Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Catholic Reflections 551 : Homily The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - Corpus Christi. Year C. 29th May, 2016

Corpus Christi. The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Year C.
29th May, 2016




Genesis 14:18-20


Responsorial Psalm.109:1-4. “You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.”


1 Corinthians 11:23-26


Gospel. Luke 9:11-17
...
This is such a beautiful feast day, the Body and Blood of Christ…. Or “Corpus Christi””, as it is also known…..

The Eucharist is so central to our church and to our faith…..

A priest I knew once described regular Eucharist as like the piers on a bridge….  The Length of the bridge represents the journey of our daily and weekly lives….   The upward support pylons of the bridge are what support the length of the bridge….   to keep the whole thing standing.


Similar to the image of a bridge, we need regular Eucharist as our weekly, (for many people a daily), support, along the whole length of our life-journey;  lest the whole thing "caves in"….

It is so fitting to be celebrating this feast the weekend after many young people celebrated their first communion in this parish and (around this time) many parishes around the country and the world…..   These confirmation and communion children have now been fully initiated into the life of the church…  and the action that completes their full initiation is that they receive Holy Communion…  And, by receiving Holy Communion they are truly are ONE with Jesus, united with God, and united with all of us,  .. We are truly “in communion” of heart, mind and soul with God and one-another…..

I love to tell First communion candidates that “ First communion is a truly very special moment. There is only one thing better than first holy communion, and that is "second holy communion," and there is only one thing better than second holy communion and that is "third"….. and so on…….   This sacrament makes the best sense when it is the beginning of a pattern for one’s weekly life….    (And most certainly may it NOT be the first and last time one ever comes to communion…and may it not be the first and rarest time that one occasionally comes to communion). Eucharist is participating in the fullness of our membership as a disciple of Jesus.

God comes to us in a ‘touchable’ (tangible) form and that is a gift of priceless value that we need to cherish by participating in regularly….

I remember when I was only about five or six….  In church at Canberra…  (and by the way, my earliest memories of church was not in a church…   in Canberra in the seventies, they had virtually no churches…  and there were many growing and new areas…  so we had masses at the local school assembly hall.. which was transformed into a church for the Sunday masses …   God was present in the midst of the the church, literally the 'ecclesia' - "the People of God" gathered…   The only permanent piece of furniture at that time was a tabernacle built into a wall, and kept safely locked to store the blessed sacrament.


I remember as a six year old being in awe and wonder about the Mass.  Even then I KNEW that Jesus came to us in a real way during the Mass..  and made his home in our hearts….   , though I got a little confused about how this happened as I was too young to receive communion at this time…  ….  I somewhat confusedly thought that Jesus was released into our hearts when they went to opened the tabernacle at communion time…  As a child I thought that that Jesus was in there locked away and at communion time they would go and unlock the tabernacle and Jesus would fly out and fill our hearts…  Well.. I didn’t connect that the host given and the chalice given to people was Jesus truly coming into our hearts..  in a real way..  as real nourishment…  Isn’t it wonderful how the child’s mind works…    It is wonderful that God knows that we are physical beings who need tangible ways of connecting to God who is bigger than we can see or touch…. So, Our Lord gives us the gift and mystery of his Body and Blood.  Real food and real drink for our spiritual journey and our connection to Christ.

The other thing I remember as a little child was the words of the priest…  “the lord be with you…  and we would say,  (at that time and also with you”  now of course we say..  “and with your Spirit”…. Then the priest would say, as we still do….  “Lift up your hearts…” 
…….and I, as a six-year old would strain to lift up my chest as high as I could…  I wanted to really “lift up my heart” to the lord …SOOO  high……!!!  

Even as adults…  we want to lift up our hearts and lives to the Lord…  we have so much to be grateful for…  including our families, and friends and fellow parish members,..…  who, by their lives and their example, have done what saint Paul has so beautifully written in this weekend’s Second reading…   “We hand on what we in turn have had handed on to us … the message of Jesus”.. The gift of Holy Communion….  And the proclaimation of our membership as God’s sons and daughters…..   

May the blessings of the sacrament fill our hearts and lives… so that WHAT we profess with our lips will be proclaimed by the loving ways we live our daily lives…..   “We become what we eat”…  As we take in the Body and Blood of Christ, we become more and more the Body of Christ ….  A real sacrament and sign of God’s constant care and presence amongst us….always…
++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

here are some thoughts from my uncle vincent hodge, who has been studying the scriptures and adds these very interesting insights:

"The reference to “Lift up your hearts”. In the past 12 months I have been focusing on that part of the Mass after I read something in a book about the “Sursum Corda”. I think that in Latin the wording may have more to do with “transcending where we are at...” that is, God is taking us beyond our present to a new place.....so your experience of pushing the chest forward captures something of the depth of what the experience should be...how many times have we all glossed over those words and thought they were just more words...they are in fact sheer poetry in the fullest sense..

.....interestingly in Greek New testament the word that underpins our English word “poet” and “poetry” is “poieo” which is a “doer; performer; author; maker”. We can often think of poets as soft and fluffy dreamers, but in James 1:22 etc and Romans 2:13  the “poietes” is the one who does the Law."
(note by Vincent Hodge).

+++
Archive of homilies and reflections is at:
http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au


To contact Fr. Paul, please email: 
paulwkelly68@gmail.com

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The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - Corpus Christi. Year C.

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 raise us to new life: Lord, have mercy// //Lord Jesus, you forgive us our sins:Christ, have mercy//Lord Jesus, you feed us with your body and blood:Lord, have mercy//
++++++++++++++
Memorial Acclamation

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.

Eucharist I p.35

Eucharistic Prayer II p.56

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Go forth, the Mass is ended.




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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Catholic Reflections 550 : Holy Trinity Sunday. Year C. 22nd May, 2016

Homily The Most Holy Trinity Sunday. Year C. 22nd May, 2016

Proverbs 8:22-31

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 8:4-9
“O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!”

Romans 5:1-5

Gospel John 16:12-15
…….


I think this quote from the great English writer C.S. Lewis says so much about the Trinity:

“Three persons, one God of love -
People seem not to notice that the words 'God is love' have no real meaning unless God contains at least two persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, God was not love…Christians believe that the living, dynamic activity of love has been going on in God forever and has created everything else… in Christianity God is not a static thing – but  (rather a personal) dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama… Almost, a kind of dance.” [C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)]


I love the Trinity, it is an indispensible part of the Christian faith. It is certainly not (as some people are occasionally heard to say) merely an academic construct, but rather, the Holy Trinity is an absolute necessity to get a small grasp and glimpse into the breadth, depth and diversity of God's inner nature; which is implicitly community, and innately relational and loving.

My favourite image of the Trinity, is the very famous icon by Andre Rublev, from the 15th Century. You have most likely seen it….  It is a picture of three Angelic figures sitting at a table sharing a meal under the Oak of Mamre. It literally depicts the visit of the three angelic persons representing God, who visited Abraham and stayed to share a meal provided by Abraham and Sarah’ reverent hospitality.

Firstly, all persons of the Trinity in this picture are portrayed as humans, not just two people and a dove. Although the dove is an ancient symbol for the Holy Spirit and quite valid, it can sometimes not capture the fact that we believe in three persons equal in sharing the one divine nature.

I also love this icon of the Trinity because it captures the perfect inter-relation that exists within God who is three persons. It is as if each is deferring to one another and giving each other precedence and respect; and in return they give it right back. It is perfect harmony, perfect giving and perfect receiving, as if one is pointing to the food at the table and saying to the other, please, be my guest, you first, and the other is saying, thank you, i appreciate it, now, please take some yourself, thank you, you are kind.... and on it goes..... But in a more serious aspect, the community and nature of God is perfect hospitality, perfect relationship and absolute respect and reverence. It is this wonderful life that Jesus invites us into……..  We are invited to share in this perfect harmony of the Trinity, and if we accept…. it will transform us and the world around us. We are invited into the very inner life of God. 

As the first reading tells us, we are, moved by the Spirit we have been given, to be sons and daughters of God, and heirs of God…   but as a way of keeping us humble..  we are heirs to Christ’s sufferings, - for God suffers in this self-sacrificing, and generous love.. that gives without counting the cost.  And in the gospel, one of my all-time favourite Gospel passages ever…   Jesus promises us that he will be with us always, even till the end of time…..    But again..  we are reminded, that by becoming God’s people, by becoming sons and daughters of God, and heirs to the Kingdom… comes with it this task..   to live with an outreaching love towards others and to the world, as God, the trinity lives…   we are told we must go out …  out into all the world….  

The cost of entry into this eternal relationship with God is to always remain outward looking, turned out towards others..  willing to suffer for participating in the outreaching, generous and unselfish love of God…..   At the table of the Holy Trinity, there is no room here for any self-interest, stinginess and or inward-looking mentalities. God is always on the lookout for more people to be part of the family…  always reaching out….   Open and generous….. 

The more we as individuals, and we as Christian communities reflect the inner life of the Trinity, the more we are participating in that Trinitarian life.


It is no wonder that Our Lord, Jesus, is made really present to us, in the Eucharist, encountered in the form of a sacred meal and it is very poignant that Jesus was put to death because of, among other reasons, the people he ate with. God is love, and God is relational. It is great to share a meal and encounter a glimpse of what God (a Trinity of Persons), shares all the time.


+++++
References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

+++
Archive of homilies and reflections is at:
http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au


To contact Fr. Paul, please email: 
paulwkelly68@gmail.com

You are welcome to subscribe to Fr Paul’s homily mailout by sending an email at this address:    
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The Most Holy Trinity Sunday. Year C.

The Lord be with you.
+++++++++++++
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you call your people to turn away from sin: Lord, have mercy//You teach us wisdom, and write your truth in our inmost heart: Christ, have mercy//You forgive sins through the ministry of reconciliation: Lord, have mercy//
++++++++++++++
Memorial Acclamation

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.

Trinity p.33
Various Needs and Occasions 1 . p.66

++++
Go in peace.



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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Catholic Reflections 549 : Homily Pentecost Sunday. Year C 15th May, 2016



Homily Pentecost Sunday. Year C 15th May, 2016

Acts 2:1-11
Ps 104:1+24, 29-30, 31+34. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13
John 20: 19-23
….

This weekend, all over the Archdiocese and across the world, many parishes are celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation, where many young people are being sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, anointed with the holy oil of Chrism by the bishop or his delegate. They are having their Baptism confirmed in the Spirit and their place in the family of the Church confirmed and strengthened.

The newly released and translated Missal for the Rite of Confirmation puts the prayer by the bishop as follows:
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who brought these your servants to new birth
by water and the Holy Spirit,
freeing them from sin:
send upon them, O Lord, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete;
give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and fortitude,
the spirit of knowledge and piety;
fill them with the spirit of the fear of the Lord.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Slightly different words used than we are used to from the last translation some decades ago, but the gifts remain ever the same.  Basically, God’s Holy Spirit gives us his disciples the power and grace and gifts that we need to achieve what God needs to achieve in and through us in the world.  In order for us to effectively witness to and live the message and values of Christ’s gospel in this world we will need wisdom, understanding, wise-counsel (right judgement), courage (fortitude), knowledge, reverence (piety), and wonder and awe of God (fear of the Lord), or whatever words we use that mean effectively the same qualities and gifts.

From the wonderful readings today, we also see that Jesus offers us by his resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit, the gift of true peace.  Our Lord also gives us the Holy Spirit by breathing upon us his very life and energy.

The second reading shows the powerful effect of the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Before, they were scared and hiding away in fear.  After the spirit they are fearless and bold and use their energy to sing of God’s wonders. It is deeply moving, too, to witness the proclamation of God’s works in every nation, culture and language, as shown by the speaking of the apostles of the same message in different tongues.  

No wonder this is called the feast of the Birth of the Church, because without God’s Spirit empowering and dwelling amongst and in his disciples, we could not possibly hope to be effective instruments of God’s grace, nor signs of God’s kingdom and effective proclaimers of God’s good news.

At the heart of our Christian life, fear is taken away, peace and forgiveness are given.  May we dispel the fears of others and proclaim the peace and forgiveness given to us in Jesus.

One of my favourite quotes about the Holy Spirit captures the truth about the power and action of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is by the brilliant Jesuit writer, Karl Rahner. He writes: 


“ Did we ever do a kindness to a person from whom we could not expect as much of a shadow of gratitude or appreciation, while at the same time we had not even the compensation of feeling that we had acted unselfishly or decently in doing so?  Let us look into our lives, then, and see if we can discover whether any such experience ever came our way. If we find that it did, we may be sure that the spirit was at work within us then, and eternity and ourselves had a brief encounter, that the spirit means more than an ingredient in the make-up of a transient world. That explains the remarkable lives of the saints… They know well that God’s grace can also bless the dull round of daily tasks well done, and bring the doers a step nearer to God…. When we Christians… experience the action of the spirit, it means that we are, in point of fact, having contact with the supernatural, although that contact may be scarcely perceptible.” (Karl Rahner SJ, 1904-1984, In Belief Today, 40-41).

I love that quote…. Because to me it says very powerfully, and in an example that is very ‘everyday’ and unexceptional, that we KNOW the Spirit is at work in our lives especially when the love and sacrifice we show is clearly coming from a loving hand bigger than our own lives and our own limited motives and actions. How very true!

When we do actions that are loving and unselfish, we are deeply aware that there is a power and a loving presence at work in us that is outside of merely our limited selves.  Acting in the Spirit, we are transcending our limitations in ways that are not explainable only by our own actions, self-interests or abilities, but is something bigger, ……. And “of which we are just a cooperating part….”

It is God, …. It is God’s Spirit at work in and through us.  At work in the world.  
A power of unselfish, sacrificing love and service. Unconditional love. That is at the heart of creation.

Finally…  just an interesting insight. We often read the text about how (after the Spirit descended) people of different languages and cultures could all hear and understand each-other. However, what is interesting is that the people were not speaking the same language. The apostles were still speaking in the language of those different cultures. But even so, they could still understand and were speaking of the same things even though in different languages. This is a reminder that the Spirit brings not uniformity, but diversity and variety but at the same time the Spirit brings UNITY. We are all one in that diversity (unity in diversity), because the common language we speak is the language of God… and that is LOVE…..

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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

MISSION 2000  – PRAYING SCRIPTURE IN A CONTEMPORARY WAY. YEAR B. BY MARK LINK S.J.

SHARING THE WORD THROUGH THE LITURGICAL YEAR. GUSTAVO GUTIERREZ.

MONASTERY OF CHRIST IN THE DESERT. ABBOT’S HOMILY.
+++
Archive of homilies and reflections is at:
http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au


To contact Fr. Paul, please email: 
paulwkelly68@gmail.com

You are welcome to subscribe to Fr Paul’s homily mailout by sending an email at this address:    
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Pentecost Sunday. Year C

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
+++++++++++++
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you came to reconcile us to the Father and to one another: Lord, have mercy//You heal the wounds of our sin and division: Christ, have mercy// You intercede for us with the Father: Lord, have mercy//
++++++++++++++
Memorial Acclamation

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.

Pentecost p.28

Eucharistic Prayer III p.58

++++
Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.






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Saturday, May 07, 2016

Catholic Reflections 548 : ASCENSION OF THE LORD. Year C

Sunday 8 May 2016. 
ASCENSION OF THE LORD. Year C
(in Australia, Ascension is on Sunday in many Dioceses and it is also Mothers Day)

The Ascension of the Lord - 

First reading. Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 46:2-3,6-9

God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

Second reading. Ephesians 1:17-23

Gospel. Luke 24:46-53
....
“Clothed with Power from on High”

Again, we wish all Mums a very happy Mother’s Day today.   It is no coincidence that Jesus chose to frequently use images to describe the nature of God, as that of an unconditionally loving parent…..    can there be a better example of the unconditional, loving, self-sacrificing love that a mum or a dad has for their cherished child……..   

Today's readings on this Feast of the ASCENSION OF CHRIST  has a recurring phrase that is used in different readings….    “you will be clothed with power from the Holy Spirit”   or…  ‘you will receive power from the Holy Spirit.     The Holy Spirit gives us power….     The power to show love that God has for humanity and the world…..     power to be an instrument of God’s love, care, justice and mercy…..      power to be a sign of God’s goodness and kindness and concern in the world…… 
   
It is obvious that mothers have the Holy Spirit of God’s power. Power to witness to God’s unconditional love….. power to put their beloved children first…..   power to teach their children the values of the gospel…… power, to give them the love and example that will fit them for a life in this world with all its blessings and also its terrible dangers……. 

This is a different kind of power from how the world understands the word “power”……    This is God’s power…. This is true power. Not to control or dominate..  but to love, to free, to heal…  to nurture….

“Today’s feast of the Ascension is really the fulfilment of God’s ultimate promise to us, and the hope of our final destiny which is to be WITH God in Heaven, forever.

Jesus, (ascending to Heaven to be with the Father, from whom he came) promises that he will come and make us part of his Father’s Heavenly house for all eternity,  when our earthly life is completed.  The Virgin Mary’s Assumption (body and soul into heaven) is the echo and foretaste of what Christ has achieved in his Ascension. 

Today’s feast is really the assurance that, as followers of Jesus, we are all in the same boat.

Speaking of boats; There is a story of a shipwreck at sea, and the survivors got into the only remaining life-raft. They were in the life-raft for SO LONG that the ones in the front started calling themselves ‘the front row’ and the ones in the back called themselves ‘the back row.’ And they started organising their day around this reality.

One day, the boat got a hole in it, and started taking on water. A person in the back-row said, ‘thank goodness the hole sprung up in the front, and not here in the back, or otherwise we would have been in trouble back here too!!.. 

“ Crazy!!!!  Of course, this joke highlights that people can sometimes forget that we are all IN THE SAME BOAT. Our needs and future are interlinked with that of others…..

The good news today is that WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT. And it is Jesus’ boat!! Jesus is the captain, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and he is taking us on a journey that will end with the Father in Heaven and the fullness of God’s Kingdom being established. 

Jesus promises to lead us through the blessings and challenges of life, to the Father’s Kingdom.

Jesus is returning to the Father, but he is still with us through the Holy Spirit. He now calls upon his disciples, (upon us), to keep his work going; to keep spreading his message of good news and keep living and proclaiming the good news.

We are indeed all on the journey to the kingdom in its fullness.. And each of us is in the same boat. We are all brothers and sisters in God’s family.. 

We often pray, for example the Lord’s Prayer that “Thy Kingdom come”.. Naturally, we are not praying that the world will come to an end, but we are praying for the fullness of a new world where Jesus’ values are fully and completely revealed, lived and experienced. 

We want the time when ALL of creation will be renewed and recreated in accordance with Jesus’ vision for the world. Everything we do and say is directed to cooperating in God’s work of the Kingdom becoming established in its fullness. 

If Jesus had not returned to the Father, we would still be saying "there he is over there!" or "here he is only over here !!".... But now, by returning to Heaven and sending the Holy Spirit to us, Jesus is NOW “all IN all” and Jesus makes his home in our hearts and in our world through the Holy Spirit. All the while, we work to make our homes, our workplaces and our city into places of Christian values and action, with the necessary action and grace of the Holy Spirit. 

Through our faithful following of Jesus, the Spirit helps us to make Jesus present in the midst of a world which can be too-often filled with selfishness, undue privilege, and arrogance .. and excessive, unilateral political or religious power and tragically also a terrible indifference towards the poor, the hungry and the suffering. 

Jesus ascension tells us to "stop standing there looking up into the clouds for Jesus..." There is work to be done. There is no time like the present. Jesus was in a hurry to bring his gospel and his ministry to all people. He now entrusts his ministry to us and through us through the abiding presence of his Spirit. There is no time to lose. God wants us to be about his business right now, with the help of the Holy Spirit.


REFERENCES:

FR. PAUL W. KELLY, 

MISSION 2000 – PRAYING SCRIPTURE IN A  CONTEMPORARY WAY. YEAR c. BY MARK LINK S.J., 

· 2010 – A BOOK OF GRACE-FILLED DAYS. BY ALICE CAMILLE. 

SHARING THE WORD THROUGH THE LITURGICAL YEAR. GUTIERREZ

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Catholic Reflections 547 : Homily 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C 1st May, 2016

Homily 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C 1st May, 2016

Acts 15:1-2, 22-29   
Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6+8. O God, let all the nations praise you.  
Rev 21:10-14, 22-23 
John 14:23-29


The readings this weekend all speak of the Holy Spirit. The theme of the readings is all about the Spirit, as our Easter Season fast approaches Pentecost.

We cannot underestimate the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of the church. Without the Holy Spirit, the church would be ineffective and we, the disciples of Jesus, need the action and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to be effective in what we seek to achieve.

There is a line in the first reading that I really love; the words: “It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by us”…… or as another translation puts it: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us that……” 
This shows that the early church and its disciples, when faced with new questions for new situations and new times, gathered together in prayer and actively discerned what the Holy Spirit wanted… and then they made a decision which was an authentic action of the Holy Spirit and with active cooperation from the disciples. We can see how the Holy Spirit becomes part of our lives, hearts and minds AND the major decisions of the church.  Christian life for us  disciples becomes a beautiful, cooperative and unified action both of our own will and intellect and also of God’s Holy Spirit. It is interesting, that this phrase has been put to practical effect in the history of the church even now. I believe that some religious orders, when their Superior (their leader) is deciding to send a religious person to a new appointment or mission, they would write in the official letter of appointment this beautiful formal phrase….. “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us that you be appointed to such and such……..” Thus there is a recognition of not only the decision-making process and wisdom of the leader but also the absolutely necessary prayerful discernment,  grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit in everything we do. 

We are invited by Christ to be “so connected to Christ” that our decisions, our actions and our priorities will be guided by and connected to Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, without any loss of freewill. I love that !

I absolutely love the Gospel today… It is mysterious, but also very profound. It is so beautiful and so important to our understanding. Jesus says that he and the Father, (through the Holy Spirit), will come and “make their home in our hearts, and make their home in us”….and that we will be connected to Christ,….. united to Christ in the very life of the Holy Trinity….…. We will be “in communion” with Christ in a very real way, through our obedience and love.

I love all the passages where Jesus, quite clearly, deliberately and explicitly speaks of the union he shares with the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, and how they “abide in each-other,” (they live in and within eachother)…  (they make a home in eachother’s being). .. This union/ this communion, is inviting us to share and abide in God’s life….  This is his unique gift to us who become his disciples. There can be nothing more wonderful.

Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to us, so that we will always be connected to Jesus (abide in Him and him in us, and Him in the Father and the Father in the Spirit)…..   we will abide in his teachings … live in his love….  and this Spirit living within us,,, will constantly remind us of his teachings and his truths……. God will truly live with his people.. and abide in and within us. God will walk with us, his people, always. And God will be the light to show us the way through our journeys through life, so we have nothing to fear even when life is far from easy or simple.

Finally, and most importantly, Jesus promises us the gift of peace. This is a gift we all long for, and for which the world longs to receive. Jesus promises us the gift of his peace… a peace the world cannot give and cannot achieve of itself…. God’s peace is all we need through all the tragedies and the joys of life…  as well as the failures and successes of life….

Jesus has, with the gift of the Holy Spirit, gifted us with God’s divine peace and a unity and connection to God that can hardly be imagined//…. and also the very real authority to cooperate in and participate in real decisions for Christian living…..  So, in union with Christ, we participate in and discern with the Spirit for the issues and questions that come up anew in our lives…. // This authority to discern the Spirit’s guidance in new questions is done by God in a way that engages us and all our talents and gifts, and uses all our faculties, - our knowledge and intellect, our understanding of the Scriptures as interpreted by the Church, which itself has been constantly inspired by the Holy Spirit down through the many ages…. This freedom to decide is also a deep and challenging responsibility, that does not give us license, but rather discretion and which frees us to be open to God’s ways and values, always with the prayerful guidance and prudence of God’s grace.

We can trust that God is there to guide us and direct us and inspire us as we contemplate the issue and questions of our present age. (we see this profound discernment and cooperation and love in Pope Francis’s exercise of his Papal ministry, which is inspiring to Christian and non-christian people alike, throughout the world.,,,

We must trust in the power and authority and discernment that God has given us, as a body of Christ, so that we may continue to apply the gospel in each and every new situation and circumstance of daily life….. for God is with us… God abides with and in us. God guides, leads and inspires us. God’s Holy Spirit shows us the way and gives us the direction.

+++++
References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

+++
Archive of homilies and reflections is at:
http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au

To contact Fr. Paul, please email:
paulwkelly68@gmail.com

You are welcome to subscribe to Fr Paul’s homily mailout by sending an email at this address:
paulkellyreflections+subscribe@googlegroups.com


6th Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Lord be with you.
+++++++++++++
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you came to gather the nations into the peace of God's kingdom: Lord, have mercy// You come in word and in sacrament to strengthen us and make us holy: Christ, have mercy//You will come again in glory with salvation for your people: Lord, have mercy.
++++++++++++++
Memorial Acclamation

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.

Easter V p.26

Euch Prayer II p.56

++++
Go in the peace of Christ, alleluia, alleluia.




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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Catholic Reflections 546 : Homily 5th Sunday of Easter, Year C 24th April, 2016

Homily 5th Sunday of Easter, Year C 24th April, 2016



I am sure I speak for everyone here at Mass this weekend, when I say, inspired by today's Gospel:  "I want to love the way Christ loves !" 


That is what we all want. That is what the great saints proclaimed unashamedly...  (and I think of Saint Therese of Lisieux who famously proclaimed:  "my vocation is to be love, in the heart of the Church." Beautiful.   

We want to love with the love that Christ (God) loves.  Because we are limited human beings and we are speaking about Divine Love, which is infinite and unfathomable, we will very likely not attain the fullness of this Love until the fullness of the Heavenly Kingdom. But here and now we already live the beginnings of God's love forming and growing within us. 

Love is a universal concept held by sacred and secular cultures throughout the world and through history. Christian love is a particular and extraordinary concept which challenges us to deepen our understanding and practise in accordance with Christ's vision.  And we desire to deepen our understanding and our living of this profound way of loving that Christ has opened to doors to.  

In the first reading today, there is a delightful line: ”they put fresh heart into the disciples…” and encouraged the people to persevere in the trials and difficulties that they faced in their following of Christ.   It is a reminder, that the purpose of Christ's Church, and all its members, is to encourage, support and strengthen each-other; and to be instruments of God’s grace, strength, encouragement, power and mercy to all people.  

God, (as the second reading reminds us), is making “All things new”   -  God is constantly at work in his disciples making us a new creation, in God's image.  We are being re-shaped and re-fashioned in the image of Christ and his Gospel. This is a subtle, and daily process that continues throughout life. And when we look back, we see the graces, blessings and re-creating that God has wrought in our lives and the lives of our family and friends around us.



One of the ways that God 'renews us'  is by giving us new starts and new beginnings.  This is an essential aspect of our discipleship. Let us make no bones about this, following Christ and his Gospel vision is very challenging and difficult.   Jesus is offering the world a new commandment of Love that challenges us to go so much deeper than some concepts of love held by the world. In other ways, Christ is extending the natural selflessness and unconditionality that one finds in families: parents for their children,  the unbreakable bonds of bloodlines.... and making this the image of God's love for his people...  a loving parent for his beloved children..  and his challenge for how we live in this world...   as brothers and sisters in Christ, one family withing the human family..  united by blood.. the blood of Christ. 

The readings are very encouraging, this weekend. For we are reminded, that “God lives with his people…...  God is known as “God-with-them”... and our God lives in our midst; walking along with us; constantly at work taking the pain and tears from our midst. God is at work fashioning "healing and peace" in the hearts of his beloved people.

Then we move to the gospel…  an intriguing piece of text. It starts by saying…   “After Judas had gone…”   That is a rather interesting beginning sentence: Jesus makes his speech as soon as Judas, (his betrayer), has left the table to go and sell-him-out!!  ...literally..... “Judas has left the building”  - not just physically, but spiritually. He has withdrawn his support from Christ and his message, (his gospel).
Judas has left the table of the Lord. And, as he leaves, Judas takes with him Judas’ selfishness, his greed, his desire for money, his misguided desire for power, his focus on his own needs.  Now, those who remain at the table are all there voluntarily, and with their hearts and minds set on following Jesus and his Kingdom. Now, the ones who remain with Jesus, although they still suffer from weakness; and sometimes doubt, and sometimes stumbling; but nevertheless those who surround him are now a group who are totally dedicated to service, love, and sacrifice: According to Jesus’ vision!!!


Now is the time! Jesus now begins his final instruction to them before he suffers and dies. when a person realises that their time is very short, and that their hour is upon them, and that they will shortly die, their deeply held values and desires inevitably come to the fore.  And what Christ said and did just before he died shows us very profoundly the things that God thinks are REALLY important and central and what is not.  What Jesus did NOT say at this intense moment is as important as what he DID say. For example, Jesus knew that his time had come to suffer and die, so he says, "listen my dear children, i am not going to be with you longer...  i must tell you this because it is very important. remember this, above all else...   And what does he say??  well, he does Not say...  'above all else even if you are not practising the message of the gospel at least appear to be.'  He definitely did not say that! Neither did he say, "listen, my time is short, so remember this if you remember nothing else:  appearing righteous and keeping the letter of the law is more important than everything else - disassociate yourselves with all who fall short or stumble."  he certainly did not say that either!!   What he did say, and thanks be to God, is:  How you love is what matters above all. 

He continues to teach us, even to this day, what he means by love, but what a wonderful message.  Saint Paul picks up on this powerfully and Saint Therese also writes deeply on this truth.  If I do even a good thing for a bad motive and without love, it will do me no good whatsoever and will not please God.  Love and compassion is so central.  Doing good and keeping God's law is not unimportant of course, but if we do not do these and other things with the love of God in our heart flowing out into actions motivated by God's love, we have utterly missed the point.  So, just before he suffers and dies, he deeply desires to make it clear: “People will Know you are my disciples, first and foremost, above any other quality, by the way you love one another! ….  This is truly beautiful. The quality of one’s love, compassion, mercy and practical care will be the touch-stone of the "Disciple-follower-and-friend" of Jesus Christ…..    If this is not witnessed, the lack of love and compassion; mercy, gentleness and justice, will (without a doubt)  be the single-most damaging sign to others of our witness as disiples of Christ. This is what people look for in a Christian. When they see it, they are inspired and moved. And when they do not see and experience it, they are scandalized, discouraged and lose hope and trust, perhaps even faith.

Love…  true Christian love….   A love that puts others first…   seeks what is truly best for the other, even if it is at the cost and sacrifice of our own personal ambitions and desires. This is a love that serves and suffers, sacrifices.... and puts oneself last… and others first (or at least putting others needs as equal to our own).  This is the image Jesus wanted to leave with his disciples before he suffered and died for all. In short; before he showed them the perfect love that holds nothing back, and which strips itself of everything, even that which one may be entitled to...… Christ even lays down his precious, unique life for his friends and even for those who call themselves his enemies. ….. 


They will know you are Christian by your love….
They will know the quality of our Christianity, by the depth, quality and practicality of our love……

How truly beautiful…..   “They will know we are Christians by our LOVE.”
+++++
References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

+++
Archive of homilies and reflections is at:
http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au


To contact Fr. Paul, please email: 
paulwkelly68@gmail.com


You are welcome to subscribe to Fr Paul’s homily mailout by sending an email at this address:    
paulkellyreflections+subscribe@googlegroups.com



5th Sunday of Easter, Year C

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
+++++++++++++
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
sung
++++++++++++++
Memorial Acclamation

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.

Easter IV p.26

Euch prayer III p.58

++++
Go in peace. Alleluia, Alleluia.






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