Category Archives: Devotion to Our Lady

33rd Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. BEING THANKFUL OR THANKLESS.

33rd Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. BEING THANKFUL OR THANKLESS.

28th Sunday year A wedding invite

Today’s Gospel tells us about what happens when God entrusts us with gifts, and how we use them, or fail to do so. It is about giving an account of our stewardship.

Living the Christian life should fill our hearts with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving. To appreciate the gift of life, and all the gifts that it brings with it, is something that should be foremost in our attitude. To have a grateful heart is a wonderful gift. ‘ How shaper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child’. To appreciate what I have, is to be happy with what I have. I may not be as gifted as someone else, but each of us has enough and we have the potential to develop our giftedness. I don’t need the special gifts of another, even if I want them, or would like to have them. If God thought that I needed them he would have given them to me.

3rd Sunday after Easter year A Question mark

Let’s run through a little checklist. Can you identify some of the gifts life has given you? What are the things for which you are most grateful? How do others confirm you for the gifts that you have? On the other hand, are you aware of the gifts of those around you? Are you good at affirming other people? The surest sign that you have had a real Pentecost in your life is your ability and willingness to confirm others.

However, with affirmation, we must be careful. Sometimes we may hunger for affirmation so much so, that it can blur our genuine intention, for not only doing good, but also being good. We can easily fall into the trap of only helping or being a friend to someone, if we get a warm fuzzy feeling about it. Hence, secretly and silently I might be responding from a deep-seated need for and ‘overdose’ of affirmation. This is when we can loose the plot! Essentially, the Christian life is about giving without expecting to receive; the Christian life is about dying to self in order to rise above, and beyond a constant need for a pat on the back. Moreover, on the other side of all this can be a ‘streak’ within us, which is quick to see the good in others, and when affirmation is appropriate, it may not be forthcoming. Why? Because we might fear loosing something of ourselves or just being jealous. Let us be reminded today that a simple ‘thank you’ or genuine word or two of support to someone else is really a word or two to Christ Himself.

catch of fish 12-boat-and-fish





Fr Kevin Walsh – Sydney Australia


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.”
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.
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:
Priest: 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.


Transfiguration of Our Lord. Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. Transfiguration as it was and as it is……

Transfiguration 3

Today’s Gospel is about the Transfiguration of Jesus. We have heard it so many times before, but it contains an evergreen meaning for us every time we reflect upon it. At a glance, we see in this story that the veil was lifted very slightly to give the apostles a fleeting glimpse into the nature and mission of Jesus. He was of course, human and therefore until now, their only experiences of Him had been within that human context. However, this was different! It was within the realm of a profound ‘deep and touching’ experience.

Peter, James and John were close friends of Jesus, and it appears, that they were the ones who seemed to accompany Him at this time. At the human level, they would claim to know Him well, to know how He thought and to be familiar with His actions. In this situation however, there was something different. In the presence of such a sacred experience, the natural human reaction of the apostles was to be afraid … even terrified … to the extent that they covered their faces. The face of Jesus became like a mirror, reflecting back the glory of the Father to them. The appearance of Moses as the Lawgiver, and Elijah as the Prophet, was enormously significant, because Jesus had announced that His mission was to fulfil the Law and the Prophets.

Transfiguration th1K5T09AE

Being afraid in the presence of the ‘Sacred’ was not an uncommon experience. Remember when the Lord God in Exodus, chapter 3 asked Moses to be the instrument and leader in the deliverance of the chosen people from slavery? Moses was not exactly over the moon about the prospect; in fact, he too was afraid. Then, on Mt. Sinai, Moses hid his face while in the presence of God during that precious moment when God initiated the great Covenant/Marriage Contract with his people … ”I will be your God and you shall be my people.” Again, remember when Our Lady received a surprise visit from the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation? She too was disturbed and afraid. However, the Angel sensed her agitation and calmed her by saying … “Do not be afraid, you have won God’s favour”. There are times in our own lives when we have experienced a special closeness to God and it is not unusual to be afraid. So, when this happens, let us remember that we are in “good company”. It has happened to others before, and it will happen to lots of others in the future; I bet that it has happened to us!


Let us now go back to the Mount of the Transfiguration. When the vision was over and Moses and Elijah had gone, and the brilliance was dimmed, the apostles opened their eyes (and these words are powerfully significant) and they saw no one but only Jesus. Jesus and His companions had to come down from the Mountain where mystically they would wish that the experience continued forever. However, the Life and Mission of Jesus and His Disciples had to continue, leading to the Cross and Resurrection.

Carry the cross thQN90JEOZ

We are not finished with what happened on Mt.Tabor yet……We must remember that the Apostles were not watching the Transfiguration on a stage! They were right in it; this moment wrapped them within a mantle of ‘awe, wonder, fright and thanksgiving’. Now, let’s be deeply curious, let us re-enter those moments in our own lives when we have been within a moment of wonder! A moment of transfiguration, may I say? The nuances within Matthew’s Transfiguration are as real in the here and now, as they were back then. Let’s go deep sea diving into the Scriptures! Throughout the Scriptures, Mountains are places of Revelation, they are the place of ‘wonder moments’ they are the places where the reality of Heaven is gently meshed into the reality on Earth. This experience, in Celtic Spirituality is often called a ‘thin moment’ or it happens in a ‘thin place’. The Celtic name for this experience may be new to you, but the experience, I’m sure is not. Let’s think it through; Have you had experiences in your life where unexpectedly, you have been gently caught up in a moment in which you may have felt a bit terrified, but then you slowly warm to the moment as the moment warms to you; and then you ‘know’ that the Lord, an Angel, or a departed member of your family is very close to you? Please think back in your life to such moments of a ‘glimpse’ or eternal rapture. You might ask, in what part of your body did you feel this? It would seem, according to Celtic tradition that we feel these things in the pit of our stomach…….called a gut feeling! The moment might not be long, in terms of seconds or minutes, but the result within us stays forever. Like the Apostles in today’s Gospel, they wanted to contain that experience when Jesus was transfigured and they too, may I add, were transfigured. They suggested in building places to guard and acknowledge that hollowed place and experience. For us too, we would like that holistic experience to continue. The truth is, that it can continue, whenever we ‘still ourselves’ and re member and re visit that experience and it can become a ‘real presence’ for us.

Jacobs well 3

Moments of Transfiguration for us do happen, and they are part of the mystical experience of Christianity. Christianity is a mystical religion! It is not just the following of rules, and the acting out of rituals and rubrics. We as a community, act out mystical experiences in and through Liturgy and Prayer; the Celebration of the Eucharist is the summit and source of community worship. Real and true Liturgy is not going through a meticulous, dry Ritual where the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed. That is more like making a cake from a Recipe. Fair dinkum, Liturgy, as we would say in Australia is the activity of all, to experience a ‘thin moment’ of thanksgiving and praise in community. Now, let’s be real here: we are not going to get a ‘buzz’ out of this through Prayer or Liturgy every time. Most of the time it can be as dry as an old Hymn Book! But that how our spiritual life grows…….Our spiritual life does not necessarily grow in a Rainforest, but more like a Desert….occasionally we stumble across an Oasis of freshness, insight, transfiguration.

Emmaus thLKD2718D

What do Transfiguration moments, or thin moments do for us? It seems that one of the deepest results is the deepening of our faith; in this instance, I use the word faith meaning INSIGHT! That is, the ability to see the saving hand of God at work! This happened for the Apostles, this happened for Jesus while in prayer, this happens for us as well. I also might add, that while we pray The Lord’s Prayer, especially where we say ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven’ it is a statement about our Christian Mission, namely in bringing Heaven to Earth! Transfiguration moments or thin moments make present the Kingdom here but not yet complete, in short, and Eschatological moment.

6th Sunday after Easter Year A Speak Lord Pic 2

During this time of Ordinary time, let us make time to go up our own Mountain and enter into stillness. Let God’s powerful Word speak to our hearts … in the loving silence of our room, church, garden, or in the ‘bush’ (In Australia, by ‘the bush’ we mean going into a Forest of Glen) or by the sea. May those moments be times of re-transfiguration, giving us energy and understanding of our mission in the here and now. In doing this, we will all be journeying together in our earthly Pilgrimage to the Father, cherishing glimpses of thin moments when we brush against the membrane, which gently separates us from Heaven.


Examination of conscience

• How would you define prayer in one sentence? In your own words perhaps you could start like this….I think that prayer is……..
• Do you feel that your way of praying has changed as you have grown older and wiser? If it has, would you like to tell us?
• From your past and perhaps even now, would you like to talk about what your prayer is based on? e.g. Love, Thanksgiving, Praise, Fear.
• Jesus found it necessary to go off into quiet places to pray: when do you feel the need to pray?
• What are some of your difficulties in trying to pray?
• When was your first Transfiguration experience? Where was it and what happened? What did that experience mean for you and do for you?
• Where have you experienced ‘thin’ moments? Was it on top of Mt.Sinai? Was it when you were close to the tomb of a Saint? Was it in the central White Tower of London, in the Chapel of St. Peter ad vincula where the bones of hundreds of Martyrs are plastered in its walls?
• Other mystical Religions also have ‘thin’ moments and places; have you experienced some of those?

Fr Kevin Walsh
Sydney. Australia
Email: Web:


Heart Cross



A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRANSFIGURATION…..A reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne, Australia.

God has just said to us about Jesus: ‘This is my own dear Son, with whom I am very pleased – listen to him!’ (Mt 17:5).

Transfiguration th1K5T09AE

Someone giving a sermon or homily might sometimes wonder: – ‘How many people are really listening? Is anybody listening from start to finish? Will those listening now remember anything later? In any case, can a homily ever start to change another person’s life?’ I know of at least one particular instance where it really and truly did.

17th Sunday year c 11

There’s this man called Mark, who lives a very long way from here. At 12, he was a bit wild at school. At 14, he was smoking and drinking. At 16, he started taking drugs – mostly cannabis, speed and ecstasy. At 18, he moved on to heroin. At 19, he was injecting crack and heroin every day. At 22, his life seemed completely destroyed. He had no home, no family, and almost no possessions other than the clothes he stood up in. He had lost one leg when he was high and walked in front of a car. He had tried to kill himself three times – twice by taking drug overdoses, and once by trying to hang himself. When he went to church, it was not to pray but to beg from the people there. He found that just after Mass Catholic Christians tend to be particularly generous.

But one Sunday, as happens today, the gospel of the Transfiguration was presented. In the homily that followed he heard the priest say this:

14th Sunday year A Mother Teresa

The meaning of the Transfiguration is that God does not make junk. God created the world – and what God makes is good. God created Abraham and raised him up to be the father of many nations. God sent his only Son into the world to live, die and rise again for our salvation and transformation. So much so that St Paul has asked: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us? Since he did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for the sake of us all, then can we not expect that with him he will freely give us all his gifts? Who can bring any accusation against those that God has chosen? Can anything cut us off from the love of Christ…?’ (Romans 8:31-35).

Family photo

At the end of his homily, the priest made all the people stand up and say with conviction: ‘God made me; God doesn’t make junk.’ So, along with all the rest, Mark felt compelled to get up and say: ‘God made me; God doesn’t make junk.’
But many days later, those words were still burning into Mark’s heart: ‘God made me; God doesn’t make junk.’ It became his prayer. It became his faith. It became his life.

With the courage of his new convictions behind him, Mark gave up drugs. He found a wife and he found a life. Not in a moment, of course, not even in a few weeks, but over months and years, he was transfigured and transformed. He took to heart the implications of the Transfiguration of Jesus: ‘God made me; God doesn’t make junk’, and ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31).

Bart 1

What about us? Where do we stand? Do we really want to be transfigured and transformed by listening to Jesus our Saviour – listening with our hearts and listening with full attention to his words, his teachings, his example, and his inspiration? Do we?

Surely we do! Today? Tomorrow? Always?

Brian Gleeson

Bro Vicente CP with Fr Brian Gleeson CP



15th Sunday Year A, 2017. A Biblical Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson C.P, Melbourne Australia.


Rose 2 thKA3VKCWA

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’.


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)


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

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



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.


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.


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.


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: Web:



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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 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.

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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’.

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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.

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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’?

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Brian Gleeson special photo

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