First Reading: Isaiah 8:23 - 9:3
Psalm: Ps 26:1. 4. 13-14. “The Lord is my light and my salvation”
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-13. 17
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After John the Baptist was arrested, the first words Jesus is quoted as saying as he began his ministry is…. “repent, for the Kingdom of God is close at hand”
Repent is not a great translation for the greek word used…. It has a deeper and more profound meaning….. …. … metanoia… change one’s mind… think differently… be repulsed by one’s wrong-doing…. Heartily amend… change for the better
Change ONE’S THINKING OR PURPOSE..
Change one's heart.. change one's mind… change one's attitude# !
Jesus at the very start of his ministry is saying… Open your minds, open your hearts and open your thinking…. Be prepared to accept God’s different ways… a closed mind, a closed heart will not be able to hear and accept the new ways of God’s Kingdom…. As disciples, we must be open… we must be ready to think differently and change our attitude and our focus….. to God’s ways…..
two words come through strongly in this weekend’s readings….
They are LIGHT…… and Unity……..
(In the first reading and the gospel)….there is the image of ……”light”……., shining in the darkness…. This light leads to burdens being lifted, and slavery being removed….. Our Lord is that light who shines in the world and brings the world renewed hope, joy, forgiveness and peace……….
AND in the second reading, Saint Paul implores the people of the community of Corinth….. To foster unity…. and concern for each-other….
…”that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose”
If ever we were tempted to think that the early years of the Church, (which existed not long after Jesus’ death and resurrection) was perhaps somehow more filled with the Spirit.,… more united…… more idyllic than ours today….. The second reading quickly brings us back to earth…
The Corinthian community was divided…. it was bickering and fragmenting…. ambition and misunderstanding was brewing… and the second reading tells us that people were taking sides along the lines of various personalities in the community. Instead of the message of Jesus’ Gospel… but Saint Paul, implored the community members to remember their unity in Jesus…In order that we put our service in the hands of Jesus' good news, St Paul reminds us that fostering a sense of unity – that is, seeing ourselves as all on about the one mission, one single project with different facets, helping to work for the coming of Christ’s Kingdom… and not the kingdom of ‘self”- this mindset is essential.
The calling of the disciples is both a wonderful example to us of the response of a disciple as well as having a deeper spiritual meaning…. Many of Christ's disciples were fishermen….. they were skilled at their work… which involved being keen observers of the weather conditions and seasons, and so on; They were good at putting their boats and nets in the ideal place for a catch… It meant hard work and wisdom from experience; Sometimes their job meant lots of action.. other times it meant lots of waiting…. and a heap of Patience…. If we were to walk past someone who had their fishing-line in the water, standing or sitting patiently.. we would be foolish to say… "look there is someone doing nothing"… because we know they ARE indeed doing something.. They have cartefully put themselves in the right place… they have set their bait and cast their line and now they are waiting,.. watching… ready to respond when the fish take the bait…..
This image is used by Jesus when he calls his disciples… they will need to use their observance skills and wortk ethic and patience in order to watch the signs of the times around them… spiritually and emotionally… they will need to work hard and respond when needed… but at other times… they will need to wait… patiently… purposefully .. ready to help when the time is right….. again the gospel and discipleship can be nicely summed up in that serenity prayer… that applies equally well to all who are called to join Jesus in being ‘fishers of people’… Lord grant me the grace to change the things I can, and the strength to endure the things I can’t change… and Lord, give me the wisdom to know the difference….
Jesus called his disciples and they dropped everything and left everything behind and followed him. They did this literally and also spiritually… because they also left their previous lives behind and their earthly attachments; and also they – in a sense – forgot themselves and their own plans and ambitions and followed a new path of being on about Christ’s vision.
Saint Paul in the second reading continues this theme of self-forgetting and Christ-focusing! This theme runs through many of Saitn Paul's writings and it is a wonderful guide to all Christian communities everywhere..... . If there is to be any rivalry in the Christian community… it is only to striving with all our hearts together to try to excel in fostering the kindness, mercy, restraint and compassion of Christ and by striving with all our effort at working together with our vision looking outward and forward, towards the goals which Our Lord himself has set…..... St Paul, when he says this, knew that this was not always easy... In fact, it requires sacrifice, humility and real dedication... (division can occur for different reasons.. people may genuinely disagree on how to achieve a goal or a value… but as St paul says in another letter, the answer to such dilemmas goes down to the fundamental debt we have to one another….….(this time to the Roman community of believers)… The only important kind of debt that we should owe others in a Christian community is the interest-free repayment of generous and mutual love for one another... to be the most charitable and gentle people we can be.... …… And everything we do, everything we say, must be for the furtherance of Christ’s gospel and at the service of the establishment of God’s Kingdom and never merely our own needs and ambitions. The presence of factions and cliques and wrangling between personalities and divisions was rightly called out by Saint paul as being contrary to the Gospel... We are all “for Christ” - no other personality should be our rallying cry or source of conflict....
Jesus is the light.... In Baptism, we are called to carry the ‘light of Christ to others.
Jesus brought his LIGHT to others by forgiving, healing, including, sharing, inviting and giving.....We think about the many ways we are invited to bring Christ's light to others.... And especially in all we do and say ….to make the light of Christ shine brighter in us, through us, and be seen at work in the community.......
In this week that includes the Australia-day holiday, we give thanks for all the wonderful gifts we have received in this country.... We remember that we live in a commonwealth… and that this commonwealth is for the common good…. the gifts we have are given to share for the benefit of each other…..
May we continue to be people of peace, respect, harmony and care for others in our society…. and may we always spare a thought for the people 'doing it tough' - whether they be next door or in the next nation………
It is good for us to pause and give heartfelt and full praise for God’s many gifts to us in this blessed Southern land of the Holy Spirit…..
Fr Paul W. Kelly
Archive of homilies and reflections is at:http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au
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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you were lifted up to draw all people to yourself: Lord, have mercy//You shouldered the cross, to bear our suffering and sinfulness: Christ, have mercy// You open for your people the way from death into life: Lord, have mercy//
1. We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection, until you come again.
2. When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.
3. Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.
Preparation of the Gifts
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
Blessed be God for ever.
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.
Blessed be God for ever.
Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God,
the almighty Father.
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.
Sundays Ordinary II p.29
Eucharistic Prayer II p.56
Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.
Commissioning of Deanery Youth Leaders
Steph: Fr Paul, tonight I present to this community the Youth leaders of this Deanery for 2017.
Please come forward:
(Leaders receive hand shake and prayer card from Priest, then stand in line at the front of the Church facing congregation)
This weekend these leaders undertook a leadership retreat where we revisited our foundations, that is, to build ourselves on the foundation of Jesus Christ. We reflected on why we are Catholic; we also re-cast the vision and mission of Venire, and how we can fulfil this in each of our Parishes. These young adults stand here tonight prepared to pledge the next 12 months to leading the teenagers of our Deanery closer to Christ.
Priest: Will you commit to serving the South Coast Deanery through servant leadership and leading by example in the way you live your lives?
Leaders: I Will
Priest: Will you abide by the teachings of the Catholic Church, participate in the sacraments regularly and strive for an active relationship with God through prayer and scripture?
Leaders: I will
Priest: Do you commit to nurturing Christian relationships with all our youth, and make a priority to develop relationships with new teens while fostering old ones?
Leaders: I will
Priest: Therefore please now make your pledge in front of our friends, family and community.
Leaders: We as a Leadership team are honoured to serve in this youth ministry. Venire is a Christ-centred, relational teen ministry which strives to journey with young people as they find their identity in Christ, and empowers young people to know, love and serve the Lord. We will serve young people by building Christian friendships with them and leading them, by example, into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
Priest: As you journey into 2017 we pray that God will be with you and guide you in this ministry (blessing) May you glorify the Lord by all that you do in your life. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen
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