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Category Archives: Australian Spirituality

16th Sunday Year A, 2017. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. WEEDS AMONG WHEAT

 WEEDS AMONG THE WHEAT.

17th Sunday year A Perfection

People who are perfectionists get a great deal done. They show a marvelous attention to detail. But there’s a shadow side to this. They may become workaholics, and be unable to relax, to stop and think, to stop and listen, to stop and talk, or simply to stop. Being high achievers themselves, they may expect too much, indeed may demand too much, of others. They may want others to be just like them, and may even pressure others to conform. In being like this they may, in fact, become their own worst enemies.

We may possibly know people who are so perfect and yet so locked up in themselves, that they have cut themselves off from others – not listening, not speaking, not caring, and not helping.

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There may be something of a perfectionist mentality in us, especially about other people. Should we find ourselves dwelling on the flaws and faults of others, if we find ourselves wondering why they don’t think and feel and act just like us, if we find ourselves saying with Henry Higgins, ‘why can’t a woman be more like a man?’,

17th Sunday year A My fair lady

if we find ourselves getting frustrated or annoyed by the weaknesses of others, we are possibly expecting too much of them. And we are possibly failing to respect the individual differences among us of experience, background, culture, character, personality and temperament.

17th Sunday year A wheat and weeds

Jesus in the Gospel today speaks to this situation. He speaks of that field in which the wheat his Father has sown is growing. But all through the field there is not only the wheat from the divine sower, but many weeds as well. Jesus is telling us that not a single one of us is really perfect, that we too are mixtures of good and not so good. And so a husband cannot expect his wife to be all wheat with no weeds in her character, and vice versa. Neither can children expect absolute perfection from their parents, and vice versa.

If this is true of all human beings as individuals, it is true too of all human organizations, societies, and structures. Capitalism and socialism e.g. are not only different. They are also imperfect. In both systems weeds can be found as well as wheat.

Examination of conscience

The Church too is imperfect. The Second Vatican Council said that it is sinful as well as holy, and that it is ‘always in need of reform’ and renewal. Weeds were even found in the original Christian community that Luke tells us about in the Acts of the Apostles. While those first Christians in Jerusalem prayed together, shared their lives, shared their food and the rest of their goods and possessions, one couple named Ananias and Sapphira, were the exceptions. They wanted to keep things back for themselves.

Disciples around him were saying to Jesus: ‘Let’s root up all those weeds! Let’s burn up those cities which won’t welcome you! Let’s put them right and show them who’s boss! Let’s have the kingdom now!’ But Jesus says to them in effect: ‘Wait! Let God be God! Let the wheat and the weeds exist for now side by side! Wait till God is ready to start the harvest and sort things out!’ Be like God, be patient, and wait!’

iProdigal son 2

This suggests that our basic first response to the weaknesses and failings of others is meant to be understanding, compassion, gentleness, patience, and respect. St Francis de Sales used to say that more flies are caught with a spoonful of honey than a barrel full of vinegar.

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Jesus, however, did not say that things should always stay the way they are. No, he speaks of growth, and therefore about change, and about the power to change that God puts in the wheat that God has sown. So, through the power of God a person who is lost and confused can find meaning and purpose. A smoker can stop smoking. A drinker can stop drinking. A mean person can become a generous one. A sex addict can become chaste. A narrow mind can expand. A fault-finder can become an affirmer and supporter. A racist person can become a welcoming and befriending one. And if we ourselves are sick and tired of the way we have been living, we too can change direction.

In fact we are not to let the weeds in us choke the wheat. We are to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. And yet despite all our best efforts, the reality is that both we and they will remain a mixture of wheat and weeds till God is ready to reap the harvest. So we must be like that little koala in a poster who keeps saying, ‘Be patient with me, for God hasn’t finished with me yet!’

Harp

For the amazing grace of God for ourselves and others, that we might accept the things we cannot change, and change the things we can, let us pray to the Lord of the harvest, during the rest of our Eucharist together today!
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15th Sunday Year A, 2017. A Biblical Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson C.P, Melbourne Australia.

 TRACES OF GOD EVERWHERE.

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Our gospel today contains a complaint, a serious complaint. It’s aimed at us, at you and me. Jesus is telling us that God’s word is often unfruitful, unproductive in our lives. It gets trampled underfoot, it dries up, it gets choked, or it doesn’t grow at all. It simply makes no difference.

We fail to see the signs of his presence which God puts into our lives. We do not see, hear, feel, touch or recognise them. Because they pass us by, they cannot therefore make us any better.

iProdigal son 2

It’s deeply disappointing to the heart of God when we fail to recognise the traces of his presence and the traces of his messages. It’s far more disappointing than when we either ignore our fellow human beings or fail to notice them.

12th Sunday year A John Lennons quote

A young man had a misunderstanding with his girlfriend, a very serious one. He tried to phone her, but when he heard her voice he did not know what to say. So he hung up. He tried to write her a letter. But when he finished it, it sounded silly. So he tore it up. Then he remembered that she liked roses, deep red roses. He bought her one, only one, because roses were very expensive at that time of year. The woman in the flower-shop added some ferns to the rose and wrapped it for him in nice tissue paper.

Double delight Rose

The young man went to his girlfriend’s flat. He put the rose down in front of her door. He then hid round a corner, and waited for her to come home. Right on time she arrived from work, looking as lovely as ever. His heart leaped in his throat, and suddenly his mouth went dry. He watched as she opened her purse, took out her key, nudged the door open, stepped inside and closed it behind her. But she did not bend down to pick up his beautiful expensive rose. In fact she did not seem to even notice it. What a disappointment! What a let-down! What a missed opportunity! What a heart-break! What a tragedy!

Jacobs well 3

Every day of our lives God gives us signs, trying to get our attention. It might take the form of a flower, a thought, a feeling, a dream, a child, a news story, a chance meeting, a friend’s remark, some pangs of pain or even of guilt. God has all sorts of wake-up calls. God may speak to us in sunshine, in rain, on a beach, on a mountain, by a river. God may have something to say to us in a play or a movie, a song or a piece of music. God may speak to us in Readings at Mass and in the homily about them. It’s quite likely that God will speak to us in the richness of a loving relationship. As the last song in Les Miserables, the Musicale puts it, ‘to love another person is to see the face of God’.

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The messages of God are so many and so different that the poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, makes the claim: ‘The world is charged with the grandeur of God’. But how often do we notice? How often do we see, hear or feel God speaking to us? And if we do, how often do we stop and say back: ‘Hello, God! Thank you, God! What would you like me to do, God? Will you help me, God?’

I wonder if all too often we tend to live ‘like those who have eyes but do not see, like those who have ears but do not hear’. Not only as far as God is concerned, but also with the people around us. We may be more like the first man, not the second, in the famous quip: ‘Two men looked out from prison bars; one saw mud, the other saw stars’ (Frederick Langbridge)

IMAX 4

Today, as our response to the gospel message of Jesus, let’s ask ourselves a few matter-of-fact questions: –

1. Do we believe that God speaks to us through a series of signs – e.g., through other people? Through things that happen to us? Through things that are said to us? And through such marvels of nature as ‘the wonder and the glory of the everlasting stars’ (Australian poet, AB Paterson)?

2. Are we convinced that there are all around us many, many traces of God’s loving and caring presence?

3. Do we believe that at our Sunday Eucharist God speaks to us in quite special ways – in the people we meet and greet, in the readings, in the homily, in the consecrated bread and wine, in Holy Communion, and in the priest who leads our celebration?

Let’s take a few silent moments now to consider those questions, before continuing to celebrate the living and loving presence of Jesus Christ to us, here in our Sunday Eucharist together!

17th Sunday bb

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Brian Gleeson

Bro Vicente CP with Fr Brian Gleeson CP

 

14th Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. FREE TO BE FAITHFUL

FREE TO BE FAITHFUL

INTRODUCTION

14th Sunday year A yoke of oxen

At times all of us probably find life a bit ‘heavy going’. It can make us miserable, depressed and maybe a bit cranky. In the first reading today from the Old Testament, the Prophet Zechariah can’t wait for what the Lord God has in mind, and is full of happiness at the prospect that God will one day reach deep into the heart of His people. The Prophet is convinced that God will show them a way to ‘off load’ unnecessary burdens and personal baggage and to have inner freedom to be faithful to the Covenant with the Lord God.

St. Matthew in His Gospel today, sees in Jesus, the Word of God made flesh……the answer to the Prophet Zechariah’s hopes!

Let us gather our thoughts together, and as a community let’s focus on Praise and Thanksgiving for God’s mercy towards us.

LET’S PAUSE FOR A MOMENT.

Examination of conscience

The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in love. We thank you. LORD HAVE MERCY.

How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his people? We praise you. CHRIST HAVE MERCY.

The lord is faithful in all his works and loving in all his actions. We glorify you. LORD HAVE MERCY.

INTRODUCTION TO THE REALHOMILIE

14th Sunday year A Mother Teresa

A few years ago, December 1969….time files!!!!I remember the time when Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace prize in Oslo. The ‘powers-to-be’ didn’t really know how to deal with her! They sent two limousines to the Airport to meet her, one for her, the other for her luggage! She arrived smiling, with her personal belongings in a shopping bag, and the welcoming committee was completely at a loss as to what to do. They would have had no problem at all with Heads of State and other dignitaries but with this little frail woman who had some sort of extraordinary aura about her, she made them feel powerless, and they were in awe in the presence of a power and a strength with which they were seemingly unfamiliar. That is what Jesus speaks about in the Gospel today.

The Prophet Zechariah 9:9-10. Ps 144:1-2.8-11.13-14. Gospel Matthew 11:25-30

14th Sunday year A Prophet Zechariah st peters

In the times in which the Prophet Zechariah, lived, many of the local people would have thought that he was mad in the head, out of touch with reality, and intoxicated with something…….Yes, he was intoxicated by someone; yes, it was the Lord God.

14th Sunday Year A Prophet Zechariah the lord remembers

This Hymn of Praise of God’s destiny for His people, consumed the Prophet. The optimistic chords of harmony were at variance with the pessimistic outlook of many of God’s People at that time. However, true to the Lord God’s faithful relationship to His people, when the times were rough for His people, due to their disobedience, He always lured His people back to Him. In fact the Lord God is besotted with His people, because He knows the capability of what they can do and be. God’s people are somewhat like the possibilities that can happen with a beautiful Rose bud, as it matures to blossom and emanate delicious perfume and stunning colours. The Rose Gardener’s wisdom knows what to do when black spot appears on the Rose bush leaves, and perhaps tiny insects suck out the nutrients of the growing stems. By way of an analogy, our God is like the wise Gardener who knows what the Rose Bush is capable of, but like any Rose Gardener, there is always a surprise in store when the Rose blossoms. Our God is in ‘awe’ of the surprises that we can illustrate through our being and doing as joyful members of ‘the poor of the Lord’, the faithful few, the Anawim of the Scriptures. So, the twitter message in the responsorial Psalm today, is so apt! I will praise your name for ever, my King and my God.

Double delight Rose

The Gospel today, situates Jesus while of tour preaching in Galilee. By this time Jesus and his band of followers, had encountered all kinds of people with different dispositions in either listening and accepting the Word of Jesus, or those who walked away shaking their heads because they thought that they knew better. Or they just didn’t care less about the Lord God, and their relationship with him. It’s not unlike today! The faces have changed, but the message remains the same!

Jesus in the the Garden of AgonythZ2J42HCG

In the opening lines of today’s Gospel, we can hear this Prayer of Jesus to His Father, rising from deep within him, as it bursts forth with the Lord’s hands lifted in prayer! Let’s go deep sea diving into its meaning then and now! In His prayer to the Father, Jesus applauds the ‘little ones’ the ‘pure in heart’ the faithful few. Jesus is not saying that the so called educated who have degrees as long as your arm and not worthy of inclusion into God’s family, but they are the ones who have, with their black and white interpretations of God’s law, pride themselves in being righteous. The so called Pharisees and Scribes in our Lord’s time, are still with us in 2017…….one only needs to check out Facebook to see that. Jesus, originally coming from the hill country, would have spoken with an accent which indicated his lowly status within society. However, in and through this background, he epitomised and was the promised optimistic vision of what the Prophet Zechariah was so keen about in the First Reading.

14th Sunday year A Sharing the cross

In the second part of the Gospel for today, we see Jesus, the human face of the Father, inviting us to share in His yoke. Have you ever seen a Yoke on Oxen? It is a clumsy contraption, but it works well, when shared! The Yoke also looks like the horizontal beam of the Cross! That image should not be lost on us either. Jesus calls us to learn from Him and be gentle and humble and in so doing, without pretence, we will find an inner spiritual rest which is more lasting than a weekend in a 6 star Hotel overlooking Sydney Harbour.

14th Sunday year A Harbour hotel

So, in order to do a personal spiritual maintenance ‘check-up’, let’s ponder on the meaning for us of the little reflection below.

CONCLUDING REFLECTION

The Lord said to me, ‘Come to me.’ But I said, ‘I’m not worthy.’

‘Come to me’, he repeated. And I said,’ I’m afraid.’

‘Come to me.’ ‘I’m too proud.’

‘Come to me.’’ ‘But I’ve no appointment.’

‘Come to me.’ ‘But I can’t afford the time right now.’

‘Come to me.’ ‘With that I fell silent.’

Then he said, ‘Come….sit down….take the load off your feet. ‘Sit here as in the shade of a tree.’ ‘Refresh yourself as at a running stream. ‘Here you will find rest. Here you will find peace. ‘And your yoke will become easy, and your burden light.’

3rd Sunday of Lent Year A Pic 17

Fr Kevin Walsh

Sydney Australia

Email: kevin.w3@bigpond.com Web:https://realhomilies.wordpress.com/

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FRACTION RITE: THIS HAPPENS DURING THE LAMB OF GOD

3rd Sunday after Easter year A 15

We thank our Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, and proclaim your praise. In his goodness he reveals to mere children what he hides from the learned and clever. By placing our burdens under the Cross of his Son, we find in him rest and peace. By gathering our lives into one, in this Eucharist, we become empowered by the Lord to receive his yoke of love.

14th Sunday year A Jesus with the Crowds

 

 

 

 

14th Sunday Year A, 2017. A Biblical reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. JESUS COMFORTS AND ENCOURAGES.

 JESUS COMFORTS AND ENCOURAGES.

 Jesus healing a deaf manth

One of the most wonderful things about the person of Jesus has been and continues to be, his special love for ordinary people – for people like us. It comes out in two beautiful statements that he makes today. The first is in his prayer to God: ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.’ The second is in his invitation: ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.’

14th Sunday year A yoke of oxen

What leads him to make these statements? He has just completed a tour of the towns and villages of Galilee. In all of them he has preached the truth that God is the King of the whole world, and so everyone must know, love and serve God as the Lord and Ruler of their lives. On many occasions too he has made the kingdom of God happen, by curing sick people and setting them free from their handicaps, disabilities and afflictions. But it’s only the ordinary, everyday people who have appreciated his efforts, accepted his message and begun to follow him. The educated and clever have simply closed their minds and hearts to him, and walked away.

iProdigal son 2

For the sake of developing our own personal relationship with Jesus, let us dip a little today into his relationship with those whom he called ‘the poor’ and ‘the little ones’! They are the same ones whom the high and mighty Pharisees called ‘sinners’ or ‘the rabble who know nothing of the law’. We might refer to them today as ‘the strugglers’, and ‘the battlers’.

31st Sunday 4

In the gospels, the term ‘poor’ doesn’t refer only to those who had little or no money, even though it does include them. In the first place the poor were those who had to beg for a living. Of course in that society there were no hospitals, no Centrelink, and no pensions. So the blind, the deaf and dumb, the lame, the paralysed, the cripples and the lepers were generally beggars.

Begging for money

The economically poor included the day-labourers who were often without work, the peasants who worked on the farms of wealthy landowners, and those who were slaves. Then there were the widows and the orphans, who had no way of earning a living and no one to provide for them. They depended on occasional handouts from the Temple treasury.

The poor Jesus knew found themselves at the bottom of the social ladder, with no prestige, no power, and no honour. They were social outcasts, and left to feel that their lives were without dignity, meaningless and hopeless. Their principal suffering, then as now, was their embarrassment at being totally dependent upon others.

People of the middle class (the educated and the law-abiding, such as the scribes and Pharisees), generally treated them as low-class scum, and spoke of them as ‘sinners’. They didn’t even have the consolation of feeling they were in God’s good books, because their social superiors kept telling them that they were displeasing to God, and surely ‘they ought to know’! So these so-called ‘sinners’ felt terrible frustration, shame, guilt, anxiety and misery.

Jesus and wisdom th92LZM0RV

But Jesus was different, strikingly different. As a carpenter, he was from the middle class himself and not one of the poor and oppressed. But he mixed socially with even the poorest of the poor. So much so that he became an outcast by choice, and even got the nick-name ‘the friend of sinners’.

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Why did he do this? The answer comes across very clearly in the gospels, and may be summed up in just one word – COMPASSION. For example: – The plight and tears of the widow of Nain touches his heart to the core: ‘Don’t cry,’ he says to her, before bringing her son back to life. He is moved with compassion at the plight of a leper begging for help (Mk 4:41), for two blind men sitting at the side of a road and pleading for mercy (Mt 20:29-34), and for a crowd of people with nothing to eat (Mk 8:2). In each case he responds to their sufferings with the power, love, compassion and care of God.

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All through the gospels, even when the word is not used, we sense the surge of compassion rising within his heart. ‘Don’t cry,’ he says, ‘Don’t worry’, ‘Don’t be afraid’ (e.g. Mk5:36; 6:50; Mt 6:25-34). He is not moved by the grandeur and beauty of the great Temple buildings (Mk 13:1-2), but by the generosity of a poor widow who puts her last cent into the Temple treasury (Mk 12:41-44). When everyone else around him is jumping for joy about Jairus’ daughter come back to life, Jesus is concerned that she be given something to eat (Mk 5:42-43).

His kindness and compassion were the most human and humane things about him. They are the most human and humane things about us too. Australian poet Adam Lindsay Gordon once wrote: ‘Life is only froth and bubble. Two things stand like stone, kindness in another’s trouble, courage in our own!’

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So, on whose side are we? On the side of Jesus, the side of compassion, kindness, help, healing, and mercy? Or on the side of the scribes and Pharisees then and now – fierce, fault-finding, heartless, critical, and merciless? Will we take our cue from their cruel, harsh, and insensitive judgments and actions? Or will we take our inspiration from what we see in Jesus, and from his invitation to the poor and the broken: ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest’?

23rd Sunday 5

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13th Sunday in Ordinary time, year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. When one Saint meets another!

 When one Saint meets another!

13th Sunday of Year A Pope John Paul and Mother Teresa 2.jpg

Second Book of Kings 4:811. 14-16   Ps 88:2-3. 16-19
Matthew 10:37-42

Whenever we switch on our Televisions, especially to the 24/7 News Channel, there is always tragedy on show; innocent people being blown up by some suicide Bomber. Irrational and abusive Governments squandering the land’s revenue, leaving most of their poor people starving, and on the brink of death! But from time to time, we get glimpses of Angels in human form, giving of their lives to assist and care for the wounded and the sick in these war zones. Sometimes these Angels are at high risk of infection, especially when nasty diseases spread like wild fire through ‘poor’ populations of people. These people who give of themselves to others, not seeking financial reward, but for pure humanitarian, and spiritual reasons, are really the Saints of our times.

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Do we have to go to a war zone, or some desperately infected areas of the world to find Saints? And we all know the answer to that question…Plain and simple, No! The unsung heroes in our own family, in our street, our suburb, City and Country……plod along day by day, doing the ordinary things extraordinarily well, managing their faults and familiar with contrition and reconciliation. The all-important secret, which makes these people ‘tick’ is worth a Forensic Spiritual research into the person’s ‘being’ which will give us clues into the cause and quality of their ‘doing’. Today’s first Reading from the Old Testament, the Second Book of Kings, and today’s Gospel, help us to search deep inside of people for the ‘tell-tale’ signs of solid Biblical Spirituality.

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Let’s go deep sea diving into God’s Word. In the first Reading, we see the Prophet Elisha on a journey which it seemed he frequently made to Shunem. Hospitality, is the special boast of the people in the Holy Land, and a lady and her aged husband, invited Elisha to Dine with them and rest. The lady had a pure intention in offering hospitality to the ‘passer-by’, because she sensed something about him. She sensed that he was not only a good man, but someone close to God. The transparency of intention of this man could be picked up by the owners of the house….the lady said to her husband, ‘I am sure that this man is a holy man of God.’ Together, they decided to build a permanent Granny Flat for Elisha, which he could use for rest and recuperation when he passed by.

It is more than interesting to note that the lady did not yet have a child from the marriage. This would have been a source of embarrassment and shame for her that God had not graced her with a child. (Being graced with children, in those days, indicated a benevolence from God) More than that, spiritually speaking, her barrenness was symptomatic of the wider population’s dryness in their corporate relationship with the Lord God at that time.

13th Sunday year A Elishas room

We notice that on another time when Elisha was making his usual journey to Shunem, he called in as was the permanent invitation, and he saw that this couple had gone to the trouble of adding on a room for him. He was taken back by this, and it caused him to pause and reflect. In so doing, he asks for the lady to come to the door of his room, and said to her……’this time next year you will have a son in your arms’. Now at this point in our realhomilie, let’s really see what is ‘spiritually happening here’. In our deep sea diving into the Scriptures, we are now going deeper! In looking at this story so far, we have three ‘good’ people; the wife and husband, and Elisha. The lady senses that Elisha is a man of God, Elisha senses that the lady is a good person, and is open to the Lord God’s Dreams for His people. As this trio meet together, their combined spiritualties are embraced within God….let’s see this working out….The Prophet, witness to the God of life, promises the woman a son. One who welcomes a man of God, welcomes God himself. In the Gospel further on, we will see that Jesus says, ‘whoever welcomes you, welcome me and the One who sent me’. This encounter is a ‘graced moment’. In Celtic Spirituality, it is called a THIN MOMENT…..a moment when Heaven comes to Earth, when we in fact are brushing as close as we can against the membrane which separates this dimension of life from the next. Question: Do we get glimpses of Heaven in this life? Short answer is YES! Especially within THIN MOMENTS. Now is the time for you and me to stop reading this homily, and think back to those times in our life when we have experienced THIN MOMENTS. Those moments when a Saint meets a Saint in the making……..

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Now, we must be careful at this point not fall into the trap and say…..’Oh Elisha, was such a special man, he could foretell the future’. That is not the answer at all. A change had been going on in the woman; a spiritual change, an inner movement from being sceptical about God’s relationship with her, to an openness and a recognition that this man Elisha, somehow embodied a ‘holiness’ perhaps a better word could be, ‘wholesomeness’ due to his interior spiritual life and reliance on the promises by the Lord God. Elisha’s name in Hebrew gives away the mission entrusted to him by the Lord God…..His name means: – God has saved! Wow, isn’t that something? In short, in this little profound story, the whole person of the Prophet, as indicated by his name, echoed a mighty attribute of the Lord God at work. The Lord God had visited this barren lady, who was now given strength, and she would realise that she was in the process of being SAVED – that the people of Israel, would be saved. This being SAVED comes at a cost, it is not a ‘freebee’ from the Lord God. Salvation comes to those who are thirsty and hungry for God’s life, who are ‘in tune’ with what the Lord God has been doing, is doing and will continue to do among His people. The Prophet Elisha is the conduit for this holy action. The lady, together with her husband, were Biblical Saints, who met another Saint in the Prophet Elisha.

Double delight Rose

Now, with the Responsorial Psalm, it is not added as ‘padding’ to the Liturgy of the Word. Far from it! The Antiphon of the Psalm is a community response to what was initiated in the First Reading. Let’s have a look at the Antiphon…For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord. This is a bit like a Twitter Message which we would get on our iPhones etc. So, as we relook at the story, and the reflection that I have shared with you, the best response to it is the Antiphon, being interspersed with the stanzas of the Psalm. Ideally, the Antiphon should be sung, and the Psalm be chanted by a Music Minister. Music, slows us down, and enables us to drink in and make it our own as the gathered community’s antiphon. May I add, strictly speaking, after the first reading there should be a small time of silence, maybe backed by some music, so that as individuals, we can make our own response to the invitation in God’s Word, before we have our community response. That is not my idea, many Liturgists throughout the world have suggested that over the years and when a community is properly formed in true Liturgy, it works just so well and is very fruitful. Otherwise we often race through the Readings as though there was no tomorrow!

God's Word thBV613COL

Now, let’s move onto the Gospel of Matthew. You will end up seeing a link between the First Reading, Psalm and Gospel…so let’s continue; perhaps a nice Coffee or Irish Breakfast Tea might be in order at this stage.

Exodus Moses-leading-Israelites

Well, let’s remember that St. Matthew and his community who put together this version of the Good News, saw Jesus as the new Moses. The opening line of the Gospel has the New Moses speaking to the New Twelve tribes of Israel – the Church. If we were to take many of the sayings of Jesus literally, we would be totally missing his point. The style of preaching in this extract is a known Rabbinical literary form called shock tactics! This was a very common form of preaching then, as it can be today – it wakes people up out of their slumber. In short it outlines three aspects of true Discipleship in the following of Jesus. Nowadays, we would say it is all or nothing!

Jesus healing a deaf manth

Let’s look at the three headings which form a true backbone for us in following Jesus. The first was is about Preference, the second is Welcoming, the third one is about Giving.
The first heading of Preference, makes it clear that once we respond to the call of Christ, it then becomes the number one commitment, of all commitments. Jesus is NOT calling us to be hard hearted towards our family because of Him. No way; our commitment to Jesus, streamlines and enhances of love and commitment to our family, wider family and mission.

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The second heading is Welcoming, so much so, that because of the quality of our commitment to Jesus, those that welcome us, are welcoming Christ Himself! Wow! When you come to think of that deeply, it is a tremendous responsibility. But it goes further that that! In the welcome, they are welcoming the One who sent Jesus! That’s enough to knock one over!!!!! Now, the next part of the Welcoming sayings rings a bell with us about the lady and her husband in the first reading! ‘Anyone who welcomes a Prophet, because they are a Prophet etc…..and anyone who welcomes a Holy person, will receive a Holy person’s reward….’ Now, it is at this point that our Spiritual Forensic activity comes to the surface. The root cause for someone to SEE the saving hand of God at work, goes right back to the ingesting of God’s Holy Word. The living of the New Covenant in Eucharist, and being sent out to be Christ in our ‘doing’ and in our ‘being’, makes real and makes sense, when our interior life is fed in and through ‘prayer’; when we continually undergo Christian athletics by way of going out of our way to respond to the Christ in another people. When we put our personal ‘likes’ aside for the greater good of meeting Christ in our sisters and brothers. When we go that extra mile in positive attitude towards others even when we feel that we are as dry and an old Hymn Book! (Spiritually speaking) The torque of our backbone in commitment to Christ needs continual maintenance, through stopping, looking and listening to the whispers and the shouts of God in our personal, family and community lives, and through His Word. We are not in spiritual perpetual motion, even though our modern age has enough gadgets to entice us to be that way…….The end result! We personally end up on a heap, and people all around us suffer. We need to be sensitised to THIN MOMENTS. We need to look for thin moments in our busy day. We need to sit still within a thin moment. By doing this, our being will be more aware of the presence of God around us, and it will be an answer to the ageless prayer of the Our Father….’Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.’

Go to all nations th310TJ904

Fr Kevin Walsh
Sydney Australia
Email: kevin.w3@bigpond.com Web:https://realhomilies.wordpress.com/

Kevin in Church 11885075_10205132408778378_3148389988296886400_n

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13th Sunday Year A, 2017. A Biblical reflection on the Readings from Fr Brian Gleeson, CP. Melbourne Australia. JESUS’ GREAT EXPECTATIONS.

JESUS’ GREAT EXPECTATIONS.

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Some time ago I was talking with a man who was tiling a bathroom in the house where I was living at the time. He does a lot of work for Christians and a lot of work for Muslims. He claims that Christians and Muslims have at least this much in common: ‘Some are fully dedicated,’ he said, ‘others are half-dedicated, and still others are only a bit dedicated.’ That tiler’s words remind me strongly of the words of Jesus in our gospel today.

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Jesus is talking with his first disciples about both the demands and the rewards of following him. In the area of demands, he raises the question of just how much attachment and dedication to his own person he expects his followers to show. Later he outlines the benefits of Christian commitment. Just for now let’s stay with the demands and requirements Jesus put to us.

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The way he puts things might at first seem both exaggerated and unreasonable. But they emphasize in a particularly powerful way one pivotal point. It is this. The greatest love of our life has to be God, and the things God wants of us. Of course, there are other loves and loyalties in our lives besides God, legitimate loves and loyalties – our families, e.g., our friends, our work, our sport, our time-out and leisure-time. But in the words which Jesus is using to make his point, he insists that God alone, God’s will alone, and God’s plans alone must have first place in our lives. Everything and everyone else must be secondary and subordinate.

13th Sunday year A Brian St Perpetua

This might even sometimes mean in a particular situation having to choose Jesus over our nearest and dearest ones and the love that we owe them. This was the choice made, e.g. by the Christian martyr, St Perpetua, a young twenty-two year old married woman in North Africa in c. 200. The Roman administrator asked her to sacrifice incense to the emperor as her god. Her father asked her to give in, taking pity on his white hair. She refused point-blank, saying, ‘I am a Christian’. With that came the order to throw her there and then to the wild beasts in the arena. Clearly, in this time of crisis, Perpetua did not prefer father, mother, or anyone else to Jesus. As Jesus has done, so does his faithful follower! Following Jesus in faith, trust, and love in both life and death!

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Where do those demands of Jesus on getting our priorities right leave you and me? Surely they keep challenging us to renew our commitment to God and to the other people in our lives, and to do so during this Eucharist. As his disciples we must be open to all people and how we can love and serve them. We must stay committed to the tasks of making and keeping peace, to dealing justly and kindly with everyone, and to respecting and preserving the goodness and integrity of this Planet-Earth where God has placed us, and to take really seriously the implications of climate-change that even threaten the survival of  our human race.

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But we know from experience, perhaps from bitter experience, just how easy it is to make promises and to undertake commitments, but how difficult it is to keep living them. Without any turning back from, or any taking back from, what we have promised! I remember the words of the writer Michael Quoist about this: ‘Only God is faithful,’ he says, ‘our fidelity lies in the struggle to be faithful amid all our infidelities.’

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This demanding teaching of Jesus today also encourages us, not to rely on our own power and strength to live our commitments consistently and faithfully, but to put all our trust in the power and goodness and fidelity of God. We might take our cue from St Paul, who has stated: ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me’ (Phil 4:13).

20th Sunday 5

So, for this great grace to keep imitating Jesus in his perseverance and fidelity in carrying the cross, let us keep praying to the Lord over and over again! Praying not just for ourselves but for all others in our lives!

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson special photo

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12th Sunday of Ordinary time Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. ‘I get by with a little help from my friends…’ The Beatles, 1968.

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INTRODUCTION:

Jesus asks us to be his witnesses in our community, society and in the world. However, we sometimes lack the courage to witness openly to our faith, because it might stand us out in front of other people, and perhaps make us feel a little isolated. Jesus says to us what he said to his first disciples, “Do not be afraid, I am with you”. So let us bring our fears to Him and whatever doubts we may have of His companioning presence.

LET’S PAUSE AND FOCUS ON THAT FOR A FEW MOMENTS.

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Lord, you give us strength when we are weak. We praise you, LORD HAVE MERCY.

Lord, you give us courage, when we are afraid. We thank you. CHRIST HAVE MERCY.

Lord, you give us new heart when we fail. We glorify you. LORD HAVE MERCY

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‘I can get by with a little help from my friends…’ The Beatles 1968.

Jeremiah 20:10-13.   Matthew 10:26-33

12 th Sunday year A Mouse12th Sunday year A Magician

Once upon a time, there was a mouse that had a crippling fear of cats. A magician took pity on it and turned it into a cat. But then it became afraid of dogs. So the magician turned it into a dog. Then it became afraid of Panthers. So the magician turned it into a panther. Then it became afraid of hunters. At this point the magician gave up. He turned it back into a mouse saying, ‘Nothing, I do for you is going to be of any help because you have the heart of a mouse.’

I think that this little story fits most of us at some time or times in our lives…..Fear can be crippling; fear can bring about division, fear can be an overwhelming control mechanism of abused use of power. Its opposite is fearless, which runs together with freedom and daring to dream, as well as putting the Lord’s dreams into action. Jesus has given us this 3D vision of life, in the midst, of psychological land mines, jarring speed humps of jealousy, and zig zag road controls to try and keep us in place and to stay there!. However, as Christians, we have been called to fly like an Eagle, to soar on the updrafts of the Holy Spirit, and glide with love and mercy as we traverse the world in which we live. However, even in the skies, we are at risk; the anti-aircraft fire of suspicion, bitterness and treachery, often focus in on the Lord’s Missionaries……the Christ of faith still gets hunted down! However, the message of a hit song on the Radio some years ago was….’when the going gets tough, it is the tough that keep going.’ By Billy Ocean.

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This ‘toughness’ is not being a robust military assault person, but rather being ‘in Christ’ and Spirited along as Jesus was, and Christ is today. As we go back to the story of the Mouse….he could not become a Panther or any of those alternatives that the Magician presented him with, unless his heart could change……..for us, our hearts need to continually undergo change, refinement, and conformant to the mind and heart of Jesus. St. Paul says in one of his letters, ‘I can do all things through Him who gives me the strength.’

6th Sunday after Easter year A Truth 2

Let’s take a look at the Prophet Jeremiah in today’s First Reading. Now, a Biblical Prophet was not a fortune teller of the future, nor some kind of charlatan; a Biblical Prophet is someone endowed with the Spirit to discern God’s will and be a living message for God’s People. Because Jeremiah was a Prophet, that did not mean that he was given a Gold Card from God, so that he got special treatment. To the contrary, Jeremiah was not really wrapped in the Mission that the Lord God had given him. His call and mission, was to speak the Truth of the Lord God, in season and out of season. Now, we have a saying in common parlance, ‘that the truth sometimes hurts’. Well for Biblical Prophets, it really did hurt….it stirred up the hearers, and caused retaliation against the Prophet and their Brotherhood. A common cause of reprisal against the Prophet was the fact that he was known by many of the people….the question on their minds would have been, ‘where did this guy get the authority to have a go at us, he is no goody goody’. We have heard something like that about Jesus, when he went back to his home town in the Gospel, didn’t we? The Lord God’s Truth is spot on all the time; it is a call to CHANGE, and re align our lives with the Covenant originally initiated by the Lord God which has an automatic knock on effect within God’s People.

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No one takes enjoyment in being corrected, it cuts to the bone and a knee jerk reaction is often to refuse to listen and to acknowledge because of pride and a grip on power, and self possiveness. However, in the midst of these reactions from the listeners, it does not give joy to the Prophet…….it surrounds the Prophet – the Spokesperson, with the grisly invisible fence of FEAR! Many people throughout the ages and now, react that way.

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Fear is a dreadful experience….it is real dread, in the root meaning of the word. Our world in so many places has the veil of FEAR in it and over it. The terrorist attacks overseas and in our own Country, Australia, keep us on edge! That is one of the most gruesome bi products of Fear……we are on edge! We don’t know how and when Terrorism will strike us. Last weekend, I was in one of our underground railway stations in Sydney; the platform was packed with people, one of the station staff dropped a metal trolley and it hit the ground with a ‘bang!’ I tell you, all of us jumped! The fear on our faces spoke volumes; there was a murmur among the people as we all looked from side to side. Fortunately, the Station member of staff apologised to us on the Public address system! A sense of relief prevailed……till the next time!

The Prophet Jeremiah, came to gradually know and belief, that the Lord God was above all the retaliations and revenge. So much so, that the Prophet could say from the depths of his being….’But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered, confounded by their failure……’

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In the Gospel for today, we see that Matthew and his Community take up on the important issue of not being afraid whilst on mission as a disciple of Jesus. Jesus assured them ‘Not to be afraid’. Jesus had the authority to say that, not just because he was the word made flesh, but Jesus and his disciples enjoyed a trusting, loving and forgiving relationship. We too, have the opportunity to enjoy that relationship too, otherwise, it’s all just words…… In the Gospel further on in today’s passage, we see that Jesus goes to great lengths to tell us how important and special we are as human being, then in response to his invitation to follow him. These days, and at all times throughout History, we all have an inner longing to know and be told that we are special! I personally don’t see that as a sign of personal weakness or incompleteness, psychological speaking; we shine and grow as human beings when we are told from someone who is a true friend, that we are special. Jesus did that for his disciples and does that for us every day.

Some days we wonder if we are special, and that in our missionary lives if the Lord God really cares? It seems that we often have tunnel vision at this times, whereas the Lord God has 3D, surround sound about our personal and community situations at all times. In doubt, we need to reflect upon this first reading, the Gospel for restoration. We need to get out of ourselves and continue in our positive appraisal of others, and where differences occur, conversation can be graced moments of reconciliation and mutual up building. It seems to me that so much of the world is filled with negativity….always looking for what’s wrong….I am a bit like that; a work in progress for me and for all.

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Let us turn our negativity, which is often fuelled by fear, into positivity and joy! The Prophets of Doom and gloom have never had it so good! Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, smart phones, iPad, laptops, wiz bang wrist watches which can tell us the News as it happens…….according to the Reporters!!!! Ha ha, God’s Word is for all times and Seasons, the Word of God is in perpetual motion and has been since the beginning. We need to put down all our High Tech’ stuff for at least half an hour as day, and Listen to God with our heart, our mind and His Word given to us……’Speak Lord, your servant is listening……NOT, listen Lord, your servant is speaking.’ A nice solid/gentle prayer to follow……

A CELTIC PRAYER:

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I rise today with God’s strength to direct me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eyes to look before me, God’s Word to speak to me, God’s hand to uphold me, God’s pathway before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me:- from falling into temptation: from thinking that I am not worth much, from thinking that God does not forgive me! Amen

kevin-3

Fr Kevin Walsh

Sydney Australia

Email: kevin.w3@bigpond.com Web:https://realhomilies.wordpress.com/

thd_heartcross

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Bread and Wibe with green

FRACTION RITE: This takes place at The Lamb of God. We give thanks to God our Father, who watches over and looks for the least of his children. Though many, we become one as we receive the body and blood of His Son. We receive the strength to stand firm in difficulty, and we are nourished with that life which no one can take from us. In all things may God be glorified.

Carry the cross thQN90JEOZ