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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

 

 

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33rd Sunday year A, 2017. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. STAYING ON THE JOB

33rd Sunday year A, 2017. A Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. STAYING ON THE JOB

33rd Sunday year A Crowds of people

You and I are busy people. We rush here and we rush there. We do this and we do that. All kinds of activities occupy our attention. There is work. There is shopping. There is cooking. There is gardening. There is painting and decorating. There is study. There are children to bathe and feed. There are others to mind and entertain. There are friends and neighbours to visit and help. And when we come to the end of a typical day, there may hardly be enough time left to write a letter or an e-mail, glance at a newspaper, watch the news, or speak to God in prayer.

28th Sunday year A to do lists

The amazing thing is that our list of things to do never runs out. Being so permanently busy means that we find it hard to take the Word of God as seriously as we should! At this time of the church year, the teaching in particular that the world as we know it is definitely coming to an end! This is sure and certain, St Paul insists. It will happen when people least expect it, he also insists. The suddenness of the end of the world and of the Second Coming of Christ will be like a thief suddenly breaking into a house at night or like an expectant mother who goes into labour all of a sudden.

33rd Sunday year A person waiting

Jesus teaches that while we wait for his return to earth at the end of time, we make the best possible use of all those gifts that have been given us for the love and service of God, for the benefit of other people, and to make the world a better place.

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That’s the point of the story he tells us today about the three employees who were each entrusted with a huge sum of money, while their employer went away for an indefinite time. Two out of the three invested it wisely and well, doubling their employer’s money. The other hid his allocation in the ground and therefore did nothing. So when the boss returned and called all three to account, the industrious ones received fitting rewards for their work. But the one who was too afraid to take the risks of the market place found he was on the outer and thoroughly unhappy for simply ‘playing it safe’.

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So let’s make the most of our opportunities. Let’s take a chance and visit that grumpy relative; figure out a way to feed the hungry and house the homeless; take our concerns about personal safety to that public meeting; become a reader in church or join some other ministry group; sit with a dying friend. The list of our opportunities to do good and to do it now is simply endless.

Bart 1

Several Readings around this time are a reminder that the delay in the final coming of Christ requires us to be vigilant, to be on the look-out for Our Lord’s return. Today Jesus is reminding us to be on the job, to be active, industrious and diligent in carrying out all our duties and responsibilities in life, and to be active, industrious and diligent in working for the coming of the kingdom of God on earth. After all, to be a Christian is to be a missionary, a missionary of God’s love. In short, the moral of the gospel today is to remember that ministry happens when our gift bumps into someone else’s need, and to do something positive, constructive, and life-giving with whatever gifts God has given us.

Bread and wine Mosaicmass-and-worship

So, for the strength we need to make the most of every opportunity, and to be everything we can be day after day, let us pray to Jesus in our Holy Communion today! For both ourselves and the people around us, who just like us, have also been gifted by God for the love and service of other people!

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson

Bro Vicente CP with Fr Brian Gleeson CP

 

32nd Sunday year A, 2017. A Reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson, CP, Melbourne Australia. EXPECTING THE UNEXPECTED.

32nd Sunday Year A Christ the light of the world 2

32nd Sunday year A, 2017. A Reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson, CP, Melbourne Australia. EXPECTING THE UNEXPECTED.

Stay awake,’ says Jesus, ‘because you do not know either the day or the hour.’

32nd Sunday Year A exam students

A class of Year 12 Students was preparing to sit for their Victorian Certificate of Education final exams. The results would determine whether they would be accepted for university, and which university would take them. A bunch of the brightest students decided they would romp it in. So the night before every exam they partied hard. The rest of the class did not go to even one party and kept studying right up to the very last minute. When the results were published, many in the last group did just as well as those who went out partying. Some of the brilliant ones among the party-goers, in fact, missed out altogether on getting into uni. Their lamps, the lamps of their minds, went out at the critical times, just like with five of the ten bridesmaids in the story Jesus told us.

32nd Sunday Year A Foolish virgins 2

Of course, the point of my story is not exactly about the importance of exams, but the importance of being ready. Being ready, being prepared, when Jesus Christ, representing the God of surprises, offers us precious opportunities of one kind or another! So too the point of the story Jesus told is not really about ancient wedding customs or rescuing silly people from their own mistakes, or even staying awake at night. His point is specifically about being prepared, being on the alert for the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives at any time, and about being ready to welcome him whenever he comes. Even though we do not know in advance the day, the hour, or the form of his arrival! Will we hear his voice when he speaks to us e.g. in the plight of a stranger close by, in the pain of a family member, or in the need of someone working with us in our office, factory, or classroom?

Begging for money

A man phones the priest to say that his 45 year old neighbour and friend has just dropped dead while out jogging. He leaves behind his adoring wife, two small children, and dozens of family friends. A fit athletic person never expects that a late afternoon run will be the very last thing he does in his life. One hopes that his lamp of faith was still burning inside him, that he wasn’t putting off e.g. the word he needed to speak – a word of love to some of the people in his life, and a word of forgiveness to others. One hopes that he had made good and wise choices in his life, and that he took seriously the standards of Jesus for facing the judgment of God. One hopes that people would say and God would acknowledge, that he was a man of compassion, who helped his neighbours, who reached into his wallet to feed the hungry and clothe the destitute, and who went out of his way to visit sick people or prisoners.

A holy old monk was sweeping up the fallen leaves in the monastery garden when a visitor asked him: ‘What would you do, Brother, if you knew you were to die in ten minutes time?’ The old monk replied: ‘I’d keep on sweeping.’ How wise and sensible!

No doubt we’ve all heard the slogan ‘Carpe diem’ -‘Seize the day!’, and in the sense of taking every chance to do good rather than hurt or harm anyone or anything in any way. (That, incidentally, includes the environment, God’s precious gift of creation that day after day is being terribly wounded and degraded by human greed and stupidity). ‘Seize the day, and the hour, and the moment’ is surely what Jesus is saying, and you won’t find the door to life slammed in your faces, the way it happened to those silly giggly bridesmaids, who turned up quite unprepared for the wedding feast.

32nd Sunday year A Foolish Virgins

The story Jesus told about having our lamps blazing with light reminds us that the words of dismissal at the end of Mass ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord’ or equivalent are all about going out from Mass to make a better world, by our love for God and by our practical love for our fellow human beings. Loving others in all situations, whether they are easy or difficult, or whether they are convenient or inconvenient.

Let’s think and pray, then, about the message to us from Jesus today!

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson special photo

Passionist logo Australia thRXU5IKLT

 

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31st Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY & SAY WHAT YOU MEAN!

31st Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY & SAY WHAT YOU MEAN!

Gods Word th36RKBOOR

First Reading: Malachi 1:14 – 2:2. 8-10. Psalm: Ps 130 Gospel: Matthew 23:1-12

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Make yourself at home, and you might like a strong Coffee or Tea for this one. Well, that is the effect the Readings had on me…..so let’s go deep sea diving into God’s Word; shall we? One more thing, sorry. Please note, that in the writing of the realhomilie, I am not looking at presenting perfect prose; I write the realhomilie so that you can hear me speaking with you……thank you. I apologise for any typos etc…It’s the fault of my Computer.

certain-types-of-meetings-deserve-special-mention-for-accomplishing-too-little-and-taking-too-much-time

Have you ever had the opportunity of being present at a Meeting of people, and you haven’t been really well prepared? Have you also had the experience of having to ‘wing it’ as we say, in order to ask some intelligent questions at that Meeting? Supposing the Meeting started with a prayer, were you actually looking over the previous minutes from the last meeting, so that you at least knew what it was about? With tail between my legs, I have to own up, and say YES to all of these questions. I know that I have done that too many times as well. My overall feelings at the meeting has been, “I hope that I don’t get an awkward question pointed at me’ or ‘I’ll be glad when this is all over, because I feel bad inside.’ Again, I have to own up to these responses in myself. Well, God’s Word really hits hard at all of this activity, especially in the Liturgy.

14th Sunday year A Prophet Zechariah in the garden

Well, the message is pretty serious, isn’t it? I get the impression that if the whole Community is truly listening to the Word of God from Malachi today, they would be shuddering! This is straight talk from the Lord God, to those in particular who are responsible for the guiding of the Old Testament Liturgical Worship, and it is also aimed at those who enter into Worship. It’s probably a good idea for us to look at the purpose of worship, and where does it stem from?

14th Sunday Year A Prophet Zechariah the lord remembers

Old Testament Worship has at its centre, the very Covenant initiated by the Lord God with His people. Within that Worship were times for Sacrifice, times for Atonement, and then the yearly celebration of the Deliverance from Egypt, and the initiation of the Covenant on Sinai. The very act of worship deems by its very nature a ‘oneness’ in mind and heart, in this prayerful community activity. Like so many human/liturgical activities, our leadership can sometimes become tardy, our inner dispositions can be far from the mark; a kind of going through the motions, thinking that God does not see our hearts. As I suggested earlier on, this is not only for the Leaders, this also goes for the gathered community. In short, the first reading is a shoot in the arm for all of us; are our hearts and minds ‘on leave’ when we sometimes worship?

31st Sunday year A Goulburn

I’d like to share with you a true story that happened to me while I was a Passionist Novice at Mary’s Mount Novitiate in Goulburn, way back in 1968. The Monastery was supported by a Farm, and of course the Religious, that is, the Priests, Brothers and Novices used to work on the Farm. Some of the Priests and Brothers were very good farmers. We also had a couple of Kelpie sheep dogs, because we had hundreds of sheep. One of the Dogs was named Nellie. Now, she was a great sheep dog, but she had no front teeth, and when she showed how happy she was to see us, especially with a nice bone in our hands, she would smile like all dogs do. But her smile would not have won her a place in the Miss Universe competition. Now, every evening after Vespers (Chanted Evening Prayer) we would do a half hour meditation in the Chapel. The only Religious absent from this community observance were the Brothers preparing Tea. Can you imagine Meditating while some beautiful aromas were wafting into the Chapel from the nearby Kitchen……many a stomach was heard to rumble during the silence…much to the amusement of the 17-18 year old Novices….Brother Kevin Walsh being one of the main culprits…..I won’t say anymore; I was kicked out of the chapel a number of times, one of which nearly landed me on the Goulburn –Sydney train ( A one way ticket)……..Now, back to the story, this is supposed to be a Homily…..During the Meditation in the Chapel, the lights were turned off, so we were in darkness…the temptation to sleep was always there. On one occasion during the silence, one of the Priests, who was a great Farmer and a terrific Mission Father, with a grand timbered voice suddenly burst forth in great gusto saying….”Get behind them Nellie”. The poor old priest had fallen asleep during the Meditation, and was dreaming that he was out in the paddock with a mob of sheep, and Nellie was working with them. As you can imagine, all of us were undone for the rest of the meditation….I’m pretty sure that we all got kicked out of the Chapel that evening. I don’t think that the Lord God was having a go at that kind of thing…………in the Scriptures today.

31st Sunday year A Passionists

Now let’s go to the Gospel…..the link is easy to see between the first Reading and the Gospel, this week. Here we see another aspect of Leadership/Ministry which can be so ‘off the mark’ according to the New Testament. So, in a nutshell what is it? Living, acting and being the very opposite to being a ‘foot washer’ according to the servant hood of Christ and the example which he has invited us to copy. This Gospel passage makes me cringe, when I see Leaders within the Christian Community seeking a worldly focus of ‘climbing up the ladder’ and wanting to sport the external gear to match their so called height! This is a temptation to greatness which is so easy to succumb to. I say on this matter, ‘Let them without sin cast the first stone…..’ This Gospel invitation is deeply serious to all Christians, not only its leaders’. This is a terrible and wretched state of affairs when someone succumbs to the implications of this Gospel admonition. When this is acted out, it has absolutely nothing to do with ministerial service in the name of Christ! When living this out, people in question have as much sensitivity to other people in their needs as a dish cloth! When this goes on, the mission of the Church slows down, becomes irrelevant, Liturgy can become total cold Ritual, and most certainly not Liturgy, and a sense of superiority over others can sometimes cripple, and strangle the Prophets in their midst.

Jesus washing feet 2 th7Z86UYUR

There is something else which has been creeping in to our Church over the last twenty years or so, well here in Australia, I’m not too sure about countries overseas, and it is as though our leadership, relationship with Priests, Religious and Faithful are turning into a massive Corporation! It seems to me that with the advent of Technology, the personal, sensitive, pastoral relationships between Head Office Staff and us is being eroded! Instead of the opportunity for good solid Discussion in Seminars about basic and pastoral issues, we are called to fill our Monkey ‘on line’ questions and answers! Then the returns to us reads like something from the Stock exchange! As an older Priest and Religious I and many others detest this kind of squeaky clean, clipped and impersonal approaches to people and pastoral issues these days. This kind of atmosphere, created by our leadership people does not bring closeness, care and the loving concern of Jesus to each other……it breeds distance, arrogance and a feeling of being a cog in a wheel and not part of a ‘real’ and sensitive community. Certainly many obnoxious honorific titles of superiority remain, but it seems that they are beung i multiplied as though we were all stake holders in Barclay’s Bank! This is an awful challenge that I see at the moment, and we must re discover and implement the personal approach in leadership and thrououtgh all the echelons of governance.

23rd Sunday year A New York Times

Finally, these things are not just the goings on in the Christian Community, it can happen, and does happen in the workforce, politics, families and nations. Yes, and we have all seen it, probably been in it from time to time and find it all inhuman. Question; just before we have another Coffee, Tea or……Coke! What human elements provoke this kind of Superiority that Jesus speaks about? It would seem that it could well be, Jealousy, Vanity, Hatred, Selfishness, Greed, Envy……on the other hand, what are the Gifts which bring about the attitude and mind of a ‘Foot washer’ following the example of Jesus? They are outlined for us by St.Paul in his letter to the Galatians Chapter 5, Verses 22-23.
‘What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ It would seem that the one who tries to embody these gifts, according to what Jesus is saying in the Gospel of today, would not be interested in wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares, and having people call them Rabbi…. (Rabbi in the Gospel of today means, my master!) To conclude, it is all very nice to have a personal Motto of ‘Speaking the truth in love’ but it is totally window dressing unless it is preceded by the Motto, ‘Listening to the truth in humility.’ Wow! Food for thought!

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REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS….

17th Sunday 8

FIRST READING:
1. The priests in this reading neglected their duty and are responsible for the erosion of faith among the people. In general what do you think are some contemporary issues that erode people’s faith? In particular what erodes your faith? What increases your faith?

2. Malachi points out in this reading that the priests were showing partiality and not preaching the Torah with fidelity and good example. What serious responsibilities do privileged positions within a community bring with them?

GOSPEL
1. In Matthew 23:1-12, Jesus says of the Pharisees, ‘Everything they do is to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries, and longer tassels etc’ Jesus instituted an office of service. Being a Foot washer! What is it within you that calls you to serve others?

2. Could remembering “You have but one Father in heaven,” help you remain humble? How? In this Gospel what is Jesus’ message for religious leaders that is relevant for all times? What is Jesus’ message for you?

30th Sunday year A lovely kids

FAMILY PRAYER…………………..
Leader: With confidence in God’s boundless love and mercy, we offer these petitions:

That our actions will always correspond to what we profess, we pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

That our elected representatives will seek justice for all, not privileges for the few, we pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

That priests, religious and bishops will remember that, like Jesus, they are servants, not Masters, we pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

That we will serve the poor rather than seek approval from the rich and the powerful, we pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
That we will remember the dead for their lives of labour and suffering that they endured for our sakes, we pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

That Religious Leaders of Faith will exert their one voice in favour of the many displaced asylum seekers in detention centres around the world and close to our shore here in Australia, especially in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. we pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

Leader: Father of all, God of power and Lord of mercy, help us to use your gifts to bring your love to all members of this human family and bring us all to enjoy eternal life with you for ever and ever. Amen.

kevin-3
Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia
Email: kevin.w3@bigpond.com Web:https://realhomilies.wordpress.com/

Heart Cross

 

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31st Sunday Year A, 2017. A Sunday Reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. LEADERSHIP AND AUTHORITY.

31st Sunday Year A, 2017. A Sunday Reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. LEADERSHIP AND AUTHORITY.

Telephone  man th2DJ7779N

A major in the army, wearing his epaulettes and service medals, was in his new office, when an army private knocked on the door. To impress the private the major called out in a pompous voice: ‘Come in, soldier! I’ll be right with you after I answer this phone call.’ Then speaking into the phone the major said: ‘Well, General, it’s good to hear your voice. How can I help you?’ A pause followed. Then the major said: ‘Fine, General, I’ll call the Prime Minister within the hour.’ Then he said to the private who was staring at the floor nervously: ‘Now, soldier, what can I do for you?’ Without looking up, the private said in a low voice: ‘Sir, my sergeant sent me to connect your phone for you.’

 

30th Sunday 11

That major caught himself out. He showed himself to be something of a liar, a fake, and a hypocrite, the very things that in the gospel today Jesus both accused the Pharisees of being, and cautioned his followers not to be.

When I read those words of Jesus, however, and ask myself how they apply to me, I have to admit they make me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. Here I am up the front, wearing long robes, and being called ‘Father’. Let me assure you, then, that I’m not here to parade, or show off, or to make out that I’m a better or superior person to any one of you. I sincerely strive to make my own the words of the psalmist today: ‘O Lord, my heart is not proud nor haughty my eyes. I have not gone after things too great nor marvels beyond me’.

13th Sunday year A Africa

Authority in any organisation, the Church included, is meant to be a gift. It is meant to be shown in loving service and support of others, not in domination and control. It’s just not good enough to make people simply comply and obey. People may do that on the outside, while on the inside they are seething with rage and resentment. The challenge for all leaders is to get others onside, to win their hearts and minds, to persuade and convince them that this or that is the right thing to do. That, of course, requires all the skills that go into winning friends and influencing people. In fact, that’s the only kind of authority that works in any community nowadays, the family included.

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Again and again in his teaching Jesus insists that we must not dominate, lord it over, or oppress others! He teaches over and over that God invites, calls, attracts and charms, rather than controls, directs, and regulates! He teaches too that the greatest in any group are those who love and serve the others!

17th Sunday year c 11

So that we might do a better job than we have done so far of living those teachings of Jesus, let us pray together to the Lord, in the rest of our Eucharist today, for both ourselves and one another!

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson

Bro Vicente CP with Fr Brian Gleeson CP

 

30th Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. Committed wholesomeness – the core of true love!

30th Sunday Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh
Sydney Australia.
Committed wholesomeness – the core of true love!

Love of God th8I3C729H

First Reading: Exodus 22:20-26. Psalm: Ps 17:2-4. 47. 51 Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40

In today’s Gospel, it is interesting to see that the two commandments Jesus puts before us actually sum up the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mt.Sinai. If we love God, we will not have false Gods, and we will then keep His day Holy. If we love our neighbours, we will honour our parents. We will not steal, kill, tell lies, or covet our neighbour’s wife or husband. In another part of the Gospel, Jesus asks one of the leaders what are the most important commandments, and he gives the same answer as we have in today’s gospel. There was yet another time when Jesus was asked what the law said, and he quoted these commandments, and went on to say, ‘but I say to you, you should love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you….’ At the last Supper he said, “A new commandment I give you; you must love one another as I love you.” But there is something else which for me is the great icon of love, and that is getting on the knees and washing the feet of the Disciples. In this action we can see, reverence, humility and complete trust……these are the some of the fundamental foundations of true covenant love. God is the Bridegroom, we are the Bride!

30th Sunday year A Ark of the covenant

Let’s be clear about COVENANT LOVE. God initiated Marriage with us, His people. You might need a strong Coffee or Tea, to deal with this next section, but in the climate of today, re same sex marriage, we will come to see that the word MARRIAGE has only one meaning: God as groom, we as His Bride. Man as man, and woman as woman! That’s it! MARRIAGE from its very essence has its Genesis in this context alone! It is therefore incongruent to use the word MARRIAGE between a man and a man, and a woman and a woman. Same sex relationships can only be called a PARTNERSHIP at best!

30th Sunday year A Wedding

‘Covenant and love’
‘Covenant’ provides the background for both the first reading and gospel. The reading from Exodus is part of ‘The Covenant Code’ (Exodus 20:22 – 23:33) which scholars identify as the oldest collection of laws in the Bible. In Exodus 19 God makes a covenant with the Hebrews. A covenant is a standard instrument of international diplomacy by which kings established formal ties. The most important features of covenants were exclusive loyalty and the obligations that the lesser king owed the greater. The obligations required by the biblical covenant begin with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-21) which are followed by ‘The Covenant Code,’ a wide ranging collection of laws, all understood to be required by Israel’s covenant with God. In this Sunday’s excerpt the Lord reminds the people of their bitter experience of oppression in Egypt. In effect, God says, ‘You didn’t like being oppressed: don’t oppress others’ (see Exodus 22:20). This is the inverse of the second great commandment, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18). In the same way that God delivered the Hebrews when they were oppressed, God will deliver the poor who are badly treated. In both cases God’s motivation is the same: ‘I am compassionate’ (22:26)

iProdigal son 2

Jesus’ quote from Deuteronomy 6:5 (= Matthew 22:37) is a succinct summary of the Book of Deuteronomy which, in its final form, is structured as a standard covenant. The requirement to ‘love’ was ‘boiler-plate’ language in covenants. It meant not affection or emotional commitment but exclusive loyalty to the king. Deuteronomy uses this language to reinforce its core teaching: Israel shall serve no other god but The Lord God – Adonai. Idolatry – worshiping other gods – was the most serious breach of the covenant and triggered the harshest sanctions; conversely, ‘loving the Lord’ guaranteed blessing and prosperity. The command to ‘love God and neighbour’ was thus was a summary of the people’s covenant identity. But more: Jesus says the ‘the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments’ (Matthew 22:40). More than embodying covenantal obligations, the command to love summarises God’s entire self-revelation in both the Law and in the Prophets.

30th Sunday year A strict mother

Let’s take the message of the Gospel closer to home. It would seem that one of the most difficult places to live Christianity is at home in our Kitchen, lounge room, dining room, and computer room. It is much easier to have opinions, and be concerned about injustices in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and in South East Asia. We really must live our Christianity on the ‘home front’. I remember my Mum and Dad telling me and my sister that Charity begins at home! So true isn’t it? If we foster forgiveness at home, it flows out from the family to others. The same goes with having time for one another where this can actually happen. Or do we let Computer Games, Twitter, Facebook and surfing the net and internet chat rooms, swallow up the precious time of being together as family? Avoidance of each other at home, by taking off to our room, shutting the door, can be an icon for…’Leave me alone with my friends…..this can cause barriers in listening to each other and sharing with each other. That can be the hard part!

Family photo

Looking at the Reading from the Book of Exodus and the Gospel of Matthew today, we certainly do not need a degree in Theology to understand its meaning. It is clear, simple and to the point, but alone we can find it very difficult. Together, and in Christ, we can work at it. However, it must be a continuous personal and community effort, which will make Christ known, and loved. Let us pray: ‘Come, Spirit, breath, and power of God. Enter my heart, and generate within me the heart of Jesus. Let his love, forgiveness, and service flow through me to others. Amen.’

Gods Word th36RKBOOR

REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS: POINTS TO PONDER ‘Lord, what are you saying to me through your Holy Word today?’
1. A special relationship between God and his people was created with Abraham and Moses. This relationship was two-way. God would look after and guide his people. God’s people would listen to and obey certain ‘laws’. The first 5 books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) express what is required by both parties to live this ‘Covenant’. Today’s reading explores the ‘covenant code’ and what social behaviors are required by God. Aliens (foreigners), widows and orphans have no protection of family or friends. But God loves them. We are to love, include and provide for them. Who are the equivalent of aliens, widows and orphans today? Are you living in ‘covenant-love’ with them?

2. Jewish people were not to demand interest. They developed the practice of a ‘pledge’ to ensure repayment. As a safe-guard God stated a poor person was not to go cold at night without his ‘cloak’. Certain measures were in place to protect the dignity of the poor. How could you relate this to today?

3. Jesus is again forced into an argument with religious leaders. Pharisees decide to attack Jesus’ knowledge of the ‘Laws’. Jewish people had summarized all the laws of the first 5 books of the Old Testament into 613 laws. All were to be observed. Some were interpreted as ‘heavy – very important’ and some were thought of as ‘light – not as important’. Surprisingly, Jesus took a heavy law and a light law and said they were intimately linked. Love God AND Neighbour. Jewish people interpreted ‘neighbour’ as fellow Israelites. Jesus’ teaching pushed ‘neighbour’ to include everyone. Everyone is to be treated as belonging to ‘yourself’ – as family! How does your love get ‘limited’? Why? Who gets excluded? Can you glimpse the heart of the gospel in this brief statement?

4. A common criticism of the prophets in the Old Testament was that love of God was celebrated in the temple with sacrifices and gifts – Sunday worship. But it stopped there! They cried: what God wants is ‘mercy, not sacrifices’. Christianity is not lived on Sunday alone. How could you show more clearly a Sunday AND Monday discipleship?

5. What is one action that you will do to ‘live-the-word’ this week?

1st Sunday of Lent 2017 2

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION……….
Leader: We rejoice in the love of God made known to us in Jesus Christ. Let us pray that God will strengthen us in faith and send us as messengers to share Christ’s love with all in need.

For the church and its leaders, for Francis our Pope and N. our Bishop, that they may preach the word in truth and inspire us by their example of service, we pray to the Lord: LORD, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

For the whole Body of Christ, all the baptised everywhere, that we live the message of the Gospel and when we fail, rejoice in the gift of forgiveness, we pray to the Lord: LORD, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

For leaders of nations, cities, and states, that a spirit of wisdom, charity and justice may prevail and that their decisions strengthen the common good, we pray to the Lord: LORD, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

For those who are dear to us but are not present among us, that we may hold them in our heart and mind and that they may be surrounded by Christ’s loving care, we pray to the Lord: LORD, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

For the sick, that they may be comforted in their suffering, and for all who care for them, that they may be agents of the healing and life-giving Holy Spirit, we pray to the Lord: LORD, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

For the gift of creation, that we may use its resources rightly and be wise stewards of its abundance, we pray to the Lord: LORD, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

Leader: Gracious and loving God, may our lives bear witness to the mercy and grace made known in your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen

Fr Kevin Walsh

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

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30th Sunday Year A, 2017. A Reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia, based on the Readings…..LOVING GOD IN LOVING NEIGHBOUR.

30th Sunday Year A, 2017. A Reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia, based on the Readings…..LOVING GOD IN LOVING NEIGHBOUR.

30th Sunday year A street kids

A mother in a country town a long way from here became very concerned about the children she saw in the streets of her town. She was convinced that they were wild, unruly and disrespectful. She called them ‘ferals‘, and to anyone who would listen she would say: ‘Parents no longer teach their children to be obedient.’ She made up her mind this would never happen in her family, and so she insisted on total and absolute obedience. Either her children did exactly what she told them to do, or they were punished very severely.

30th Sunday year A obedient dogs

For disobeying any of her orders or breaking any of her rules, she stopped them going out to play or going to their friends’ homes, sent them to bed without a meal, gave them no pocket money, stopped them from getting or giving Christmas presents, cancelled their birthday parties, refused to let them get a driver’s licence when they were old enough, and stopped them going to university. She was a real tyrant.

30th Sunday year A strict mother

Her campaign was very successful. Her children were very obedient and respectful. On the outside, that is. On the inside, they were seething. Finally, when they were older, every one of them moved away from their mother as far as they could. As things turned out, they were all very successful in their careers. One day the mother got on the phone to her youngest daughter and complained: ‘Why don’t any of you love me? Didn’t I teach you the discipline you needed to succeed in your work?’ ‘Yeah,’ said the young woman, ‘but you never loved us.’

30th Sunday year A lovely kids

That mother goes to church every Sunday. Every Sunday she receives the risen Jesus in the consecrated bread and wine. Every Sunday she hears the teaching of Jesus. But she completely misses the point of his teaching. His teaching that the most important thing in life is having good, happy, harmonious and peaceful relationships, relationships of love! Having love for God and love for fellow human beings as the two hinges on the door to life!

Jacobs well 3

The need and the requirement to both love God and care for others as much as we care for ourselves, were already well known in the Jewish community of Jesus. What is new and original with him is his insistence that you cannot have one without the other. What is new and original with him is that the test and proof of our love for God is our love for others. What is also new and fresh about the teaching of Jesus is that obeying any of the laws of God has to be done with love. Love must be the energy that empowers all our efforts to be good people and all our efforts to do good things.

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

In the teaching of Jesus too, love for neighbour includes every other human being without exception. Wasn’t his answer to the question put to him, ‘who is my neighbour?’ to tell his famous story of the Good Samaritan. And isn’t the point of that story that the neighbour God calls me to love is always the person who needs me and needs me now? For example, the man up the street who has just lost his wife to cancer; the woman over the road who is old and bedridden but has no family to visit her; the asylum seeker languishing in detention in Villawood or Maribyrnong with no-one to support his claims for a safe home and a new life for his family; the drought-stricken farmer watching his sheep die one by one, his breeding-stock among them.

30th Sunday year A asylum seekers 2

Of course we could not possibly be ready to love all other persons, were it not for the example of Jesus himself, and for the gift of his Spirit, the Holy Spirit of love. Without Jesus and the Spirit, we could not forgive those who hurt and harm us. Without Jesus and the Spirit we could not reach out to someone we don’t like, or to someone who is not part of our comfort zone of family and friends. But with Jesus and his Spirit, we can do good and great things for others, even for complete strangers we have never met before. This is just what was happening during the nightmare of the two Bali bombings that happened over seventeen years ago this month. It brought out the best in those generous people – quite a few – who cared more for the safety of other victims than they cared for themselves. More recently it brought out the best in all those brave people who rescued the wounded in the Los Vegas massacre.

iProdigal son 2

For that gift of love – generous, unselfish, and wholehearted love for God, and generous, unselfish, and wholehearted love for neighbour – let us come to the table of the Lord today! Let us also pray to the Lord during the rest of our Eucharist together, that bit by bit every single one of us here will become a more loving, a more caring, and a more self-giving person!

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