Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Catholic Reflections 626 : Homily Twenty-fifth Sunday of the Year A - Sunday, September 24, 2017

Homily Twenty -fifth Sunday of the Year A  - Sunday, September 24, 2017

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
        First Reading: Isaiah 55:6-9
        Psalm: Ps 144:2-3. 8-9. 17-18.
The Lord is near to all who call him.
        Second Reading: Philippians 1:20-24. 27
        Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twenty -fifth Sunday of the Year A  - Sunday, September 24, 2017 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-ep-49-25th-ordinary-a (Edition: 49 )
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[“’gospel’ values included in the readings: universal brotherhood and sisterhood;  God is generous and loving and gives people what they need. Envy and resentment are corrosive in a community”].

When people are deciding what activities to put their energies and priorities into, it comes naturally to ask, “What’s in it for me?”  “What will I get out of this?”  However, this doesn’t work for everyone. In this world, there are many people who are severely disadvantaged and in need. And all things are not equal.  In a world where people receive something only if they can give something of equal value back, there are many people who are in a dire situation because they are so poor and disadvantaged, that they cannot benefit anyone else – so they miss out. They don’t fit into the system and are left on the margins. 

Jesus went out to the margins and searched for these people and made special effort to ensure that they too were included in his Kingdom.  This is what the generous landowner is doing.   The workers who were left without any days work at the eleventh hour, (still a term we use today), still needed to eat, and feed their family, even if no one employed them that day. SO, if not for the kindly landlord, they would have gone without a day’s food. The landowner knew this and also knew that the harvest is plentiful and the labourers few, so he gave them what they needed  - a day’s food. Not that they ‘earnt’ it, but that they NEEDED it.  And in any case, when it comes to God’s gifts, none of us have really EARNED God’s favour and love, it is freely and generously given and it is offered to all.

Jesus wants us to have that same generosity and welcome to others around us. They too are welcome because God is loving, forgiving and generous to them too, just as God treats us.

What a wonderful and quite revolutionary attitude.  A world-changing attitude.
What would the world be like if everyone was striving to outdo each other in hospitality, welcome, generosity and giving others what they truly need,  and less about “what do I get out of this?”  “But how is this benefiting me?”  or “Why did he get that?” and “I should have gotten more!”.. and so on….

The grumbling workers have lost sight of the point. The work of the Kingdom is urgent and important, and the labourers are very few, the harvest plentiful… in fact, it’s more than plentiful…. The harvest God intends is that everyone (absolutely everyone) be included as part of God’s kingdom…. so there is no time for hesitation…..  Everyone is needed…….. all are called….

God is calling people to ‘be about his work’ that others would not employ. God can see an importance in all people; even those who are rejected, ridiculed, ignored, and overlooked…

Envy and resentment are revealed to be a corrosive thing in any community. …..   In this example today, everyone got what they agreed to at the start of their work. Everyone got what they needed, but not everyone got what they wanted, expected or demanded…..// Expectations play an important role in a sense of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, and in resentment and anger. ……

The first workers, assumed (wrongly) that since they worked all day, they would be getting more than the ones who worked an hour……     Have you ever wondered why the landowner didn’t just pay the day long workers first?…It seems that they needed to see the difference between God’s ways of thinking and acting which are hugely different from human ways of thinking and acting….. 

How many of life’s daily hurts, disappointments and turmoils really come from the fact that we have harboured wrong assumptions, unreal expectations and flawed ways of thinking? ……  How many arguments have resulted from envy and resentment and not from true need?

Jesus offers us a new and exciting path of graciousness, kindness and giving. A generosity that does not count the cost, but rather which responds from love and responds to people’s true needs; able to know where we really stand with God and with one another. A love which lets go of ego, pride and envy and is humble and meek in the good sense of the word; being grateful for God’s generosity and love to all people.

To summarise this gospel…  a writer once said…. “the world asks, HOW MUCH did the landowner give?   But Jesus invites us to ask the better question: "WHY did the landowner give as he did?"

The answer is, because God is generous and caring. Are we, as the parable asks, envious because our God is generous?  Surely, God can deal as he wants with his own.

God gives us what we NEED, not so much what we WANT, (and often, - to be honest-, there is a huge difference between wants and needs). And Jesus asks us to do the same for others.  This parable invites us to see not with the eyes of a day labourer who, in this example, has no real concern for the project they were working on, but rather to live an invested partner; embracing and owning the vision of the landowner, who wants to achieve a rich harvest and share it with everyone. 
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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

Mark Link.  Vision. Praying Scripture in a contemporary way. Year a.

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Archive of homilies and reflections is at: http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au
To contact Fr. Paul, please email: 
paulwkelly68@gmail.com

To listen to my weekly homily audio podcast, please click this link here. It is often a week or so ahead: 
https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/tracks

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

Twenty -fifth Sunday of the Year A

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,* through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

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Memorial Acclamation

Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.

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Sundays Ordinary VI p.31

Euch prayer III p.58

Communion side.  FR  pwk: 
LH
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Go forth, the Mass is ended.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Catholic Reflections 625 : Homily Twenty-fourth Sunday. Year A - Sunday, September 17, 2017

Homily Twenty-fourth Sunday. Year A - Sunday, September 17, 2017

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD

First Reading: Sirach 27:30 - 28:7
Psalm: Ps 102:1-4. 9-12. “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion.”
Second Reading: Romans 14:7-9
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35

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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twenty-fourth Sunday. Year A - Sunday, September 17, 2017 by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-ep-48-24th-ordinary-a  (Edition: 48 )
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[“’gospel’ values included in the readings:”We have all sinned, so forgive others as you wish to be forgiven, forgiveness comes from humility and awareness of our sins, and gratitude to God for his mercy, shown in forgiving others]
Homily Twenty-fourth Sunday. Year A - Sunday, September 17, 2017

The gospel value; “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you!” “The Golden rule,” and the principle on which Our Lord’s parable is based has had such a profound effect on not only Christianity, but also legal and ethical systems throughout the world.

In some ways the Golden rule is common sense and simply about consistency, justice and fairness, and yet, even now the world cries out for this principle to be applied evenly.


And yet, how often do people apply a double-standard to this golden rule. People can be masters of justifying loopholes whereby they are entitled to be treated differently (often better) than others. Conversely, some people seem to justify treating others worse than they would like to be treated in the same situation. It makes no sense...

Our Lord emphasises this teaching in other preaching; where he warns.. ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matt 25:40).

This gospel is given by Our Lord as a warning that we must be constantly on our guard. God has forgiven us completely for things we could not possibly hope to repay; and we are duty-bound in gratitude and compassion, to share that graciousness, forgiveness and charity that God gives to us, to others around us.

The other major problem is that some people just don’t seem to see those around them as their brothers and sisters in Christ.. or (at the very least), fellow citizens in the same commonwealth for common good… so they act with disregard for anyone but themselves and their nearest-and-dearest.

Jesus rejects this approach. He reminds us, if we do good to those who love us, what difference does that make, even the pagans and the sinners do that… Our Lord is preaching universal fraternity and goodwill to all…. Because we are truly ALL God’s children…

The parable of the Unforgiving Servant… is really appalling. It is very powerful. The ungrateful servant has a debt to the master which he would NEVER ever be able to repay. IT is ENORMOUS…. The servant owes 60 million denarii…. That is, if he spent nothing that he earnt each day it would take him 16,400 years to repay ! in other words, it is clearly impossible. The servant ridiculously and pathetically asks not to be forgiven the debt but to be given time to pay. In an act of astounding generosity….. the master, in compassion and generosity, not only gives him time to start to repay the impossible debt, but he forgives the debt entirely. He wipes 16,000 years or so of debt from the face of the earth. The master is hoping that this act of kindness will sink deep into the heart of the debtor and be passed on in a new way of acting and living. But then this sad and miserable servant, with an astoundingly hard heart, goes out and does not do the same to a fellow servant who has a debt to him that is large but nevertheless actually possible to repay. It might take 100 days of pay, but it is manageable given an extended amount of time…. It is pathetic. This servant shows no empathy, no connection to others. He does not identify himself with the feelings and plight of others. He does not see this poor fellow servant as brothers in similar need. He cannot see that he himself was just like the person (actually so much worse), bowing before him, begging for time to repay a debt.

It is sad and quite frankly bewildering.  This kind of attitude makes the world a meaner and nastier place, and is the cause of so much suffering. It is so unnecessary and opposite to the essence of the gospel.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, is such a central quality in the Kingdom of God, that Our Lord even incorporates it into the Great Prayer he taught his disciples to recite: “Forgive us our sins, according to how we forgive others.” (or to put it another way, “Lord, don’t forgive us our sins unless we forgive others who hurt us.” It is sobering stuff that we pray every day.

The first and second reading reinforce this message. It is possible to actively nurse and hang on to past hurts, and this keeps it festering. Rather, we can remember that we have been forgiven more than we could ever repay, and we are overwhelmed with such a profound sense of gratitude and love for God, that this gratitude flows out to others, and shows itself in compassion to those who have offended us. Our Lord’s answer to forgive “seventy-seven times” (the rabbinical law of the time said you need only forgive your brother three times.. so actually Peter was being very generous to suggest forgiving someone seven times. But our Lord, who shows us God’s unimaginable love and mercy, says the seventy-seven or seven times 70: which really means the perfect number… endlessly… keep forgiving, as God does over and over. Open up our heart to the love of God which does not keep score. True forgiveness and reconciliation springs from gratitude for God’s unbounded mercy and love, and imitating this as we “pay the gift forward” to others. Our Lord knows that barriers and walls go up when people are hurt. It is an understandable, defensive reaction. But, picking up our cross and lowering the walls allows God’s grace and healing to flow. It is painful, and it is not the way of the world. But, it IS the answer we crave. The road less travelled.

Saint Paul confirms this in the second reading. We live now for God and not for ourselves. Ego, hurt pride and moral outrage are barriers to reconciliation, understanding, and healing. We must let go of pride and entitlement, and a sense of moral outrage, and open our hearts generously and “self-forgettingly.” Then we are beginning to think and feel the love that is God’s very nature.

This double-standard is found in the cycle of violence in the world. Someone does a terrible, destructive action towards others, (with no regard for life or consequences). When retaliation occurs, these antagonists are outraged when their loved ones, friends, and colleagues are affected, but they cannot seem to identify with the outrage and untold damage done by THEM. It is blindness. And, the exact opposite of the gospel.

The gospel seeks to break the cycle of revenge and violence that comes from refusing to do unto others as I would have them do unto me… We have seen the terrible damage done by refusing to see that we are all irreplaceable children of God.

Let us pray for peace.. and healing.. and an end to hatred and violence .. An end to the cycle of violence and retribution. Let us pray that the blatantly fair and reasonable message of justice and equality that comes from the golden rule, may find a home in the hearts of everyone. May our communities and nations be rid of the hypocrisy of double standards and a lack of empathy – lack of recognition of our common brotherhood and sisterhood…

This gospel applies in big issues and in small issues of everyday life… the way we act and respond to the small things of life, \ still makes life more or less tolerable depending on our choices.

In the small things, I think of so many thoughtless and irksome things we can do to one another…. And we pray fervently that we do not fall into the trap of doing those or similar things in our own behaviour…. Lest, what we cannot stand in others, is what we do ourselves.

The gospel today challenges us to go further and think… when I have I done thoughtless, selfish and inconsiderate things to others which put others to unfair disadvantage, when if someone had done the same thing to me, I would have been very annoyed? Why is it okay when I do something thoughtless but not okay for others?

Whatever the situation.. we cannot change that other person and we have no idea what others are thinking, if at all… but I can be more aware of others and their needs from my own actions, behaviours, and choices…. After all; this parable today is directed at the listeners, not the unforgiving servant! (except of course if we ourselves are acting like the ungrateful servant in our own actions).

Let us continue to foster that awareness that we are all in communion with one another with the One God… and what we do to others.. we are taken as doing to God….

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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

Bergant, D. and Fragomeni, R. (2001). Preaching the new lectionary. Year A. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press.

DeBona, G. (2013). Between the Ambo and the altar. Year A. 1st ed. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, pp.246-249.
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Archive of homilies and reflections is at: http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au
To contact Fr. Paul, please email:
paulwkelly68@gmail.com

To listen to my weekly homily audio podcast, please click this link here. It is often a week or so ahead:
https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/tracks

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

The Lord be with you.
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(perhaps an overhead slide is advised for this penitential rite)
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,* through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

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Memorial Acclamation

When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.

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Sundays Ordinary III p.30

Euch Prayer II p.56

Communion side. pwk:
RH
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Go in peace.



Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Catholic Reflections 624 : Homily Twenty- third Sunday of the Year A - Sunday, September 10, 2017

Homily Twenty- third Sunday of the Year A  - Sunday, September 10, 2017

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Ezekiel 33:7-9
Psalm: Ps 94:1-2. 6-9. “O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.”
Second Reading: Romans 13:8-10
Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20

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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twenty- third Sunday of the Year A  - Sunday, September 10, 2017 by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-23rd-ordinary-a (Edition: 47 )
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[“’gospel’ values included in the readings:”the essence of discipleship and faithfulness to God is love, that is formed from within by God’s grace. It fosters loving watchfulness inside and out, and it softens the heart and saves us from ourselves, it turns us back towards each other, and facilitates understanding, healing and reconciliation. Love, not righteousness is the key to this all]

All of the readings this weekend are really about the primacy of Love in Christ’s vision for the Kingdom of God. Love, as saint Paul says, is the fulfillment of all the law… and love is the motivation for the prophet’s words and the driving-force for the Christian community and its members to resolve misunderstandings and conflict.

In the first reading, The Lord says to the great prophet Ezekiel… I have made you a sentinel… a watchman…..This is the true key to the role of the prophet…… forget about the fact that it sounds terrible that the prophet will be punished with death if they do not fulfil God’s law… rather… if the prophet is the sentry… the watchman.. their vital role is actually a role of love and protection and concern for the welfare of everyone..

This image of the watchman reminds me of something I noticed when I visited Rome a few years back… the Firefighters in Rome had a wonderful name… they were called "
Vigili del Fuoco" which in English is rather poorly translated as “Firefighters” just as we use here..// But, that is not actually what the word means.. “firefighter” (the word), tends to give the impression of responder to fire, reacting to the threat of fire; whereas the words Vigili del Fuoco literally means “watcher for fire” - a watchman..// a sentry…// actively looking out for the danger of fire.. caring for the community by watching for danger… alerting them as soon as the danger is seen.. and acting immediately to put out the fire… (that is indeed what firefighters do everywhere, of course, and including in this community… they don’t just respond to fires.. they also engage in community involvement to look into and point out risks and hazards to minimize the risk of fire…

So too with the prophets of old… they were not self-righteous, superior know-it-alls. They were sentries.. they were showing God’s love by watching out for danger and alerting God’s beloved people so they could respond immediately and end the danger… they lovingly/ caringly watch for dangers so as to alert people, so they can act swiftly to get to safety…

 it is an act of love and care… No wonder God is so strict with his prophets… saying.. if you fail to warn them, you will suffer the same fate… their role is like a security guard or a military watchman… if they fail to be alert.. if they do not warn people when danger is nigh, they have no regard for the people to protect… and they are guilty of fialing to warn and protect… Looking at things that way, one can see God’s absolute love for his people.. and desire that people have every opportunity to live in the light of God’s care and protection.. walking in God’s ways.

God’s Law of love…. Asks all of us to be Vigilant not only outside dangers, but also keep watch within…..…. keep guard and watch over our heart…. To ensure that we love, as God’ loves, and that our hearts do not harden into legalism, lack of compassion or mercy…. Or apathy…..… we are all Sentinels… watch-persons.. vigilant for any discord, hatred, or inconsistency with the gospel. And we are vigilant within ourselves, where resentment, jealousy, desire, begins: in the heart…

In the letter to the Romans, we are reminded that love takes different forms. Love is faithful to its commitments and promises, love respects other people’s commitments, love respects life absolutely, love respects other’s property and loves honesty… love respects other’s rights and upholds them… In fact, Saint Paul says that love is at the heart of all the commandments.. (As Our Lord taught us first). …

Love is open to resolving misunderstandings, hurts and harm. Reconciliation, understanding and forgiveness are the central core of the gospel… Allowing God to soften our hearts…

When there is conflict or misunderstanding, things that make the situation worse include: talking to everyone but the one we have the issue with… Gossip, and a culture of festering resentment or complaint… // The gospel says that there is no better way than face to face… not writing, and (for our modern age), not, heaven forbid, sending flaming texts or emails….. Even if the meeting of two hearts in openness does not resolve the misunderstanding, the gospel teaching to have two or three church members come along is not about ganging up or getting the numbers to win the argument.. but again is centred in charity and love… if things have become so tense, perhaps some independent, wise and loving hearts might be able to help melt the impasse…

Inspired by these readings, I have a favourite saying…. “If one cannot say something with love and charity… don’t say it at all.//.because it will do no good”….

There is a delightful twist at the end of this gospel… All is not as it seems.. If all ones sincere attempts fail, we are told in this gospel, to treat the other as a tax collector or a Gentile// .. But here is the catch.. Our Lord has shown us that this does not mean we have lost the other… Tax collectors and gentiles had become Jesus’ disciples and had responded to God’s word… so there is always hope – they are by no means lost to us – nor do we ever give up on someone…..- love and charity always prevail…..
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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

Bergant, D. and Fragomeni, R. (2001). Preaching the new lectionary. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press. P. 340

Barclay, W. (2009). The gospel of Matthew. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew.

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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

Twenty- third Sunday of the 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.
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Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you healed the sick:Lord, have mercy//Lord Jesus, you forgave sinners:Christ, have mercy//Lord Jesus, you give us yourself to heal us and bring us strength: Lord, have mercy.
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Memorial Acclamation

We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.

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EUCHARISTIC PRAYER FOR RECONCILIATION II WITH OWN PREFACE

Communion side. FR pwk:
LH
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Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.



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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Catholic Reflections 623 : Homily Twenty-second Sunday of the Year A - Sunday, September 3, 2017

Homily Twenty-second Sunday of the Year A - Sunday, September 3, 2017

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD

First Reading: Jeremiah 20:7-9
Psalm: Ps 62:2-6. 8-9. “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.”
Second Reading: Romans 12:1-2
Gospel: Matthew 16:21-27
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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twenty-second Sunday of the Year A - Sunday, September 3, 2017, by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-22nd-ordinary-a (Edition: 46 )
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[“’gospel’ values included in the readings: the way of God’s Kingdom is the way of the Cross. Allow one’s mind to be transformed by God’s ways, and not human ways” “Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around you” / “Get behind me…… The way you think is human ways, not God’s way!” ]



Our Prayers and thoughts are with the people of Texas, USA, and with the people of India, Bangladesh and Nepal, suffering from terrible disasters.  May the Lord's goodness be witnessed in the care and practical help of people of goodwill everywhere. and for those suffering terrible horrors in Myanmar.  May the Lord grant peace and dignity to all people.  

“Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around you” Romans 12:1-2

“Get behind me…… The way you think is human ways, not God’s way!” Matthew 16:21-27


St Peter has just declared that Jesus is the Messiah, the chosen one, and the Son of God. Jesus has rewarded this God-inspired declaration with the statement that Peter is the ROCK…on which he will build his church.

Our Lord’s church is founded on the “rock-solid profession of faith” first uttered by Saint Peter.

But now, (astoundingly), only moments later, Jesus is rebuking Peter. Calling him a stumbling block.

Peter has gone from “Rock” to “Stumbling block” in seconds…
How easy it is for any of us to go from one-minute being a person who is supporting the vision Of Jesus, to being an unwitting stumbling block, or obstacle to the project!! It is very sobering stuff!!


Our Lord’s instinctive reaction, even to one of his closest disciples makes sense though. He had been sorely tempted in the desert by the “adversary”…The temptations wer persistent but he deflected them powerfully….. Then, time and time again.. he had to shrug off the “all too subtle temptations” to “sell-out” or “take the easy path”…..

If the easy path was not so attractive…. And if the hard path was not so shocking and awful… there would have been no problem,…. but the right way was something no one would be happy to follow unless it was necessary…. and the easy path is so reassuring….. Jesus has time and time again fended off the adversary’s temptations…. “give them bread… give them material things they desire and then they will follow you…..’…. “give them sensations… give them wonders…. and they will follow you….”……. “never challenge them…. given them what they ask without questioning… without moving them forward…… and they will follow you…..”……. “compromise with the world…. reduce your standards……. sell out…. and they will follow you….”…. and now….here is his friend… his devoted disciple…… his rock……. Peter….. saying similar things….. no wonder Jesus shot back that retort like an arrow shot from its bow…….. Jesus has been fending off these obstacles to his true mission time and time again throughout his ministry… and this would not be the last time each-other…

Jesus is saying to Peter.. and to each one of us…. okay… you know I am the Messiah… the Christ… the chosen one…. fine… that is only the beginning…. NOW you must listen and learn from me WHAT the true meaning of the messiah is……

Peter and the disciples would have grown up with a very different image of the meaning of a “messiah” or the “Christ”…. To them.. It was a king… a warrior… in the mould of King David… who would come with revolution and power and cast down the regimes in control, and rule the chosen people in a Kingdom better than the days of Solomon……. God’s kingdom on earth…. and earthly kingdom…. too…. Jesus had to teach them to let go of all that….. he is the messiah but a messiah like nothing they had expected…. (even though this gentle, peaceful King, this suffering servant is actually to be found in the ancient scriptures, but the expectation of an overwhelming warrior-king had long ago drowned-out this gentler message). Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world…… his power is the cross…. his sword is his word and his weapon is love….. and persuasion… inclusion, forgiveness and justice……

It is interesting though… Jesus does not speak to Peter the same way he dismissed Satan in the desert… But, there is a big difference here…… In the desert Jesus says to The Adversary… “begone”…. “depart”…….. (The Adversary, will never follow God… his pride is too overwhelming)./….. but to Peter.. he says… begone adversary… get behind me ….. its two separate ideas…... Two different things…… to the adversary he says … begone from me…. but to his trustworthy, loyal Peter… he says….. get back behind me… FOLLOW me… learn from me… Don’t try to lead me…. Don’t tell me how to do this…. Become my follower again…. learn the ways of the Messiah from the Messiah and not from your own pre-conceptions. . And of course Peter does…. He had gotten out of his place and tried to drag Jesus into false visions of his mission… but Jesus would have none of that….… Peter was a quick learner. After this rebuke, he gets back to following Jesus…. Walking behind him, not in front of him, (not as an adversary or an obstacle)….

This is very important for all of us.

So often, we might do something for a good motive, but sometimes that motive may be misguided. St Peter MEANT WELL too. He pulled Jesus Aside and said to him out of the sincerest concern and affection for his master…. NO WAY!!!…. His Lord and Master, the Messiah, simply cannot be permitted to go off and be executed in Jerusalem. This MUST NOT HAPPEN. Peter loved and respected his master and wanted to protect him and preserve his life. He was trying to be a good friend, but he unwittingly was becoming an obstacle to Jesus because Peter did not understand that Jesus’ whole mission was to sacrifice his life for the salvation of all. It was necessary that Our Lord MUST go to Jerusalem and be handed over and sacrificed.


If anything actually MUST NOT HAPPEN, it is that NO ONE MUST be allowed try to stop our Lord or become an obstacle to his road to Calvary, , (not even Peter or any of his disciples), Anyone who promotes an easy way out or watering down of the Gospel message, will be nothing but a stumbling block to be gotten around.

I find it very helpful to always keep in mind that good intentions are not the be all and end all. Sometimes meaning well can end up defeating the purpose of what we are here for.


Any ‘overly helpful’ disciple can fall into St Peter’s trap of thinking they are helping, when they are not really listening and learning God’s ways, which are not like the ways of the world. …. We have a task from our Lord to try and comprehend his mission as fully as we can. The “overly helpful” end up doing the exact opposite of what God is actually trying to achieve. Despite meaning well, it is nevertheless misguided….


To prevent this mistake, it is urgent that we take regular time to read the scriptures and deepen our spiritual and scriptural reading…. And also, these readings we hear each weekend.. are so rich and full of meaning.. It would be wonderful if we read over the coming weekend’s readings, at least once or twice during the preceding week,… and perhaps just prior to coming to mass.. even read the texts reflectively again…. Prior to hearing it proclaimed at Mass… to ever deepen our hearing and perceiving of the wonderful message and challenge of God’s Word.


Jesus puts the icing on the cake at the end of this Gospel….…. “anyone who wants to follow me must ‘deny themselves’ ….. Jesus knows that human pride…. human ego is an enormous obstacle to his mission…… Jesus wants to teach and guide all his followers into a mindset that leaves behind ego, pride and self-interest…. If we are to be always true to Jesus message… then we must accept a heavy but liberating truth…. This is not about ME…. this is not about MY needs…. this is about the good news… this is about what is best for others and for all……… My comfort… my needs….. my pride…. ,me… me…. me….. it all must be left behind……. So that we can follow where Jesus leads us….and respond generously and compassionately to what happens.

Today’s gospel demands of us deep and regular prayer, contemplation and reflection, so that we can be a rock, and not a block… and so that we can not only “mean well” but also “achieve well” when we act according to the Lord’s vision.

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References:
FR. PAUL W. KELLY

THE DAILY STUDY BIBLE. GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. (REVISED EDITION). BY WILLIAM BARCLAY. Concepts from William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible – Matthew vol 2).

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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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Twenty-second Sunday of the Year A

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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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//
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Memorial Acclamation

Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.

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Sundays Ordinary III p.30

Euch prayer two p.56

Communion side. Fr PWK:   RH
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Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Catholic Reflections 622 : Homily Twenty-first Sunday of the Year A - Sunday, August 27, 2017

Homily Twenty-first Sunday of the Year A  - Sunday, August 27, 2017
(edition 45), 

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
       First Reading: Isaiah 22:19-23
       Psalm: Ps 137:1-3. 6. 8. “
Lord, your love is eternal, do not forsake the work of your hands."
       Second Reading: Romans 11:33-36
       Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20

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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twenty-first Sunday of the Year A  - Sunday, August 27, 2017 by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-21st-ordinary-a
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[“’gospel’ values included in the readings: God loves Justice, God’s wisdom and thinking is beyond full human understanding, Our Lord is the Christ, the Son of God”]


In the Gospel Our Lord gives St Peter, the first amongst the apostles, the keys to the Kingdom.. 

Our Lord builds his church on the solid rock of the profession of faith that Peter makes and that we all make too. 

The church is BUILT upon the solid foundation of the profession of faith that “Our Lord is the Messiah, the Christ, the chosen one. Our Lord IS the Son of God who shows us what God is like. Our Lord is the one who forgives our sins and sacrifices his life so that we may be saved. That we may be restored to God’s house.  Our Lord is the one who invites us to share in God’s gifts and promises and if we accept, we become Our Lord’ brothers and sisters. We become Our Lord’ disciples and children of God - Part of God’s family forever.

WHO AM I ? …. Asks Our Lord of his disciples………
Who do you say I Am?????? 

A person cannot be reduced to a mere sum of the characteristics that you can use to describe them……. Who a person is, cannot be summed up merely by titles that they may have.. Every person, not least of which Our Lord himself, is mystery and encounter…. Our Lord must be encountered as a person before one can understand him as a figure of doctrine and belief… //

In fact surely one of the most common things humans do to each other and it may be the most unfair thing we can do.. it try to reduce people to categories and file them into neat boxes so that we can understand them… // TO ‘LABEL’ ANOTHER PERSON // 

Whilst that may sometimes be helpful for practicality.. it actually is a reducing of the mystery and complexity of a person to clichés and stereotypes… // which can replace dealing with the real person in favour of labels and generalizations and assumptions about a person that are pale shadows of who they really are…..

Our jobs are important to us…. But who we are is more than the job we do……   who we are is more than what we have achieved in life….     who we are is more than what we are capable of doing ………  and even how we look and what we possess is not really the core of our true identity………    and when we rely too much on those other qualities….  (not that all aren’t important)………   if we make one or a few qualities the sum total of what makes us “US”   then we can run into troubles….   

If my job is everything I am..  but one day I might lose that job…..   if my reputation is important..  and for all of us to a great degree it is very important…  but if it is everything…   it can be tarnished… it can be wrongly taken away for us….    If who I am is all about what I can do… my abilities…  my health….   One day that may fail me too……..   

No, who we really ARE MUST be something much, much deeper than the various qualities and abilities that make up our lives…..      ultimately…  who we are truly is something that time or situation can never take away…  we are beloved sons and daughters of a loving God… who loves us and calls us into life with him…….  And calls us into right relationship with others around us…..  


Who is this person Our Lord????//  EACH person MUST DISCOVER the meaning and nature of Our Lord themselves….// There is no substitute for personally encountering Our Lord as Christ in the scriptures and in our daily lives… //

It is not enough to obtain merely the PRE-packaged doctrines about Our Lord… although that is not to say those doctrines don’t tell us much about Our Lord and his mission. And values…... // but Our Lord is much more than the things we say about him…Ultimately who Our Lord IS,,,,   is about encountering God (and that encounter with God occurs in relationship and not merely an intellectual exercise.. an exercise of the mind…….  )… encountering Christ and his good news in our lives… in the people we meet and ourselves… and our life story…

Perhaps the second reading holds the Key.. in it Saint Paul reminds us that, although there is much we can and need to know and search for in relation to our understanding of Our Lord and God in general… nevertheless.. ultimately God is much more than we could ever truly comprehend… God has some aspects that are knowable but others.. that are beyond our human comprehension….are not// But actually … that applies to any human being… the person sitting next to you… even if you know them very well… ultimately they are (still) a mystery….// They cannot be reduced to a list of facts about them.. they are much much more than the sum of their characteristics and traits…../ or past ways of relating and behaving// we are mystery.. and God is infinite mystery…//

Ultimately… it is not as much about knowing and more about engaging in the mystery…..// , jumping into the deep…./ and ongoing prayer, reflection, dialogue and discussion… and of course, encounter….in the unfolding events of each day…..

Christ reminds us, it’s all really about relationship… more than categorization and definitions. relationship with God… relationship with each other.. relationship with who we are ourselves.. it is an ongoing.. never ending journey…

// each one of us is called upon to reflect personally on Our Lord question…. “But you….. who do YOU say I am……”

I suppose it should come as no shock… that for us Christians….. Our Lord… means absolutely everything to us ……….. Not only do we really, admire him as a person….  We like the message of inclusion, forgiveness, and welcome that Our Lord comes to give all people…… We love the way he always put people first and God’s law was always put in its proper perspective as a lifegiving source for the benefit and help of humans… never  to be used rightly as a millstone around the neck…… I love the fact that Our Lord is God who has become human….. because this  makes humanity.. and the physical world… blessed, holy… sacred…… //

I am in awe of the fact that Our Lord is so protective of each and every one of his heavenly fathers sons and daughters……  God’s children… so protective that he even says…. “I regard that what you do to even the least of these… it is as if you are doing it to me personally”  ….  And so, “over each one of us and all of us….Our Lord throws over a cloak of protection, care and inclusion that is beyond measure ……… Our Lord, to me is the ultimate revelation of not only what God is like.,… but how God acts towards us… and what God feels towards each of us…. and that is very good news… 

We not only worship Our Lord as God the son, and messiah.,. but also admire him and like him as he is a friend and mentor // I can’t get enough of the still fresh and challenging message that is to be found in his words, parables and actions… in the new testament… I believe (like Peter) we haven’t even begun to comprehend the radicality of his message…… and we are only just starting to apply it in our lives….


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REFERENCES:

·        FR. PAUL W. KELLY
·        Break Open the Word. Liturgical Commission. 2011.
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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly


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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

Twenty-first Sunday of the Year A

The Lord be with you.
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Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
You raise the dead to life in the Spirit. Lord, have mercy//You bring pardon and peace to the sinner. Christ, have mercy// You bring light to those in darkness. Lord, have mercy//
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Memorial Acclamation

When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.

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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 I p.28

Euch prayer two p.56

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Go forth, the Mass is ended.



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