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About kevinwalsh1974

Having been formed as a Priest within my family and Passionist Life, I have a deep passion for listening to and digging deep into God's evergreen Word. For this passion I sincerely thank the Priests who taught me in the Seminary, my family, fellow religious, both male and female. I am deeply moved to acction by seeking common ground in Ecumenical circles, and I believe strongly in listening to and sharing with other people how the saving hand of God is seen in daily life. My ministerial experiences over the last 40 years has led me to teach in Schools, minister in Parishes,and guide Retreats. Globally, I have been fortunate to serve the Lord here in Australia, New Zealand,Papua New Guinea, England, United states, Israel, Jordan and Egypt. The texture of the Mission stateent that I strive for is found in the Old Testament, Micah 6:8

22nd Sunday year B, 2018. A Reflection on the Readings by Fr Brian Gleeson CP. Melbourne Australia. BEING CLEAN AND PURE.

22nd Sunday B 1The Pharisees and the Herodians Conspire Against Jesus

There are three kinds of cleanliness, three ways of being clean. There is bodily cleanliness, i.e. hygienic cleanliness, as when we take a bath or shower, or use a hospital sanitizer to ward off germs. There is ritual cleanliness, as when our priest at Mass washes his hands. And there is ethical cleanliness, i.e. moral cleanliness, which Jesus emphasizes today as the kind that matters most.

The opponents of Jesus blame him because his followers are not observing Jewish rules of ritual cleanliness. They are not washing their hands before and during meals. In reply Jesus calls them ‘hypocrites’. They are hypocrites because, as he points out: ‘You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’

22nd sunday year B 3 Philippe_de_Champaigne_-_Moses_with_the_Ten_Commandments_-_WGA04717

The word ‘hypocrite’ has an interesting history. It begins by meaning simply someone who answers. It goes on to mean someone who answers in a set dialogue and conversation, i.e., an actor. Finally, it comes to mean someone whose whole life is a piece of acting, without any sincerity at all. Jesus tells his opponents they all fit that category. ‘You are hypocrites,’ he says to them, ‘you are great pretenders.’

What Jesus was up against was the belief of his enemies that the human rules and regulations they stressed were the essence and the heart of religion. For them to keep the rules was to please God, to break the rules was to sin.

What was true when Jesus was walking around Palestine is still true. Anyone for whom religion is just a set of human rules, anyone for whom religion means conforming only on the outside to rules and regulations, anyone for whom religion is only the exact compliance with a list of taboos, is a hypocrite.

Take the case of legalistic Jews at the time of Jesus. Just like some politicians recently, they might fiercely hate fellow human beings, even colleagues. They might be full of envy and jealousy. They might conceal bitterness and pride. But e.g., so long as they carried out the prescribed hand washings correctly, the values, meanings and intentions behind such rules did not count.

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So, Jesus takes them on. He begins by quoting the Word of God as expressed in the prophet Isaiah: ‘This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’ He insists that what really defiles a human being is the evil behaviour that comes from within – from the thoughts and desires of the heart. He strings together a powerful set of examples: – malicious intentions; sexual irresponsibility; theft; murder; adultery; greed; hurting and injuring others; trickery and deceit; self-indulgence; jealousy; slander; contempt; and acting the fool in ways that harm others.

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One of the excuses we often hear from people who stay away from church is that those who go are ‘hypocrites’. I don’t believe that to be true. Yet what they say does point to the danger of identifying religion with outward observance – with such religious practices as going to Mass, fasting, reading the bible, saying morning and evening prayers, and putting money on the plate. These are good and worth-while things to do, but only if our hearts, disposition and attitudes towards God and our fellow human beings, are right. If in our hearts there lurk enmity, bitterness, grudges, hate and contempt for others, all the outward practices in the world will show us up for what we really are – hypocrites!

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So, let’s be sure to pray to Jesus our Saviour in our Holy Communion with him today, both for ourselves and one another, to save us from any and every kind of hypocrisy, and to help us to live and act with clean, committed, pure, sincere, constant and consistent hearts!
bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson special photo

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21st Sunday year B, 2018. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh – Sydney Australia. ‘LORD, YOU HAVE THE WORDS OF EVERLASTING LIFE.’ kevin.w3@bigpond.com Blog: https://realhomilies.wordpress.com/

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READINGS: Book of Joshua 24:1-2. 15-18. Psalm:33:2-3. 16-23   Gospel John: 6:60-69

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In the first Reading from the Old Testament, Joshua, who was the Leader of God’s people after Moses, had called all the tribes of Israel together to commemorate their common past and to renew it! It seemed that they needed to be reminded of the covenant that had been initiated by the Lord God, back at Sinai, and a commitment to the Decalogue (The Ten Words/Commandments and associated guidelines). In fact, they needed to ‘make present’ the stories of Salvation, and the particular invitation that the lord God had made to Israel, namely, to be in a Marriage (Covenant) Contract. This of course was initially initiated by the Lord God. Hence the renewal of the Covenant Liturgy would refresh in their individual and corporate mind their ‘specialness’ with the Lord God, and the Lord God’s infatuation and endless desire to have His people in communion with Him.

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The Ancient Holy place, Shechem

In the act of gathering, the Assembly at the Holy place of Shechem, the tribes of Israel acknowledge their belonging to a people who owed their existence to God’s initiative. They are in a real way, the children who recognise their God, and who state their resolve to remain attached to the one who gave them life. In a very real sense this is a ‘memorial’ a ‘thanksgiving’ Liturgy; Eucharistic in its overtones for us, and very much Sacramental. You might ask how? Well the short answer is, that the Liturgy at Shechem was especially ‘making present’ within a community, through Gathering, sharing their common Story and hearing the Word; and then a collective response which consolidated them, and re awakened their identity and mission as a People.

The first Reading describes a primitive form of Liturgy….a Covenant Renewal Ceremony. This Liturgy was just not presided over by the Priests or Leaders, and the people standing in humble silent submission! No, everyone in this Ceremony was a participator; and that is real Liturgy. In contrast to going through the mechanics of cold Rituals. It is the full and active participation of all, which make it a ‘work of all’ a real Liturgy. Notice that the Liturgical action in the Holy place of Shechem was in itself an INVITATION from the Lord God, through His spokesperson, Joshua! The overall RESPONSE was: We will serve the Lord, our God!

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The Gospel today takes up the theme of commitment to the Lord and his ways. This theme was a very real problem for the early Church around 100 AD; but it is also a timeless problem. However the response to this problem has also been seen throughout Biblical History, and Church History as a pivotal issue which must be addressed by the faithful in their time. The personal and community renewal, and re commitment is ongoing, and this is actualised in our time when we celebrate the Eucharistic Liturgy.

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Once again, God’s Word is calling us to check our personal and community response as the Living Body of Christ, and the responsibilities that go with it. We can so easily slip into a mode of frequent Mass, and even mentally check it off our TO DO LIST! But, due to our human nature, we can either rest on our laurels and be comfortable, or see it has part of our mind, body and Spirit, which needs to be re visited, and understood that it is an important vital issue of the now! Or if we see it as an activity which needs to be done, and not allowing ourselves to be challenged by The Word, and awake to the deeper implications of our actions; it can become a routine, and robots can do that. Today, we are asked once again to check out our ‘faith response’, and its authenticity and realness.

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Do we leave our Sunday celebration, from say, 9.00am till 9.45am just for Sundays? Do we go through the ritual of the Eucharistic celebration, and stay apart from the Liturgy? (That is a very subtle difference, and worth exploring) Do we think that the most important aspect of our Sunday gathering is to receive the Eucharist, and then go home? Do we regard our weekly celebration like going to fill up our Car with fuel at the Petrol Station? Or is it a personal habit to reflect upon our Spiritual development when we get moments to do so? Do we look for the saving hand of God at work in our lives, and the lives of others every day? How have we been touched by the Lord today in prayer, through insight, His Word, and in our sisters and brothers? If these questions become part of us, we have much to bring to the community Celebration of the Eucharist in our Parish Family on Sundays.

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Our whole week should be the living out the Liturgical dismissal. ’Go in peace to LOVE and to SERVE the Lord!’ At the same time, our whole week prepares us for our celebration on the Lord’s Day. The Word of God from the Sunday Readings needs to be re looked at during the week……Questions which arise from it must be reflected upon……this process, might seem a bit clunky at first, but just think back to driving a Manual geared car! At first we needed to listen and feel the need to change gears, as well as using the clutch to synchronise properly. Remember, it didn’t take long to get used to it……the same goes for reflection upon God’s Word as food for the journey linked seamlessly with the Bread of the Eucharist. One handy rule of thumb could well be….’Lord, what are you saying to me through your Word? How should my life change in response to your Word?’ Now, that is a start…….try not to answer the questions like an exam……no, let the inner responses move you to prayer…..maybe short phrases or words or just nothingness………………..This is letting the Spirit pray in ourselves. It is very hard to do that because we are not in control, and as being good scientific people, we can’t measure it or its success! Ha Ha, the measurement flows out from us in our attitudes towards other people, our responses to certain difficulties instead or reactions, our overall calmness that God is not only above it all, but is deeply involved with it. I do like a particular saying from C.S Lewis on PAIN. He said that ‘Jesus did not come to take suffering and pain away from us, but rather to fill it with His presence.’

Jesus speaking with disciples

In these times, we are hearing much about the misconduct of Clerics in the Church. I have heard many people on talk back Radio saying that they are fed up with all this, and that they are going to leave the Church! That is surely a reaction…….look at the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel to his Apostles…..’Are you going to go away too?’ Simon Peter, speaking up for the group said, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of everlasting life.’ And that is where the buck stops…….We are not in the Church because of the Priests, Bishops etc., we are in it because we are committed to Christ! Our responses to this crisis in the Church is not new! Way back in Old Testament times, many of the Shepherds were not authentic! The Lord God warned His people about them……so the faces have changed, but the message remains the same……..’Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life’!     As the song writer Billy Ocean once wrote…’when the going gets tough, it’s the tough that keep going’.

Billy Ocean

So, I conclude with St Paul’s Prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21. This is a timeless prayer, it can be our prayer too.

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‘This then is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural takes its name: Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith., and then planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge you are filled with the utter fullness of God. Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to Him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen’

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21st Sunday Year B. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne – Australia. PERSONAL COMMITMENT REQUIRED.

untitled.png Moses view of the Promised Land

Joshua says to the people he has led across the river to the Promised Land: ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’

Peter says something like that too. He’s answering the question Jesus put to his inner circle of disciples, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too? Peter replies: ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the holy one of God.’

Jesus speaking with disciples

The movie Lady Sings the Blues is an oldie but a goodie. It’s the life story of the famous singer, Billie Holliday. Diana Ross spent months preparing for her role as Billie. She read miles of print about Billie’s life. For hours on end she listened to Billie’s songs. ‘I was committed to doing a good job,’ Diana said, ‘I tried very hard to know her as much as I could.’

On the other hand, Mario Lanza was shaping up to be the greatest tenor in the world. He was chosen to play the part of Enrico Caruso in the movie The Great Caruso. It was a smash. Fame and fortune followed the handsome singer. Soon he was lured to Hollywood. But there he went off the rails with booze, babes, and drugs, the usual temptations in show biz. At age 38, he died mysteriously in a slimming clinic, apparently a victim of the Mafia. Basically what went wrong with Mario Lanza is that he fell away from his commitment. And failing in his commitment, he failed in the necessary self-discipline to keep practising in order to keep singing at his peak.

A crisis point has come into the relationship between Jesus and his followers. Many are outraged by all he has said of himself as the Bread of Life. They walk away. We can imagine the sadness of Jesus. But it brings him to the point of putting out a challenge to those who are left. ‘Do you want to stay with me?’ he asks. ‘Or do you want to go away? Make up your minds. Make your choice, one way or the other.’ Peter speaks up for the group. You know what he said.

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Perhaps there are times when we too feel like walking away from our contact with Jesus the Bread of Life, when we feel like staying away from the Eucharist, either occasionally or permanently. It may be that we are tired of words about it. It may be that we are tired of poor celebrations of it. It may be that some changes in the new wording have upset us. Perhaps we find it too slow. Perhaps we find it too fast. Perhaps we are saying to ourselves: ‘It’s all so mysterious. It’s all over my head.’ Or perhaps the problem is: ‘I don’t know anybody much at the church.’ Or ‘there’s not enough time to say my own prayers.’ Or else ‘the priest is too old. He’s out of touch with what’s happening in the world. He doesn’t understand what’s happening in my life.’

May I suggest that when all is said and done, all such explanations may just be excuses and rationalizations for the one big thing that may be missing, viz., personal commitment, and what goes with personal commitment, perseverance and fidelity? Personal commitment, perseverance and fidelity! Those tried and true values no longer seem to count the way they used to and the way they ought to. Being entertained, having fun, going out, going shopping, watching TV, playing sport, watching sport, doing home renovations, anything else at all nowadays seems to matter more and be more attractive and appealing than on-going commitment to Jesus and ongoing commitment to God. Anything but Jesus seems to be valued more than loving commitment to God and God’s people.

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Unless and until we value our Sunday Eucharist as the renewal of our covenant relationship with Jesus, as time shared with him during its celebration, and as the renewal of our commitment to go out from his table to make a better world, we just won’t be ready to say to the Lord those wonderful words of commitment spoken by Joshua and Peter: ‘As for me and my house’, said Joshua, ‘we will serve the Lord.’ Peter said: ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of everlasting life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson special photo

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20th Sunday year B, 2018. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT! kevin.w3@bigpond.com

Do you get tired of seeing so many advertisements on TV, especially during Sport or during a riveting Movie? I certainly do. The people who organise the ‘breaks’ in these TV programmes seem to know just when is the good time to insert and advertisement……just when someone is about to make a try in Footy, or a vital clue is about to be found in a British Murder Mystery like the Endeavour series or Vera. Have you noticed that many of the advertisements are about Multi vitamin tablets, fizzy drinks to overload us with Vitamin C, or prompts to get some really fatty foods like KFC or McDonalds……Food, glorious Food………We need it, we love it, and we can easily fall into the trap of feasting ourselves silly on it.

Let’s see the kind of food that Jesus talks about today!

Jesus speaking with disciplesIn the gospel Jesus, and the Community of John, who put together this version of the Good News, goes to even greater lengths in teaching his listeners the central truth of Eucharist. In persevering with this teaching many of Our Lord’s listeners refused to accept it, and he loses them as followers. Let us now explore what Jesus is talking about.

Bread of life 1

What we call ‘Holy Communion’ is but a part of what we understand as ‘Eucharist’. In our celebration of Mass we have the Liturgy of the Word, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We are nourished by the word of God and by the Bread of life. We bring what gifts we have, what talents or good will we possess, and we offer these to God, embracing it with the deepest expression of praise and thanksgiving. ‘Eucharist’ comes from the Greek word: eucharistia, which means “thanksgiving”. We may think that we may not have much to give to God, but whatever we have is enough. We are reminded of this in the beautiful Hymn written by Deidre Browne:

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‘Come as you are, that’s how I want you, come as you are fell quiet at home. Close to my heart, loved and forgiven; come as you are, why stand alone?’ GA 212.

If time permits, it would be a worthwhile prayerful exercise to read today’s gospel once again before we approach the Altar for Holy Communion. By receiving the Eucharist, we are saying ‘Yes’ to the gospel, and we are declaring our acceptance of the offer that Jesus is making, and therefore our response in faith to the Bread of Life is to take seriously that we are a people who are connected together in Christ on our way to the Father, and are therefore we are commissioned not only to live the Good News in daily life, but to be what we have received….namely the Living Body of Christ.

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So, everything to do with Eucharist is pure gift. Even the willingness and readiness to accept and believe it is, in itself, a gift. ‘Flesh and blood does not reveal this…but my Father in Heaven ‘says the Lord.’ We should pray frequently asking the Spirit of God to enlighten us, to increase and strengthen our faith, to enkindle within us the fire of divine love, and to stir up within us a zeal and enthusiasm for things of God.

Corpus Christi Chalice

Finally, the teaching and invitation that comes to us through God’s Word today calls us to check out our inner dispositions as we prepare for frequent Holy Communion. Are we thinking about other things, like what will we be doing after Mass? Are we looking from side to side and seeing if we know the people? Or are we engaged in silent prayerful communion, as we move in procession to receive the Bread of life? After receiving Holy Communion at Mass what do we do? Read the Bulletin? Or do we sing the thanksgiving Hymn prayerfully, which has been especially chosen to respond to God’s word? Or do we pray silently?

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Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord! Is that just a Liturgical way of saying, ‘Bye, Bye, see you next week!’ No way! Having partaken of the Bread of God’s Word and the Sacrament of the Bread of life, in communion with others, we are sent forth to be who we have received, and to relate to each other as living and vibrant editions of the Good News. Often these virtues are tested in the car park, when confronted with 4 Wheel Drives’……or at the next set of traffic lights, or in the line of customers at the checkout in Woolworths or Coles, especially, when the Register runs out of paper! Are we tested as we wait in the long line at the Post office, and when it is almost our turn, the person in front of us has a very complicated transaction, and they have trouble speaking English……..the Litany goes on. Let us do our best to go gently……in loving and serving the Lord in our sisters and brothers.

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20th Sunday Year B, 2018. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. HOLY COMMUNION…..A PACKAGE DEAL.

Bread 13

The message of Jesus to us today is a promise. He promises to be for us just what he is. He’s our Bread of Life, and he promises to be our nourishment, sustenance and support, all along our journey of life. Unlike some people, perhaps ourselves, Jesus keeps his promises. So today let us move in our thoughts to where he keeps his promise, the Upper Room in Jerusalem.

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As Jesus is about to take leave of his disciples, and submit to the suffering and death which awaits him, he shows his intention to continue to be present to his friends and followers, but in a new and different way. The new form of his presence will be the bread and wine of a community meal celebrated in his memory. Just as human beings must eat and drink if they are to stay alive, so must the followers of Jesus eat and drink if they are to live by his teachings and example, and remain united with their Lord and one another. In becoming food and drink for their journey to God Jesus adapts himself to the need which all human beings have to both eat and drink in order to stay alive and well. This is to say that the new form of his presence will be one based on nourishment and refreshment, and will involve both eating and drinking.

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It’s important to remember, however, that communion with Jesus is not simply a private conversation with him. No, it’s a package deal. When we receive and meet the risen Christ in Holy Communion, we are challenged to open our hearts to everyone else who belongs to Jesus, to everyone else who shares the same food and drink in the same meal, and to everyone else who forms one body with him. We are challenged to love others as he loves them. For this reason some words that have been put on the lips of Jesus by an anonymous writer seem very much to the point. Let’s hear him saying those words to you and me now: –

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I tried to catch your attention this morning.
Remember when you came back to your seat and closed your eyes and put your head down and talked and talked to me.
I wanted you to listen.
I wanted to tell you to open your eyes and look at my broken body all around you.
I tried to catch your attention that time the toddler stood on the seat and spoke to you, but you gave me a dirty look and humiliated me and didn’t hear me.
I was the unmarried mother at the end of your seat, the old man in front of you, the family of seven children across the aisle from you – and I almost had the impression you disapproved of me.
I was the woman in the green coat whose husband left her this week and whose heart was being eaten out right through Mass, and a friendly smile or word would have been a little support to me.
I am your wife who cooked the lunch and coped with the children and all the burdens of the house while you read the Sunday newspaper and then went out.
I am your husband and your children and you stamped and huffed and gave us your cold silent treatment for three and a half long hours after Mass. You blackened and deadened the whole atmosphere of our home.
I am your mother and father and you have ignored and mocked and criticised and tortured as only a teenager knows how.
I am your teenage son whom you’ve lost belief in and your nagging is driving me crazy.
I am your next door neighbour whom you spend so much time gossiping about and criticizing.
I am your fellow parishioner whom you meet every day in the street and you ignore me, busy about your own concerns.
And it sickens me, all the coldness, all the squabbling and division and those endless running battles that scourge me and crown me with thorns. And then you pierce my side at Holy Communion with your empty words of love.
If you love me, feed my sheep, my starving sheep, and start in your own home.
Please don’t keep me at bay any longer.
Don’t talk to me. Listen.
I don’t want you to go on loving my spirit and ignoring my body. I don’t want you to open your mouth to receive my body and close your eyes and ears to shut it out.
When will you understand that you cannot have Holy Communion with me if you don’t have communion with your brothers and sisters in your own family and parish?
Stop thinking of me as some kind of spiritual being in the skies. I am one with these people and you cannot have me without them.
On the last day, I won’t ask you how many times you went to Mass – that is not your holiness. I will ask how your own family and neighbours fared, how your spouse and children grew in love and faith.
How did they live their Mass?
Please. Open your eyes and ears. Stop, look and listen, and make time for me by making time for them.

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson

Bro Vicente CP with Fr Brian Gleeson CP

 

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THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY: A BELIEF SINCE APOSTOLIC TIMES

Assumption

The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don’t know how it first came to be celebrated.
Its origin is lost in those days when Jerusalem was restored as a sacred city, at the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 285-337). By then it had been a pagan city for two centuries, ever since Emperor Hadrian (76-138) had leveled it around the year 135 and rebuilt it as <Aelia Capitolina> in honor of Jupiter.

For 200 years, every memory of Jesus was obliterated from the city, and the sites made holy by His life, death and Resurrection became pagan temples.
After the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 336, the sacred sites began to be restored and memories of the life of Our Lord began to be celebrated by the people of Jerusalem. One of the memories about his mother centered around the “Tomb of Mary,” close to Mount Zion, where the early Christian community had lived.
On the hill itself was the “Place of Dormition,” the spot of Mary’s “falling asleep,” where she had died. The “Tomb of Mary” was where she was buried.

At this time, the “Memory of Mary” was being celebrated. Later it was to become our feast of the Assumption.
For a time, the “Memory of Mary” was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the “Falling Asleep” (“Dormitio”) of the Mother of God.
Soon the name was changed to the “Assumption of Mary,” since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven.

That belief was ancient, dating back to the apostles themselves. What was clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of her death. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage. (Today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot.)

At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople, Emperor Marcian asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople to be enshrined in the capitol. The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that “Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven.”
In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: “Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth.”

4th Advent Mary and the Angel

All the feast days of Mary mark the great mysteries of her life and her part in the work of redemption. The central mystery of her life and person is her divine motherhood, celebrated both at Christmas and a week later (Jan. 1) on the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) marks the preparation for that motherhood, so that she had the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, completely untouched by sin. Her whole being throbbed with divine life from the very beginning, readying her for the exalted role of mother of the Savior.

The Assumption completes God’s work in her since it was not fitting that the flesh that had given life to God himself should ever undergo corruption. The Assumption is God’s crowning of His work as Mary ends her earthly life and enters eternity. The feast turns our eyes in that direction, where we will follow when our earthly life is over.

The feast days of the Church are not just the commemoration of historical events; they do not look only to the past. They look to the present and to the future and give us an insight into our own relationship with God. The Assumption looks to eternity and gives us hope that we, too, will follow Our Lady when our life is ended.

The prayer for the feast reads: “All-powerful and ever-living God: You raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of your Son, body and soul, to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory.”

In 1950, in the Apostolic Constitution <Munificentissimus Deus>, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption of Mary a dogma of the Catholic Church in these words: “The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven.”
With that, an ancient belief became Catholic doctrine and the Assumption was declared a truth revealed by God.

img_f0134512aa1 World Cross

Prayers of Intercession
Leader: In the assumption of Mary into heaven,
we see the glory that God calls us to share.
As we celebrate the mighty deeds
that God’s love accomplished in her,
we confidently ask God to hear our prayers.
1. That the church, like Mary,
will rejoice to share Christ’s victory
over death,
let us pray to the Lord:
2. That world leaders
will ensure that their countries’ might
and wealth
are used for peace and not for war,
let us pray to the Lord:
3. That those who lift up the spirits
of the poor, the homeless, and the oppressed
will never lose hope in the saving power
of God,
let us pray to the Lord:
4. That we who celebrate this Eucharist
will imitate Mary’s example of trust and love,
let us pray to the Lord:
5. That those who have died,
especially ___________ and ___________,
will find everlasting joy in God their Savior,
let us pray to the Lord:
6. Let us remember our own intentions.
[pause for silent prayer]
For these, let us pray to the Lord:
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Leader: Mary’s God and our God,
you have blessed us with the gift of your beloved Son
and his most-holy mother.
Look with favor upon our prayers
for your continued blessings.
Grant that we, like Mary,
proclaim your greatness in all that you accomplish for us.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Researched by Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia
kevin.w3@bigpond.com

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Heart Flame 4

 

19th Sunday Year B, 2018. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh – Sydney Australia. FOOD FOR THE JOURNEY.

FOOD FOR THE JOURNEY.

Jesus speaking with disciples

In the Gospel reading today, Jesus takes off the gloves, as it were, and he confronts his listeners with the stark truth of why he has come, and what they must do to benefit from what he offers them. Most of today’s gospel has Jesus speaking, as if he has listened to their debating and rationalising long enough. However, it is very important to remember that the fourth Gospel was written at least some sixty years after the Resurrection of Jesus, hence it would seem that today’s Gospel is a pretty good reflection on how ‘the Way’ ( the first name given to followers of Christ) were understanding the Christ of Faith by the time that this was written.

Loaves and Fishes plate images (1)

A couple of weeks ago we saw the miracle of the loaves and fish, which paved the way for an understanding of the Eucharist. It would appear that Jesus had got their attention and their interest. They asked him in last week’s gospel, ‘What does God want us to do?’ and they seemed interested enough to listen to the answer. But in today’s story, once again Jesus began to speak about a personal God, a God among them, a God who was no longer in the Holy of Holies within the Temple or in the burning bush; but the people closed their ears, and became inflexible once more. Again we hear the echoes of Ps 95 Verse 8 ‘If, today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.’ This Psalm was well known by the people of Israel. We in modern times pray that Invitatory Psalm most mornings.

Listening

Jesus got straight to the point when he said that he was speaking about pure gift. Even the desire to come to him, to listen to him, to respond to him was a gift from the Father. It had nothing whatsoever to do with religious practice of the time, it was a whole New Covenant, and compared to the inflexibility of the Old Covenant they had inherited, this was a radical change! Jesus had come in person to teach them, to lead them, to nourish and save them. They had a decision to make. They were either for him or against him.

Yahweh th

Before we move on, we must pay attention to the implications of what Jesus said in the opening part of today’s reading, because it gives us a deeper understanding of another underpinning statement made by Jesus which really got their shackles up. Jesus said, “I am the bread that came down from Heaven.” We can easily miss the direct import of the words, ‘I am’. In the Greek text we would know exactly what the implications are, so not to hold you in suspense any longer….’I am’ is the Divine Name. In other words…YHWH. The Bread; what does that imply? Manna for sure, but what is the translation of the word MANNA? God’s Mercy and Goodness. Jesus, the human face of the Father! Wow! Now look at the claim of Jesus and why this caused such a response among His critics? But we must not forget that this Gospel was written about 100AD; therefore plenty of time had been given to the question, who was Jesus Christ?

Jesus in the Synagogue Nazareth thKKNONFDC

As we look back through history and explore the varied responses to the all-powerful Word of Jesus, we can easily say that the faces have changed but the message remains the same. We see here in this teaching from Jesus that by and large it was falling on deaf ears. What caused this? Was it the humanity of Jesus, ‘the son of Joseph’ which automatically closed off the creative options in their minds, because it was too good to be true? It would seem that fixed minds have been the stumbling blocks for many people throughout the ages, and they still are today! So fixed, that even the greatest miracles do not enable a flexible response, and in this case, it was directly to Jesus the Word made flesh. Together with fixed minds goes blindness; the inability to see God’s power to save, linked with judgements based on helplessness. The end result; many walked away from Jesus! As John’s Gospel later tells us, many of them rejected it, walked away, and no longer followed him.’ John 6:60-61.

Jesus washing the feet thBQ6O7DS4

We probably do not walk away from Jesus, but we can easily be so comfortable within inflexible mindsets that we can run the risk of not being fully open to the Lord through prayer, in response to His Word, and the consequences of receiving Holy Communion. Sometimes my mind quivers somewhat when I hear and see instances where some Leaders in the Church are so black and white, with a touch of arrogance when dealing with greyish human problems. It can be comfortable and tidy to think that one has the whole truth, rather than listening to the truth in humility as manifested in ‘the poor of the Lord’.

Job 1

Within this deep Gospel, there is something else which the First Reading from the Old Testament reminds us…..namely the need for food and nourishment for the journey. As we saw in the First Book of Kings……Elijah while on his journey was famished! He said……’Lord, I have had enough and he wished he were dead’. Oh my goodness, I bet that we have all felt like that in our Christian Journey………..however, fortified by the bread and water, Elijah woke up to a new day and kept going.

14th Sunday year A Harbour hotel

There is another speed hump in believing that Jesus is The Word made flesh, dwelling in His Spirit among us…….and that is Lethargy! Many people could not really care less about God, or God’s Word of the presence of God in our world. Our commercial, high tech’ living can rob us of the time to ‘be still and know God.’ Over the many years of Ministry in and among God’s people, Death and the Funeral can be the stopping point! It can be so terribly uncomfortable for many, because Death involves and will involve all of us. The ‘be still and know God’ moment often happens prior to a loved one dying, at death, and then in the Funeral. These days we can easily take death for granted; we see in nearly every night on the Television News. Death, killing and horrible suffering sell ratings. However, when the sting of death, enters us, it has the power to make us STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN to what is life all about.

Over 45 years I have heard more Eulogies than I have had Baked Lamb Dinners! I have often wondered if the person in the Coffin had in their life time heard one quarter of what had been said about them. Just as it is vitally important to reflect back to people while they are alive of their wholesomeness, so it is also vitally important to ‘be still and know God’. To be open and wanting to listen about Jesus who is not some distant person walking around the district of Palestine. No, it is about tuning it to the frequency of the mystery of God’s presence and influence on us. To know from human experience that ‘in death, life is changed, not ended.’ To be aware that many animals are also aware of the death of their loved ones, and upon reflection knew instinctively that their ‘beloved’ has gone to God’s embrace. Just as we are on the ‘look out’ for the new iPad or iPhone and can’t live without it……..so to if we had that energy for Jesus our Bread of Life and desperately wanting to know everything our high Teck’ gadget can offer us, as we listen meditatively to God’s Word and digest it……we would have more ‘healthy spirituality’ to walk with our sisters and brothers every day.

Mass 8

Hence we can be like the people in today’s Gospel. God is always doing a new deed, hence we are invited to ‘Go and be Jesus, and live what we have heard, seen and partaken at the Eucharistic table.’

Our Prayers of Intercession

World 2
Leader: We turn now to our God in heaven who hears all our prayers and grants our needs.

+For all members of the Church to come to know Jesus better through their participation in the Eucharist. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

+For all peoples of the world that they seek God with all their hearts. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

+For those whose lives are characterised by grumbling and murmuring, that they might experience joy in coming to know God. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

+That each of us here may give to others the gift of our self-giving. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

+For the poor and suffering people on the Indonesian Island of Lombok; grant that neighbouring Nations will come to their help. We pray to the Lord. : Lord, graciously hear us.

+ For our Island nation, Australia, grant that the Drought be broken very soon, and that fellow Australians will continue to support, love and befriend our people in this sun burnt country. We pray to the Lord. Lord, graciously hear us.

+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: God in heaven, you draw us to yourself and desire that we have eternal life with you: hear these our prayers and help our unbelief. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

img_f0134512aa1 World Cross

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Heart Flame 4

 

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