Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Catholic Reflections 593 : Homily Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 26, 2017

Homily Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 26, 2017



Isaiah 49: 14-15;
Psalm 62: 2-3, 6-7, 8-9. “
Rest in God alone, my soul.
1 Corinthians 4: 1-5;
Matthew 6: 24-34

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Please listen to my audio “blog” of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 26, 2017 by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-8th-week-ordinary-time-year-a
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God is telling us in plain and direct language: I love you; more than even a devoted mother or father could love their child…. //

It is almost impossible to imagine a love even stronger than that of a parent for their child…. But that is the promise God makes to each of us… You are my daughter… you are my son forever.. I will never abandon you, I will be faithful to you… I will never forget you…… This is such a reassuring and hope-filled message that we all need to hear.

It is also greatly reassuring to know that God is telling us this because, in the past – as now, people call out to the Lord and feel abandoned and feel hopeless. God is assuring us that this is never the case. God is with us. It gives new poignancy to the cry of Our Lord, on the Cross, “my God , My God, why have you abandoned me?” In that cry, Jesus gave voice to every person throughout history who has called out to God when thing were at their worst. The fact that Jesus even felt abandoned but knew he was not ever far from his heavenly Father, gives us absolute hope and encouragement. The resurrection of the Lord tells us that in the end we too will be raised up by our loving, ever faithful God, who reserves the right to have the last word on everything!

God is again inviting us to share in the way God prizes things, and it is quite different from the wisdom the world. The greatest treasure in the world is something earthly wealth cannot come anywhere near.

I have a favourite saying, which has been of enormous help to me over the years, and has really re-ordered so many priorities in my life. It is this:
“There are two ways to be wealthy in this world… One is by having more money; and the other is by wanting less……”
It turns out a philosopher Michel de Montaigne beat me to the gist of that quote by a mere 422 years… However, the Bible said basically the same thing, some 1500 years before him and me !!! (The person who lives simply and has few needs, and has those needs provided, is the richest person in the world!) And they will never be in competition with others, so they are bound to win; because they are not only running in their own separate lane, but they are also running a completely different race.

There has been an alarming historical development in some corners of Christianity that equates faithful discipleship with riches in this life. It is a distorted philosophy known as the “gospel of wealth” - which suggests that those followers of Jesus who lead good and pleasing lives are assured of having wealth, possessions and good health in this life…And sometimes, (even worse), the opposite is also implied…. That is, if one is poor, unsuccessful or beset with troubles, they must somehow deserve it or may be lacking in faith or not have been good-enough disciples of Christ. We know this is simply not the true message of Christ. This kind of mindset is an awful mistake and actually adds to the suffering and pain of so many people; and the frustration of all who are striving to be loving disciples in the midst of many difficulties and tragedies. We know many, many people who have been the best and most loving of disciples for Christ, but who have suffered illness, persecution and loss of earthly wealth or status. We know of many cautionary (true) stories of people who have had everything this earth could offer but still were not satisfied; and we have also countless examples of those who had “not much” by this world’s standards and yet who were the most blessed and peaceful, and loving (even joy-filled) disciples of the Lord ever. The saints are our heroes, and virtually all of them had lifelong hardship, including poor health and many troubles and most of them had “not much to show for it” by earthly standards… but how happy are they, for the Lord’s love was dwelling in their hearts and they had a treasure (already in their earthly lives) that no earthly suffering or tragedy could ever steal away or destroy…. And their service of the Lord is rewarded in full in heaven….. God remained faithful to them to the end!

I think of that wonderful legend of a deacon in Rome, St Lawrence whose job it was to care for the material goods of the Church and the distribution of supplies to the poor. The Roman prefect started persecuting the church and demanded that St Lawrence hand over all the treasures of the Church. Saint Lawrence asked for three days to gather the treasures. In those three days he gave away all the material goods of the church to the poor. On the third day he came before the Prefect of Rome and brought forward the poor and said - " I present to you the poor, the crippled, the blind and the suffering. Here are the true treasures of the Church. To which I will add pearls and precious stones, those widows and consecrated virgins, which are the church's crown." The prefect was enraged by this statement……. And had Lawrence put to death! Even martyrdom could not rob Lawrence of the treasure he held in his heart.

Our Lord’s message largely warns his followers that following the right path, the path of the Gospel, may very well bring one ridicule, loss of wealth, position and status. The Lord warns us not to put our hopes in material success, money or fame…. Our Lord is the best example of what he promises us.. faithfulness through the suffering and death of himself on the cross.. the shedding of everything, except for love and faithfulness … … Being faithful to Christ.. being good and being the best one can be does not guarantee earthly success, wealth, health or even protection from those who oppose the message and values of Christ. But God does promise to remain with us through everything, even when we don’t feel God’s presence with us, God is there, and will be faithful to us into eternity.

Today’s gospel reminds us we cannot be the servant of two masters… it is either God or Money…. Not both… Saint Paul reminds us that we are to be servants of Christ and stewards, (caretakers) of God’s creation. This message would have made more sense in Jesus’ time than it even does today. Jesus is saying to the listeners two thousand years ago. Imagine having two masters! That would have gotten a big laugh. The idea of having two masters was ridiculous and impossible. A slave’s master was their owner. The slave’s time was completely at the whim of the owner. The slave had no time-off for themselves. They didn’t work a nine-to five job. They were are at the beck-and-call of the owner at all times. To have two owners was preposterous, because both owners would have total and complete call on every minute of the slave’s day, at the same time. The slave would be virtually torn in two. This is the image Our Lord is giving us. We cannot be God’s servants and then have other competing values, as if our Christianity is a part-time hobby. Its all and everything. There is another interesting thing here. The words used here for wealth mean “trusting in wealth.” Originally this meant, people would entrust their money to the banker to protect it, but it came to mean putting one’s trust and hope in money; like it was an idol or a god in itself! The image here is , once-upon-a-time we “kept money” but now it is “keeping us”! It ceases to become a tool for doing things and becomes an object and a goal in itself, and competes directly with the trust we need to be putting in God and God’s ways.

There is one last thing about this saying of Our lord. It has the suggestion of speaking about putting ones trust in dishonest wealth, that is unjustly gained money that oppresses and hurts others. This is what Christ is warning us about. This gives a deeper picture of his message to us.

Jesus also bids us to not worry. That is not easily done in this day and age.. There are so many worries in life… But Christ rightly points out that not a single second can be added to one’s lifespan through worry… in fact it might reduce its length…. So it encourages us to put our trust, our hopes and our efforts in the Lord, and his ways… which is the best investment in the things that last forever…. (God has given the world sufficient resources, if people shared them more justly).

Naturally this doesn’t mean we sit back and do nothing, or get rid of all our possessions and live destitute. But, whilst putting our trust in the Lord (and not in fleeting money or possessions – refusing to let our possessions end up possessing us rather than being instruments), we can still use our earthly resources responsibly and justly, in a spirit of detachment…. And work for those goals that fit with the gospel…. And also to actively work for the better distribution of the worlds goods, especially for those who are starving and in need of the basics of life…. But at the same time to trust in God and God’s values always… for they are the things that will always last and will never fail us.
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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

Barclay, W. (1975). The Gospel of Matthew. Part I. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press.

DeBona, G. (2013). Between the Ambo and the altar. 1st ed. Minnesota: Liturgical press.

Gutiérrez, G. and Dees, C. (1997). Sharing the Word through the liturgical year. 1st ed. Maryknoll: Orbis Books.

Link, M. (1992). Vision 2000. 1st ed. Allen, Tex.: Tabor Pub.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. (2017). [online] Biblehub.com. Available at: http://biblehub.com/strongs.htm [Accessed 17 Feb. 2017].
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Archive of homilies and reflections is: 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

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 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 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

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

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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 forever.

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 forever.
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 VII p.32

Euch Prayer Three p.58

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Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Catholic Reflections 592 : Homily Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 19, 2017

Homily Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 19, 2017

(Ruins in Corinth: source: 
https://www.historvius.com/images/original/Corinth-542.jpg )
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
       First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2. 17-18
       Psalm: Ps 102:1-4. 8. 10. 12-13.
The Lord is kind and merciful.
       Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
       Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
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Please listen to my audio “blog” of the readings, prayers and reflections for the
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 19, 2017 by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-7th-week-ordinary-year-a
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Last weekend, the readings and prayers at Mass invited us to allow God’s grace to form us into a suitable “home,” which is pleasing for God to live in…….. 

Continuing on from this idea of God “Grand Designing” us into a favourable dwelling in which the Lord will abide, … now we are challenged to go even deeper;… especially by Saint Paul in the second reading….. 

Now, Saint Paul says that we are not being formed into any old home for God,…… “We are invited to become not just an occasional holiday shack for God, but a permanent home and, (even moreso...), a “Temple” for God to live in.  And the Greek word for "temple" used here implies not just the facade of the Temple of Jerusalem, but the inner sanctuary - the "Holy of Holies" (where only one priest could enter at a time. Apparently the priest on duty had a rope tied around them so if they fainted or died while in this inner sanctuary they could be hauled out by the rope without anyone else entering!)   

So, each of us is invited to become an extremely holy place for God to dwell. 

What renovations do we need God’s grace to create in us, to make us a worthy place?  (a temple)? 

A temple is building which is “purpose built”. Every room and every item in that place is there for the purpose of worshiping God (who is present in that temple), and for doing God’s works. …… 

So, our lives, and everything about us, is similarly put to the use of God; We become willing instruments of God’s Kingdom…  We are God’s temple, says Saint Paul, and this is an amazing thought. . 

This weekend, with the Gospel, there are two words that bear deeper reflection; and need a bit of clarification.  

Firstly we are told by Jesus:  “Be perfect as your Heavenly father is perfect” – 
This is not an invitation to perfectionism (which is quite a different thing).  
In fact, we actually see in Our Lord’s life and ministry, that he was the opposite of a “nit-picking” legalist, who was prickly around other people because they didn’t do everything “just right.” The Greek word “perfect,” here, actually means “telios” that is (like the word ‘telescope’)/ an unfolding to achieve its maximum potential/  achieving full capacity/ Reaching maturity/ Becoming whole or complete…/  ”To be best suited for its purpose”…. (For example.. a ‘tailored suit’ is telios – that is, it is designed to perfectly fit the wearer’s proportions)
….
So, we are invited to allow God’s Kingdom to fit us like a designer Baptismal garment/.. matching just right !/ …. But, we are the ones who are being shaped to fit God’s ways, and not the opposite... of us trying to cut-down God’s Kingdom to suit our convenience.   

The second problematic saying is “love your enemies”… 
This is an extremely difficult teaching.. “Pray for those who hurt you”…… 
Firstly the Greek word used here is not like the love of husband and wife. Also, this word is (understandably) nothing like the love one has for a family member or a close friend…. It is ‘agape” - That is, the different kind of love that wishes well to the other, shows basic human respect, and indicates an act of reason. It is not so much a love coming from the heart, but (surprisingly in this situation), it is a decision (made by the head, and enabled by a conscious, considered resolution), 

It is a deliberate choice to SHOW respect/ kindness, restraint, and regard to all people, irrespective of their actions, and irrespective of our feelings towards them. 

For doing this is mirroring how God treats us all. 

(This does NOT mean that we become doormats or punching bags for Christ ! That would be unjust and unacceptable. And in any case, Jesus is giving this teaching to disciples, most of whom would have been quite capable of knocking the head off someone who slapped them even once!  Christ’s new followers would have needed to use their willpower not to strike back !. Christ is teaching us that, Abiding in God’s love, we don’t have to lower our response or attitude, to that of those who seek to harm us. We do not need to return evil for evil – which would simply continue the vicious cycle of violence and hate.  

This is asking of us something that does not come naturally. The bonds of natural affection and friendship are in some ways easier, but this is about the call of God’s love - not the limits of the “bare minimum” God might expect. 

To the demands of law, there are always limitations …./ But to the claims of love, there is no limit/  And such a concept as “limits” makes no sense, to one who loves.

“A basic mistake in earthly wisdom is to think of life in terms of law, instead of love. If we love a person deeply, passionately, humbly and selflessly, we will be quite sure that (in a poetic sense) if we were to give that person all we possessed, we will still be in default; That if we gave that person the sun, the moon and the stars, we will still be in debt, (a willing debt of love, that is !)/ ‘One who is in love is always in debt’; The last thing that enters their mind is that they have earned a reward or can demand a response. If a person has a legalistic view of life, they may think constantly in terms of reward that has been won and what is “owed” to them;/ But, if a person has a loving view of life, the idea of reward would be jarring. …. (Again, here I think of parents… They love their children unconditionally… They give because they love… If they were doing it for reward or expecting the balance sheet one day to be truly “evened up”…., they will most certainly be waiting a long time !…… but that is not how a loving parent acts… and God does not think that way either… 

(Jesus invites us to enter into this mindset deeper and deeper each day). 

How much is sufficient? how much is enough? when giving to one’s beloved?…..
(how long is a piece of string?) …. It is a totally different way of seeing the world…”# 

So, Are we ready for this astounding invitation, from today’s Gospel?“A person will be perfect (‘teleios’) (GSN5046) …. (or to put it more precisely… “mature and fit for the purpose for which we were created),” when we reflect the image and likeness of God, (for that is what God intended from the beginning of creation) (The Book of Genesis).

God’s qualities are: A universal benevolence and kindness, an unconquerable goodwill, 
A constant seeking of the highest good of every person. 
God is love and shows love (to saint and to sinner alike). 
No matter what people do in response, God seeks nothing but their highest good. 

Jesus is laying down three great rules—(which I feel anxious to lay down without watering it down or explaining it away, even though it calls us to go deeper than is comfortable or familiar)….The Christian avoids resentment or retaliation for insults, 
(no matter how deliberate); returning kindness and reverence, in the face of injury. 

The Christian does not stand or fall upon their legal rights or on any other rights they may believe themselves to possess; The Christian thinks not about their right to do as they like, but rather think always of our duty to be of help, and to do good work with all our ability for the glory of God. We cannot achieve this alone. This can ONLY be achieved when the grace and love of God abides in us and flows outwards, into actions of kindness, mercy and compassion. “When we love, we are a sign and sacrament of the Kingdom of God… And, Jesus says to us:  ‘Love !, (not as others love but as I love), and BE that SIGN !”   
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References:

Fr Paul W. Kelly

Strong’s Biblical Concordance: HelpsBible.com . copyright © 1987, 2011 by Helps Ministries, Inc.

# Barclay, W. (1975). The Gospel of MATTHEW. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press.

Cronin, G. (2003). Celebrating the Gospels. 1st ed. Liguori, Mo.: Liguori.

DeBona, G. (2013). Between the Ambo and the altar. 1st ed. Minnesota: Liturgical press.

Hodge, Vincent.  Note on the Greek word for "Temple," used in 1 Corinthians 3:17,  also see http://www.godrules.net/library/strongs2b/gre3485.htm 


Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, 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.
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

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 forever

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 forever.
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 VI p.31

Euch prayer two p.56

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Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.



Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Catholic Reflections 591 : Homily Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 12, 2017

Homily Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 12, 2017



First Reading: Sirach 15:15-20
Psalm: Ps 118:1-2. 4-5. 17-18. 33-34. Happy are they who follow the law of the Lord.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37
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Please listen to my audio “blog” of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 19, 2017 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-6th-sunday-ordinary-a
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The readings this weekend have some beautiful recurring themes….  

The law “abiding in our hearts”…. 

God training us in his ways, so that God's law is alive “in our hearts….”   

There is a superb line in the opening prayer (the collect) that sums this up wonderfully…

O God, (you)  teach us that you come and make your home in hearts that are just and true,
grant that we may be “so fashioned by your grace”
as to become a dwelling (place) pleasing to you.

On tv there are a lot of programmes about designing your own home…   and I absolutely love those shows…   “Grand Designs”….   “Selling homes Australia” …..and even looking at the different styles of home in “escape to the country,”  as people look for the perfect home to match their life-styles and needs…. I love architechture shows….   Buildings are works of art that you move around in and live in…  it is wonderful……   

People’s homes are designed differently depending on their priorities…   many have very large lounge-kitchen areas because they love entertaining and having people over for meals, so they need this big space…   others may have an enormous room for their work-space… like a art or craft area..  as this means a lot to them…   some houses are "minimalist"…  some are ornate….   Some cluttered…  some sparse…..    A person who spends only a few hours sleeping might make their bedroom not much bigger than a closet whilst others who want this place to be an oasis of peace might be big…   those who like to cook want good spacious kitchen.. whilst those who eat out might be happy with a little nook…  houses are best designed to fit the needs of the people living in them…..  

Our Lord uses the image of a building or a home quite a few times in the Scriptures….   And it is a symbol referring not to real bricks and mortar but to our lives…  ourselves..  our hearts….  God wants our hearts to become a "Grand Design" according to the specifications of The Kingdom of Heaven and the Gospel of Jesus!
       

It is good for us to ask ourselves….   What kind of Spiritual house are we building?   What are the foundation stones upon which we build our dwelling place that is our lives.//.  ourselves…//.   Have we used only the best foundations...  Christ and his Gospel, or have we cut corners using inferior material, or a cheap mixture of other values which will destabilise the whole building?

What kind of house do we live in… 

what rooms have we made bigger because of our lifestyle… 
what are small because of our needs…
 and what do we keep in the attic or in the basement?

As we design our spiritual home…

have we allowed for a room where other people and their needs and feelings are welcome ?….  

Have we left space for a big pantry … to nourish the needy?…. 

Have we installed a generous area in our spiritual home for mercy, compassion and gentleness….   

Is there enough room in our home for God…  space for God to abide?…or have we cluttered our home with "things"  and distractions?

Have we installed enough  'spiritual' bookshelves, to explore the wisdom of God, and do we take the the time to "read" from this heavenly resource…..  

are we on guard against the ‘rising damp’ of envy, resentment, anger

….   Are we watching out for and taking action against the white ants of gossip and negativity?…  

have we built up big walls and fences out of fear and isolation?…..   

- are we away from our spiritual home, (distant  from our own hearts) … so much that we spend little quality time with God, the “star-guest” abiding there…

…. These, of course, are all symbols for our spiritual temple…  (ourselves.../ speaking metaphorically). But they are powerful tools for reflection……

  The gospel is asking us to do this same uncluttering and re-ordering with our lives and our priorities and our spiritual self too……   and Our Lord invites us to enter ever-deeper into the meaning of God’s law…  which is not a set of severe restrictions, but an expression of the deeper reality of God’s love, God’s values and God’s desires for each of our lives…

Today's Gospel is summed up beautifully in this quote from British writer, Michael Green: "(God's) Law is not the limit of obedience; it is to be seen rather as the springboard for a life of devotion to Jesus and his Father. It is the kerbing along the road of love."1.

The law is never meant to be the end in itself, but rather an expression or distillation of the values that it seeks to promote and protect. When people focus on the letter of the law they are really losing sight of the forest for the trees, and losing the point.

Jesus was warning the Pharisees that this is exactly what they have ended up doing. They need to go deeper into the meaning and Spirit behind the law or become irrelevant.

Jesus is saying to us… "GO DEEPER!!" …  explore the deep foundations of your faith and life………
Don't just stay on the surface. Jesus is inviting us to dive deeply into the full meaning of being a loving disciple who fully “lives out” the reality of their true membership as a son or a daughter of God.

So, for a disciple who dives deep into the meaning of ways…. 
it is not good enough merely to keep the literal commandments; for example,  by 'not killing anyone' because living in Christ means much more than “not doing” a lot of things……We strive for the fullness of the meaning of Christ….…..  so we desire…  not only not to kill…..  but even more so… not to have anger and hatred against our brother or sister too.

It is not sufficient to say "I have never actually been unfaithful" when it is possible to break the spirit of this command by living a life of disrespect in the way one looks at or de-personalizes, objectifies, or speaks or treats others.
It is not good enough to do everything in the 'name of Jesus' if my ordinary everyday 'yes' is not reliable, or my 'no' does not mean what it says.

And, finally.. the first reading invites us to never blame God for our own failings: "Do not say it is the Lord's doing that I fell away." These are merely hollow excuses. This is not taking fully, free, Christian responsibility. We are reminded quite sharply that  The Lord gave true freedom to us…  but in order to do good. We can choose our options, but we must realise the consequences…   some choices in life are lifegiving.. and they are God’s ways…   other choices are not and bring harm. ….    God never gave us this freedom so that we have permission to sin or to ignore his laws. Yes, God has given us true freedom, but this is a freedom to live God's law and to act responsibly.


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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

Between the Ambo and the Altar. Biblical Preaching and the Roman Missal, Year A. Guerric DeBona, OSB.
ISBN: 978-0-8146-3484-4

My Daily Visitor, (Our Sunday Visitor).

Break Open the Word.
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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


Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
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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

We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection 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 Ordinary V p.31

Euch prayer two p.56

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Go forth, the Mass is ended.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Catholic Reflections 590 : Homily Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 5, 2017

Homily Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - Sunday, February 5, 2017

First reading. Isaiah 58:7-10

Responsorial Psalm 111(112):4-9. “A Light rises in the darkness for the upright”

Second reading. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 

Gospel. Matthew 5:13-16

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Please visit this link to hear my audio presentation of the readings, prayers and reflection for the fifth Sunday of ordinary Time
https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-5th-sunday-ordinary-a   
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The image of ‘salt of the earth’ is a very good one. In Jesus’ day, salt was a very precious commodity. It was extremely valuable and useful. Salt was considered the purest thing you could get, because it was a product of only Sea and Sun. Salt was considered worthy to offer with sacrifices because of its purity. What seems to be suggested here is ‘purity’ in the broadest sense of people who do not let their standards drop in relation to their work, their high standard of honesty, speech, behaviour and morality.(*)
 
Salt was also considered one of the best preservatives; it would keep things from going bad.(*)
 
And of course, salt adds flavour to food, which would otherwise be bland and tasteless…(*)
 
So, Christians, by their actions, attitudes and the way they live their lives;  are called to be people who do not lower their standards, who preserve all that is best and life-giving in the community, and who add flavour to life and to the community.   This is a very beautiful image.  
 
So, this weekend’s readings remind us that we are called to be a positive example and a good influence in the world.
 
The first reading is really quite wonderful. It is an excellent answer to the constant question of the Christian disciple:  “Lord, what must we do?”
The answer is very practical: “Your light will shine when you give food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, clothe the naked, support our family, unburden the oppressed, act justly and speak lovingly.” Christ’s light will shine whenever we act with mercy, kindness, compassion, and with justice and practical charity.”
 
This is how we are to let our light shine….

This is how we can “love tenderly, act justly and walk humbly with our God” – in these very practical ways! It is a powerful reminder that one of the most effective and inspiring and practical way we proclaim Christ’s gospel message of God’s love and kindness is by our actions. Actions speak louder than words and allows the light of Christ to shine through brightly in the world.
 
And, in the second reading, we again see the instruction that it is essential that we put our hope and dependence on God and not merely our own human willpower, strength or ambitions.We are disciples of the Kingdom of God. we are not here to build up the Kingdom of "self"
 
The last part of the Gospel gives us a refreshing reference point for our behaviour.  It can help us re-focus on what motivates our actions and words:   We ARE called to be an example and an influence in society. We should not feel shy about this, but we should also be aware that our good works are not from our own personal "worthiness" or ability, but flowing, rather, from God’s graciousness and love. We are called upon to do good works and not hide our talents and abilities, but always with this condition: We are called to do good works in order that God will receive the glory and the praise.  So, if the good that we do, leads to a greater appreciation, praise and worship of God, this is consistent with the gospel;  But, if the good we do leads us primarily to more and more personal credit and personal praise (or attention), then we haven’t quite got it right according to this gospel today. Everything we do is best directed to turning our minds, and hearts, (and those around us), towards Jesus Christ the Lord:  The true source of love, grace and compassion and the true focus of all our praise and attention. 
 +++++
References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

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

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

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (be with you always)…. 
+++++++++++++
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

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 One p.49
++++
Go in peace.



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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Catholic Reflections 589 : Homily Fourth Sunday in ordinary Time, Year A - 29th January, 2017

Homily Fourth Sunday in ordinary Time, Year A - 29th January, 2017

First Reading: Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13
Psalm: Ps 145:7-10.Happy the poor in spirit, the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12
+++
Please visit this link to listen to my audio programme of the Readings, Prayers and reflections of the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A.
God bless,
https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-4th-ordinary-a
Fr Paul


+++

 

This weekend we hear the wonderful Beatitudes..  (You can imagine and visualise Our Lord teaching this message on a cool, breezy day on a steep mountain;  where there is a beautiful natural amphitheatre, running down to the Sea of Galilee –-  In Jerusalem the site traditionally held to be the place of the sermon on the Mount, is a magnificent and peaceful setting).

In the Beatitudes reading, ………..the first of the “blessed’s” (and arguably the key to all of the others .. and a key to an enormously significant cornerstone to Christ’s gospel…..is this….. Blessed are those who know they are spiritually poor.  (the Greek word here is really powerful…..  It doesn’t just mean having to work with not much backing…  it means someone who is destitute…   crouching or cowering…   with no support at all……)  That is, when we admit our absolute need for God, and (let go of our “ego” and surrender the idea of complete self-sufficiency)  then we are truly open to the Kingdom of God and the Gospel of Our Lord. ……//  In so many instances in the Scriptures… and we see it so many times in our lives too…   how often does pride and ego get in the road of harmony and goodwill?  How much damage does pride and ego do, and how often?  (I have taken of recent years whenever I feel tempted to have hurt feelings over something to pray to God to heal my pride and my ego.. which can be a trap for any of us – it is almost counter-intuitive, but I find recognising my lowliness, my need, my poverty of spirit is strangely liberating, and “takes the wind out” of so many unnecessary worries and hurts and turns me back to God’s grace and the support and sharing of those around me. .

The second reading backs this message up completely…  Saint Paul says to the corinthians..   “can’t you see…   most of you in Corinth are not the rich and famous or the powerful and influential…  you are looked-down-on by earthly society as being nothing special..  But God is using those who know they have “not much” to commend; because they are utterly open and receptive to the message and invitation of God’s kingdom….     God is using the weak, and those who are not wise by earthly standards, to shame human wisdom!   Christ taught us that it is very challenging for the “self-sufficient,” and the “influential,” the “rich” or the “self-righteous,” to detach themselves from these earthly support structures and put their hope and trust entirely in God’s grace and love..(The only thing that lasts – the only thing that will not fail). The poor and needy do it instinctively for they simply must throw themselves on God’s mercy.. As they have been given nothing much else to help them…
     

Jesus teaches us in this same sermon that whenever we recognise the dignity, uniqueness, different needs and qualities of all others – and have empathy for others…..  When we notice and feel for the pain of others….   //   To all who deeply care about the feelings of people around them and take their needs and feelings into consideration in our decisions and actions…Blessed are you !….   For you are acting as Christ acts.//  Whenever we show “ever-more-deeper” gentleness, kindness, and reverence to others, even when we might not agree in every issue…//….,,, we become more and more Christ-like

Blessed are they who long for the fullness of goodness and justice;…  the way a starving person hungers for food….   The way someone who is thirsty craves desperately for water…….   They shall have their thirst quenched….     They who long for fairness and justice and want the "whole thing"…  this is the person who knows it is not enough to be satisfied with a partial good. Blessed is the one who hungers and thirsts for the goodness which is complete. This is not the same as unrealistic and picky perfectionism - For such a person desires not cold and heartless self-righteousness or superiority; but neither would they settle for an insincere outward show of ”pretend warm-heartedness” or goodness – but they long for the “real thing” to show true kindness and warm compassion, in all circumstances; -- which is to be found by God’s grace alone….   -

And peacemakers;  “re-builders” and ‘repairers”  --  people of forgiveness -  who do not repay hurt for hurt … but rather return compassion and concern and pierced-sorrow, in the face of wrongs done to them or to others….  Blessed are those who can Forgive, (looking upon hurt and mistakes like a loving parent looks upon the hurts caused by the child they simply could never stop loving).    and may we also accept forgiveness…And be honest and constructive, working always for peace and harmony.

Something that “would make forgiveness, and tolerance ever so much easier is one principle in life which we can sometimes lost sight of:  -  “There is always a reason why a person thinks and acts as they do?  It may not make much sense to us, but there is some reason….  It may not always appear to be a good reason….  But if we knew the reasons people do what they do, it would be so much easier to understand and to sympathize and to forgive. There is a French saying that sums this up… “to know all, is to forgive all”  -  Or as the novel war and peace said “the old man forgave much, because he understood much.”  We admit that we only know things partially… and only God knows everything…   which is why God is so very kind and merciful. 

And finally,..   The Lord encourages and gives new heart to all who do good even when they are ridiculed or opposed for it… Stand strong, the Lord says, you will be proved to be on the right path….  God’s path….. and you will be satisfied in full.  


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

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. Volume I. (Chapters 1 to 10). REVISED EDITION. Translated with an Introduction and Interpretationby WILLIAM BARCLAY. THE WESTMINSTER PRESS. PHILADELPHIA. Revised EditionCopyright (c) 1975

Sharing The Word Through The Liturgical Year. by Gustavo GutiĆ©rrez.  Published by Orbis Books ( November 1st 1997)

http://biblehub.com/interlinear/matthew/4.htm

strong’s biblical concordance and greek definitions
https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g2424  and other related strong’s greek links.

+++
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

Fourth Sunday in ordinary Time, Year A

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 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

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 forever.
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

Eucharistic Prayer II p.56

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


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