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Category Archives: The Beatitudes

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!

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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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Holy Thursday realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. We are the Lord’s Footwashers. kevin.w3@bigpond.com

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Jesus said, ‘If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet’.

Hospitality towards each other, is one of the most beautiful and respectful gifts that we can offer to one another. One does not have to go to some fancy, expensive Restaurant to expect genuine hospitality! There is no price tag on proper hospitality. There is an ordinary Fish and Chip Shop not far from where we live. However, it is not ordinary, it is extraordinary! Apart from the scrumptious Fish that they cook and sell, which melts in one’s mouth, and the delicious Chips made from real potatoes, and not some kind of fake potato; the respectful smiles, the welcome that customers are given, tells us that the food is prepared with an essential ingredient, which you can’t buy in Woolworths….it is called LOVE.

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The Celebration of Holy Thursday is part of a triptych; Thursday, Friday and Sunday….. That is a threefold picture of Hospitality, Deep Love and New Life.
In the Gospel reading today, we see Jesus doing an action of well-known hospitality! Washing the feet of his guests, his friends, his companions. This customary action is never just attending to cleaning feet, so that there is no dirt on the Carpet! Now, this action has more to it than meets the eye. Let’s go deep sea diving into this hospitality ritual, which Jesus, by his words and actions, has made this washing of feet……Sacramental!

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The washing of Feet cannot be seen as not connected to the Eucharist. It is connected to the real understanding of trust, humility, tenderness, respect and new life. The ritual action of the washing of the feet, is a unique connection between the one washing and the one being washed. Our feet are literally the gateway to our whole body. The way that the washing is done, is done with deep consciousness, respectful attitude and spiritual intimacy. Jesus calls us to follow his example in the fullest sense of the action, and wash each other’s feet.

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When we literally get down on our knees before someone that is a gesture of real trust! Remember, when Moses was confronted with the Angel of the Lord in the Burning Bush, Chapter 3 of the Book of Exodus? Moses was asked to take off his sandals, which was an act of trust! The angel of the Lord said that he was on Holy Ground! What made that ground Holy? The answer would seem to be that the conversation taking place on the ground……the earth from which we were made, is a ground breaking experience of communion with the Lord God…….hence, the ground and place is Holy because of it.

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The action of Jesus, was a ground breaking conversation of trust, love and service. In short, we are called to be Foot washers of the Lord! We are not called to overpower others by having Christ’s living Body subordinate to us! We are called to be genuine, real, Christ like Servants. In the new order of things, initiated by Jesus, we are cautioned not be part of a dog eat dog society, and we are not called to be ladder climbers……particularly in the Church. We are not called to be superior beings in charge of lesser beings. In the eyes of God, we are all on the ground floor……there are no top dogs, or top shelf treatment!

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Holy Thursday’s message is a clarion call to all of us, to not only imitate what Jesus did in the washing of the Disciples feet, but to see Christ in those who feet we wash! This is a radical invitation because its ramifications are to turn us, and the people of the world upside down……to see other people, not as objects, but as respectful jewels within the Crown of Christ. The deep message of the washing of the feet, demands that there are no ifs and buts when it comes to acceptance of others; they must be approved of just as they are, not what we would want them to be.

The Celebration of the Lord’s Supper reaches its climax within the overwhelming dispositions that we bring to it. If we have not been washing each other’s feet in our daily life…, we have missed the boat in experiencing the full import of the Lord’s Supper, and the ongoing Mission entrusted to us.

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The Celebration of the ‘real presence’ of Jesus is three fold. We hear God’s Word full of invitations, every time that we listen, it always invites our response, which has the power to change us. We do not come to the Celebration of the Eucharist like we would go to a Service Station to fill our Cars up with Petrol, to keep us on the road! We arrive at the Celebration of the Eucharist as living members of Christ’s Body, to be nourished by His Word, from the Eucharist and from the faith community. We are then sent out to proclaim what we live through our attitudes, actions and hospitality for all…..If we leave our Hospitality for a select group of people, we have then missed the mark, and are not truly convinced that what we are Christ’s living body, and it can be world changing if we do! If it can be world changing! It must change us first!

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May our Holy Thursday Liturgy re-ignite us in understanding of the full implications of who washes the feet and whose feet are to be washed? Our celebration this evening, is the entrée for the Celebration tomorrow of the greatest sign of God’s love for us, in the Passion and Death of Jesus.

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I would like to conclude by sharing a very wise and true saying from the great St. John Chrysostom, ‘If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find him in the chalice.’

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Kevin and Shauna

Poor old Fr Kev with his constant companion: Shauna

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A Pep talk for Palm Sunday year C 2019 by Fr Brian Gleeson CP, Melbourne, Australia. bgleesoncp@gmail.com

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We are beginning today the best week in the whole liturgical year. Centuries ago it was called the ‘Great Week’. Nowadays we call it ‘Holy Week’. We follow Jesus every step of the way. We have started with his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where he is welcomed, applauded and acclaimed, by a big crowd of followers. On Thursday we will join him at table and receive the gift of himself in bread and wine. After dining with him we will walk with him along the path that leads from the Upper Room to the Garden of Olives. There we will see him falling to the ground in fear and anxiety about the cruel death that awaits him. Friday will find us standing beside his mother at the foot of the cross, and feeling compassion for him in both his physical agony and his mental torment.

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We will be feeling especially some of his sense of being alone and abandoned, betrayed and deserted, not only by friends and followers, but even by God. On Saturday we will be quiet and silent around his tomb, as we remember the injustice, hostility and cruelty, of all those evil men who murdered him. Then, late on Saturday, we will move from the darkness of our journey to the place of the brightly burning fire. There we will join the procession of the great Easter Candle, representing the risen Christ, as he lights up the darkness of our church and lives.

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There and then, the pain and sadness of our journey with Jesus to Calvary, will give way to the hope and joy that comes with our awareness. Jesus Christ is not dead and gone. No, he is alive, strong and powerful, alive in himself, and alive in us. And so we will be hearing in our hearts those assuring words that the mystic Juliana of Norwich, in her vision of Christ crucified, heard from his own lips: ‘All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.’    Do we also believe that?

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7th Sunday In ordinary time Year C 2019. A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh Sydney Australia. kevin.w3@bigpond.com TO ERR IS HUMAN, TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE.

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Today’s Gospel summarises something that was very new to the religious leaders and people in Jesus’ day. They had a law which said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!’ The teaching that Jesus puts forward was very radical, and is still radical in today’s world, with our continued dog-eat-dog mentality. The process of salvation, which Jesus had come to establish, would be based on unconditional forgiveness! Therefore, if we are to be part of this process we must be in the front line in aspiring to be tolerant, forgiving and loving. That’s a mighty big challenge!

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There is an extraordinary power in forgiveness, gentleness, meekness, and love. ‘Blessed are the meek’ says Jesus, ‘they shall possess the earth.’ (Matthew 5:4) We have all seen movies, read books or heard first-hand accounts of the lives of people like, St. Thomas Moore, Mahatma Ghandi or Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa; the bully cannot deal with the power of the one who will not strike back, and therefore, such people are either killed, or sidelined, tortured or laughed at as the only way of stopping them. It reminds me of a little saying which I read on a Sugar packet at the local Coffee Club Café recently, ‘To err is human, to forgive is divine.’ Forgiveness, which is honest and true can bring forth divine gifts in others, as well as in ourselves…one might have to be patient, and wait some time, but if we hang in, and hand over to the Lord what is in us that makes it hard to forgive…. we are then moving into miracle territory. Forgiveness does not happen of its own accord! Forgiveness is to do with Divinity! The greatest sign of forgiveness and love is Jesus and His Cross! ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’ Luke 23:34.

Forgiveness is like salt, which in the olden days was used to keep food from going bad! If we refurbish our inner selves and be nourished by the God’s Word and Sacrament, all that is ‘Divine’ within us will be preserved and hence be ‘on tap’ to deal with in dealing with the ups and downs of daily life. The fruits of it will be a power, which can dissolve resentment, it can dilute harmful attitudes before they take hold of us, and change us. Otherwise its opposite can cause untold damage to others and to ourselves.

There is something else which is mixed up in this crockpot of forgiveness and a contrite heart and that is respect for each other. There is something very nasty at work in our world today…..it manifests itself in the way some Church Shepherds, Religious Superiors, Parish Priests, Moderators, Parish Council leaders, Chancery staff, Administrators of Retreat Houses, and Business Leaders and Personnel Heads and the list could go on like a Litany….the response being, FORGIVE US O LORD! There is this dreadful lack of human courtesy and respect for one another in the Church and in our Society. This ‘take a number’ mentality or your call is important to us, we will get back to you within two days, smacks of impersonal and corporation relating styles at its worst; and often it is rudeness and ignorance in the ways of relating to others. Why is the corporate mentality eating into the fabric of human goodness and niceties?? Why is it that the common respectful tones of thank you, you have done a great job, thank you for your time and energy seem to be becoming scarce in our relationships? It seems to me that with the advent of High Tech’ communications, we are losing the plot when it comes to human pleasantness……it seems to be out the window! Jesus the foot washer, suffering servant, the one who does not condemn is being lost within a corporation mentality which is growing in the Church in the 1st World!

The next aspect within the Church Governance and so called pastoral relationships is the failure to be really human with one another. There is far too many check lists to be ticked, Monkey Questionaries given out which cramps the opportunities for conversations within groups, and one to one in the Church today. We are not talking and listening to each other in ‘real time’. What has happened to the old ‘How are you going?’ ‘What’s on your mind?’ What have been some of the graced moments in Ministry for you lately?’ What are some of the challenges that we can help you with in your Pastoral, Family interpersonal life?’ So much of this does not even get a ‘look in’ these days. In the Gospel today it says, ‘Treat others as you would like them to treat you.’ As an old priest of 45 years of ministry, I see a definite decline in our one to one respect for each other.

There needs to be more ‘listening’ to each other, and less programmes given to us without knowing where we are at! What can assist in remoulding us, enabling us to be more humane towards each other……It seems to me that we ought bury ourselves in Psalm 50 and then rise to Micah 6:8. ‘All that is asked of your humankind, is to act justly, love tenderly and to walk humbly with God and each other’. Let’s get back to the Gospel……

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There is only one condition laid down by Jesus when it comes to forgiveness…’ Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.’ Then it boils down to practical terms…how can we forgive and love others better? Maybe we might need to love and forgive ourselves a bit more; then taking to heart the wise and ‘lived’ words of St. Paul, ‘ I can do all things through Him who gives me the strength,’ let the 3rd verse of today’s responsorial Psalm seep into our bones…’ The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.’ Ps 102.

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Kevin and Shauna

Fr Kevin with his companion, Shauna.

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6th Sunday of Year C 2019. A realhomilie by Fr Kevin Walsh, Sydney Australia. HAPPY IS THE ONE WHO PUTS THEIR TRUST IN GOD! kevin.w3@bigpond.com

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The Gospel chosen by the Church for this weekend is the very familiar Beatitudes, or we could call them the charter or recipe for Christian living, and for happiness. They outline a series of choices, and it gives us a program for living. Let’s put the Beatitudes or Attitudes under the microscope!

To be poor in spirit has little to do with living in poverty, or without the basic means for normal living. It means that the spirit, the inner me, the real me, is not super-glued to wealth, to greed, or to material things of any kind. I could have a very healthy bank account, and be poor in spirit. In other words, I don’t need these material things to give me a sense of value, and an assurance of worth. A person could be very rich, and have very little of this world’s wealth. Another person could be really poor, empty, and alone, despite possessing much wealth!

What about the hunger that Jesus speaks about? Surely it is to do with the hunger for freedom, for justice, for a-fair-go, for equal rights, that continue to drive so many extraordinary men and women in today’s world. There is a greater hunger than the lack of food. The deepest hungers in the human heart have to do with belonging, self-worth, dignity, and personal freedom.

Those who weep are those who love! Grief is the price we pay for love. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and he wept at the tomb of Lazarus. These are not tears of despair. They were tears of love, of loss, of longing. They were the tears of the one who holds out both hands, but the offer is sometimes not accepted, of the tears of loneliness and aloneness that fill the vacuum created by the loss of a loved one. So often we get glimpses, supposedly of real love on some of the lack lustre Movies; what a lot of bunkum! Deep in our minds we do know that some of the greatest lovers in this world are those who have suffered much! Gaze at Jesus; the human face of the Father! Be present to some of the most beautiful people in our world who are FREE from keeping up with the Jones’….in Australia and Britain that means not having to keep up with some of the better quality cars owned by people in your street.

25th Sunday Year B Keeping up appearances

In Australia so many people think that driving a big 4 Wheel Drive car in the city is a high status symbol! Or people who gloat over their Swimming Pools, but hate cleaning them! I am caught up in this sometimes……I go into JB Hi Fi shops and gloat over more expensive Laptops!!!! And my own Laptop does the job! But then I start thinking….wouldn’t it be good to have a faster speed internet etc and the list goes on…..WRONG WAY! GO BACK! Eh eh eh

Today’s Gospel is not about laying a guilt-trip on anyone. It is OK to have wealth, to have food, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to enjoy the affirmation given us by others. The important questions have to do with where the wealth came from, who is being excluded from the food, or who is being used in my pursuit for self-satisfaction? It seems that the big problem in today’s world is that half the population is dying of hunger, while the other half is on a diet, trying to get down the weight. There is more than enough food in today’s world for everyone….if only we could share it!

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Let us pray: O Lord, grant that we will always have a ravenous appetite for your love, a hunger for your Word, a desire to have the eyes to see you, and embrace you, and welcome you in those who are new or shy in our community…grant us a sensitivity to respond at the right time. Amen.

Kevin and Shauna

Fr Kevin Walsh with his companion, Shauna.

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