24th Sunday Year B in Ordinary time, 2015 , Deep Sea Diving into the Scriptures, a realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. Family Prayer around God’s Word, and a Blessing from Iona Abbey in Scotland.
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THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.
First Reading: Isaiah 50:5-9
The Lord has opened my ear.
For my part, I made no resistance,
neither did I turn away.
I offered my back to those who struck me,
my cheeks to those who tore at my beard;
I did not cover my face
against insult and spittle.
The Lord comes to my help,
so that I am untouched by the insults.
So, too, I set my face like flint;
I know I shall not be shamed.
My vindicator is here at hand.
Does anyone start proceedings against me?
Then let us go to court together.
Who thinks he has a case against me?
Let him approach me.
The Lord is coming to my help,
who dare condemn me?
(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 114:1-6. 8-9
- I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
I love the Lord for he has heard
the cry of my appeal;
for he turned his ear to me
in the day when I called him. R.
They surrounded me, the snares of death,
with anguish of the tomb;
they caught me, sorrow and distress.
I called on the Lord’s name.
O Lord my God, deliver me! R.
How gracious is the Lord, and just;
our God has compassion.
The Lord protects the simple hearts;
I was helpless so he saved me! R.
He has kept my soul from death,
my eyes from tears
and my feet from stumbling.
I will walk in the presence of the Lord
in the land of the living. R.
Gospel: Mark 8:27-35
Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ And they told him. ‘John the Baptist,’ they said, ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he asked, ‘who do you say I am?’ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘You are the Christ.’ And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’
He called the people and his disciples to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.’
Reflection time again……. Can you see and hear the links, connecting the First Reading, and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..
to the Lectionary
The passage from Isaiah 50:4-9, the so-called Third Song of the Servant of the Lord, is otherwise found only on Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (all three years) and on Wednesday of Holy Week. The tradition of associating this reading with the passion of the Lord makes it an appropriate complement to this Sunday’s Gospel prediction of the Lord’s forthcoming death.
to our present day living and thinking
So much of today’s culture is about ‘me’. Many self-help books and much advertising announce whatever the cost, ‘I’m worth it’. The Gospel is counter-cultural, announcing that the most important thing in life is ‘losing’ self in order to find something greater: deeper listening and eternal life.
A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh
Dear One and All,
It is fairly common these days in Business, and within People orientated Professions, to undergo an appraisal…..that is to see how one is performing, and highlighting personal presentation, and giving attention on how one could improve. In contrast to the gospel today, the appraisal called by Jesus is not about His performance, but about His identity……..,’who do people say that I am?’ The response is a mixed bag of possibilities, but here we see Peter speaking up for the group, and as the early Christian Community saying….. “You are the Christ….” However, Peter’s response is a hasty one; somewhat like his response to the observation made on the eve of Our Lord’s Death……”are you not one of His Disciples?” Peter swiftly denies the claim…..” I do not know the man….” Peter often shows himself to be somewhat impulsive from time to time in the Gospel…..Let’s not forget that there is a big possibility that Peter is not alone in that kind of quick response without thinking it through; we can easily be like Peter.
Jesus deepens the understanding of His identity with aligning himself with the Suffering Servant in Isaiah. It seems that this is a crucial ingredient of Our Lord’s identity, and urgently calls us to revisit its implications for living the Gospel message. Hence the prospective follower`s response to this fundamental aspect of Christian Discipleship is supreme.
In order to explore the implications of `the suffering servant motif ‘ we need to dig deep in to its understanding for the Prophet Isaiah! Let’s have a look at the opening line of the 1st Reading for today…..” the Lord has opened my ear’”. It is just so easy to read that over very quickly and not fathom its profound meaning. So without more ado, what does it mean? It seems that to have one’s ear opened is a ‘graced moment’ in listening. We are not looking at this from the point of an Audiologist as you would find in a Medical Centre, but Biblically speaking, it is the graced moment of holistic listening.
These two words mean real Biblical obedience. So often we can so easily misunderstand the meaning of Biblical obedience; often we might think that it means just doing this or that! Or abiding by certain rules, or else! Absolutely no! In this case, it would seem that through Isaiah’s ‘lived response’ to his calling from the Lord God; he has learnt to listen deeply to The Word addressed to him all the time. Biblical listening has a lot to do also with holiness, which equals whole-some-ness. In the 1st Book of Samuel, we hear the profound response to the invitatory from the Lord God…..”Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” However, even for young Samuel, it took some time for him to understand, and to know that the calling of his name, was in fact from the Angel of the Lord; he received some assistance from the old man Eli, which cannot be understated either. We must treat this progress of refined listening as a result of intercession in this case. Notice that Samuel makes the move in his investigations, the answers or the graces do not come on a silver spoon. In short, it is all about responding to an invitation, and earning the graced moment, sometimes with the help of others!
In Isaiah’s case, his experience within his vocation has told him why he can respond to suffering as a silent witness, and this comes to the surface when Isaiah can say: `The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults….My vindicator is at hand….The Lord is coming to my help.’ The Prophet knows in the Biblical sense, that the Lord will never let him down, and through his ongoing suffering; ironically, he will learn to listen even more to the Lord God.
Now, this Biblical understanding in how to deal with conflict\suffering goes contrary to the world’s formula in dealing with unjust personal and communitarian reproach for one’s belief. In today’s Gospel, we see Peter representing the “world’s way”. In responding to the ultimate suffering with Jesus, at his imminent Passion, Death and Resurrection, the latter part of the triplet is incredulous to Peter at this time…..again, ‘the faces have changed, but the message remains the same’ through all the ages. That is why the inspired Word of God is applicable to all millennia and seasons. In short one has to grow into a Biblical listener in order to reap the benefits for self and others in the community.
There is still more to all of this than meets the eye: the silent suffering servant for many people, can be seen as a sign of weakness, however, as St. Paul says ` when I am weak, then I am strong…’ How does that work, we might ask? Because as for Isaiah and St.Paul, they knew that the ‘Spirit-breath’ of the Lord was in them, their vision and hope was to a higher plain not just the earthly one. Notwithstanding the silent witness element, it does not rule out the process of conciliation, through to reconciliation when confronted with hostile people, who do not understand the stance of the Christian. Time and time again in the Scriptures, we are called to the desire of meeting others, in short, that means conciliation, which is always the first step to the bringing together within a healing moment…..true reconciliation. This desired process is a`by product’ of the Community of Isaiah’s experience, and that of the Christian Community’s approach to suffering; the flip side to the ingestion of Biblical listening is becoming the silent witness and an intercessor for Reconciliation. When this process happens in us…..that is true progress! But it would not gain any points on an appraisal! Let’s never forget that Jesus learnt obedience through suffering! We really need to dwell on that fact, for our own lives, especially as we understand Biblical listening as OBEDIENCE! If it doesn’t happen when we would expect it, we must remember that the Lord God has the bigger picture…..as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer…`thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’……in God’s own time. Here is another crunching factor: the letting go of controlling the outcome at a given time, this is another fruit of Biblical listening.
In the living out of this true Biblical listening, there is often an internal struggle…….these days, we often hear the word “jihad”, and according to the Macquarie Encyclopaedia Dictionary, 2010, let’s see its meaning: – Islam: spiritual struggle: efforts made in the cause of God. At a personal level, the struggle to be righteous and follow God’s path. At a communal level, a struggle or holy war in support of Islam against unbelievers. The major part of “jihad” could well be owned by the followers of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…..Jews, Christians and Muslims, however being groomed in and by the New Testament, there is absolutely no room for a so called holy war, that is truly a misnomer.
For ourselves, time and time again within the circumstances of our day to day lives, situations arise when the question is asked of us individually…” Who do you say I am.?” The answer is lived out in our response to the situation as we sometimes internally wrestle with the “jihad” and come to answer that burning question. ‘Who do YOU say I am?’
Do we make time ‘to listen’ to God; and get into the habit of it, so that it happens automatically? Are we so filled with noise that we cannot ‘fine tune’ into what silence has to offer? Do we see the value in having a personal or family review of the day; using the question….How have I seen the saving hand of God today in people, through Scripture, in Sacrament, within silence? If we attend Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, does our gaze penetrate through the Host, into the living Body of Christ in our world? How do we respond to ‘FAITH’ hostility? Are we affirmed in the way that Isaiah was? Do we try to enter into conversation, so that reconciliation may happen? Or do we go for the throat? Believe me, these questions are for me, just as anyone else…..Let us go gently…and learn from The Suffering Servant! Food for thought!
PS: I attach a little story to illustrate that really the Apostles, Saints and ourselves are on the same page…enjoy!
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………
Leader: God calls us to life through death. Let us die to ourselves as we pray for the needs of the world.
- That the disciples of Jesus may deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him even to suffering and death. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
- That those who exercise power and authority may think more as God does and less as humans do. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
- That all those suffering for the sake of the Gospel may find comfort in Christ. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
- That our community may be faithful to our journey with Christ toward the cross. Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
- From what we have seen on our TV News during the week, we place the following events into the Lord’s keeping_____________ Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.
- Leader: O God, hear our prayers that our lives and the lives of those for whom we pray may be full in 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.
- 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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