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Ascension Day Year A, 2017. A Biblical reflection from Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. HOORAY FOR JESUS!

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HOORAY FOR JESUS!

In our Creed today we will be saying of Jesus: ‘He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.’ What picture comes to mind when we think of Jesus ascending to heaven? Do we picture him conquering space by going up into the stratosphere like a space ship at Cape Canaveral? If we do, we show that we don’t realize that the words of scripture about this are not to be taken literally. They are a poetic and picture-book way of saying that Jesus is no longer on earth in a physical and material way. In his risen transformed body he has gone to God and lives with God in light and glory. They mean that God who raised him from the dead has honoured and exalted him.

His going to God is the climax of his life on earth. He now enjoys full face-to-face encounter with God. That’s what we call ‘being in heaven’. But being with God in heaven he became, in the words of our Psalm today, ‘great king over all the earth’, in close contact with our world and its inhabitants.

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For forty days he kept appearing from God to different groups of his followers, to strengthen their faith, trust and love. Since Easter Sunday we too have had forty days for thinking about all the different ways in which we still experience Jesus meeting and guiding us. Vatican II has emphasised this: ‘Christ is always present in the church [community], and especially in her liturgical celebrations’ (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, #7). For the last forty days, then, we have in fact been giving particular attention to his presence in the liturgy and especially the Eucharist. There in special ways his love keeps radiating from him to us.

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We experience his presence and love in our being with one another, our fellow-followers of Jesus. We experience his presence and love in listening to and taking to heart the message of the Readings, in which he keeps speaking to us words from God. We experience his presence and love when we come to his table. There he gives us his body broken for us and his blood and life poured out for us. We experience his presence and love also in our priest leading us in prayer, and in our readers, ministers of communion, musicians, singers and altar servers, all servants of Christ in our shared celebrations. Finally, we experience his presence and love as we go back into the world from which we came, but now strengthened, refreshed, and more determined than ever to make our world a better place by our loving outreach to all sorts of needy people.

6th Sunday after Easter Year A Go tell the world

As we keep on being ‘good news’ people, people who live what we hear and believe, Jesus our Risen Lord stays with us. In the words of the Gospel today, he stays with us ‘always … to the end of time’. The forty days of his continuing presence to his first disciples are, in fact, a powerful symbol of the Christian journey of our lives as well. It’s a journey in which he walks and talks with us every step of the way, just as he walked and talked with those two friends travelling with him from Jerusalem to Emmaus on that first Easter Sunday afternoon.

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Today, however, we might want for a little while to forget about us and just look at him, and express our joy that at the end of his life’s journey, God raised Jesus to life and took him to himself in the eternal embrace of love that is ‘heaven’. Just like us, Jesus spent his life dreaming of this day. His whole being longed to see God face-to-face, and to enjoy without distraction the sharing of love for which we are all created and for which at least deep down we are all yearning. So today we say ‘Hooray for Jesus!’ that he has reached his destination. His time of waiting and his time of suffering are over. Nothing now can ever come between the longings of his heart and the joy of their fulfilment in God.

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So, in short, we rejoice that he remains forever in communion with God the Father and with you and me, his body on earth. Nothing, nothing at all, can stop the love that keeps beating in the great heart of Jesus.

Lastly, our celebration of his ascension reminds us to let ourselves experience the absence of Jesus as well as his presence. Like his first followers we are sad at his no longer being here with us in the flesh, where we might have seen him, heard him and touched him. But missing his physical presence reminds us that we are not meant to find our final home in this world. Our journey continues, a journey of both joy and suffering, as was his.

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Meanwhile, let us experience encouragement from his Last Supper words to us: ‘I will come again and take you to, myself, so that where I am, you may also be’ (John 14:3)!

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Ascension of the Lord. Year A 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. Every gift from a friend, is accompanied by a responsibility.

Every gift from a friend, is accompanied by a responsibility.
Matthew 28:16-20

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Today’s Gospel is the very last two paragraphs of St. Matthew’s gospel. It makes no direct reference to the Ascension, but it gives us some of the final instructions Jesus gave to his disciples before he took his leave of them. For Matthew and his community who put together this flavor of the Good News, Resurrection and Ascension were about the same experience. Let’s remember, that for the Matthian Community, the Old Testament was always a deliberate backdrop for the things that Jesus did and taught, because this Good News Community continually saw echoes from the Old Testament being resonated in Jesus, not only in His Words and Actions but in the places he visited. So, we will need to check out our curiosity as we go saunter through this passage along those lines…..we don’t want to miss anything!

Second Sunday of Lent | 2015 | Catholic Mass Readings | The History of Redemption - Transfiguration (Chris Koelle, © Chris Koelle) | Mt 17:1-2 | After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.

As we look at the story, we notice that the disciples did what Jesus told them to do. He asked them to meet him on a mountain, (it does not say the name of the Mountain) and they did that. Let’s be mindful that in Old Testament Literature, Mountains were special places of Revelation, Instruction and even departure. Let’s keep in mind that the Community of Matthew, saw in Jesus, the new Moses!

Like any gathering of human beings, each had their own emotions prior to and during this final Meeting with the Risen Lord. Some of them bowed in reverence before him, while some of them still doubted. That’s consoling isn’t it? Some doubted!!!!!! Jesus didn’t seem to have any great problem with that, because he knew that when the Spirit would come, all of those doubts would be dealt with in a growing awareness of the new presence of Jesus with his ‘other self’, the Holy spirit. However, as at that time there were always doubts among the people hearing the message about Jesus!

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The faces have changed, but the message remains the same…..look at people in our own times? Look at us as individuals! It would seem indeed, that Jesus was in a bit of a hurry to take his leave of them, so that the second part of the Father’s plan of salvation could get underway. Here we see Jesus getting right to the point at hand, this was not about pleasantries, it was about entrusting the Mission of teaching, preaching and healing to The New Israel-The Church, within the ongoing Mission, which will impel the Eleven, as they would get caught up within the Holy Spirit’s thrust of loving boldness, and universal outreach. The common dialect for all people is speaking the truth in love, which of course definitely presupposes, listening to the truth in humility. How can any person explicitly say that they ‘speak the truth in love’ without being fortified by a good solid dose of Humility? It would seem that this precious mixture of Humility mixed with Truth and blended in Love is the desired outcome.

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The mission of the apostles was a simple one. It was to teach others all that he had taught them. Just as he asked his disciples to obey him, they were to ask that others should obey his directions and instructions also. Again, let’s not get caught up on rules in terms of obedience! Biblical obedience is holistic listening, then the doing part is the Mission. This is a bit like when a Doctor puts you on a course of antibiotics. The original sin was that of disobedience. The Spirit is the spirit of truth. One of the rules connected with antibiotics is that it is essential to complete the course. Some people begin to feel well after a few days, and they discontinue takings the tablets and, of course, their condition gets worse. In this case about our Christian Spirituality, we are on the Antibiotics all the time. The ‘lived economy’ of redemption and salvation must continue from generation to generation, until the end of time; and yes, we are not on our own, we are accompanied by the Christ of Faith till the New Heavens and the New Earth become one. With all the changes in the church and in society, the two things that have not changed are Jesus himself, and every word of his message.

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The Message and the Messenger have never, and never will change. The Message is evergreen, for all times and seasons. People who are bothered about changes in the church today should be reminded that the only two things that matter have not changed at all. The way that we go about worship, and recognition of all the Baptized as sharers and bearers of Ministry needs to be always re looked at, cherished and refurbished for the times in which we live. No time in History is a so called Golden Age, were everything should remain unchanged and static! That kind of mentality is what I rudely call, a cemetery mentality where the remains are buried! The Christian community is alive, it is growing, and it is vibrant, only when Christians live on the edge.

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Christianity grows when its Christians are as daring as some of the greatest explorers the world has ever seen. Christians are vibrant when they are joyful in the midst of difficulties. This is a very important theme in St. Paul’s Letters…..’Joy in the midst of tribulation!’ We need to be people who even look happy because we are happy! Christians are people of optimism, not pessimism ……we have many ‘sad sacks’ in our Church; some of them look worse than a sad Cocker Spaniel dog…at least it can wag its tail. Living, Proclaiming and Healing are joy-filled moments, if we were to rely on our own efforts entirely……we would give up quickly. But let’s remember the words of St. Paul the Apostle, ‘I can do all things through Him who gives me the strength’. How do we get that strength? It would seem, by listening to the truth in love which presupposes a good dose of humility and poverty of spirit.

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Today’s Feast reminds each of us once again that we are all called to spread the Good News. We do this in many and varied ways according to the gifts which we have been given. Most of the time the way we proclaim Christ Crucified and Risen is through the ordinary events of our day. Our thoughts, our actions and attitudes towards others, and life-situations in general, is coloured by the intensity of the Spirit within us. We must nourish our inner spirit, and be sensitive towards the stirrings of the Holy Spirit breathing new life into us and His people today. We can easily fall back into the land of ‘doubt’ if we think that we are in charge of God’s plan. If we do that, we are blind to what God is doing in His people, and deaf to his constant invitation to be ”Good News” for each other. We are not alone, and never will be alone or abandoned by God. Like the Apostles in the Gospel, we take heed from Our Lord’s words…’And know that I am with you always, yes, to the end of time.’

6th Sunday after Easter year A Truth 2

Fr Kevin Walsh

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

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6th Sunday after Easter Year A, 2017. A Homelitec reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. BEING TRUE TO OURSELVES AND OTHERS.

 BEING TRUE TO OURSELVES AND OTHERS.

6th Sunday after Easter year A Holy Spirits gifts

Truth matters. So much so that Jesus says to us today: ‘I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever, that Spirit of truth whom the world can never receive…’ (Jn 14: 16-17a).

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There’s a well-known saying: ‘Honesty is the best policy!’ I tend to agree. Some time ago, I saw a very touching movie, one of the best I’ve ever seen, called Secrets and Lies. It’s about a white woman who gave birth to a black daughter, and who was kept from seeing and sharing with her daughter all through her growing-up years. The story unfolds and undoes the secrets and lies that had kept mother and daughter strangers to each other during that long time.

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The movie illustrates just how much the truth matters. So we want the facts and nothing but the facts, we call for truth in politics and truth in advertising, and in a court of law, we are expected to swear to the truth of what we say – ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’. We experience more and more protesters calling on us to ‘speak truth to power’, in both civil society and the Church.

The actual facts tend to speak for themselves. Just as important as sticking to the facts and telling it like it is, however, is to be known and valued as honest, sincere, genuine, trust-worthy people, who don’t deceive, mislead, or cover-up. Experience too tells us that to sustain and develop our relationships, openness, honesty, and transparency are not simply optional but absolutely necessary.

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It’s also a fact of life that we human beings cannot cope with too much reality. So we don’t take kindly to anyone blurting out our faults and failings to our faces, attacking and abusing us, even though they may be telling the unvarnished truth. For the sake of our self-esteem and self-respect, something more is needed than just telling the truth to another. That something more is courtesy and politeness, patience and gentleness, understanding and tact. While deep down we want to face the truth for the sake of our integrity, we will take it much more readily from those who show they are on our side – people who care about us, people who support us.

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What’s all this got to do with the teaching of Jesus today? A great deal, I suggest. Jesus, who has just called himself ‘the truth’, as well as ‘the way’ and ‘the life’, is telling his friends, ourselves among them, that he has to go away. That’s the plain truth. But some day he will come back to earth, and his followers will see him again. That’s the second truth he tells. He goes on to share a third truth. For the time in-between, he is sending us the Holy Spirit, his second self, to be our adviser, mediator, advocate and support.

6th Sunday after Easter Year A Holy Spirit Brian

We rejoice, then, that the same Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who was the source of Jesus’ own honesty, truthfulness and integrity, is given to us and stays with and among us. Unless, of course, we deliberately decide to be ‘people of the lie’ – an expression of the writer F. Scott Peck – living lives of spin, hypocrisy and deception! To illustrate! The Nestle food company recently claiming that the gift of water belongs to corporations and not to the whole human race! The slogan of those clamouring for abortion on demand – ‘my life, my body, my choice’! The advocates of so-called ‘clean coal’! The ‘trickle-down’ theory of free market economics! The recent line – or is it a lie? – that 65 billion dollars of company tax cuts will benefit low and middle income earners, and not just company millionaires! The problematic claim of our National Anthem that ‘for those who’ve come across the seas we’ve boundless plains to share’! True for some, no doubt, but not for all! Definitely not true for those thousands of human beings who arrived by boat seeking protection from persecution in their homelands, but who today find themselves languishing in indefinite offshore detention!

6th Sunday after Easter Year A Go tell the world

That same Spirit of Jesus that animated him ‘to go about doing good’ (Acts 10:38) and only good, is available to us 24/7 to empower us to be as truthful as Jesus. Jesus is also assuring us today that the Spirit of truth given to us is also the Spirit of love, empowering us to also imitate Jesus in the ways he communicated the truth. This was not only in straight-forward ways, but also with courtesy, politeness and gentleness, along with patience, understanding and tact.

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For that gift of Jesus to us of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of love, given for our day-to-day dealings with our fellow-human beings, let us give thanks in the rest of our prayer together today! And let us pray that when we need to speak the truth to others, including speaking truth to power, that supported and guided by the Holy Spirit, we will always speak it without fear or favour, as well as with respect and love, care and concern!

6th Sunday after Easter year A God's purposes

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Brian Gleeson

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6th Sunday after Easter Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. JESUS STANDS BY HIS PROMISES.

JESUS STANDS BY HIS PROMISES.

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I don’t like saying Goodbye to people, especially if they are part of the family, or have become so, through being loyal great friends. However, Goodbyes are part and parcel of our human existence. That sounds like a cold, philosophical statement to me. So, in our homes we often have little ornaments or pictures which have been given to us by people who are ‘close‘to us, which reminds us of them!

6th Sunday after Easter Year A Photograph album

Our photograph albums, in days gone by contained many of our closest memories. These days, we seem to take more photos than ever before…..most of them seem to be selfies! However, many others in our photos files within our Mobile phones, to the tune of thousands of pics, are not generally pics of us, but include other special people with us. We don’t look at all these pics every day, otherwise we would not have time to eat and sleep, let alone go to work! But we know where our treasured pics are! When we look at them or show them to other people, the memory of them comes alive, and we are filled with the ‘thrill’ of that memory shared. That kind of ‘thrill’ I believe is the first cousin to the experience of the two disciples after they recognised Jesus, as the Christ when He broke bread with them at Emmaus! Then upon reflection after the events on the road, coupled with The Supper, they said….’Did not our hearts burn within us as He unravelled the Scriptures to us?’

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In today’s Gospel, Jesus is preparing his friends for his departure in the way in which they have known Him and loved Him. But it is also a change for Jesus, too. He will love His followers in a different way as well. But the bottom line is that it is the same Jesus whom they followed in His earthly life. It is the same Christ who revealed Himself to them after the Resurrection, and it is still the same Lord; who will reside with them in a new way, and with us for all time.

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In the opening sentence Jesus says something profoundly simple…’If you love me you will keep my commandments.’ It’s not about following a set of rules, like we do the Rules of the Road; no the RULE of Jesus is much more than that! At this point we need to clarify exactly what a RULE is all about. People in Religious Orders and Congregations follow a RULE. The RULE contains the secret which makes the Order or Congregation unique, inspiring and charismatic. A Religious Order or Congregation starts with an inspiration, it starts with a person or persons who embody the particular flavour of the fledging Institute and its response to Mission! It would seem that the universal character of a Founder or Founders of Religious Institutes have some stalwart personal and spiritual characteristics; namely a real sense of being daring, optimistic in the face of pessimism and a deep relationship with the Lord. Other people who see in the Religious and their response to follow Christ in this particular way, are triggered by what they see, and what they experience, and hence it rings a bell in them to join up and be one of them. So, the RULE in Religious life contains an outpouring of what the inner life of the Founder is and what they are being called to do and be in the world. In Jesus, we see the RULE of God being lived par excellence in such a way which attracts people to follow Jesus, as the Way, the Truth and the Life in a radical way.

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The RULE of Jesus is the containment of the ‘mystical inspiration’ which is alive in the Lord, and offered to us as a pure invitation to follow and become a living, walking and serving ‘mystical inspiration, in Mission!’! Our response is not about living the letter of the Law, but about ‘being’ the ‘mystical inspiration’ which is to be shared with others……so much so, to the ends of the earth! Following Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life, is not just a moral highway, it is a mystical journey, en route to the Father. We are all on THE JOURNEY….we are Pilgrims on this earth, we don’t permanently belong here. In fact in the grand scheme of things, we are but a Nano second on this earth compared to the next stage for all of us…..In death, life is changed, not ended, as we read in the Preface for the Dead at the Celebration of a Funeral Mass.

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Now, in order for us to be reminded and nudged along in the right direction, Jesus promises a Helper, an Advocate who will accompany us en route to the Father. Jesus says that we will be given another Advocate…..that implies that Jesus is the primary ADVOCATE; we will be given another ADVOCATE, who will embody all that Jesus has said and done, and who will creatively form us, be in us and assist us in bearing witness to our loving God. This ADVOCATE will be in essence the impelling force with us, to go out and proclaim the Good News of Salvation. This ADVOCATE will minister Gifts to us to use and ‘be’ Christ’s living Body-the Church in the world. It is precisely the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who will enable us to truly love and serve, as our Servant Leader, Jesus. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the TRUTH of the Lord God as manifested through all revelation. This TRUTH is not the absence of lies and trickery, it is the very core that radiates out from the Father, in the Son, with the Holy Spirit. It is that creative, redeeming and sanctifying living element which is what the Scriptures have unfolded to us over thousands of years. This ‘core of wholesomeness’ is freely given to us if we love the Lord.

6th Sunday after Easter year A Airport

When a family member or friend goes overseas, especially when it is one whom we love, we are always quick to ask, ‘When are you coming back?’ We ask this often before they leave! That says something very deep!!!! In other words, we are saying, ‘I wish that you were not going….come back soon, because I need you here…’ Jesus anticipates, this very human and loving element within His disciples, and says that ‘I will not leave you as orphans; I will come back to you.’ How loving is that? Here again, Jesus manifests the loving kindness of His Father, because He and the Father are one, and the Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son. Hence, the Trinity is a loving commune, and an example, par excellence of true community. In short, when we are living the RULE of Jesus ‘in love’, we are participating in the life of the Trinity, and in fact we then become a living answer to part of The Lord’s Prayer…’Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.’

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Finally, Jesus says that when we live the RULE of the Lord God in love, we share in the intimate life that Jesus shares with His Father….In the Gospel extract for today, Jesus says, ‘On that day you will understand that I AM in my Father, and you in me and I in you.’ Notice that in the last quote, Jesus says, ‘On that day’. The curious side of me asks…..what day is that?? According to the above Scripture, it would seem that THE DAY could well be when Jesus returns in Glory! Or moreover, THE DAY could well be the moment of our transition in death for each of us, when life is changed, not ended. Is the knowing of THE DAY, a big deal in any case? For some, it has been, and is, and will continue to be very important….but when the chips are down, I think that we have much more to think about, pray about, reflect on in living the RULE of Jesus, and THE DAY will look after itself. What do you think?

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What can we do to continually reform ourselves in living the RULE of Jesus? Firstly, as I have said, we are not talking about rules…..the RULE of Jesus is the inspirational text, and the person who is Jesus, who contains the ‘core of wholesomeness’ He is the secret to our life as individuals and our corporate life in God. God’s Word is always ALIVE, EVERGREEN and TIMELESS. ‘Lord, what are you saying to me through your WORD, how can I reform myself to be an enfleshed edition of your Good News?’ We need to be nourished through Sacramental experiences where we come together as a group…a community regularly and celebrate our oneness in Eucharistic Praise and Thanksgiving. Just like any loving relationship, our bond with Jesus, the human face of the Father, embraced within the life giving Spirit needs conversation…… Not just yapping to God! My pet Parrot can do that! No, it is in restful listening, it is sometimes within ‘silence’ that we can humbly utter…..’Speak Lord, your Servant is listening.’

6th Sunday after Easter Year A Samuel

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

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5th Sunday after Easter Year A, 2017. A Gospel Reflection by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne Australia. OUR NEED TO BELONG

 

 

Marshall McLuhan, commentator on means of communication, once wrote: ‘We drive into the future looking through the rear-vision mirror.’ The Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, once said: ‘We live forward, but we understand backwards.’ So on Sundays and at other times, we go backwards to the life of Jesus, so that for now and for the future, we might become better people, his kind of people.

dali-last-supper-1955-granger  The Last Supper

Today we find ourselves tuning in to the start of the conversation between Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper. But before we do that, I’d like to start with something sad and disturbing that is happening in Australia, in order to highlight that particular need which Jesus talks about, the need to belong and feel at home.

On the edge of Melbourne’s suburbs, the bodies of more than one hundred ‘street kids’ lie under mounds of red earth in the Bulla cemetery. Nothing marks their graves, not even a simple cross. The only signs there in a stretch of dry, cracked earth, warn of snakes and rabbit burrows. Only one young person is identified by a gravestone and a name. The Herald-Sun has described this place as ‘Melbourne’s saddest cemetery’. For whatever reason, those buried there, homeless in death were also homeless in life. They were found dead in dark alleys and ‘squats’, unnamed and unclaimed by any relative or friend. For them ‘home’ was about relationships deprived, denied, or abused. We can at least trust, as Jesus has asked us to do, that they have finally found a home with the risen Lord in his Father’s house, where there are more than enough rooms to go round.

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All of us need to belong and feel at home. All of us long for a haven of peace and rest, a kind of oasis where we can recover from the storms of life. Jesus was aware of this felt human longing, and found it himself in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, his friends at Bethany. He tells his followers, you and me included, that he is going to prepare a home for us at the end of our journeys of life.

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He says too that no map is needed to get there. For he himself is the way, the way to our destination, which is nothing less than the company of God forever.

Not only is he the way to living with God, he is also the truth about God. For he himself is God embodied in a human being, the human expression of God, the flesh and blood mirror of God, the human face of God, God’s body-language. In short he is telling us that God is like Jesus.

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Jesus also lives within himself the life of God. By his being present to us, and our being present to him, we live in God and God lives in us. Though he is no longer with us on earth as a physical person, whom we can look at, listen to, and speak to face- to-face, he is always with us just the same, always with us as our way, truth, and life. ‘Believe in me,’ he says. ‘Trust me,’ he says.

Not to do so is risky. For out there in our complex and difficult world, it’s just too easy to become puzzled and confused about the ultimate meaning of life and about our final destiny, and just too easy to get quite lost in all our searching and exploring of this, that, and the other.

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So today, in our Eucharist, let us acknowledge Jesus Christ as our way, our truth, and our life, and re-commit ourselves to being with him in life and in death. And today too, let us ask Jesus to help us recognise his face in the faces of fellow human beings, the lost and the broken, and to do all we can to wipe away their tears and comfort them in their distress, brokenness and bewilderment. Among those who come to mind immediately are the many asylum seekers languishing in cruel, inhuman and inhumane detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru!

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By continuing the work of Jesus on earth – seeing his face in the distraught or disfigured faces of fellow human beings, and relieving his sufferings in those whose lives are wracked with physical, mental or emotional pain – we will keep up with Jesus, as we journey with him along that road that leads to goodness and God.

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Surely an ongoing relationship with Jesus is the road leads to peace, a fulfilling, satisfying and lasting peace, a peace too that is not available in any other way.

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5th Sunday after Easter Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. It feels great to be ‘at home’. Based on John 14:1-12.

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Do any of us not keep in the depth of our hearts, a nagging longing for a place called ‘home’ – a haven of peace and rest – a place where we can recover from life’s storms, a place where we can truly be ourselves? Sometimes, we come across a place like that in the mountains or by the sea, and we probably say to ourselves ‘If only I could stay here; it would be so beautiful and good’. Then we realise that it’s not possible. Maybe its part of a National Park or it is privately owned. Besides, we would probably never be able to afford to buy it even if we could! So … back to reality we come! When it is all said and done, we come back to the old saying…’Home, sweet Home’.

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I must say, that is exactly how I feel: – ‘there is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!’

Jesus makes us a promise in today’s Gospel … and it’s not ‘Too good to be true’ … it’s for real. He says to us, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s House. If there were not, I should have told you. I am now going to prepare a place for you …’

We frequently make promises. Just recently for instance, we renewed our Baptismal promises at Easter and we made resolutions at New Year. We might even promise ourselves that as from today, it will be the end of eating chocolate! It puts on weight! What do we do when we have those inner cravings for sweets as we pass the shelves of lollies in the Supermarket? (As we say in Australia and the UK.) Sweets or Candy in the supermarket in other places of the world. Whether we give in, or walk on by, depends on the seriousness of the promises that we have made. If we really want to carry them out we will do so, even if it’s not easy, provided that the ultimate goal is worthwhile. However, when the chips are down, if we really WANT to do it, we will! We can read all we like about diets, but that won’t take off the Pounds and Ounces!

I Will Not Forget You I Have Carved You on the Palm of My Hand Isaiah 49:15 Bible Scripture Verse Inspirational Quote Christian Vinyl Wall Art Decal by VWAQ, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C9JKVMW/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_fui9rb0YKNJTW

In the Gospel passage today, we hear the promise made by Jesus which assures us that we are all worthwhile, and that we are all precious in God’s sight. In fact, as we hear in the Old Testament Isaiah 43:1b, ‘I have called you by name, you are mine.’ This acknowledgement by God, of His love for us, is the very basis on which Jesus makes all His promises. That basis is love … and trust. It is also the basis for all the serious promises we make in our personal relationships, in our relationship with the Church, and for the commitment that we make to love and serve one another.

3rd Sunday after Easter year A 10

The discussions which take place in the Gospel between Thomas, Philip and the Lord, are so like our own conversations with Jesus. We all look at a map for the right road to take if we are going somewhere unfamiliar. However, this is all made easier with our modern GPS in car systems! Jesus says that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life! Jesus is our GPS system! Like last Sunday’s Gospel, we must be good listeners!! Like Philip however, we still look for more identifying signs. ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’ To which Jesus answers ‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father’. Yes, it’s all about seeing … not only with the eyes, but with one’s whole being. Faith is therefore born from being known and loved by God. We can only know and love God if we really want to, and if are ready for the surprises that God has in store for us, along the road of life. It’s only when we stop, look and listen to God’s presence that we can truly say, as the Apostles said on the Emmaus Road ‘Did not our hearts become inflamed, as He broke open the Word and Broke Bread with us’.

Now, so far in this realhomilie we have been really only water skiing over the waves and ripples of the Scriptures; let go deep sea diving!

The Fourth Gospel Community who put together this version of the Good News, prepared it for a Greek audience. That being the case, when it is read in the original Greek, there are certain words that stand out in neon lights at us. There is also the structure of a dramatic dialogue, which would captivate the listeners! This Menu of contents and delivery is all about listening, it’s about seeing through listening, and it is about seeing the saving hand of God at work in Jesus. It is also about looking back after many decades since the Resurrection of Christ to see through the eyes and hearts of deep listening to know that Jesus IS the human face of the Father, and after His Resurrection he was the ‘I AM’ of the Lord God! The Divine Name personified in Jesus, the Christ!

12th Sunday 1

Let’s go back to the first part of the Gospel: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled etc……’ In that first paragraph, Jesus says, ‘ I am now going to prepare a place for you…….a bit further down He says, ‘so that where I am, you may be too.’ If we were in the audience of listeners to this passage as we heard it in Greek, these two sentences would really tell us who Jesus is? He is one with the, ‘I am who am’ in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 3. This recurring theme in John’s Gospel would be gradually sinking into our minds and hearts; it is the full and complete identity of Jesus Christ. So, in this first paragraph of the Gospel, Jesus, the human face of the Father desires all of us to reside where God lives! Remember, the great St. Augustine of Hippo, said…’That my heart will not be at rest until it rests in thee.’ After a great deal of human/spiritual experience, we would all agree that the North African Saint, was, ‘spot on’.

Augustine

In the next paragraph, in answer to Thomas’ question, Jesus again says, ‘I am, the Way the Truth and the Life’. That sentence of Jesus is packed with Biblical meaning, which goes right back to the Creation story in Genesis. But, let’s not forget Chapter 1 of John’s Gospel…….My O My, that is a new Genesis version of God’s creative Word. Why not have a coffee break, and then look up Chapter 1 of John’s Gospel, and read it ever so slowly, so that the nuances can jump out at you!

Burning Bush 5

Briefly, The Lord God throughout the Old Testament, has led His people (Israel) at all times. Even when Israel lost their way in the Sinai Desert, the Lord God still showed them His loving kindness through the Manna, and the water at Meribah! The Lord God speaks the TRUTH about all things at all times, therefore through embracing THE WAY of God as traced through the Old Testament, and adhering to the TRUTH of the Lord God, this combination in turn gives us LIFE! Real life! Let us also remember that the early Christian Community were called, THE WAY!

20th Sunday 5

Finally in the concluding request of Philip in today’s extract, we hear the timeless question……’Let us see the Father!’ Here we grasp the Johannine community coming to grips with this question for people in their own time, but for all ages……’To have seen me, is to see the Father’ ‘I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.’ Now, this takes a bit of time to get our heads around this, but let’s not forget that WE ARE the living Body of Christ! So therefore, to see Christ in each other, opens the opportunity for us, hopefully, to see the Father’s creative, redeeming and sanctifying nature at work! Is this all too good to be true????? The short answer in NO! The imperfections that we carry within us, also gives us the opportunity to seek forgiveness, and receive another very important attribute of God……His mercy!

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As you can appreciate, this is a very powerful Gospel message for us, and that these post Easter Readings are necessary for us to contemplate, to feed on, and act on…..which is living life to the fullest! That in a nutshell it is the end and goal of Humanity……..we are all en route to our Heavenly HOME, SWEET HOME!

15th Sunday year B 1

May the promises made to us by God in Jesus, strengthen our promise to love and serve God in our brothers and sisters …

Fr Kevin Walsh

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

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4th Sunday after Easter Year A, 2017. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. ‘I can hear you, can you hear me’, says the Lord!

   ‘I can hear you, can you hear me’, says the Lord!

 Christ the light of the world

A teacher’s role is to guide others from the unknown to the known. A good teacher, who is really ‘on the ball’ can visualise within his or her students what they are capable of in terms of ‘learning through discovery’. But more so, a teacher who is also engaged in long term learning, gets surprised and thrilled when the students go beyond what they are seemingly capable of, and that ‘brilliance’ can haunt the teacher in an extremely positive way: That’s an attempt to describe Christ the Teacher! Jesus was a vivid teacher, and His listeners would all have been familiar with the unique relationship which existed between a shepherd and his sheep. Our God in Jesus, is haunted by us, and longs and waits for surprises from us. Let’s go deep sea diving into this weekend’s Gospel, and we will be amazed at what we will discover.

figure5.jpg Icon of Christ the Good Shepherd

A good shepherd in Our Lord’s time knew every one of his sheep by name, as we might our pet cat or dog, calling them by name. At most, a shepherd would have had about twelve to fifteen sheep. However, the shepherd would go to extreme lengths to protect his flock and would be with his sheep all day in the scorching heat, and at night, he would often sleep across the entrance to the cave to ensure their safety; the shepherd was the Gate! Let’s pause for a moment or two on the concept of hearing his voice. The process of hearing a voice is paramount to all our experiences of trust or fright! Every voice is different; the voice of someone who has proved their trust to us by loving and through loving, becomes a person of reliance and this immediately registers in our mind that all is OK, this is good, I feel ‘at home’ I can be myself! Whereas, the voice of someone who has equally proved to be distrustful, hurtful, arrogant and self-righteous, immediately causes an angst, a stressful buzz within us, and can put us on edge, cause us to flee, or to fight! That was a mouthful, wasn’t it?

We can also hear a loved one’s voice through writing and art; when we come to know someone really well, we can actually hear their voice through their writings. Remember the good old days, when we would receive Postcards from our loved ones while they were overseas? In seeing their hand writing, we HEAR their words. It’s not the same when we get a text message from someone overseas……that form of media cuts out to some degree the hearing of their voice! A loving voice is also a creative voice! As we look and listen to God’s Word in Scripture, we can switch on, to God! His words to us are always creative, loving, forgiving and challenging.

Book of Isaiah

A person’s handwriting is a work of art! We KNOW the person as his or her handwriting is distinctive. Great works of art speak about the Artist, look at some of the most famous paintings in the world’s Galleries, they speak volumes about the Artist, if you KNOW the Artist. If you don’t know the artist, one can learn about the Artist, and then once we get ‘in tune’ with them, we can HEAR them. Now, look at our World, our Galaxy the entire Universe always speaks about our Creator. One of the greatest Scientists of our time, Professor Brian Cox, from Manchester University, has a wonderful way about him as he unfolds for us the beautiful and stunning mysteries of our Universe, our Solar System, our Planet, and Humankind, the crown of creation. Let’s move onto Jesus the LIVING WORD!

Christ the teacher thM6Z3UGMC

The very WORD of God became flesh and blood like us in Jesus. Jesus is the human voice and face of the Father. As we listen to a well known and loved voice as coming through a postcard or hand written letter, we see in the listening, the face of our loved one. In Scripture, there is a repetitive theme….’let us see your face O Lord, and we shall be saved!’ So, in today’s Gospel from the Johannine Community, all these aspects and many more, are contained within the didactic message of this passage.

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The Fourth Gospel segment for today, makes it clear that many of Our Lord’s disciples, did not get his message about the Shepherd, the voice and the gate! But, they are not the only ones….this is a timeless reading, and so many of us still don’t ‘get it’! In the second part of this Gospel, where the early Church in Jesus, gives forth and explanation, we see quite intensely that Jesus says….’ I am the gate’. Now, unless we are really ‘on our metal’ that phrase would slip us by, and we would fail to hear and see its meaning. In short, in the Greek, let’s take note of I AM!!!! That is the Divine Name of The Lord God!!!!!

Burning bush 3

If anything is enough to wake us up, and get the message, it is this! Wow! The Divine Name is in Jesus! Jesus is the Divine Name! What then is the purpose of this text? That is expressed in the last line of the Gospel …….’I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full’. So, therefore, in conforming to Jesus in his message and within His living Body, the Church, we are on track to live life to the fullest! To share that life with others so that the words of the Lord’s Prayer may continue to be present, yet not completely fulfilled….’thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven’. The Mission, and our Mission, impelled through Christ’s love, namely to bring Heaven to Earth! Wow! That is sure food for thought!

On a lighter note, I would like to include this…..For us here in Australia and New Zealand, and in other places in the world that graze sheep; there are hundreds of them if not thousands of sheep on a Property, or Station as we call them in Australia. I remember my dear old Uncle Harold who used to herd sheep and transport them in huge trucks to take them to slaughter, he had one name for every one of them…..but I can’t tell you what it was because it would take this realhomilie out of a G rating into something else……..

Finally, notice in the Gospels, we hear that the Shepherd leads his sheep … he never drives them. He simply walks ahead, and they listen to his voice, and follow him wherever he goes. Sheep also express their loyalty to their shepherd in many very beautiful ways, somewhat like our pets do to us at home. On the other hand, goats have to be driven … they won’t follow their goat-herd. It’s interesting to hear Jesus using the shepherd separating the sheep from the goats to describe the participants in the final judgment. In other words, separating those who followed, from those who needed to be driven. Interesting thought to ponder, eh?

A few years ago, I spent some time ministering in the Holy Land and while there, frequently drove English speaking Pilgrims around in a mini bus, visiting different Religious Sites. On one occasion, we visited the Shepherd’s Cave and as we got down from the bus, a Shepherd appeared over the brow of a hill, leading a dozen or more sheep. They were a bit different to our sheep as they didn’t have as much wool on them as our Merinos – and they had black snouts. We all thought ‘What a great picture this would make to take home’, so we took our snaps and as we began to move towards the Cave, the Shepherd came toward us smiling. Suddenly, he began to shout and carry on, waving his crook at us, and yelling ‘Shekel, Shekel!’ He wanted money, but we only had American Dollars, and he could see that we weren’t going to pay him. So I said, ‘We’d better get back to the Bus’. We ran for our lives and got into the Bus, and here he was, banging his stick on the windows, shouting words we didn’t understand and probably that was a good idea.

One of the great scandals in history is the extent to which the Body of Christ has been so splintered. While a number of groups claim Christ as their Shepherd, many deny the same right to those who do not walk in their way. But there is hope in the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel, where He declares that someday, there will be one fold, and one shepherd. But this can happen only when we stress the need for unity … not necessarily conformity. What Jesus is saying is that we must listen, and be open to others – Christians and non-Christians alike – just as we would welcome a guest into our home. Is this something about being trustful and loving, which will set the spark of ‘welcome’ and safety in others? Look at Pope Francis in his recent visit to Egypt! The ways in which he becomes a LIVING BRIDGE in his Ministry? The loving outreach to Muslims and Christians of various persuasions? What do I see on Facebook? So much criticism of the loving outreach by the Vicar of Christ! In truth, the modern day Pharisees have not had it so good!

In our Eucharist this weekend, let us pray that we may devote quality time to being attentive to the voice of our Good Shepherd, Christ the Lord, in prayer … that we may put into action the stirrings of ‘response’ from the Holy Spirit, to be Christ’s living Word now, and always.

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Let us give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His love has no end.

Kevin in Church 11885075_10205132408778378_3148389988296886400_n

Fr Kevin Walsh

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

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