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Easter Sunday 2019. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. kevin.w3@bigpond.com The Resurrection, the triumph of the Father.

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Easter Sunday is with us again! Is it with a sigh of relief that we have a ‘break’ at this time of the year? Is it just another Sunday? Is it just another time of the year for the commercial world to make more money using a solemn Christian Feast to make more Dollars?

Resurrection implies new life! This is the gift we receive every morning when we wake up! Today is a totally different day from yesterday. Part of something being a gift is that someone gives, someone else receives, and there is no price tag attached. If there is a snag, it is that God gives me nothing for myself! If God gives me the gift of life today, it is because I can be a life-giving person to someone else. The Easter Liturgy celebrates the Father re breathing ‘life’ into His Son, and that ‘new life’ is to be shared among all people, and by all people.

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Easter is about hope; it is unthinkable that a Christian should even entertain the ideas of hopelessness, even when we live in a world, which thrives, and makes money on bad news! Jesus triumphed over darkness, sin and death, and in the words of St. Paul, ‘having given us Christ Jesus, will the Father not surely give us everything else?’ There is a tremendous need for people of hope in today’s world, and in today’s Church, because the doomsday prophets have never had it so good! One notable Shepherd in the Church said that we Christians are under siege! What rubbish! The whole Christian way of life has been under siege since the crucifixion of Jesus! However, Easter Sunday is the answer to those who claim that we are under siege! Jesus said, @ I am sending you out as lambs among wolves…’ So what new! Sensationalism of the moment, and it can be seen as a tactic to win favour and solace from others. St. Peter wrote these words to the early Christian community: ‘Always have an explanation to give to those who ask you the reason for the hope that you have.’ Peter had experienced, witnessed, and lived through many a failure, so his point about hope is deeply relevant. I am sure that he is not alone in this regard… surely, we can identify with him!

Easter time is a reminder of our Baptismal responsibilities. We have a very real sign of that within our Parish community with the welcoming and admission of our Elect, into full communion with the Church. We are therefore reminded strongly, that we must be a community of hospitality, a community of mission, a community of Thanksgiving. Underpinning all that, we are as St Paul’s says, ‘planted on love and built on love, so that together with all the Saints we will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, we are filled with the utter fullness of God.’ Ephesians 3:18.

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Easter time in not a ‘one off time’ to celebrate Christ Our Light! Easter time offers an enormous challenge to everyone. Do we personally believe in the community, which we call the Church, to that point of wanting to really know, and care about each other? Or are we sometimes tempted to see the Sacramental life of the Church as some kind of Spiritual Service Station, where we fill up every now and then, like we do our cars at the Petrol Station? The Sacramental Community nourishes us, and we are called to nourish it by our active participation in every way possible.

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We pray that through this Easter Season, we will be stronger in our hope, lively in our love for one another, and sensitive to see, with the eyes of faith, the saving hand of God in our lives and within our community.

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Good Friday, 2019, a realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. ‘It is accomplished!’ kevin.w3@bigpond.com

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After Jesus had taken the vinegar, he said: ‘It is accomplished!’

With these words, Jesus gave up his spirit.’

These Words are taken from the Passion of Our Lord according to St. John. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

25th Sunday year B Military General

I wonder what kind of a Messiah the people in Our Lord’s time were really looking for? Was it a Messiah who would gather an army around him, and drive out the foreign occupation of the Romans? Could it have been a Messiah, who would restore the ancient tribes of Israel into one community again? Would it be a Messiah who would spread Israel’s Spirituality by force throughout the known world? The simple answer to all of this is: – NO! None of these……

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From the poverty of the stable in Bethlehem, to the cruelty of Crucifixion, Jesus, the Human face of the Father, was the Messiah who ruled in loving service; not from the stance of power and glory! Jesus the radical Son of His Father, Jesus the new ‘trend setter’ of loving outreach to the ‘poor’ and to those who lived on the fringes of society. Jesus the daring Son of the Father, who was not afraid to break traditional Religious rules, if they got in the way of loving unconditionally! Jesus was not tied up and paralysed by Religious Customs which saw God’s Governance in black and white terms, and unforgiving practices, which created an image of a cruel God, a power filled God, or an untouchable God. Jesus challenged all those images!

Jesus healing a deaf manth

Jesus, through his birth in the stable, and then taking on the status of a Refugee, entered into the mess of this world! A Mess whose answers could not fit into neat tidy boxes of Religion’s way of seeing the world, through pompous and arrogant lenses. Jesus, saw the world and its people through the Eyes and Heart of His Father. This way of seeing the world and its people, was new, it was real, it was true, and it was forgiving and loving!

Jesus the Messiah, could truly say the opening words of our Homily today…….’It is accomplished’….

Can we say with all our heart, ‘It is it accomplished’? If we say YES!!! That means that we are taking the responsibility given to us at our Baptism, to be Christ in our World. The YES that we say, is not like a yes that we would say for a Bucket full of KFC! It is a serious yes! It is a solemn yes! It is a challenging yes! It’s an exciting yes!

It is a thrilling yes, because we are not called to take up the Cross daily just by ourselves! We are called to take up OUR Cross daily……that means a community project, not just for now, but for always. Christians are not lone rangers…….we are a Community, we are a group, WE ARE the living Body of Christ. With this ‘community strength’, we must act ‘as one body’ in responding to our sisters and brothers in our midst. As a community we must act as one body in our loving outreach to those who are in personal, family and International difficulty.

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As a community we are to serve each other like Jesus ministered to His apostles, by washing their feet, prior to celebrating the Passover meal; the meal of Christ’s body. We, as a community in Christ, are called to be Foot washers of the Lord! We are not called to be self-centred, or grasping for only that which satisfies us. We are not called to be a community of Christ who has no backbone…..which is courage! We are not called to be a Community who has no wishbone….which is hope, and above all we are not called to be a community of sad sacks who have no funny bone. We are called to live life to the fullest in every way, and to be strong, to be hopeful and to have a sense of humour, and be funny.

Good Friday, places the suffering Servant into our minds, hearts and hands…..Our yes, has the most serious consequences for a life which is open to all that God asks of us. We fail, if we put conditions on our YES to Christ, we pass with flying colours when our Yes to Christ has no conditions. Following the faith response of Mary the Mother of Jesus, Mary the Mother of the Church, our YES, like hers, is open to the endless designs of God for us.

I would like to conclude with a verse from a Song, composed by John Michael Talbot, using the words of the great St Therese….

Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through He looks compassion on this world, yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.

 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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5th Sunday of Lent Year C 2019. A realhomilie by Fr.Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. kevin.w3@bigpond.com ‘NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU’ said Jesus to the woman.

5th Sunday of Lent year C 2019

Every day when we watch the T.V News, or read the Headlines and stories on line, most of the eye catching events are about people getting into trouble. Either this one was caught robbing a Jewelry Shop, or someone has ripped off the Tax Office, and has been caught, or some unfaithfulness in marriage, or some personal argument about a couple players in a Cricket team etc. I wonder if the TV ratings would be the same if they were all good stories about the positive and noble things that people have done?

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Most probably the ratings would really slip. There is something within our human nature that gets enjoyment and satisfies our curiosity in seeing someone get caught, and the issue made public. Most certainly there are times when you would hope that some people do get caught for the way that they have gravely disturbed and abused other decent people, through robbery, murder etc.

5th Sunday of Lent Jesus and the stones

In today’s Gospel John 8:1-11, we see some excited Scribes and Pharisees, who were really trying to catch Jesus out by using a person, in this instance, a woman, who they really didn’t care about, but abused her by making a spectacle of her in front of the crowd, and in front of Jesus. For the Jewish Leaders they treated her like an object, not a person, in order to satisfy their sinister curiosity. The woman was really used and re abused in order to try and trick Jesus. So, their overall motives were not meritorious….far from it; they were scoundrels! The faces have changed, but their methods remain the same!

Prophet Isaiah scroll

Let’s go back to the first reading for a minute…Isaiah 43:16-21 is recalling to the ‘community mind’ of Israel, that the Lord God would always do new deeds, like the deeds that God did in the great Exodus from Egypt, and the initiation of the marriage contract with His people on Sinai…In fact the brotherhood of Isaiah, were looking forward to a time when their God would do new deeds again and again, so that the world order of people would be turned upside down in a totally new way of relating, loving, forgiving and living as a Community in a Marriage relationship with their God. Notice, it is God in Jesus who sets about restoring Israel’s relationship with God. It is always God’s initiative to alert a response in us. Our God breaks a stipulation in the Book of Leviticus, where it says that it is unlawful to receive back and adulterous wife………we, God’s People are the wife….the sometimes adulterous wife; the unfathomable love of God, breaks God’s own law in order to have us back! Doesn’t that cause us to pause? My O My, that in itself is enough from us to respond to the Lenten call…..’Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel.’

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PERSONAL REFLECTION TIME:
Do we want to be part of that new world order? Are we daring enough, like the brotherhood of Isaiah to pin all our hopes on our God’s present and future hopeful actions, while the dark clouds of apathy and indifference cover the skies? Do we stay rock solid and become unmovable when it comes to being part of a ‘new deed’ of the Lord? Are we willing to launch out into the deep with Jesus, during the storms taking place in our global village? Or are we prepared to stay on the Wharf were it is seemingly safe and secure? Are we prepared to ask our God in Jesus, to do with us what He wills for the good of all? Are we willing to be unfettered from traditions in the Church, and in Society, so as to be free in order to be faithful to Christ’s call to be a vital part of a ‘new deed’??

5th Sunday of lent stones

In today’s Gospel passage I can’t imagine the Scribes and Pharisees gently and respectfully bringing this lady to Jesus! We can only guess from the tone of their words that she probably would have been jostled, man handled and roughly brought to Jesus. There is an atmosphere created by the Scribes and Pharisees or delight in what they were doing. In short, it was a low act! Here in this Gospel story we see Jesus, the human face of the Father precisely doing a new deed……’neither do I condemn you, go away and sin no more’ Notice Jesus did not give a quick response to their question….they had to wait, they had to stew, and perhaps given the chance to review their condemnation. Jesus turned the tables on the Jewish leaders, and any onlookers who sided with them….’one by one, they left the scene’ because the simple message of Jesus hit the ‘quick’ in all their fingers that pointed in condemnation of the woman.

5th Sunday of Lent adulterous woman on the ground

PERSONAL REFLECTION TIME:
Are we on red alert to catch someone out? Are we more ‘at home’ with negative thoughts about other people than positive ones? Do we sometimes get pleasure in seeing good people being condemned? Even though we fast……this is Lenten Food for thought!

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Kevin and Shauna

Shauna, with her companion Fr Kevin Walsh

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4th Sunday of Lent year A (special readings, not Year C) a realhomilie by Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. ‘Lord, that I may see the saving hand of God at work!’ kevin.w3@bigpond.com

One of the many hazards in driving a car along any road is when you are in the middle lane and another car sneaks up on your left hand side, then sits in your blind spot! (In Australia and Britain we drive on the left hand side of the road) No doubt you have been in a car or perhaps you have been the driver when this has happened to you. In responding to the situation you indicate your intention to move into the left lane, and suddenly you see the car in your rear vision mirror just in time before you collide with it. The feeling of shock and horror can cause a weakness in the knees, eruptions in the stomach, let alone a reaction to the breaks! If the unfortunate smash occurs, one could be tempted to say: “I didn’t see you there”.

Now there is another important aspect about SEEING that we need to investigate…..Sometimes, while we are deeply engaged in conversation and we are trying to explain a point, we may not think that the other person is on the same frequency, we sometimes say, ‘Do you see what I am talking about?’ So we can also use the verb to see, in this way, because it’s about tuning into a real picture about a concrete situation.

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The Gospel reading today is about the cure of a blind man. But the story has far deeper implications than just a person receiving his sight back…this story contains a great challenge to all of us, because it is about the ability to see with the eyes of faith! It’s also about the blindness of others who don’t see with the eyes of faith. Like the driver in the car, not knowing that there was another vehicle in the blind spot, we all have our own personal blind spots. Lent is a time to have a look at some of these, and with the help of God’s grace, we can make steps to develop a clearer vision, so that we may see with more clarity God’s saving activity in our lives, and in those around us.

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So, at this point we need a working definition of Faith, so that we are all on the same page. The definition that appeals to me in this instance is the word INSIGHT! By that I mean, the ability to see the saving hand of God at work in Jesus. FAITH = INSIGHT. Now, if we have the definition in mind as we troll through this Gospel passage, lots of opportunities open up where we see the growth in insight, and then its opposite, downright blindness…….the inability to SEE the saving hand of God at work. Now, this has far reaching consequences for all of us in every age and season.

Let’s go a bit deeper into the ability to see! Just imagine that you are on a mountain, which has a fantastic view; and you and the family are having a picnic. Delicious Ham sandwiches, made on fresh bread, with a little tings of English mild mustard…..and a beautiful cup of tea from your Thermos. One of the members of the family says, ‘Hey, look at the clouds, there is a man’s face!’ So, you all put down your Tea cups and look at the clouds…..one person says, ‘OH yes, I see it too.’ You say, ‘I can’t see it at all!’ And in saying that you might inwardly think that you are a bit of an idiot! Eh eh….Then the little boy who screamed out to the family, ‘Look at the man in the clouds’ says to you….’I’ll show you’, and very gently the little boy helps you to see the man in the clouds, and then all of a sudden you say, ‘I can see it too…….it just came to me…..I am so stupid that I didn’t see it right away’. Well, let’s get the record straight, you are not stupid! This little boy helped you to see it how good is that?

Now the same goes in our faith life…..God puts intercessors on our pathways to help us to see the saving hand of God at work! Often these people don’t know that they are intercessors, they just spontaneously share their ‘faith life’ that is their insight, with you and then something clicks inside us, and then we too can say……’Yes, I can see it’…. Let’s move on…….

Our sinfulness can be a form of blindness; recognizing our inner blind spots is half the battle in getting rid of them. Today’s Gospel makes a very clear point that the blind man had no problem in admitting his blindness. The amazing thing about the story is that the blind man saw more than the religious leaders could; in the sense that he saw the goodness in Jesus, and he saw the saving hand of God in Jesus. The Pharisees had perfect eyesight; yet Jesus called them blind! And sadly they remained in their blindness because they refused to acknowledge it, and seek the help, which Jesus was offering to them. There are many forms of blindness. These other forms of blindness are in some ways just as crippling to the human spirit as being visually impaired. Here are a few examples:

Selfishness: this blinds us to the needs of others;
Insensitivity: this blinds us to the hurt we’re causing others;
Snobbery: this blinds us to the equal dignity of others;
Pride: this blinds us to our own faults;
Prejudice: this blinds us to the truth;
Self-centeredness: this blinds us to the beauty of the world around us;
Materialism: this blinds us and makes us numb to spiritual values.

All these things do to the window of the eyes what curtains do to an ordinary window; they prevent the person inside from seeing what is outside. It also prevents them from recognizing what needs to be healed by the Lord within their very selves. The most important eyes of all are those of faith. The smallest child who has faith sees more than the smartest scientist who has no faith. Faith is all about seeing! It is about seeing the saving hand of God in our own lives, and within the lives of others. This kind of sight is insight; namely the ability to really see not only what God has done, but is doing right now. May the words of the song: Open my eyes Lord by Jesse Manibusan help us in our Lenten response to ‘Turn from sin and be faithful to the Gospel…

’Open my eyes, Lord; help me to see your face. Open my ears Lord help me to hear your voice. Open my heart Lord, help me to love like you.’

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3rd Sunday of Lent Year C: A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney, Australia. kevin.w3@bigpond.com Readings are taken from Year A. ‘Lord, I thirst for you, I am hungry for your Word, fill me with your life’!

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The liturgy of today reminds us strongly of our baptism. That is why I have chosen the Readings from Year A. It is the water that began to quench our thirst for all that is good and worthwhile, above all for God himself. It is the water that never dries up; for baptism is not just a ritual but life, a new way of living, a lasting attachment to the person of Christ and a union with the community of the Church. It is the life of Christ that keeps growing in us. Jesus himself nourishes this life here in the Eucharist. Let us ask him to keep giving us this living water and to make us share it with others.

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Opening Prayer

Let us pray to God
that the life of Christ in us
may be rich and full
.
(PAUSE)
Father of life
and giver of all that is good,
we want to drink your life to the full.
Let Jesus, your living Word,
speak to us from heart to heart.
Give us an unquenchable thirst
for the things that matter:
for faith and for meaning in our lives,
for hope in a better world
filled with your justice and peace,
for a spirit of committed love
that knows how to share itself.
Generously give us all these
through Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.

Realhomilie……..Year A readings NOT Year C. Because of the Catechumens who will be received into the Church at Easter.

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The names that we give to our children at Baptism are generally well thought out beforehand, because a person’s name is very precious; it is their identity. As we grow older, the sound of our name can be music to our ears, or the sound could herald something serious. It all depends on how our name is said. Many years ago when I went to school, we were generally called by our Surnames…Walshie has always been my name, and it continued in Seminary days even to this day, especially by the Priests and Brothers; over time it has been a name of endearment.

For our Australian Aboriginal sisters and brothers, they are generally not in a hurry to give their child a name after birth, they wait until they start to see aspects of its personality emerge. Sometimes the names that we give our children are handed down from generation to generation or they might be a special Saint’s name whose life we might strive to imitate. Our name is us! When we re call the name of a person in conversation, the whole person comes to mind….hopefully bringing smiles to our faces.

2nd Sunday of Lent year B Family

In the first reading this Sunday, we have the unveiling of God’s name through loving action. This begs the question: how do we get to know God? Well, believe it or not, we get to know God in the same way as we get to know each other. How did you meet you wife or husband? How, and when did you meet your best friend? The gradual knowledge of who that person is, becomes known to us through: 1. Intrigue…chemistry attraction. 2. A thrilling adventure opens up. 3. Trust is required. 4. Conversation fuels the development of the relationship. The same applies to God…….however, there is something a bit different. WE could never have found God, if God had not found US first!!

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Let’s have a look at Exodus Chapter 3…Moses in the quiet of the evening, sees a Bush on fire, but not burning up….what does he do? Curiosity seizes him, and he goes to check it out. The Lord God saw him going forward….and the Lord God called Moses by his name! Wow! What a surprise that must have been for Moses? The Lord God tells Moses to unstrap his sandals because the ground is holy. Here we have an act of trust required by Moses, because as he undoes his sandals, his back is open to attack! What makes this new ground holy? The budding conversation that is changing Moses forever! Then the Lord God shares a little more with Moses about who he is…..’Ah! Thinks Moses, this is the God of my ancestors…we have stories about this God’. Here the Lord God identifies with the suffering of his people, and hears their cry for help. The Lord God will deliver his people from misery, and give them their own fertile land. As this conversation gets deeper between the Lord God and Moses, another huge act of trust is required by Moses….Guess who was to be the spokesperson on behalf of the Lord God? Moses himself!!!

14th Sunday Year A Prophet Zechariah the lord remembers

Here we have the unveiling of the Divine Name….not a usual name, because a usual name cannot contain God! ‘I am who am’…..YHWH…Meaning: – You will know who I am from what my people who have experienced me say about me in their stories. You will know who I am through what I do for you. You will know who I am from what I say to you. Hence the household name for God is Adonai…Lord!

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Now today, we have a thread or theme of Water running through the three readings. Exodus 17:3-7. Romans 5:1-2. 5-8 John 4:5-42. Let’s

Have a good look at the theme of water and its profound meaning for all times and all people. Without water…we cannot exist. Without water, we would die. If our plants do not have water, they die. In fact nothing would live. When we are really thirsty, that is the only thing on our mind. We just need a drink! Our bodies are substantially made up of water. Water is the supreme symbol of LIFE!

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In the first Reading we hear God’s people screaming out for water…..they complain to Moses….the instrument of the Lord God, for bringing them out into a horrible desert. However, this means more than just wanting a cool drink; it was also a test of the people’s trust in the lord God, and a trust in Moses. But it would also turn into a real SIGN of the Lord God’s love for his grumbling people, by giving them cold water from the Rock at Meribah.

2 Lent Reflection

The response to the Psalm today is a fantastic twitter message: If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts! This message should be on every day of our Outlook Express Calendar! This saying should be one of the most significant magnet messages on our Fridge, this message should become part of our bone marrow, and should be tattooed on our arms and heart.

6th Sunday after Easter Year A Holy Spirit Brian

In the second reading from Romans, we see that the life of the Holy Spirit has been freely poured like water into our hearts! As we listen to and respond to the Holy Spirit, the ‘life’ of God runs through us, and enables us to positively respond to the Lord God’s Mission, and be Christ in the world! The Gospel today is just and incredible expose’ of the ongoing life of God offered to all! Yes, all people, no matter who they are.

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Let’s look at the Well; an ancient site of God’s benevolence to His people….a place of refreshment, a place of Life. Now, we are dealing with John’s Gospel, it is packed with symbols and deep meaning and today’s Gospel has its fair share of all of that. Let’s go deep sea diving into the symbolism. Firstly Jesus is in foreign territory…the Samaritans and the Jews really did not like each other. Jesus, followed by his companions are deliberate in making their passage into this territory and to this well. Notice that Jesus breaks a custom for a greater good by asking the Samaritan woman he she could draw some water from the well to give him a drink. She is well aware that Jesus is a Jew and takes note of the break in custom. However, this beginning of the conversation prepares the way for something ‘life changing’ for the woman and is deeply profound for all of us in all times and ages. The Johannine Community who put together this Dramatic presentation in Chapter 4, which is part of The Book of signs, is filled with evergreen meaning. Remember the conversation that Moses had with the angel of the Lord at the Burning Bush? That place became hallowed from the conversation…..here at the Well, this conversation is enabling the place and the message to be hallowed. Jesus, questions her about her Husband, and it seems that she had had a checkered career with husbands….but let’s not get hooked on that aspect, because here there is a far deeper parable at work. It would seem that the five husbands stand for the first five Books in the Torah….the Law for Israel. Jesus is saying that on that Law, He, surpasses that, but is built on that….Jesus is offering New Life, and He is the living Water. Just as in the Book of Exodus, the Lord God unveils His name…’I am who am’ YHWH, he we see the Divine name being revealed by Jesus to the Samaritan woman. Note that in the Gospel text Jesus says to the woman, ‘I who am speaking to you’, said Jesus, ‘I am he’. Notices that Jesus also says that He is food….food like the Manna in the Desert……another action….SACRAMENT of nourishment, inclusion and mission!

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Notice that it the Gospel today as always, Jesus invites us to wholesomeness…..I believe that means holiness! Holiness is not measured by the calluses on our knees, but by the nimbleness of our hearts…the sweetness of our relationships, not by arrogance, not by superiority, not by pomposity in the name of Religion…nor appearing like an Emperor of the Church….but the real symbols of holiness is a towel, a basin and a water jug!

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God speaks to us through his Word, because it is always evergreen. God speaks to us through His living Body – God’s People, the Church. God is present with us, and in us, through the Eucharist………We become, what we eat! God speaks to us through His Word….God shows us his voice in our sisters and brothers. Maybe our Lenten prayer could well be…’Speak Lord your Servant is listening’…..instead of, ‘Listen Lord, your servant is speaking’. Food for Thought! In the Biblical Scriptures, WATER is a very important and strong theme. Its theme focuses in on the very nurturing from God….namely, ‘life giving’.

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We are now half way through Lent….let’s do a different kind of examination of conscience…

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THE WOMAN AT THE WELL.

ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named SAD-OF HEART met Jesus at the well. Sighing with relief she placed the burden of her leaden heart at his feet. “No one cares”, She cried to him. He turned her face to him and held it in his strong hands. He just loved her. ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named BURNED-OUT CASE found Jesus at the well. “I’m too tired to go on. No one really understands. I feel used up, nothing more to give. I want to quit, but I don’t know how” she sobbed as she held out the worn out pieces of her life, faded, frayed, and fragile. Jesus offered her his arm and said, “Come to me and I will refresh you and restore you to wholeness”. ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named ANGRY discovered Jesus at the well. “Why isn’t anyone willing to listen to me?” she shouted. “What do I do that turns away my chances of being heard? Must I be a first class story teller just to get a hearing?” Jesus took her anger as one receives a gift and said, “Speak to me. My heart is ready, my heart is ready.” And so we pray: – If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named RESENTMENT approached Jesus at the well. Her face could not hide her feelings. “No matter how much I do, it never seems enough,” she complained. “I resent that my performance is measured against someone else’s accomplishments. I can only be who I am.” Laying his hand on her head, Jesus whispered into her ear: “you are my chosen, holy and beloved.” ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named WANTING-TO FALL-IN-LOVE-AGAIN sought Jesus at the well. The light in her eyes spoke the questions in her heart. “How can I fall in love all over again? What will it look like when I do and how will I know I have?” Radiant with joy, Jesus smiled at her and said, “if only you recognized God’s Gift…the desire to love is already loving…!” ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named NEEDING-FORGIVENESS came to Jesus at the well. Tears of repentance like gentle rain washed over her face and fell on his sandaled feet. “Forgive me, for I have sinned, and my sin is always before me. Do not cast me away from your presence”. Holding her to his heart, Jesus promised, “With great love I take you back, my love. I will never leave you and my covenant of peace shall not be shaken. As far as the east is from the west, so far have I cast your sins from you.” And so we pray: – If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named WAITING-IN-STILLNESS sat with Jesus at the well. She looked at his face. She said nothing. She held her heart in readiness.

‘Give me your heart.” Jesus said, ‘I want to fill the emptiness. I want to mend the brokenness. I want to give it the shape of my own.” ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named CONFUSED-OF-HEART dragged her feet in the dust as she approached Jesus at the well. She couldn’t raise her eyes to him. “I don’t know what I want or how I feel. I have volcanoes and tidal waves inside me and I’m so afraid they will destroy me and those I care about.” Jesus called her to the rim of the well: “See how deep it is, probably so full. But we can only draw up one bucket at a time.” He dropped the bucket over the ledge, filled it a brought it to the top. “Take it slowly,” Jesus urged, “One bucket, one feeling at a time. The well of you is so deep, but I will help you draw yourself into light.” ANTIPHON: If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.

A woman named APOSTLE raced to Jesus at the well. “Hurry,” she cried,

“There’s so much to do! I’m busy, I’m tired, but come on, let’s get moving!”

Jesus replied: “Let me stay with you awhile. You are bread for the world, but let me take you, bless you, break you open. Let ME give you to others…”

And so we pray: – If today you hear God’s voice harden not your hearts.  

Listening

Kevin and Shauna

Shauna with her companion, Fr Kevin

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3rd SUNDAY OF LENT year C, 2019. by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. OUR SPIRITUALITY

If we browse through the magazines in our doctor’s or dentist’s waiting-rooms, we will probably come across an article on spirituality. Lately too, the lists of best-sellers often include works related to the human spirit or soul. People are no longer satisfied with material things only. So, in their search for satisfaction and self-fulfilment today, people have been looking for meaning and value beyond the material and the physical.

So far, so good! But not all agree on what is meaningful and valuable in life. For some, being ‘spiritual’ is focussed on a sense of harmony with all living things, and openness to the great power upholding our intricate universe. For others it includes meditation and relaxation exercises for the sake of inner peace and calmness and for the sake of greater physical and mental energy. For some it’s mixed up with trances or alleged messages from outer space or from dead friends and relatives. In so-called ‘New Age Spirituality’ it often involves tarot cards and crystals.

In some searches for the spiritual there is a concentration on the ‘self ‘ rather than on the ‘Other’ or ‘the others’. There is little or no awareness at all of such people in need as the poor and the suffering. In other searches for the spiritual there is little sense of the reality of evil. Everything in the garden is rosy. Everything is viewed through rose-coloured glasses. Such spiritualities seem rather selfish and inward-looking, or an escape from reality and a flight into fantasy.

But there’s another kind of spirituality – Christian spirituality – which you and I have been sincerely trying to live. It’s based on the conviction that a meaningful life is all about good relationships. In relation to ourselves we know that ‘God doesn’t make junk’. So we value ourselves and respect our own dignity, and we work on becoming better persons, knowing that God is patient with us, and hasn’t finished with us yet. In relation to other people, we look for the good in them, and deal with them with acceptance, trust, affection and care. In relation to God we treat God as our origin, the ultimate source of our existence. We treat God too as the one who sustains us through all the ups and downs of life. And we treat God as our final destiny, the one who is waiting to take us into his embrace at the end of this life.

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So for us life is both personal and interpersonal. God is much more than the great Architect, who designed this amazing universe, and much more than the great Clockmaker, who keeps it ticking over. No! God is Father, Mother, Friend, and Love Itself with a capital ‘L’. We hear God speaking to us, and we respond to God. With thoughts, words and actions of praise and thanksgiving! With thoughts, words and actions of love and self-offering! We converse with God as familiarly as friends talk with one another, as intimately as a wife speaks with her husband, or as children chat with their parents.

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So, in today’s First Reading we hear God say (directly to Moses, and indirectly to us): ‘I am the God of your ancestors, the God of your fathers and mothers. ‘I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt. I have heard their appeal to be free of their slave-drivers. . . . I am well aware of their sufferings. I mean to deliver them up out of that land to a land rich and broad, a land where milk and honey flow.’ In response to this powerful assurance from God that God cares when people suffer, that God is a liberator who acts to deliver people from oppression of every kind, we have answered again and again: ‘The Lord is kind and merciful; the Lord is kind and merciful’.

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Our conversation with God continues in this Mass we are celebrating together. In a few moments we will be declaring in the Creed all that God has done for us and for our people down the ages. In our Prayer of the Faithful we will speak words of trust and petition. In our Eucharistic Prayer, we will start with words of joyful praise and thanksgiving, and go on to words of petition for a variety of people both living and dead.

In short, our spirituality as Christians is immensely and intensely personal and interpersonal. We sense that our God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. We cannot stop ourselves from reaching out to the love and goodness which is God. In fact we cannot even understand ourselves or describe ourselves, except in relation to God. So much so that we are convinced that God enters into the very definition of who we are as human beings. We find meaning and value in a personal and community relationship with a personal God, a God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the God whom we meet in our readings from scripture! This is our kind of spirituality!

bgleesoncp@gmail.com

Brian Gleeson special photo

Passionist Province

 

2nd Sunday of Lent Year C. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. ‘LISTEN TO MY SON’ NOW!!

 

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On the second Sunday of Lent each year, the gospel is always about the Transfiguration of Jesus, of which we have several accounts in the Gospels. Today’s account is from St. Luke and his community. Once again, we read of Jesus inviting Peter, James, and John to climb a mountain, and join him in prayer. This means that they would have been close in proximity to Jesus while he was in prayer! We are told that Jesus was praying, which seemed to be quite a familiar scene to the apostles, who accompanied him. Meanwhile, it is very good to keep in mind that the mention of MOUNTAINS in Scripture is not just by chance; mountains are places of revelation, of profound stillness, within conversation and enlightenment, caused by The Divine. This time, however, something out of the ordinary happened; the veil was lifted, and they got a glimpse of the divinity of Jesus. Moses and Elijah appeared with him, and they were talking together.

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Before we go any further, let’s just pause for a moment! Often in religious art, the Transfiguration is portrayed with some distance between the Apostles and the action with Jesus. However, when we look not only at the words but into the words of Scripture, we can safely conclude that the Transfiguration happened right among them! The apostles were privy to Our Lord’s conversation with Moses and Elijah, and they were chatting about the coming Passion and Death of Jesus! Notice, that the apostles were very tired: were they dreaming? Why were they tired? Too much work to do? Or was their sleepiness a sign that there ‘faith-insight’ was getting tired? Questions like: ‘What is this following Jesus all about? Is it just too much to bear?’

26th Sunday year B Jesus with disciples discussing

If these were some of their questions, they surely could well be some of our own questions too! So, often when we invest ourselves into a project, there are times, when it all becomes too heavy….’I just can’t go on!’ Then suddenly there is light at the end of the tunnel! There is a purpose, there is a reason, this is the truth, and it is real! We are not finished with this yet; one more aspect to take note of: Can we ask the question as to what was going on inside the apostles as they were experiencing this Transfiguration? I deliberately say THIS because in the Gospels there are other kinds of Transfigurations. In order for us to arrive at some understanding of what was going on inside the apostles at this Transfiguration, we could do well to ask ourselves ‘what has gone on inside ourselves’ during times of Transfiguration in the past? Now, if we say, ‘Oh, I am not holy enough to experience this’, that is incorrect! Look at the track record of Peter, James and John! If it was good enough for them, it is good enough for us! Was your transfiguration experience a time when your Baby was born into this world!

Was it a time through deep conversation that an inner conversion with self, had taken place, and the black hole that you were in was now filled with light? Was it a time when you were present with a precious loved one who was dying?

Then suddenly, the atmosphere in the room changes, you can feel this in your stomach, in your head, and time seems to pause, you feel that someone else is in the room…..maybe the beloved partner of the dying person, who had died years before? Maybe, if the dying person’s pet dog is on the bed during all of this, and suddenly stands up, ears pricked, and smartly walks down to the end of the bed, and lovingly watches their owner. Maybe at the same time as all of this, your family member who was dying, suddenly and momentarily moves in the bed; her face breaking into a youthful smile at her beloved who is visiting her; is that light at the end of the tunnel? Now, if you have been present in the room during this transfiguration, the feeling can be: ‘Let’s contain this renewed and warm sense of family!’ Your stomach may feel unknotted, or a warm and gentle breeze brushes past the cheeks on your face! A time when all stops; a moment of timelessness exists, the ambience within the room is gentle light………’we want to encase it, we want to hold onto this glimpse of peace, love and warmth. This can be a preparation to pass into the loving embrace of God, accompanied by the one who provoked the all-embracing smile of happiness……then, all returns to what it was, but not as it was, because we have experienced transfiguration, and we can never go back; this experience is the new normal! It does something special IN us!

The Three Chapels on Mt Tabor.

Back into the Gospel story, we see Peter, as usual, was right there with a suggestion: This scene is so beautiful in every aspect, which he wanted to build some kind of accommodation, so that they could continue to live there and contain what had happened. Moses and Elijah disappeared, however, and in the midst of some sort of misty cloud, they heard the Father’s voice announcing ‘this is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him’. Everything then returned to normal, and the apostles kept the event a secret for a long time after it happened. Could they return to normal? The Apostles were also changed. However, what effect did that special event have on their minds and understanding of Jesus, and of the Mission entrusted to him by His Father? What can we learn from this event today? Food for thought!

Mt.Sinai at daybreak

In the Scriptures, there are many references in the Old and New Testament about the significance of Revelations on top of mountains. Some of these special occasions would most certainly be the encounter that Moses had with The Lord God YHWH on Mt.Sinai. The very place where God initiated the Covenant with his people, and gave them the Ten Commandments or Decalogue (Ten Words) as a guide for them. Remember Mt.Nebo? The place where Moses and the chosen people viewed the Promised Land?…it was the Mountain where the promises made by the Lord God were fulfilled. Of course, Mt.Calvary, the place of the Lord’s Cross; so closely linked to Mt.Tabor, the Mountain in today’s Gospel.

Mt.Nebo in present day Jordan where Moses viewed the Promised Land.

The Mount of the Temptations is on the opposite side of the Valley from Mt Nebo

Mountains are places of revelation, they are places of deepened insight; it’s where we can come to that stillness within a prayer-filled moment. It is that kind of experience which we, like the Apostles would like to have captured, so that the pervading influence would continue. I am sure that there have been times of ‘stillness’ in our own lives, when the feeling and sense of ‘at-one-ness’ with God, and those around us, enable us to know deep in our being, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Moments like that, we too want to contain. This precious moment can give us a real glimpse of hope. We do not need to climb mountains physically to experience this, but every now and then it does happen, if we allow ourselves to hear what is being said to us in the stillness of the moment; in that special place and moment which is our personal mountain top. Food for thought, eh?

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

Hopefully this second week of Lent will encourage us to see once again, the need and time for ‘prayer’ in our lives, and a hunger for the Scriptures to nourish us. The biggest challenge is finding the time and space to do it! It is only when we, STOP and LOOK, can we really LISTEN! Can we see the saving hand of God in our lives, and in the lives of our community? This silent space enables us to have that moment when we too can be changed – transfigured by hearing the words in our hearts, that we are in fact the “Beloved” of God. This ability to see and hear, causes us to reverence, respect, forgive and love each other in a renewed way even more, because we are fortified by Christ’s love…..food for the journey as companions of each other in Christ.

Let us pray……

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We give thanks to God, our Father, for the glory of his transfigured Son: we are offered the invitation to reflect him as in a mirror and be continually transformed: this great offer is given to us at Baptism, confirmed in the Spirit at Confirmation, and sustained by the Bread of life, and listening to God’s Word with our bodies, our minds and our hearts. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen

kevin.w3@bigpond.com

kevin-3

 

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