion

In faith, life and witness

So that, united in one body by the one Spirit,

We may together witness

To the perfect unity of your love. AMEN.

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(Prayer of the Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order 1993)

FAMILY PRAYER AROUND THE WORD

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Leader: On this day as we celebrate the Holy Trinity, we are mindful that God created us to live in harmony with one another, to care for each other and to pray for each other.  Let us place our prayer before our God.

  1. For harmony in the world’s most troubled place: for peace where there is war for love where there is hate. LORD HEAR US. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.
  1. For harmony within the Church: for dialogue among those who disagree; for those who are satisfied, and those who yearn for change. LORD HEAR US. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.
  1. For harmony within families and communities: for an increase in kind deeds and gentle speech; for tenderness with children and affection among friends and family members and not forgetting the elderly. LORD HEAR US. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.
  1. For those living in difficult financial situations: for courage instead of fear, for confidence instead of helplessness, for mutual aid and support instead of isolation. LORD HEAR US. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.
  1. For those living with the unease of illness: for those who cannot be with us today, and long for companionship; for the comfort of those who are in pain. LORD HEAR US. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER
  1. We remember those who have died especially all our loved ones: May the Blessings which were part of them, grow in us. LORD HEAR US. LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.
  1. Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones and iPads….who are some of the people and issues, locally and in our Global village who need our prayers? We pray to the Lord: LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Leader: O God we give you thanks for listening to our prayers, the ones that we have spoken, and the ones which lie deep in our hearts.  May we always turn to you, in thanksgiving and praise, for all that you are to us, through Christ our Lord. Amen

Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.

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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.

The Cross…………….

ALL:       WE SHALL TAKE IT.

The bread……………

ALL:       WE SHALL BREAK IT.

The pain

ALL :       WE SHALL BEAR IT.

The joy………………

ALL:       WE SHALL SHARE IT.

The Gospel……………

ALL:       WE SHALL LIVE IT.

The love…………

ALL:       WE SHALL GIVE IT.

The light……………

ALL:       WE SHALL SHARE IT, IN THE NAME OF  JESUS THE LORD. AMEN

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Mary Help of Christians…..Solemnity for Australia, posted by Fr Kevin Walsh

Mary Help of Christians

The traditional image of Mary Help of Christians has frequently been adapted to emphasise her patronal link with Australia. The image being used in this resource is no exception. While following the traditional form, the artwork has tried to give the image a more contemporary appearance.

As has become customary, the map of Australia is introduced at Mary’s feet and the Southern Cross shines in the night sky behind her. The colours have been chosen partly to echo the Australian Green and Gold, and partly to use the image of the Australian sun: A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman robed with the sun… (Rev 12:1). Finally, for the first time, an open hand reaching out to help her children has replaced the royal sceptre of power in Mary’s right hand. This, it was felt, might have a greater resonance with contemporary Australia without destroying the beauty of the traditional image. The significance of Mary as Queen of Heaven is adequately expressed in the crown she wears.

History of the Feast
The first provincial synod of the Church in Australia took place in September 1844. It was a relatively small affair: Archbishop Polding of Sydney and the new bishops of Adelaide and Hobart met with about half the three-dozen pioneer priests in the country. Among their decisions, the Church in Australia was placed under the patronage of the Virgin Mary invoked by the title Help of Christians. The Holy See confirmed this in 1852.

The choice of Mary Help of Christians may well derive from the first Catholic chaplain in Sydney, Fr J.J. Therry, who dedicated his church to St Mary in November 1821. At this time the feast of Mary Help of Christians was new and generated considerable interest.

Pope Pius V first introduced the title Help of Christians into the Litany of Loretto after a Christian victory in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Early in the 19th century, Napoleon occupied Rome, annexed the Papal States and imprisoned Pope Pius VII. In thanksgiving for the pope’s release and restoration in Rome on 24 May 1814, the feast of Mary Help of Christians was introduced to the Roman calendar on that day.

Fr Therry was ordained in Ireland in 1815 at a time when the Irish Church was quickly adopting devotions to Mary Help of Christians. Our celebration of Mary Help of Christians as our patronal feast therefore symbolises the Roman and Irish heritage which is the foundation of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Mary Help of Christians was adopted as patron of the new Church of Australia at a significant time in our history. British settlement was just over fifty years old, the transportation of convicts was coming to an end, and the first elections in Australian history had been held in 1843. Issues of land, immigration and education had begun to surface and the Church was involved in these social problems. In 1843 Archbishop Polding inaugurated the first Catholic apostolic meeting with aboriginal people in Moreton Bay.

In 2001, the centenary year of Australian Federation, we confront many of the same social problems and the Church has the same need to witness to the values of the gospel. The task of evangelising the Australian culture is more urgent and daunting than ever. Today recourse to our national patron, Mary Help of Christians, is as relevant and necessary as it ever has been.

Image
The traditional image of Mary Help of Christians has frequently been adapted to emphasise her patronal link with Australia. The image being used in this resource is no exception. While following the traditional form, the artwork has tried to give the image a more contemporary appearance.

As has become customary, the map of Australia is introduced at Mary’s feet and the Southern Cross shines in the night sky behind her. The colours have been chosen partly to echo the Australian Green and Gold, and partly to use the image of the Australian sun: A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman robed with the sun… (Rev 12:1). Finally, for the first time, the royal sceptre of power in Mary’s right hand has been replaced by an open hand reaching out to help her children. This, it was felt, might have a greater resonance with contemporary Australia without destroying the beauty of the traditional image. The significance of Mary as Queen of Heaven is adequately expressed in the crown she wears.

History of the Feast
The first provincial synod of the Church in Australia took place in September 1844. It was a relatively small affair: Archbishop Polding of Sydney and the new bishops of Adelaide and Hobart met with about half the three-dozen pioneer priests in the country. Among their decisions, the Church in Australia was placed under the patronage of the Virgin Mary invoked by the title Help of Christians. This was confirmed by the Holy See in 1852.

The choice of Mary Help of Christians may well derive from the first Catholic chaplain in Sydney, Fr J.J. Therry, who dedicated his church to St Mary in November 1821. At this time the feast of Mary Help of Christians was new and generated considerable interest.

The title Help of Christians was first introduced into the Litany of Loretto by Pope Pius V after a Christian victory in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Early in the 19th century, Napoleon occupied Rome, annexed the papal states and imprisoned Pope Pius VII. In thanksgiving for the pope’s release and restoration in Rome on 24 May 1814, the feast of Mary Help of Christians was introduced to the Roman calendar on that day.

Fr Therry was ordained in Ireland in 1815 at a time when the Irish Church was quickly adopting devotions to Mary Help of Christians. Our celebration of Mary Help of Christians as our patronal feast therefore symbolises the Roman and Irish heritage which is the foundation of the Catholic Church in Australia.

Mary Help of Christians was adopted as patron of the new Church of Australia at a significant time in our history. British settlement was just over fifty years old, the transportation of convicts was coming to an end, and the first elections in Australian history had been held in 1843. Issues of land, immigration and education had begun to surface and the Church was involved in these social problems. In 1843 Archbishop Polding inaugurated the first Catholic apostolic meeting with aboriginal people in Moreton Bay.

In 2001, the centenary year of Australian Federation, we confront many of the same social problems and the Church has the same need to witness to the values of the gospel. The task of evangelising the Australian culture is more urgent and daunting than ever. Today recourse to our national patron, Mary Help of Christians, is as relevant and necessary as it ever has been.

Prepared by
National Liturgical Commission
at the request of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
and published by The Liturgical Commission, Brisbane
26 January 2001

© The Liturgical Commission, GPO Box 282, Brisbane 4001. All rights reserved.

 Australia

PRAYER  FOR  RECONCILIATION TO OUR LADY HELP OF CHRISTIANS

Composed by Fr Kevin Bede Walsh. 1988

Father God,

The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit

was entrusted to a people who saw your mighty hand at work

in the majestic, rugged mountains, in the rolling plains, parched earth, flowing rivers and thundering surf. 

May we, under the guidance of your Spirit, work at reconciliation, with all the different  peoples of this land.

  May we reverence the  “Dream Time” …and those wedded to this land; 

May we in turn respect and heal all that we have hurt; the land, its people and wild life. 

We dedicate all our efforts under the patronage of Mary  Help of Christians

, who always points the way to wholeness, to harmony and to Jesus.

We make this our prayer to you Father, through Christ Our Lord. AMEN.

 

 

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PENTECOST SUNDAY YEAR B, 2015. The three Scripture Readings for the day, and a realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia

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VIEWING THIS BLOG

If you subscribe to this Blog, which of course is FREE, the format that arrives in your inbox is all over the place. Might I suggest to you that you use the Blog alert for you to go back to www. realhomilies.com

 and view it in the way in which I originally posted it….hopefully it will appear neat and tidy. However, you might find a typo every now and then, sometimes they escape my eye, sorry.

Thanks, Fr.Kev

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.

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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.

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First Reading: Acts 2:1-11

When Pentecost day came round, the apostles had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’ The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

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(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 103:1. 24. 29-31. 34

  1. Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

Bless the Lord, my soul!

Lord God, how great you are,

How many are your works, O Lord!

The earth is full of your riches. R.

You take back your spirit, they die,

returning to the dust from which they came.

You send forth your spirit, they are created;

and you renew the face of the earth. R.

May the glory of the Lord last for ever!

May the Lord rejoice in his works!

May my thoughts be pleasing to him.

I find my joy in the Lord. R.

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Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:3-7. 12-13

No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.  The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

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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… 🙂

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Gospel: John 20:19-23

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,

so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.

For those whose sins you forgive,

they are forgiven;

for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’

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, Second Reading and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..

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.

                                                      

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A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh 

Dear One and All,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost: we hear in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, that the Spirit of God, poured out as ‘gift’ on the Apostles, who had gathered together out of fear, were transformed into a group filled with the breath of God. They then became fearless and joyful proclaimers, of the nearness of God’s Kingdom. Today in God’s Word, we hear echoes from the Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel 36:24-28 who hundreds of years before, looked forward to an outpouring of God’s Spirit. Let us see what the Prophet had to say: ‘I will gather my people from among the nations, and bring you home to your own land. I will pour clean water over you, and cleanse you of all defilement. I will take away your hearts of stone, and give you hearts for love instead. I will put my Spirit in you, and you will keep my laws and sincerely observe my commandments. You will be my people, and I will be your God.’

Christian tradition has called this Feast the Birth of the Church! However, its Religious origins go back to Old Testament times, when our ancestors in faith celebrated the initiating of the Marriage Covenant between the Lord God, and His people, through Moses on Mt. Sinai. This Covenant is summed up in the last line from the Prophet Ezekiel: “you will be my people, and I will be your God.’  That event marked a ‘special’ stage in the ‘corporate mind’ of our ancestors in faith, as they realized that they were truly God’s People. Later on, it was also celebrated as the Feast of Harvest. What an appropriate time for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the maturing Apostles!  At Pentecost, the Apostles and Mary, were transformed from a community gathered out of ‘waiting’ into a community of loving out-reach, and gentle boldness in their missionary ventures. The language of Pentecost defies all spoken language…. it is the words of loving action, and identification with, and a belonging to the Living Lord. It was this ‘rush’ of the Holy Spirit which urged the Apostles, and urges us now, to ‘Go out’ to all nations as living witnesses of our God, who ‘is with us’… at all times, even to the end of the world.

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Now let’s look at today’s Gospel under the microscope! In the fourth Gospel, John and his community have the coming of the Holy Spirit in the evening of the day of Resurrection. Now, this becomes one of the appearances of the Risen Lord to Mary and the Disciples. For John and his community, the evening is really the beginning of a new week, a new creation, it is the beginning of a new order of relationship and responsibility within the economy of Salvation for all people!. In Biblical understanding and language, evening time is a special time of ‘stillness and at-oneness with God in prayer’. There are many instances of this in the Old and New Testament. Notice here that the doors were closed, hence the room where the disciples were gathered, could well be looked upon as a tomb; a place of waiting for the breath of new life to be infused into the gathered community. Notice that it was FEAR which initiated and called together the gathering into the room. We see that our Risen Lord enters into their fear, and offers them the first Easter gift; PEACE! What kind of PEACE is this? It would seem that it is the PEACE of a new beginning, a new creation; but it is a PEACE for all, won through His wounds and resurrection. The Wounded Risen Lord’s impact at their recognition of Him, was a transformation from FEAR to JOY! Once again the Easter Gift from the Risen Lord was imparted again. However, this gift, this transformation which took place within the Disciples carries with it a responsibility of Mission and loving outreach! ‘As the Father sent me, so I am sending you’. This is truly a Mission from God, because it is the I AM, or Y-H-W-H implied in this inspired text now confirms that what happened to Jesus at his Baptism in Chapter 1:32, is now happening to the Disciples.

There is still more! Notice that Jesus breathes on his disciples and says, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit…..’ now this cannot be done from a distance; no, it implies a very intimate communion between the Risen Lord, and His Disciples. Let’s examine this….Think about the people who have breathed on you during your life. Your parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and lovers. In the evening time the life of our parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters and lovers, we breathe on them! In this instance, it would seem that John and his community see this also as the moment of creative a movement within the Disciples. Similar to the creative movement of the breath of God at the beginning of time, over the darkness of the deep, as we read in Genesis. As with the work of creation, we were made to be caretakers and stewards of the creative order, here in this Pentecost experience, we see a new kind of stewardship that is of the forgiveness of sin, the imparting of Peace, and the loving outreach which will go to the ends of the earth.

So keeping that all in mind, we are called through Baptism, and confirmed in the Spirit, that we are called and sent out, with the embodiment of PEACE…..in other words, we are all called Jonah…… As Old Testament Prophet Jonah was called to convert the Nineveites after his experience of Salvation, with the three day sojourn in the Belly of the Whale, his inner change was  manifested in, and through  his embodiment of peace, as his very name suggests…..Yonah  in Hebrew, means PEACE! His very presence and demeanour was the invitation for the people to ‘change’. The same goes for us…….the first gift of Easter/Pentecost is that creative inner PEACE which runs deep within the fibre of our being, and is truly a gift from God for others. So, now let’s have a closer look at the Spirit’s Gifts.

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This Solemnity is a strong reminder to all of us of the Gifts of the Spirit that we have been given, and the responsibility that we all have in nourishing and using the Spirit’s Gifts. Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, Awe and Wonder.

We live in a multi-cultural society, and the differences in language and custom can easily reinforce the barriers which are counterproductive in the process of local and national identity. If we are truly spirit-filled people the language barrier is dissolved through listening, acceptance of diversity, and a desire to look for the goodness in each other. If we are intent in pursuing nit picking and negativity in new comers to our country, and in those who have their roots deep within this land, we run the high risk of cramping the creativity of the Holy Spirit. If we are in positions of leadership in the media, we should enable our Television shows and advertisements to be representative of the multi culturalism in our country. How representative are our Parliamentarians of our people? Australians have the grand opportunity to first desire to meet our new brothers and sisters, and it is only from the desire to meet, listen and share, enables the formula for Reconciliation to be authentic, true and communitarian in its outcome.   Food for thought!

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Perhaps the following prayer could be in our hearts and on our lips this day.

‘Holy Sacred Spirit, breathe your breath on us. Holy Sacred Spirit, breathe your life in us’. Words by Monica Brown, Song Album: A REMEMBERING HEART.  God Bless you and your families, and may we never forget each other in prayer.    Fr.Kev

OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………

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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: Let us pray to be faithful to the Spirit of truth who dwells within each of us.

  1. That the Spirit guide the Church to testify to Jesus with truth. We pray to the Lord: Lord graciously hear us.
  2. That the Spirit guide all peoples to glorify God. We pray to the Lord: Lord graciously hear us.
  3. That the Spirit guide those in need to receive the fruit of that same Spirit. We pray to the Lord: Lord graciously hear us.
  4. That the Spirit guide each of us to proclaim the gospel with sincerity and truth. We pray to the Lord: Lord graciously hear us.
  5. Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones and ipads….who are some of the people in our Global village or need our prayers? You might like to share some of these…………., we pray to the Lord:Lord, graciously hear us.

Leader: Gracious God, you send your Spirit upon us to guide us in all things: hear these our prayers that we might one day dwell with you for ever and ever. Amen.

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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. 

Leader:          The Cross

ALL          WE SHALL TAKE IT.

The bread……………

ALL          WE SHALL BREAK IT.

The pain

ALL          WE SHALL BEAR IT.

The joy………………

ALL          WE SHALL SHARE IT.

The Gospel……………

ALL          WE SHALL LIVE IT.

The love…………

ALL          WE SHALL GIVE IT.

The light……………

ALL          WE SHALL CHERISH IT.

The darkness…………….

ALL          WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.

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Ascension of our Lord into Heaven. Year B 2015. A realhomilie by Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia

THE FEAST OF THE ASCENSION 

BREAKING OPEN THE WORD

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The Ministry entrusted to me by virtue of Ordination, is to break open the Word. I am not a writer as such, I am a proclaimer of God’s Word. Therefore the style of my realhomilie is a preaching style. I do apologise for any typos…they are so had to find at times……. I pray that God’s Word finds a home in you, and that your response to God’s constant invitations, will be like a burning fire within you, which cannot be contained.

5991345448_d8d23ef144 Jeremiah 20

“And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.” The last paragraph of today’s Gospel reading.

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Rembrandt’s Ascension

Dear One and All,

Departures can be horrible experiences! Even if we are off overseas for the trip of a life time, tears and lots of hugs abound, either at the Airport, or at the International terminal at Sydney Harbour. Emotions are on a ‘high’ when we have to leave family, and friends and the place that we know so well. As the time approaches for departure at the Airport, and people have to disappear behind the screen to get checked in, and be x-rayed; the departure still may be 45 mins away! Back in the Terminal our relatives and friends go to the nearest big window just to see the Jet that will carry their friends….but which Jet? The atmosphere is somewhat uncertain….”will we go home now? Or shall we wait to see the aeroplane, if it is the right one, take off?” It’s upsetting, till someone says, ‘Let’s go and get a Coffee?’

On the other hand, seeing people off who are going overseas by Ship is much better, but we still try and hang on to our friends as long as we can…..look at this photo.

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Look at all the streamers connected between loved ones on the Wharf, and those on board the ship. Unfortunately this is a black and white photo of the SS Strathaird in Sydney, bound for South Hampton in the UK. (It’s at least a 6 week voyage, via the Cape of Good Hope. The Suez Canal was blocked  from 1948 till sometime in the late 50’s or early 60’s due to a War in Egypt, so ships going to the UK had to go the long way) Back at the Wharf, the streamers were of many colours.  My family have often been on that wharf to farewell our Grandparents who were going back home to England for a Holiday. We used to hang on to the streamers with all our might, as the Tug Boat pulled the big liner out from the wharf…then when the streamers broke, it was a real sad good bye! But was it? In some ways yes, in other ways, no! “Don’t forget to send us some postcards!” We long to keep in touch with our loved ones. Let’s not forget that human element as we ponder the mystery of the Ascension!

Today, we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord into heaven. A departure in a sense! Please have a good look at the faces in the famous Rembrandt’s painting. Each face of the 11 Apostles tells a story. They are not happy!! There are questions on their faces; two of them are in very close proximity to each other in comfort. There is a sense of wonder in their faces and questionings, also. Notice that the Ascension according to Rembrandt took place within their midst! Notice the darkness surrounding the light. What does that mean? The answer will unfold shortly. However, we must not look at this Feast on its own; it is a major part of the Easter Mystery. May I add that these three Feasts are about us as well as Jesus? This understanding will unfold a bit later on in the homilie. This Feast could well be seen as a major part of a triptych, that means, the name given to a set of three paintings, usually hinged together, and you gaze at the works of art from left to right, and it forms a big picture of three scenes that are deeply connected, and each painting is necessary for the total image.

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Here is an example: – By Rogier Van Der Weyden.

So the Easter mystery is comprised of:-The Resurrection of Jesus, The Ascension of Jesus, and the coming of the Advocate – Pentecost!

As we look into the mystery of this Feast of the Ascension, and what it is trying to say to us, I think that we need to have a good look at the three Readings provided for us in the Liturgy of the Word this Sunday. It is handy to be able to look up these Readings in your own Bible. The First Reading is from The Acts of the Apostles 1:1-13; The Second Reading is ( optional Reading for year B) St. Paul to the Ephesians 4:1-13, and the Gospel is Mark 16:15-20. Let’s look at the three readings today like a Triptych. We need to gaze on each reading in a Meditative way, to take it slowly and be curious….’Lord, what are you saying to me through your Holy Word?’ We are not doing any scientific research here; rather let God’s Word light up our pathway of understanding, so that the full import of the message of the Ascension, with the Resurrection as the left hand side, and Pentecost as the right hand side of our triptych completes the picture for us.  As we gaze at it at it in this way, we will see the centrality of the Ascension, which is the connecting mystery of the Resurrection and Pentecost; and we are part of that mystery too; I wonder how? You might like to get yourself a nice Coffee or Irish Breakfast Tea, to help you through the rest of this real realhomilie.

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Icon of St. Luke

While reading Luke-Acts there are many references to the Holy Spirit, do keep an eye out for them.  The Lucan Gospel comprises of part I, and the Acts of the Apostles is part II. Luke begins by saying to his friend Theophilus, that in his first Book – The Gospel, he dealt with the things that Jesus did, said and what others said about him. Notice the name of Luke’s friend? It is a Greek name meaning God-Lover; therefore that should be the name for all of us; we are all God lovers! So, having given his friend the a definition of what the Good News is…namely the things that Jesus as said, and done, and what others have have said about him, that same definition could well apply to each of us. In short, we are living, walking and loving editions of the Good News. We can all say that we are the Gospel according to Kevin, or your name_____is the Gospel and we have the Gospel according to Genny, or Mario, or Christina, or Bassam or Miriam. It would do us good, to reflect upon our lives in looking at the things that Jesus has said and done, and what others have said about Him, by way of readings our own Gospel, according to us.….Food for thought!.

Notice that after the Resurrection, Our Lord appeared to the Apostles for about 40 Days. Now, at this point, we must not get stuck on exactly 40 days…..Biblically speaking it was a considerably long time. During that time a gradual ‘change’, a ‘new creation’, had taken place within the minds and hearts of not only the Apostles, but for many other people too. Remember that way back in Biblical History, it rained for a long time in Noah’s day……how long? 40 Days. When our ancestors in faith were liberated through the waters of the Sea of Reeds, they wondered around in circles in the Sinai Desert for how long? 40 days. After the Baptism of Jesus he went out into the desert for how long? 40 days, so that he could relive his ancestors long desert Retreat, and so be changed and strengthened through that experience. At this point it is handy to know that Christian spirituality flourishes in a Desert; not necessarily in a Rain Forest.…The desert experience can enable a special inner ‘change of heart’ to take place or if we use the correct Greek word, metanoia, it can mean seeing the whole world, and oneself in a changed way! So, during this time of 40 days of appearances of the Lord in a new way, as distinct from the Jesus of History, the Apostles, in particular were undergoing a massive ‘change’ in coming to know, and believe, in the Christ of faith. Remember St. Thomas, the doubting one said that he needed to be able to see and touch the wounds in the Risen Lord before he would believe!  Look what happened to him! Thomas on behalf of all of us ‘doubters’ could say the only acclamation that could be said at his recognition of the Risen Lord….”My Lord and my God”

Notice that the Risen Lord ‘was at table’ with them, and that Jesus asked them to stay in Jerusalem, and WAIT!!!! For whom? The Promised one, the Advocate! It seems that according to the text that there are Eucharistic overtones in this Lucan language….o, the Apostles are within a Eucharistic moment of the deepest thanksgiving as ‘they were at Table…’ when Risen Lord spoke to them, and gave them instructions, and nourished them……More Food for thought!

We move on…..I told you that you would need a Coffee or strong Tea….maybe it’s time for a second cuppa or something a little stronger like some Coke! A vital instruction that the Risen Lord gave his Apostles, was that they would be given a special person, in the form of the Holy Spirit, who would empower them to go out, and proclaim in loving boldness, that the Kingdom of God is here, right now, but not fully completed, till the Lord Jesus returns. Our Lord says to the eleven, that the Holy Spirit will give you POWER to be the living Christ in His Church, the New Israel. What kind of POWER? In our modern day language we have all kinds of meanings for power…..power as electricity, power up an outboard motor on a speed boat. Someone may use his or her power in authority to create something good, or cramp any possibilities of goodness and adventure, growing in people or in Societies. We don’t have to look too far to see those elements alive and well in our world today….not only in overseas countries…but even close at hand; maybe even in our homes! Our Religious Communities, our Church! So what is Biblical POWER?  Well it seems that the power that Jesus spoke about, and the Gospel communities repeat is a ‘dynamic’ which has its home within, the very WORDS FROM GOD. When God speaks, the very utterance has an inner activity and movement, which will complete what it was sent to do. God’s Word when spoken does not return empty! It seems that ‘the power’ that Jesus speaks about, is an inner zeal, because it is propelled by the truth and covenant love of the Lord God freely given to His Church. In going back to the final paragraph of the first Reading, it speaks of the Lord Jesus being taken away from them, while he was speaking to the apostles. It would seem that the Apostles were not even a stone’s throw away; they were right there with Jesus while this was happening. It seems that their understanding, and present engagement with each other and the Lord, was telling them that the Christ of Faith will not be around them like he was during the last 40 days. Let’s go back to Sydney Wharf, seeing the SS Strathaird departing….we yell out, “don’t forget to send us some postcards!!!”  In this case with the Lord, it will be in the form of the Holy Spirit!

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Ascension by Giotto

Notice that a cloud veiled them from Jesus….The cloud in Biblical language is generally associated with the nearness of the Lord God, in a veiled way. Remember the cloud on Sinai? The Cloud which led the chosen people by day, and the cloud that enveloped Jesus, Moses and Elijah within the conversation of the Transfiguration? Let’s look at the two men in white standing near them, at the moment of the Ascension. These people in white invite the Apostles from Galilee to switch their vision to the people on the ground…..they will be their Mission, and that is where they will find Christ’s living body, after the time of empowerment at Pentecost. The two men in white is a poetic way for the Apostles and us to keep both feet on the ground, and to get on with the Mission in the Galilee of our lives. This empowerment could well entail the giving and bestowing on the Church of the Wisdom of God, which could well be seen as the ‘life’ which runs through the veins of the Grape Vine, which when pruned by the Word will enable a bounty of fruit; fruit that will last. Again…Food for Thought!

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St. Paul by El Greco

In the Second reading, St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 1:17-23, we are looking upon it as the second panel in our Biblical triptych. This passage needs to be read through very slowly; let the words sink into you like good floor polish entering a hungry Oak stained floor boards. Then re-read it again, this time being deeply curious, so that you have the time to gaze at the words, while they echo inside you. Then read it again, this time pausing where you feel that you need to rest, and absorb God’s Word. Try and let the words echo inside you, so that within the chamber of your being, as response gently percolates to the surface of your being, and then let the words rest in you, as though you were in space with no gravity to hold you…just drift with the words till there is a stunning silence within. Don’t let the silence worry you; you are not doing a task, you are in a state of ‘silence’ in which the deepest conversations take place. Sometimes with the ‘silence’, the noise of God’s Word can be deafening! When you feel that you need to move on to be refreshed by the Word, do so, quietly and gently. This  is called a form of Lectio Divina……Holy Reading….it is in those moments of nothingness, stillness and a feeling of orbiting in space ……that is when ‘prayer’ is happening. We call that Oratio. Let the Spirit within you speak in the Spirit’s own language while you are still in readiness to receive it. I bet that you are saying, where can I do this?  Because there are so many distractions around me?  Very true! All phones must be turned off, anything that buzzes, clicks or plays music telling that you are a new friend on Facebook, must be turned off! (Not for long)  In short, you really need to be in a space that you call ‘sacred’ and that you are comfortable…..try it for 10 mins for starters. After doing this in short moments of time, regularly, slightly increase it…….The results can be stunning! But like taking Vitamin B Plus tablets, you won’t be jumping over the moon the next day…….it will take at least a month to get into the routine and rhythm of the lead up to ‘Prayer’

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St. Mark by Donatello

Now, we look at the third panel; the Gospel of today: – Mark 16:15-20. In these accounts of the Ascension, we would be going down the wrong road, if we are solely looking for an editorial account of what actually happened, as we may find on BBC News. The accounts of the Ascension are more about a sophisticated poetry, than details on how it happened! We ought to be more concerned about the implications of what it means for us within the economy of Salvation. We are just as much caught up in the meaning of the Ascension as Jesus! Now, some people might not agree about that, but who is the Ascension for? It seems that it is a two way street; the implications of the gradual disappearance of the Lord, as was experienced during his earthly life, and then during the 40 days after the His Resurrection, speak about the gradual elevation of the Christian Community to understand, live and act as the Body of Christ – The Church-Now! The Gospel account today in Mark, makes the theological and missionary elements very clear for us – as the Church! ‘Go and proclaim the Good News everywhere!’ Who’s Good News? The Lord Jesus’ Good News, and this is empowered by the Pentecost event which we will look at soon.

The last paragraph of today’s Gospel is absolutely intrinsic as to whose Mission it is; it is God’s mission, fortified in Jesus, and animated through the ‘power’, the ‘creative wisdom’, the biblical ‘truth’ and  ‘covenant love’, impels us to live, move and have our being in Christ!  The Holy Spirit is then the driving force and living reminder of all the things that Jesus has said and done, and will do. As we look back in History, there are parts of that journey which are shameful, because we have used the Mission of God as our Mission to obtain greatness…..Imperialism in recent centuries have procured Christianity as a kind of ‘super glue’ as in Gospel, Glory and Gold, for overpowering nations. There has been since the edict of Constantine in 313 AD to abuse THE MISSION, and to wrongfully use Christianity as a way to oppress people, and support personal greatness.  Sometimes the quest for personal glory and wealth, to the absolute discredit of the ‘commonwealth’ contained within the pristine MISSION, entrusted faithfully to us by God is used for personal and seeming angelic purposes!  The leadership of the MISSION is so often tempted to, and succumbed by a benevolent Dictatorship when the proponents are lost within a maze of self-importance, and fair floss of ideas. These ways are not impelled by the Holy Spirit, but are generated by the inner engine of narcissism. The problem is that we can all fall into the seeming attractive position of greatness, while discarding the absolute images of the living Icon of Jesus. Our Lord’s washing the feet of His Disciples, together with the true meaning of the Cross, is the gateway to all MISSION. Unless, like Thomas the Apostle, we get down on our hands and knees, and be on ground zero with our sisters and brothers, listening to their woundedness, celebrating their milestones, being within energised Eucharistic Communities, who give thanks and praise to God in realistic, all embracing Liturgies, and not just acting out a Ritual; we are not within a Bull’s Roar of ‘Speaking the Truth in Love’… Maybe, to do that, we might need to ‘listen to the truth in humility’! Food for Thought.

‘ And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.’ (The concluding paragraph of today’s Gospel passage)

FROM WORD TO THANKSGIVING:

We give thanks to God our Father on this day, when the body of his Son, raised to him as an offering, fills us with joy in the hope of that life which will never end.

(Copied respectfully from the Glenstal Bible Missal, the Feast of the Ascension, Year B. Page 794)

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Realhomilies are for real people!

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I have been proclaiming God’s Word for 43 years, and over that time I have heard many people ask for down to earth material that can be applicable in their daily lives in the Homily! People have often said to me when I go to a new Parish, “I hope that you won’t talk too long at the Homily.” I usually say in return that I can’t stand Ministers of the Gospel going on and on, and going around in circlesJ”

If you are looking for academic material in my realhomilies, you won’t find it here. You had better Google somewhere else. This is spirituality for the ordinary person in the street…just like me!

If you know someone in your contacts list who may be House bound, ill or infirm; or your Teenagers, parents and friends who might get their appetites stirred up into a ‘trip hop beat’ while hearing God’s Word…why not give     them  the web site?  www.realhomilies.com

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And they can subscribe without charge! Just click on the subscribe button, fill out the basic details, and you will get an email sent to you each time I publish some material. If you would like to write comments, just check out Facebook! Or email them to:- kevin.w3@bigpond.com

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Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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6th Sunday of Easter year B 2015. The Great Commandment, by Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia

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BREAKING OPEN THE WORD

The Ministry entrusted to me by virtue of Ordination, is to break open the Word. I am not a writer as such, I am a proclaimer of God’s Word. Therefore the style of my realhomilie is a preaching style. I do apologise for any typos…they are so had to find at times……. I pray that God’s Word finds a home in you, and that your response to God’s constant invitations, will be like a burning fire within you, which cannot be contained. 

bible-1-2-1 Bread and Light

‘Love one another, as I have loved you’

Dear One and All,

This week’s Gospel is really the icing on the cake for the post Resurrection selection of Sunday Gospel passages; the Johannine passages which have been selected in this post Easter period, all lead to this: the great commandment of Jesus. Over the years, we have heard this commandment proclaimed in Eucharistic Assemblies on the Lord’s Day, in Sport’s grounds where huge numbers of people have gathered to hear God’s Word and also during Christian rallies. If we log on to the iTunes Store, nearly every second song is about love! Back in my heyday, we often heard the Song: Love is a many splendid thing, or Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage…….yes, these Songs really date me!

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Before we go any further, I think that it would do us well to explore the meanings of the word love. In New Testament times there were three Greek words for LOVE. Let’s examine them, so that we are all on the same page of understanding. These three words are, eros, phyla and agape.  The first word is about the passion within sexual desire, and it does not appear in the New Testament Literature. I suppose that we could safely say, that it can be an uncommitted form of love, but it could also be the precursor to a deeper form of love. The second word, deals with that love within friendship and comradeship. This is a very deep form of love, which can lead to dying for one’s friends. Or that love which is found among soldiers on the battle ground. We have all heard such extraordinary stories of selflessness, self-giving, and heroic virtue, as people express and place themselves, in astonishing acts of love for others. Phyla can express some of the most saintly actions that men, women and children can “do” and “be” for others. I think here that we could safely include the loving devotion, and preparedness of animals to safeguard and appeal for help for their lovers, who might be in some kind of difficulty. I am not sure what name to call that kind of love, but I am sure that you know what I mean. It is love! Also, notice the number of times that we say to our pet dog….”I love you….” The dog certainly registers an outpouring of love to their owner”. The virtue of unconditional loyalty is manifested by the Dog to its owner, even at the moment of death, when our dog Rosie pictured here with my Mum.

At the moment of my Mum’s death, Rosie kissed her on the cheek.

100_2349 Rosie and Mum

Finally, the New Testament word for Christian love is agape and agapan. The symbol just below here of the Cross within the heart speaks volumes about Christian love! The absolute uniqueness of New Testament love is that it issues forth from Jesus, the human face of the Father and we have been called and chosen to spread that divine love to the whole world! As you can see from this symbol, the Cross is deeply imbedded within the heart! The flame of love gently bursts forth as light; as the Holy Spirit’s breath; as the direct consequence of the hesed and emet’ in the Old Testament. A couple of weeks ago I spoke about the hesed (Covenant love) emet (undeniable truth) as seen throughout the Old Testament, pertaining to Adonai, the Lord God. Here it is bursting into flower in Jesus, the Christ! Agape itself! (Divine Love)

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So often in Old Testament times, the Lord God broke His own law of love by accepting us back, time and time again, we and our ancestors in faith are the unfaithful bride. In Biblical language, God is seen as the Bridegroom, and we, God’s people, are seen and spoken of as the Bride.

 e3_3_1_4d_dutch_art Rembrandt

The next picture is the famous Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son/Forgiving Father. I have deliberately given you a big size pic, so that you can see some of the very telling aspects of agape as lived by Jesus, and picked up by Rembrandt!  For me, this Painting is one of the most powerful images about the inner meaning of Reconciliation which is an indelible part of agape. For Reconciliation to be a truthful expression of Christ centred love, there has to be a desire for both parties to come together in conversation. That is in the conciliation part; reconciliation is the beautiful word which speaks about a hopeful outcome through actions and dialogue. We see all that here!

Notice the hands of the Father resting on the back of his son? They are male and female hands! Look at the Son in rags, dressed like someone who is on their last legs. His shoes are threadbare…..notice how one shoe is off…..probably due to the rushing of the young man, falling to his knees and  saying, “Father, I have sinned against you and God, I am no longer worthy to be included in your household!” Look at the faces of the others….especially the one in the shadows! The Conversation begins………but it really had begun much earlier, because the Father knew that his son would return some day, and the Father was prepared to wait, and wait for the unfaithful son to return. The Father did not rub it in when his son came home by saying….” Look at you…..you deserved all that you got!” No, to the contrary, he was hugged!!!!!!!! The loving sacramental actions of this meeting is astounding…..1. The desire to belong. 2. Contrition. 3. The mutual hug, 4. The celebration…… (Eucharist) The agape in Jesus, lays down His life for His sheep.

The agape in Jesus does not call the sin to mind, from the one seeking forgiveness. The one seeking forgiveness has a heart of contrition based on Psalm 50. (Let’s relook at the words that the son says to his father while on his knees) The agape in Jesus are words and actions. The agape in Jesus gives new life to us! Time and time again we are the returning son/daughter to the father.

In this picture below it speaks of the unconditional selfless giving in love for His Sheep! This is not eros, this is not phyla this is pure agape!

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We could not have found God, unless God had found us first. It would seem that from the first moments in human history, when we, as Homo sapiens, were able to reflect upon our actions, meditate on the mysteries that surround us, and gaze into the conversation that our God had initiated with us; it was through these moments that we had the faith=insight that God wants to embrace us for ever! ‘I will be your God, and you will be my people’, these are the words of the Covenant-love on Sinai, initiated by Adonai, the Lord God and was galvanised into the New Covenant initiated by Jesus-Christ! The everlasting Covenant, and its consequences for all time, were crystalized in the words of Jesus from today’s Gospel…..’You did not choose me, no, I have chosen you; and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name. What I command you is to love one another.’

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The Blessed Trinity, is about an explanation of the agape which is revealed in the three persons of the Godhead. Through the famous Russian, Andrei Rublev, we get a sense as to how this mystery has been understood, and the biblical roots from where the ideas grew.

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 (Here I acknowledge with thanks, Google Search for leading me to this article on the Icon of the Trinity 1425-1427)
Icon “Trinity” – the most famous work of the Great Russian painter Andrei Rublev. According to one of the sources of the XVII century, it was written “to the praise of Sergius of Radonezh” commissioned by his disciple and successor of abbot Nikon. At the heart of iconography – the biblical story (Pr. of Genesis, XVIII) on the phenomenon of the righteous Abraham deity in the form of three angels. Abraham and his wife Sarah were treated under the shadow of angels Mamvriyskogo oak, and Abraham was given to understand that the angels embodied divinity in three persons. Avoiding the details, conventional in the story “The hospitality of Abraham,” Andrei Rublev achieved exclusively symbolic depths of his creations. In Rublev’s icon of the attention is focused on the three angels, their silent communion. They are depicted as seated around the throne, which is placed in the centre of the Eucharistic cup with the head of the sacrificial bull, symbolizing the New Testament lamb, t. E. Christ. The left and middle angels bless the bowl. God the Father blesses God the Son to die on the cross for the love of the people. God the Holy Spirit (right angel) is present here as a comforter, claiming a high sense of sacrifice, forgiving love. The content of the “Trinity” is not unique monument in its multifaceted topics, primarily it embodies the idea of ​​the Trinity of the Godhead. In the time of St. Sergius of Radonezh and Andrei Rublev’s Trinity topic was seen as a symbol of spiritual unity, mutual love, peace, and a willingness to sacrifice himself. (agape)

So, to conclude this small reflection on the Gospel for the 6th Sunday of Easter, it seems that a paramount part of our calling to bear fruit, depends upon having a home in God and God in us. It also means that the wisdom (Sophia Theos) which runs through our metaphorical veins, and being pruned, so that we can bear much fruit; seems to be the package! However, the invitation is a command from God in the name of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit. In turn, we then are living, and proclaiming ‘The new Heavens and the New Earth) as we see in the Book of Revelation; we have nothing to fear! It all comes from the Agape of God, and we are called in and through that Divine love to be walking additions of the Good News! To be living Gospels who experience all the aspects, twists and turns as Jesus grew in his awareness of self, and the filial relationship with his father. The miracles, passion stories, resurrection narratives, etc are mirrored in our lives as we take seriously the Commandment of Jesus…….’Love one another, as I have loved you!’

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FROM WORD TO THANKSGIVING:

We gives thanks to God our Father, for his Son, Jesus. Because of the great love with which he loves us he has made us his friends, and his Spirit enables us to bear fruit which will last.

(Respectively copied from The Glenstal Bible Missal, sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B. Page 787) 

realhomilies are for real people!

 DSC03023 Fe and Nilo etc

I have been proclaiming God’s Word for 43 years, and over that time I have heard many people ask for down to earth material that can be applicable in their daily lives in the Homily! People have often said to me when I go to a new Parish, “I hope that you won’t talk too long at the Homily.” I usually say in return that I can’t stand Ministers of the Gospel going on and on, and going around in circlesJ”

If you are looking for academic material in my realhomilies, you won’t find it here. You had better Google somewhere else. This is spirituality for the ordinary person in the street…just like me!

If you know someone in your contacts list who may be House bound, ill or infirm; or your Teenagers, parents and friends who might get their appetites stirred up into a ‘trip hop beat’ while hearing God’s Word…why not give     them  the web site?  www.realhomilies.com  www.facebook.com/realhomilies

And they can subscribe without charge! Just click on the subscribe button, fill out the basic details, and you will get an email sent to you each time I publish some material. If you would like to write comments, just check out Facebook! Or email them to:- kevin.w3@bigpond.com

300px-Hands_of_God_and_Adam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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