Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Catholic Reflections 557 : Homily Fourteenth Sunday of the Year C 3rd July, 2016


Homily Fourteenth Sunday of the Year C  3rd July, 2016

First reading Isaiah 66:10-14.

Responsorial Psalm 65:1-7,16,20. “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.”

Second reading. Galatians 6:14-18.

Gospel. Luke 10:1-12,17-20
.

This weekend we continue to pray for World Peace.  It has been a week of tumult, with new and shocking acts of violence and terrorism, particularly the attacks in Istanbul, Turkey.  

Also, on a totally different level, but still of concern to many, there has been upheaval economically and politically in the UK and Europe. We pray for continued understanding and respect and reverent negotiations between all parties, as well as a profound sense of tolerance and fraternity with other nations, races and cultures. 

The gospel this weekend shows Our Lord teaching his disciples to “travel lightly.”  If we avoid being overly attached to material possessions and if we are not caught up on "power and authority," we can successfully proclaim and witness to true peace, justice and the values of God’s Kingdom. 

Our Lord knew intuitively that people who are attached to possessions, personal comfort and power will be more tempted to water-down the gospel message and tone down the values of the Kingdom for fear of the economic and social consequences of offending the status-quo or upsetting the influential.

If I value my possessions too much, I will hesitate to proclaim the gospel boldly for fear of forfeiting my valuables when persecuted for my stance.  If I value power, I will not be keen to humble myself to the level of a servant, as Christ did.  If I value my life too much, the truth and the justice of the gospel will be silenced by the merest threat to life, liberty or well-being by those who hate this message.

There is certainly something free-ing and light about ‘travelling lightly’.   Many of you have no-doubt done this at different times….  But, over the last months I have been progressively "down-sizing my life"…    Over the years I had collected about 27 large boxes of “things” as well as heaps of clothes and “knick-knacks.” Whenever I moved I did not have the time I would have liked to sort things extensively, so everything would be collected into storage boxes, some of which I hadn’t touched from one move to the next. It became a bit daunting..  and I am by no means a hoarder…   Over the years I felt “crowded out” and “weighed down” by these possessions, these ‘things’. The thought of making a move for the purposes of new ministry would fill me with hesitation, when I thought of packing up….  And to change the situation, I needed the time to sort through these items, in order to sift through them.  I eventually made the time and one-by-one, sorted through those 27 boxes..   Throwing out junk, scanning important documents, donating to Saint Vincent de Paul charity stores things that might be useful for others…   just making a start and slowly, methodically whittling away at these items,  I was astounded … after sifting through these things and sorting….  Any guesses what I was left with after I had sorted through the 27 boxes?....   I can hardly believe it myself…  but I was literally left with a quarter of a small plastic storage box; that was all that remains of those 27 boxes…   (I must say a lot of it was rubbish, but I needed to check everything before casting it out, and I needed to securely destroy any documents that were confidential and could not be just dumped). And it is done!! .. and true to the gospel it is much easier to move about with a “quarter-filled” box with a few key papers, than 27 large storage boxes….   (I must admit, I think I am now addicted to throwing things out..  I walk around thinking..  “that could go…”   “do I need that?”.,…   it can become very tempting…)…  

But anyways, Our Lord really knew what he was talking about.  Jesus wants us to travel light,  (Not just in regards possessions, but also other spiritual and emotional baggage that we can tend to get bogged down with).   

I find the second reading by Saint Paul a bit mysterious.  Paul was writing a very important message to the people of Galatia.  There were tensions in the community,  and Paul’s letter is a passionate, loving and sometimes stern masterpiece of writing…  to get across the message of the gospel to the arguing people.  Saint Paul tells people that they shouldn’t get bogged down on focusing on external signs of religiousness, unless one keeps the meaning of the gospel. He is so passionate he even says at the end of it..  see…  look its my own handwriting.. see the big letters….…  (I am so old and hard of sight now.. but I am so moved by this issue, I am scribbling this down myself….in my own hand.. I have taken the writing implement from my usual scribe… .)….he then goes on to reminds them, and us, that some people wear the signs of faith but don’t live it….  They wear the signs of membership of God’s people in the Jewish faith, but only to avoid being persecuted by the Romans for being Christian. He says,  enough of this. No more trouble on this topic…  look.. the cross of Christ shows us the meaning of true discipleship… if you want signs.. look at the signs on my body, says Paul, of what I have suffered for proclaiming the gospel….    He had been through shipwreck, imprisonment, floggings, and so much more…  

Finally, in the gospel, the seventy-two disciples come back successful.  They are delighted that the spirits deferred to them. But Jesus seems to warn them…   don’t give in to pride and don’t gloat over your power…   our achievements are all about God’s grace…  Jesus says a strange comment here…  he says, I saw Satan fall from heaven.   He may be saying, watch out..  one of the angels fell from heaven because of pride… don’t fall for that yourselves.. its not about you and your power and ability, it is about allowing God’s grace and peace to work in and through you…  it needs humility, openness and also not going around looking at what I can get out of this or that situation…  

Only by this humility, simplicity, and openness to serve and travel lightly, can be more fully allow God’s grace to work in us, as instruments in the hand of the Divine artist.      


+++

References:

Fr Paul W. Kelly

Sharing the Word through the Liturgical Year: (1997). Gustavo Gutierrez

THE DAILY STUDY BIBLE. GOSPEL OF LUKE. (REVISED EDITION). BY WILLIAM BARCLAY.


+++
Archive of homilies and reflections is at:
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To contact Fr. Paul, please email: 
paulwkelly68@gmail.com

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Fourteenth Sunday of the 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 are the image of the unseen God: Lord, have mercy.//You are the firstborn of all creation: Christ, have mercy//You are the head of the body, the Church: 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.

Sundays Ordinary IV p.30
Eucharistic Prayer I p.49
++++
Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.



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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Catholic Reflections 556 : The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. 29th June, 2016


Saints Peter and Paul. 29th June, 2016
St Peter and Paul

Saints Peter and Paul went through their lives and ministry, strong in the belief that God was with them, and that God was accompanying them on their pilgrimage of life; guiding them and supporting them in their mission of proclaiming the Good news…

Time and time again, they were saved from imprisonment and death…. and picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and continued on their way, boldly proclaiming the Good News…. But, they were not under any illusions. Although they often praised God for his constant love, protection and grace, and they were very grateful for the times they were saved from death, they nevertheless knew very well that being Jesus' friends and disciples was not about having permanent protection from suffering, imprisonment and death. After all, their Master and the founder of the message they proclaimed, suffered the most terrible fate on the Cross. Being a disciple is not a guarantee of safety or absolute physical protection.  Our discipleship, as we all know too well, a not "magic charm" to prevent all illness or even suffering and death. However, our discipleship DOES give us hope and trust that God always remains with us, in the ups and downs of life; in good times and bad; in sickness and in health; in peace as well as in times of turmoil.

God is with us… to lead us and guide us along the path to eternal life, where we will share ultimately in the fullness of Jesus' Kingdom and have a permanent place at the Heavenly banquet, a room in The Father’s heavenly household.

Eternal life… this life begins now… and can be experienced profoundly in so many ways here and now in this present age.  ……… And, we also know that the fullness of eternal life will only be fully experienced in the world to come, even though we taste it and live it partially now.

We Catholics believe that the Pope, presently the wonderful Pope Francis, is the successor of the special role of St Peter… as the foundation stone on which Christ builds his church…… and so, it is timely that we celebrate this feast.

 We all celebrate and encounter the richness of the universal church…. a church including people from every race, language and culture….. all one In Christ…. All part of the People of God.

We celebrate our membership of the Catholic, Christian, faith family…. The fire of the Good News that drove the apostles to the ends of the earth in Jesus’ name….. and found its hold in this far-flung part of the world (as it then was from a European perspective), The Faith that has inspired and enlivened generations to establish permanent local communities deeply embedded in the principles, life and values of Jesus' Kingdom…. this is our story too here, and in every parish throughout the world.

St Paul, the apostle to the Gentile nations would be so proud today… As he looks at all that Christ has achieved in and through Our Lord’s church….. Saint Paul would be the first to remind us to celebrate our 'unity in diversity'

When Jesus asks 'who do people say I am….. and then asks the even more important question…. 'who do YOU say I am' Simon replies…. "You are the Christ, the son of God." It is really important for us to see why Jesus then immediately says his next words….. You could almost add a "because" into Jesus’ sentence….. "Because you say that I am the Christ, the son of the Living God, (because this is your faith and your creed…. Then …..you are "Petros…." YOU are ROCK, and on this Rock…  on which I will build my church." 

The church is founded upon the rock of the truth that Jesus really is THE Christ… Christ truly is THE Son of the living God…. and that Jesus is God the SON…….// As important as it is that Peter proclaimed these words…..// … even more importantly is that he proclaimed the central POINT of our Faith… It is BECAUSE Jesus is the Son of God that we are who we are… // That we Christians live as we live…..// and it is BECAUSE of WHO Jesus is and what he does that we share in the actual divine life and relationship of God - …by uniting ourselves in mind, heart and communion to Jesus…….

And this changes everything…. It gives us the grace, the love and the freedom to live and to act as Jesus did…… and in so many ways…. by our words, actions and lives… to set prisoners free… to declare God's favour to the world…. and to cancel so many types of debt that we can hold over one another…… to BE, as Peter, Paul and the apostles are….. Good news to the poor…..



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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Catholic Reflections 555 : Homily Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C. 26th June, 2016

Homily Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C.  26th June, 2016

First reading. 1 Kings 19:16,19-21

Responsorial Psalm. Psalm 15:1-2,5,7-11.
You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Second reading. Galatians 5:1,13-18

Gospel. Luke 9:51-62



The Gospel this weekend shows various people coming up to Jesus and giving reasons why they cannot follow him immediately, but also how they intend to follow him as soon as possible.

I think the key to this Gospel is the first words of the passage: "As the time grew near for Our Lord to be taken up to heaven." In other words, there was no time left. There was an absolute urgency and immediacy to Our Lord's last days. There was no time but the present and there was not time for hesitations, excuses or delays. It was now or never. So, irrespective of whether the excuses given by people were good or whether they were weak, nothing must be allowed to stop the mission of Christ from being accomplished. So, one needs to get their priorities right. Our Lord' Gospel has an urgency that demands first priority. And we must not let many reasons frustrate that plan. There may very well always be good reasons to put off until tomorrow (or later) what really needs to be done today. And of course.. tomorrow may never come….

There is a story told of an Olympic champion who lived in an Eastern Block nation during the time of the Cold War. She wanted to defect to the West. When she finally decided to do so, it was only by literally turning her back on her unique privileges, including a rather rare car given to her as an exceptional favour due to her sporting status, and moving forward to a new life with the only possessions being one small carry-case.…. If she had tried to take anything more, it would have alerted the authorities to the planned defection and the escape would have failed and ended tragically. If something is urgent and important, hesitation or looking back could be catastrophic. Christ knew that.

This weekend’s readings are about setting out on an urgent and very important journey…. Our Lord has been up ‘til this point, traveling about proclaiming the good news… Now he has resolutely set his face towards Jerusalem and his impending suffering and death. As he journeys, various people come up to him and say: "I want to come with you." Our Lord impresses upon them that he is not forcing anyone to come along with him. Rather, he is giving them absolute freedom. But, if they choose to follow him it will require total, complete and single-minded commitment. There can be no "ifs or buts," and no hesitation . To those who say "I will follow you anywhere, but first I have to do such and such," Jesus cuts them off and virtually says…. "forget it! Go home. I am heading in this direction immediately. Come with me now or lose the moment. There is only now. No time for wavering" ….. The intensity and the urgency of Christ's mission cannot be more strongly emphasized.

The first reading has a strikingly similar incident. Elisha is chosen by the prophet Elijah to follow him as a disciple, symbolised by the beautiful image of the Prophet Elijah throwing his cloak over the young man as he walks by. Elisha is obviously both honoured and frightened. He says, "first let me say goodbye to my parents." Elijah is affronted and says to him the modern equivalent of “have I done anything to you? Am I forcing you to come with me? Go back and forget it.” This has the desired effect of shocking Elisha into realising that this offer is once and only. Elisha (who may probably have hesitated and not returned if he had looked back), went and followed Elijah immediately.

At various times we all find ourselves setting out on new journeys. Whether those journeys be physical, spiritual, vocational, or otherwise. These journeys create some hesitations and fears. They involve moving out of comfort zones and into unfamiliar territory. But we also know that we follow Our Lord wherever he has led us in life, without significant hesitation. God never has been one to lead us down the wrong paths, even if sometimes you and I may have occasionally turned down some seemingly "dead-end streets" in some of our decisions and actions. ………. but we are sure that ultimately we will be led by the Lord to our destination.

When I was a child, I remember hearing the reading of Jesus calling the disciples. He called them and they left everything immediately and followed him. I remember thinking with the wonderful openness of a child "why can’t I do that too? Why should I not heed this passage and go and follow Christ as these disciples did?" (Not that I was tempted to be reckless and leave everything or not tell anyone what I was doing. This Gospel was never a recipe for irresponsibility. I knew that even as a child). But when I was older I did want to do a job that meant proclaiming the good news explicitly and helping people as a “Proclaimer of the Gospel.”

As I got older I realized that of course we do not need to go overseas to do mission, although those who do this are doing great and important work and we who are not in overseas mission, nevertheless help by our prayers and practical support. Meanwhile, Our Lord calls us in the here and now; in this place and this time, to live and witness to the good news in the places we live, work and socialize. I also realized that one can follow Jesus in many, many vocations, careers and jobs; each in varying ways. All of us here have answered Our Lord' call to "come follow me" in different and wonderful ways.

I must admit that as a child, although I may have sensed that we all follow Our Lord in our work and life, I nevertheless felt a strong desire to follow him the rather more literal way that he called the disciples. I wanted to be more visibly, and clearly following Jesus, not just in essence but almost in imitation of the ministry and preaching of the disciples. So I entered into Priestly life. This year I celebrate nineteen years of ordination to the priesthood. I thank God for the blessings God has given me in the people I have worked with and the varied settings I have ministered in. I am glad to say that I do not regret for a moment answering that call, and God has graciously and patiently kept sustaining and renewing me in the best and the joyful and also in the difficult and trying times of ministry… In the nineteen years of priesthood and also the seven years of training prior to that, my faith in Christ and my vocation to priesthood has never wavered. Thanks be entirely to God's grace even in times of trial. Nineteen years after my ordination, I feel at this point, as certain as ever that this path, of priesthood, is an ongoing path of life and joy, and I know that each time we reflect upon the person and message of Christ this will assist us to keep resolutely set towards the good news and compassionately perform the different vocations to which Christ invites each of us.

The Gospel today also raises the really important question of the extent to which we are capable of fooling ourselves… and self-deceiving ourselves… it can be a very subtle but effective thing…. Our Lord wants us to be honest and clear sighted about our lives and our motives and priorities… It can be so easy to be self-indulgent and, at the same time, to gloss over this by making up all sorts of noble excuses and reasons, which really are not authentic.

Let us never underestimate the power of self deception… it is in opposition to the light, openness and generosity of the Gospel of Jesus.

Connected to this.. I have been reading on the subject of self-deception.. because it is such a powerful dynamic in the lives of so many… One book, entitled "Don't Believe Everything You Think: The Six Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking," says that (1) On the whole people prefer stories over statistics. (2) People often seek to confirm their own ideas as opposed to question their ideas; (3) We rarely appreciate the role of coincidence in shaping our lives; (4) We sometimes mis-perceive the world around us; (5) We can often tend to oversimplify our thinking; and (6) Even if we think we have a good memory, it is more accurate to say we can often have faulty or selective memories. The point here is that we would do well to not only admit to the fact that we can self deceive and self justify what we do, but that also we would benefit greatly from strongly suspecting and actively looking for the ways in which you and I are attempting to water-down the message of Jesus' gospel for the sake of our own well-being or peace of mind.  It is perfectly healthy to have a healthy suspicion of our capability to water-down the gospel, and it is perfectly unhealthy not to suspect ourselves of the possibility of self justification, which can lead to inconsistency in the application of the gospels and double-standards.  This follows on from something I said a couple of weeks ago in relation to the gospel where the Pharisee was mumbling about the woman anointing Jesus' feet. The Pharisee rather disappointingly grumbled to himself: "if he KNEW what kind of woman this is who is touching him and how much of a sinner she was...."    But sadly Christ did not want the Pharisee spending any of his energy wondering just how much of a sinner she was or anyone else for that matter. It would be a better world if we all spent our energy wondering how much of a sinner we ourselves are. Would it not be a better world if each and every one of us tended to wonder and suspect that we ourselves might the biggest sinner in the world, and how this might be so, rather than thinking about who else might be a sinner and how much of one! Looking inside ourselves for our own poverty and need is surely closer to the gospel message than trying to look into others hearts and judging their worthiness.  
The more that we accept that we can have a tendency to self-deceive and self-justify, the more we will be open to reflecting upon just how closely we are adhering to Christ's vision and values, as opposed to a self-serving version of the same. We are invited to be more and more open to Jesus' call to follow him and place our priorities at his service; and be ever-vigilant for the trap of self-serving justifications.

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


Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking. (Prometheus: May 2, 2006). by Thomas E. Kida.

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

A BOOK OF GRACE-FILLED DAYS. BY ALICE CAMILLE.

SHARING THE WORD THROUGH THELITURGICAL YEAR. GUSTAVO GUTIERREZ.

+++
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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Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 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.
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//
++++++++++++++
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.

Sundays Ordinary III p.30

Euch Prayer Three p.58

++++
Go forth, the Mass is ended.




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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Catholic Reflections 554 : Homily Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C. 19th June, 2016


Homily Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C.  19th June, 2016

Zechariah 12:10-11,13:1

Responsorial Psalm. Psalm 62:2-6,8-9.
My soul is thirsting for you, o Lord my God

Second reading. Galatians 3:26-29

Gospel     Luke 9:18-24

There is a really beautiful line in the first reading…. It is striking and wonderful………. “I shall pour out (upon the people) a spirit of kindness and prayer…..” (or….. as another translation says… “compassion and supplication"). … Or, as yet another version says; “I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer and repentance"

It is a reminder that God always takes the initiative, and has created within us a new “interior attitude” of attentiveness to God, of graciousness, pleasant-ness, and forgiveness, which others can sense and to which they are inspired to respond positively.

Continuing on from what I was saying last week, our prayer must include contemplation upon the person and message of Jesus…. And this shows in the Gospel today….. Jesus is in deep, solitude and prayer…. And from within this space of prayer, comes this question to his disciples: …. “Who do people say I am?…. Who do YOU say I am?"…. (that is: "do you know who I am ???….. You must know who I am and what I am doing……”).

Once he has made that point… he goes on… "who I am and what I am doing necessarily means the way of the Cross…. Who I am is the one who must walk the way of Calvary… and so must anyone else who follows me……"

And, as the first reading says… prayer, compassion and forgiveness must go together… or else things get distorted…. Prayer shows us the one who suffers, because suffering occurs where there is a clash of opposing values in the world which stand in contrast with God’s wonderful values.

The power of Christ’s Cross is a constant challenge to our thinking and understanding…. How can the way of the CROSS be the way to fullness of truth and life? It seems such a difficult concept to grasp and handle.

But we believe that the path of the Cross is the power and wisdom of God……

We know by bitter experience that for some reason God does not remove the crosses that we carry in life…. (God the loving Father could not even remove the cross from his own beloved son’s shoulders! In that case, it was because it was absolutely necessary that Christ walked this path… to suffer and so to save us all)………// God does not remove these crosses ,,, but it is definitely not because God is capricious or in any way aloof from our sufferings. God does not delight in suffering and God does not want us to suffer for its own sake. Suffering is awful. It threatens to destroy us and to destroy our hope….. / But what God always does in answer to our crosses, is to pour out his grace and love upon us…. To transform what we are experiencing .. (by God’s faithfulnes and love)… to assure us that God is there with us .. especially in times of suffering and trial….God’s faithfulness and grace carries us through all the suffering and darkness of our life’s journey.

Jesus’ message of the Cross reminds us that “God has a vivid memory for the least and most forgotten people.” – people at their lowest…// ... those who are bowed down…..

"God is wanting to affirm life and be faithful to us especially when poverty, violence or tragedy are sowing death.”

IF God does not appear to stop some of the tragedies, suffering and crosses in life, God certainly takes away the final meaning of these events and changes them into opportunities for grace, compassion and abiding love……… [so Jesus assures us,] and what God cannot change in this life, God will fulfil and set right in the next. (Having said that, there is much that God is indeed doing in this life, and is constantly at work bringing hope out of abandonment, and life out of destruction, compassion and mercy out of situations of hate and misunderstanding).

Someone once wrote that

"God uses broken things….//
It takes broken soil to produce a crop,
broken clouds to give rain,
broken grain to give bread,
broken bread to give strength.
It is a broken alabaster jar
that gives forth perfume....
It is Peter weeping bitterly,
who returns to greater power."
True spiritual strength
lies not in holding on to things
but in letting go of them. (Writer: Vance Havner)

Only by "letting go and letting God" can we open ourselves to a greater power than our own.

The paradox of Christianity is, indeed, that we are strongest when we are weakest. This is because at times of intense weakness and need, we turn and we rely (by sheer necessity) on God’s grace and God’s strength and not merely our own human willfulness.
Even if this is so challenging to know and understand.

May the Lord give us the courage to let go and give GOD total control of our lives. This does not mean we lose responsibility of our lives and actions and choices…. We still need to cooperate, but we become a willing sailing boat… open to the direction the Spirit guides and accompanies to …
…Filling our sails and guiding us where God leads us….


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

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

SHARING THE WORD THROUGH THE LITURGICAL YEAR. GUSTAVO GUTIERREZ.

Poem by Vance Havner

+++
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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Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 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 are the image of the unseen God: Lord, have mercy.//You are the firstborn of all creation: Christ, have mercy//You are the head of the body, the Church: Lord, have mercy//
++++++++++++++
Memorial Acclamation

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

++++
Go in peace.



Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Catholic Reflections 553 : Homily Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C. 12th June, 2016


Homily Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C.  12th June, 2016

First Reading. 2 Samuel 12:7-10,13. 

Responsorial Psalm.  Psalm 31:1-2,5,7,11. “Lord, Forgive the wrong I have done.” 

Second reading. Galatians 2:16,19-21 

Gospel.  Luke 7:36-8:3 or Luke 7:36-50


It is well worth reading the Second Book of Samuel Chapter Eleven, which is the text immediately prior to what we have heard in the First Reading this weekend. It reveals the full horror of King David's sin which described as having "displeased the Lord." Displeasing is an understatement.  King David's sin, in human terms,  appears to be unforgivable. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Samuel+11)

Chapter eleven of 2 Samuel starts by saying "in the time when Kings were off waging war, King David remained at home."  So, already David was on the wrong foot. He should have been leading his troops and instead he was lazing around back home while others were off risking their lives for the community.   Then, David falls in lust with one of his soldier's wives.  Shockingly he orders that the soldier be put in the thick of the battle and this soldier dies in that battle. this is done by David to hide his adultery and to allow him to marry the deceased soldier's widow.  Absolutely dreadful!   

God is naturally disgusted and appalled. through the Propher Samuel, God confronts King David with his wrongdoing and justly passes sentence of Death upon him.  

We are told that King David says "i have sinned against the Lord."  he repents, but his repentance is described minimally. However, there is no reason to doubt David's mortification and sincereity in this repentance. David is appalled by his sin and bitterly regrets it and declares his sin and responsibility to God.  
God's reply is astounding.  You are forgiven! You shall not die!   

But, the thing is;  God forgave King David NOT because David deserved forgiveness, and not because David could ever earn God's forgiveness, (he could not).   Moreover, David could never make up for his wrongdoing.    God forgives because God is loving and merciful.  

It shows yet again the astonishing depths of God's mercy and compassion. this is very fitting in the Jubilee Year of God's Mercy (2016).   This is all about God's love, compassion, mercy and justice and NOT about King David's sin or our sin.  

King David's experience of God's forgiveness utterly transformed him and led him to doing great good in God's service. His sin and God's gracious forgiveness inspired him to write the most beautiful poems and songs to God that history has ever known - speaking of his sin, and of God's graciousness, mercy and strength and so much more.  We call these wonderful prayers and songs, "The Psalms"  (traditionally attributed to King David and others written in the tradition of David).  

God's forgiveness inspires in all of us gratitude, reverence, devotion and service.  As we see in this beutiful and astounding Gospel, where a woman bathes Our Lord's feet with her tears and anoints his feet with perfume and dries his feet with her hair!  this was a shocking and amazing scene and would have been amazing back in Our Lord's time.  Jesus accepts this act of repentance and devotion in the spirit it was given, but the Pharisee and others see it with criticism and disdain; judging negatively the woman and judging Our Lord too.  

God's justice, love and mercy frees us to serve God as God intended and to live by the values of the gospel, unburdened and unhindered by our past sins that would otherwise hold us back and trap us. 

this gospel features in each of the four gospels still existing. However, each gospel writer puts a different focus upon the scene.  (It is possible, of course, that there may have been two or more similar incidents like this, hence the variations,  or else the evangelists have written up the incidents to convey different but equally valid and important messages for the benefit of the particular communities they wrote for.  

In the earliest still extant gospels:  Mark  and Matthew, the woman is NOT described as a notorious sinner. Rather, in those gospels, the woman is acting like a Prophetess, who clearly sees and understands WHO Jesus is and what he has come here to do.....   to sacrifice his life for the salvation of the world.  

In John's Gospel, it goes even further.  the woman is named. And again there is NO suggestion that she is a notorious sinner or any other kind of sinner.  It is Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and the newly-ressurected Lazarus who is also desribed as lounging at the meal, alive and well.   And it is not the Pharisee who grumbles but Judas, the betrayer and thief.  Again, in John's Gospel,  Mary anoints Our Lord for the suffering and sacrificial death that he is about to endure.  

It has been pointed out by a commentator, and was a surprise to me, that the ONLY version of this gospel that is featured and read out on a Sunday in the whole three year Sunday cycle, is this weekend's version.. Luke's.  And it is the only version that describes the woman as a sinner.  It is disaappointing that all four versions are not featured in the three-year Sunday cycle.  If ONLY this version is featured, it does not capture the various roles that women played in the life of Christ's disciples. it is a reminder that in addition to the twelve Apostles there was a much larger group of men and women who walked with him as were his followers and provided for Christ and the apostles from their resources. It is also a reminder that the women disciples were often quicker to 'get'  Christ's message and udnerstand what he was teaching.  The Apostles struggled for longer to comprehend the radical difference of Our Lord's teaching and what he was doing.   It was mainly the women who stayed with him even in his passion. With the exception of John, the pother apostles fled in fear and denial. 

In any case, this gospel has a really important and valid teaching.  This gospel speaks about our Sin, and God's forgivenes and the gratitude and service that this forgiveness leads to. 

The reaction of the Pharisee who was hosting the dinner is interesting…..he murmers……..    ‘if he knew what kind of a woman was touching him he should know that she is a sinner.’

Our Lord did not want the Pharisee to be spending his time trying to work out just how much of a sinner this person was who was anointing him or (for that matter) Jesus did not want the Pharisee wasting his time working out how much of a sinner anyone else was.  (actually it would be more considstent and productive if we all spent our time wondering if we ourselves might be the biggest sinner in the world and how to rely on Gods grace and mercy to be forgiven and renewed to serve God and Gods message – the world would be a better place surely.   This beautiful scene….    hopefully was an opportunity for those present… and ourselves here today….  to look inside ourselves and become aware of our own sinfulness 9and forget about others sins and failings).  ….. and… in a spiritual sense… humbly and lovingly fall at the feet of Jesus…..    and to penitentially wash his feet with our tears of repentance……   anointing him with the oil of gladness and thanksgiving for his mercy and compassion to us.  

There are so many opportunities in this life for us to look inside ourselves….. but at times it can feel as if we would all be better off if we spent less time defending our righteousness and justification for who we are and what we do (or do not do)….   And we could definitely do better than being tempted to point out the weaknesses and faults of others…. whilst of course failing to see the culpability in myself……… //  to “more profitably” spend the time looking at our own weaknesses and flaws……(not with the eyes of condemnation or rejection)…..…but with the eyes of love that Our Lord sees us with… so that we might be healed and strengthened and given the grace to grow in love and compassion….. and go beyond our faults and weaknesses….. growing more and more into the image of Christ that Our Lord invites us to become….
 
 Our Lord also invites the Pharisee to think about what he was doing…  why did he invite Our Lord to this meal….  Why was he hosting a meal at all…  // why did the Pharisee do the inexcusable thing of that time of not showing Jesus, his invited guest, the proper formalities of a dinner party in first century Israel. Was this dinner just a meaningless activity for the Pharisee?   Was it just another excuse for a party?....  or was the meal what it always should be…… and what other things always could be…   a chance to engage with our fellow brothers and sisters and show real love, hospitality, kindness and graciousness in practical warmth and sharing of a meal…..  

As we know well, …. For Our Lord, meals represented inclusion, love, kindness, reconciliation and forgiveness and so much more…. The fullness of this will be revealed in the Eucharistic banquet where he gives his very self for the life of the world. 

 


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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly
Phil Fox Rose
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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

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Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C. 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Our Lord Christ.
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Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Our Lord, you have revealed yourself as the way to the Father: Lord, have mercy//You have poured out on your people the Spirit of truth: Christ, have mercy//You are the Good Shepherd, leading us to eternal life: 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.

Sundays Ordinary II p.29

Eucharistic Prayer II p.56

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Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.



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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Catholic Reflections 552 : Homily Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year C. 5th June, 2016

Homily Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Year C. 5th June, 2016


First reading. 1 Kings 17:17-24.
Responsorial Psalm.  Psalm 29:2,4-6,11-13. “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.”
Second reading. Galatians 1:11-19.
Gospel Luke. 7:11-17,
…….
The town of Nain (Israel) in 2012: 

Nain as it looked in the 1900’s: 
 Modern day Nain:
The tiny little town of Nain still exists in the rolling greenery of Israel.  A few years ago when I was on pilgrimage to the Holy Lands, (the same pilgrimage that many other of our archdiocesan priests travelled on, it was beautiful to be able to stop and look at the church built in the town of Nain, to commemorate the raising up of the widow’s only son.

A parish pilgrimage I was on a few years ago only got to see a fleeting glimpse of the town, as apparently in the year between my pilgrimage with a group of priests and that parish pilgrimage, the only remaining Christian family resident in the town had left the village and now it was entirely non-Christian.  Interestingly, even when we visited, the key to the virtually abandoned church was held by a neighbouring Muslim family who happily assisted whenever tourist groups popped in to visit. Which highlights itself a major issue in the Holy lands.. In the land where the Gospel was first preached, Christianity is now less than 1 percent of the entire population, and the Christian communities are really struggling for survival and identity in the Holy Lands.  Our brother and sister Christians in the Holy Lands, need our constant prayers and fraternal support.

As I stood in the warm sun of what was an otherwise rather chilly morning, I could really picture in my mind, the moving and powerful scene of the funeral procession and the crowds of people and the mother (a widow), who has now lost her only son.  The situation for the mum is very dire….   Being a widow and now without a son, she was penniless and without any legal support or social protection. There was no social security back then..   So, it has been suggested that this funeral procession is not merely a collection of well-wishers, but actually could be a line of people who are escorting the widow to the edge of the town in order to politely but firmly "banish her," since she is now without any support she must leave and find relatives of supporters elsewhere.[i]   It is a most distressing situation.  Certainly, whatever the situation, she has no one to protect and defend her, according to the Jewish custom of the time.  Jesus felt sorry for her. The word is even stronger than that,  Jesus felt deeply moved and compassionate for her and her situation. He stops the procession and raises up the young man and gives him back to his mother.  How wonderful.

“To the tragedy and pathos of human life, Luke adds the compassion of Christ. Jesus was moved to the depths of his heart. There is no stronger word in the Greek language for sympathy and again and again in the gospel story it is used to describe Jesus. (Matt.14:14; Matt.15:32; Matt.20:34; Mk.1:41; Mk.8:2).

To the ancient world this must have been a staggering thing. The noblest faith in antiquity was Stoicism. God was considered to be perfect and perfection was considered to mean immovability and completeness. So, the Greek concept of God's perfections means God cannot be moved emotionally or physically. The Stoics believed that the primary characteristic of God was apathy, incapability of feeling. This was their argument. If someone can make another sad or sorry, glad or joyful, it means that, at least for the moment, they could influence that other person. If a person can influence God then that means that, at least for the moment, he is greater than God. Now, no one can be greater than God; therefore, no one can influence God; therefore, in the nature of things, God must be incapable of feeling”.[ii]

This is not the Christian vision of God though, thank goodness.  Jesus shows us that God is truly not like that at all.  God is perfect...   but God is perfect in love. God indeed feels and feels very deeply. In fact, God feels deeper than we can comprehend; with a depth of compassion that would astound us and gladden us.

Jesus’ raising up the widows son, is a sign that God truly and deeply cares about what happens to each and every one of us and God does very much feel with us, all the tragedies and suffering of this life.  It also tells us that, in Jesus, the faithful and all people of goodwill shall, on the last day be raised up, and that God is very concerned and compassionate for all who have lost loved ones and who do not have the physical and social and economic and family support that others have.   Jesus acts to help and heal and re-connect people and he wants his disciples to carry this on. This compassionate act of curing the widow’s son is a sign to give us hope and strength and show us that God cares deeply even when we find ourselves in the midst of the most devastating situations.  Sadly in this life we know that in this life, (on this side of Heaven), death is irreversible. But this gospel still shows us that God promises to be faithful to us forever, and to raise us up to newness of life in this present age, and to eternal life, in the next. This gives us hope and strength. God hears and answers each and every one of our prayers. However, sometimes, for reasons unknown to us, this assured answer to our prayers is a loving but gentle "NO"......  But one thing is clear: God loves us and has only care and love for us. God has such compassion and care for us, that God will walk with us and bring us to safe haven now or in eternity. God has the last word and it is a word of most profound compassion and faithfulness. And Christ by this compassionate action in Nain asks us to do everything in our power to lift the burdens and effects of people’s suffering and bereavement in any ways open to us. To respond to people’s plight with compassion, justice and love first and foremost.

The God, whom we experience revealed fully in Christ, and whom we follow with lively faith, is the one with true power to raise us up and to make a difference in our lives.[iii]  We are invited to trust in this compassion, this power and this love, this healing touch which reaches out in true tender care. And we echo this also in our lives …
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FR. PAUL W. KELLY
With additional sources:
[i] Reflection by Greg Sunter, courtesy of liturgyhelp.com.au
[ii] THE DAILY STUDY BIBLE. GOSPEL OF LUKE. 1975. (REVISED EDITION). BY WILLIAM BARCLAY.
[iii] Mark Link – Action 2000 – Praying the Scriptures in a Contemporary Way. Mark Link SJ. Year C.


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

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Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  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 were lifted up to draw all people to yourself: Lord, have mercy//You shouldered the cross, to bear our suffering and sinfulness: Christ, have mercy// You open for your people the way from death into life: Lord, have mercy//
++++++++++++++
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 and announce the Gospel of the Lord.


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