Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Catholic Reflections 598 : Homily Fifth Sunday of Lent. Year A. - Sunday, April 2, 2017


Homily Fifth Sunday of Lent. Year A.  - Sunday, April 2, 2017

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
       First Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14
       Psalm: Ps 129. “
With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.
       Second Reading: Romans 8:8-11
       Gospel: John 11:1-45
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Please listen to my audio “blog” of the readings, prayers and reflections for the
Fifth Sunday of Lent. Year A.  - Sunday, April 2, 2017 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-lent-week-5-a 

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How inspiring the Gospel is of the Raising of Lazarus.  It speaks of the fact that Jesus is the Lord of the Resurrection. He not only rose from the dead but he put an end to death forever and promised us that all who trust in him will be called forth from the tomb like Lazarus, on the Last Day, the day of the Resurrection.  Meanwhile, we believe that those who have died are enjoying the rewards of eternal life in heaven until they are united body and soul at the great Resurrection on the last day.

But, the gospel means even more than this. Jesus shows us that God is at work bringing new life and resurrection to us who are still alive and on this earth.  Jesus (in so many ways) wants to raise us up, here and now, to a new and fulsome way of living and loving. God is constantly at work to resurrect us and bring new life (and changed life) to those who have suffered the many and varied ‘little deaths’ that comes along life’s path.

Jesus is also the Lord of New Beginnings, New ways of looking at things and New starts.  May God raise us up in many different ways in our present life!

 “Lazarus, come forth!!.....Unbind him, set him free !”

These words called lazarus out of the tomb.  They are beautiful words……. Words have power.  Words can create new realities…….

When Jesus called out … “Lazarus, come forth!!!”   people objected…  “but..  it will be foul!!”  -   But their fears were unfounded. 
 
In our lives..  we may be trapped in many metaphorical tombs……  and when Jesus calls us forward to new ways, we might be tempted to say..  but lord…  what you will find …stinks….   It is past fixing..  it is too awful to bring to light…  we must trust that the Lord knows what he is doing….  We ought NEVER be afraid that any situation in our lives, any sin, any mistake is beyond fixing…   it is not…  it might, in our eyes, stink…  but God knows what he is doing.. we can trust in him and come forth into the light.. and to a newness of life…..  
 
This gospel reminds us that words are indeed filled with power……  and of course, I truly believe there is one single WORD who gives power to all other words and phrases.. and it is the person and message of Jesus, who is THE WORD of God……  the word made flesh…..   Jesus is a DOING word, so the word of God, is a verb…….
 
SO, Jesus said a lot of words to people in his ministry…  sometimes the things he said really challenged the faith of those who were with him……   In the gospel today, jesus talks to them about God having the final say on suffering and death……   / Jesus is powerfully SHOWING that HE DOES CARE…. HE DOES LOVE US…..  HE DOES truly CARE WHEN PEOPLE SUFFER, GRIEVE, DIE…   ….  OR FEEL TRAPPED BY THEIR PAST SINS or MISTAKES….. HE CRIES WITH US…..  HE SIGHS FROM THE HEART FOR US……..    AND HE SPEAKS WORDS OF CHANGE….. 
 
BE HEALED
 
BE FORGIVEN
 
BE FREED….
 
I GIVE YOU ETERNAL LIFE….
 
Some other very special words have a powerful effect because they are so intimately connected with Jesus’ values//  his message and qualities about himself that they convey the qualities they describe….
 
these words are powerful, as though the Spirit hovering over them fills them with resonance…..  words such as
 
“Your sins are forgiven”
 
“Your debt is cancelled”
 
“Be Freed”  /  “Be released”
 
“Be Opened”
 
“BE upLIFTED FROM YOUR BURDENS”
 
“lazarus – COME-forth …… //   now unbind him…. set him free!”
 
“This is my body broken for you…..   This is my blood poured out for you as a new covenant”
 
I love these words….  I know you do too……    they fill us with hope… but more than that… they immediately begin achieving what they say…….  
  
Surely it is only Divine love that can truly fill us with life again….……  freed, healed, forgiven….  Always LOVED.

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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly


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

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

Fifth Sunday of Lent. 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.

Have mercy on us, O Lord.
For we have sinned against you.
Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
And grant us your salvation.
May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
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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Sunday Lent V

Eucharistic Prayer III p.58

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Go in peace.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Catholic Reflections 597 : Homily Fourth Sunday of Lent. A - Sunday, March 26, 2017

Homily Fourth Sunday of Lent. A - Sunday, March 26, 2017


THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1. 6-7. 10-13
Psalm: Ps 22. “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14

Gospel: John 9:1-41
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Please listen to my audio “blog” of the readings, prayers and reflections for the
Fourth Sunday of Lent. A - Sunday, March 26, 2017 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-4th-sunday-lent-a
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People throughout the world unite in prayer and compassion at the sad news of the terrorist attack in London. We pray for the victims and everyone affected by this violent, senseless act. Let us pray deeply for peace in the world and in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. 

The readings this weekend are powerful and a really clear view of how God thinks and acts quite differently from human thinking and understanding… we who follow Jesus are invited to think and act more and mor with the mind and heart of God and less like the flawed logic of the world…..


In the first reading, King David is chosen by God; and he is not the most likely of the candidates, judging by purely human standards….Each of the seven sons of Eli would come forward, and yet God did not choose any of them…. Instead, God chooses the youngest and most unlikely of the sons, the shepherd-boy, David. It reminds us that humans look at appearances….. but God sees into the heart.

This is an age-old message, but how often do we fall for judging by appearances and not been able to see the truth because of pre-formed assumptions.// God has warned us, time and time again, but it is all too easy to fall for this trap.

This gospel featuring the cure of the blind man and the extraordinary response of the religious authorities around Jesus, is really quite a delightful and intriguing chapter. It is a superb case-study in “spiritual blindness and pride”…. The experts in God’s law REFUSE to see what is right in front of them.. and its obvious to everyone….. They twice ask the man how he came to see again but they refuse to listen to his answer or accept it… this man now sees the truth of the gospel but they call him a sinner and will not listen to his experience…….and accuse him of never being able to understand anything… so they think they have nothing to learn from him and learn nothing from him……They look but do not see, they listen but do not understand… they are answered but refuse to accept…. They are invited into God’s Kingdom and refuse.. calling it the opposite….. truly astounding…


We are told the Lord went looking for this once blind man and spoke to him……..Now, not only has the man got his physical sight back… …..but now, he can see Jesus with the eyes of faith, which is an even greater gift that he has received from the Lord…. 

The man believes in what Jesus tells him and worships him.

The experts in the law, and those considered publicly righteous, do not respond in the way they should to Jesus.
These people will not let go of their stubborn and wrong beliefs. This gospel and the teachings of Jesus make it quite clear that God is a God of love who wants nothing but that which is for our good… for all people….. …..In the midst of the hurts, disappointments and tragedies of life God’s hand is to be seen at work not in the cause of these disasters, but rather, God is seen at work ….in the hands of those who help to heal and rebuild //…. God is in the midst of us,/ suffering with us,/ and sometimes for us, and always with us……helping to bring life and hope out of even the worst that the world throws up at us….

Today’s gospel reminds us that Ultimately, anything done in the name of religion that does not foster greater love of God, and love of neighbour as one self, is not authentic Christianity.

To go through the outward observances of the law and then go out and act unjustly, or without compassion or mercy or consideration and kindness towards others, is a contradiction in terms. 

In this time of Lent, particularly, may the lord show us any areas of spiritual blindness within our lives……and open us up to love more and more as he calls us to do.


A sobering lesson in this gospel is here for everyone… This man whom people judged to be a sinner, had understood the truth and meaning of Jesus better than the seemingly righteous and apparently “sinless” experts in the law. They could not get past their prejudices and pre-formed judgements of this man as a sinner and a lowly nobody… so they would not listen to his experience.. They would not give him the time of day….. But he had the enlightenment of Christ within him….. May the Lord help us to see beyond appearances, avoid jumping to conclusions based on outward qualities alone…. and help us to be open to everyone around us…. open to hear the good news in the most surprising places.. and people…

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

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

Fourth Sunday of Lent. 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 were sent to heal the contrite of heart. Lord, have mercy.// You came to call sinners:Christ, have mercy. //You are seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us: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.

Preface:  Fourth Sunday Lent 

Eucharistic Prayer I p.49

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Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Catholic Reflections 596 : Homily Third Sunday of Lent. A - Sunday, March 19, 2017

Homily Third Sunday of Lent. A - Sunday, March 19, 2017


[IMAGE: Samaritan Woman at the Well, by He Qi ]

Exodus 17:3-7. The people are thirsty. Moses provides the water. The conflict becomes epic.

Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9. Meribah and Massah become synonyms for hardened human hearts. “
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."

Romans 5:1-2, 5-8. Faith brings peace, peace leads to hope, and hope in God does not disappoint.

John 4:5-42. A Jew and a Samaritan talk about water, religion, and the truth.

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Please listen to my audio “blog” of the readings, prayers and reflections for the
Third Sunday of Lent. A - Sunday, March 19, 2017 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-3rd-sunday-lent-year-a
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People are thirsty in the readings this weekend…  and it is very topical, because people in many areas are truly thirsty for water…   water to drink…  water for their crops and stock…  water for their businesses….    (Thanks to God for all the areas that have recently received some rain, and we continue to pray for the areas that continue to need it).

 
We know all too well that “Water is essential”… Without it we don’t have life…  we don’t have produce and business…….we have limited ability to wash clean.....

Jesus knew this… as he sat in the heat of the day, exhausted, and waiting patiently for someone to come along and give him a drink of refreshing water. (For he was without a bucket)...…. 

But he himself had something to offer….   He had the waters of eternal life… the waters of baptism.. the life-giving water of God’s word….    The eternal, living water of life that is his life, his teaching, his suffering, his death and his resurrection…   all done for us…  to connect us forever to God’s life….  

 
Jesus’ way of relating to the Samaritan woman is wonderfully human and inspiring. Jesus indicates that he knows all about this woman’s life already and that he not speaking to her out of ignorance.....He commends her for her own perception and clarity …..    Jesus, after all, is not here to condemn and to distance, but to gather and to include…..    He is truly interested in her spiritual welfare…  and he offers her what he offers us all..   the waters of eternal life……   The woman accepts his offer and goes and tells everyone. Without that familiar, non-judgemental, compassionate, kind and outgoing connection with others, we cannot hope to tell people about Jesus and expect them to come and see for themselves….  

Christ shows us that welcoming, kindly encounter that is always at the heart of our encounter with the Lord…..    May we be like a refreshing drink of living water to all we meet and encounter and respond to in our lives, in our homes in our community….. 
 
We all need nourishment, people thirst for much more than water and food…. to be a whole and fulfilled person. And many who have their fill of food and water are still thirsting for the more lasting things!!

  
May our life-giving desires and needs be met….   And may our gospel-consistent thirsts be satisfied….  Also, may any of our thirst which are not of Christ’s gospel, NOT life-giving or consistent with Jesus' values,// may these inconsistent desires lessen with every new day.  

 
Jesus' main desire was to give, to serve…to love and to include….   His thirst was to share what he had with the Father with all people….  That is a very generous thirst that was all consuming for him….. It so very inspiring to see that (although we are told in the gospel passage that Jesus was extremely tired and thirsty), his thirst to give people the good news of his Father and to give them a share in his Kingdom was more pressing than his physical needs.  Even when he was thirsty and tired, he could not stop speaking of what was even more important than meeting immediate needs.
 
Saint Paul makes a point of this in today’s second reading too….. Jesus loves us so much that he does not do anything for want of repayment or reward. He does not act for what he can get out of a situation or what he can gain personally. In fact, St Paul points out that Jesus saved us when we were unworthy and sinful and not warranting any of the things he gave us. Christ gives us his love, mercy and salvation…. out of God’s overflowing love and generosity, not because it has been earnt by us. God loves and wants to save us and include us. This is wonderful news. May we respond by being open to God's Spirit of Love to be poured ever-deeply into our hearts; -  so that everything we do and say is motivated service and self-sacrifice -  And by a deep inner thirst to generously share with everyone, God's love and kindness.

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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly
(1) MONASTERY OF CHRIST IN THE DESERT. ABBOT'S HOMILY.

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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

Third Sunday of Lent. A

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.
option two on the cards/ Have mercy on us, O Lord./ For we have sinned against you./ Show us, O Lord, your mercy. And grant us your salvation.
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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.

Sunday Lent III

Eucaristic Prayer II p.56

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Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Catholic Reflections 595 : Homily: Second Sunday of Lent. Year A. Sunday 12 March 2017

Homily: Second Sunday of Lent. Year A. Sunday 12 March 2017



First reading   Genesis 12:1-4
Responsorial Psalm. 32(33):4-5,18-20,22
Second reading. 2 Timothy 1:8-10
Gospel. Matthew 17:1-9
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Please listen to my audio-recording of this weekend’s readings, prayers and reflections for Second Sunday of Lent. Year A by clicking this link:  
https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-lent-2a
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This gospel incident of Our Lord being transfigured on the mountain is a significant moment in the revelation of Christ’s true nature…..

One scripture commentator asks a good question about what the disciples saw on the mountaintop. “Was Jesus transformed, or were his disciples’ eyes opened?" That is, on one special day, for a few precious seconds, they glimpsed fully, astoundingly the glorious truth about their friend and teacher, Jesus, - the Truth that was always there – whether seen or not!  Whether realized by others or not

This incident of Jesus’ transfiguration in front of Peter, James, and John, teaches us that we, too, can catch a glimpse of God’s glory. All that is required is a willingness to be truly open to the unexpected as revealed by Christ.


In this revelation of Christ, the Heavenly father says…  “this is my son… I am well pleased with him… listen to him!”   -  As Fr Nicholas mentions on the front page of the newsletter this weekend…  listening is more than just hearing…  it means really being open to learn and to understand….   It means an real openness  to see and hear the “new” and the “different.” Christ is inviting us, rather, to go deeper and see what lies within.

The fact is, Jesus wasn’t actually momentarily glorified.... He was always glorious… He was always "shining brightly"… In every moment of his life… 

He was utterly alive with the glory of being both fully God and fully human… However, for most of the time, people saw this ordinary man as just another person walking the same dusty roads that everyone else walked! The disciples only glimpsed this inner glory occasionally.. but it was always there… It didn’t come and go at different times of his life, even if it was more obvious at some high-points than other times. Christ shone with glory in what he did, and what he said, in his priorities and in his teachings….. He was glorious in the everyday and the ordinary, as well as the extraordinary. This little glimpse, by the apostles, of Christ’s glory on the mountaintop, was trying to teach us to see and hear with the eyes of faith always… the apostles were encouraged to keep looking for the glory of his truth even when they came back down from the mountain-top. The message of the Father, (and to us) is “This is my Son, listen to him always and everywhere; be open to him and what he says and does!”

We Christians also shine with the light of Christ in us….   We have received the light of Christ at our baptism… we are children of the Light….   We carry the light of Christ to all we meet….
We are called to shine that light for all to see, so that people can in turn worship God, the source of that light…

We have seen, (throughout the generations), people whose lives have been truly transfigured by God’s love and grace…. They are people we have known who truly shine with God’s love and graciousness…. 
......People who certainly do radiate God’s love, forgiveness, compassion, reverence, gentleness, peacefulness  and kindness….. Their faces almost literally shine out with God’s love…

And it is not the glow of good health, or a good moisturiser, or the radiance of good fortune....or even the glow of youth....    .. This radiating love, (and I am sure you have witnessed this too), is found in people of every age, and situation... People who shine out with God’s love, even when extreme ill health, misfortune and so on, are very much part of their daily lives…

It is truly God’s grace that shines out….   For us, Christ’s light transfigures us whenever we open ourselves fully to him, and his message and values. As I speak, the person who immediately springs to mind is the wonderful Saint Teresa of Calcutta, whose life shone out with Christ's light in everything she did and said, even as age and ill-health weighed heavily on her, Christ's light shining through her, was never dimmed.

The power of God’s word to transform us is very, very strong, but it can be watered-down, domesticated or minimised to keep things unchallenging and safe. We must listen deeply and be always open to the new and unexpected; and to anticipate being surprised, delighted, unsettled and transformed by God's living word.

The transfiguration calls us all to continue really listening to the Father’s beloved Son; and to expect to hear new and surprising things that are worth listening to, and worth being transformed into.
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REFERENCES:

FR. PAUL W. KELLY


Second Sunday of Lent - 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.
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,* through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
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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.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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.

Second Sunday of Lent (year A)

Eucharistic Prayer III p.58

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Go forth, the Mass is ended.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Lent 2 A (interim)


Homily: Second Sunday of Lent. Year A. Sunday 12 March 2017

First reading   Genesis 12:1-4
Responsorial Psalm. 32(33):4-5,18-20,22
Second reading. 2 Timothy 1:8-10
Gospel. Matthew 17:1-9
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Due to bereavement, the final version of this weekend will be posted late Friday or Saturday morning/ my apologies for the delay. 

Please listen to my audio-recording of this weekend’s readings, prayers and reflections for Second Sunday of Lent. Year A by clicking this link:  (coming soon)
+++
The message from the Heavenly Father to his beloved disciples at the Transfiguration (on top of the mountain) was “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased… LISTEN TO HIM.”

One scripture commentator asks a good question about what the disciples saw on the mountaintop. “Was Jesus transformed, or were his disciples transformed?" That is, these three friends of Jesus were not a particularly well-schooled group of people, especially when it came to formal religious training. But on one special day, for a few precious seconds, they glimpsed fully, astoundingly the glorious truth about their friend and teacher, Jesus, - the Truth that was always there – seen or not! 

This incident of Jesus’ transfiguration in front of Peter, James, and John, teaches us that we, too, can catch a glimpse of God’s glory. All that is required is a willingness to be truly open to the unexpected as revealed by Christ. We are invited to be truly open to see and to hear without falling into the trap of spiritual tunnel vision; where we do not actually expect to hear or see anything new or anything different from the way we have always thought them to be. As the saying goes, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you always got.” Christ is inviting us, rather, to go deeper and see what lies within.

The fact is, Jesus wasn’t actually momentarily glorified.... He was always glorious… He was always "shining brightly"… In every moment of his life… 

He was utterly alive with the glory of being both fully God and fully human… However, for most of the time, people saw this ordinary man as just another person walking the same dusty roads that everyone else walked! The disciples only glimpsed this inner glory occasionally.. but it was always there… It didn’t come and go at different times of his life, even if it was more obvious at some high-points than other times. Christ shone with glory in what he did, and what he said, in his priorities and in his teachings….. He was glorious in the everyday and the ordinary, as well as the extraordinary. This little glimpse, by the apostles, of Christ’s glory on the mountaintop, was trying to teach us to see and hear with the eyes of faith always… the apostles were encouraged to keep looking for the glory of his truth even when they came back down from the mountain-top. The message of the Father, (and to us) is “This is my Son, listen to him always and everywhere; be open to him and what he says and does!”

I truly believe that we Christians can (in a sense) shine with the light of Christ in us….   We have received the light of Christ at our baptism… we are children of the Light….   We carry the light of Christ to all we meet…. 
We are called to shine that light for all to see, so that people can in turn worship God, the source of that light…

We have seen, throughout the generations, people whose lives have been truly transfigured by God’s love and grace…. They are people we have known who truly shine with God’s love and graciousness….  
......People who certainly do radiate God’s love, forgiveness, compassion, reverence, gentleness, peacefulness  and kindness….. Their faces almost literally shine out with God’s love…

And it is not the glow of good health, or a good moisturiser, or the radiance of good fortune....or even the glow of youth....    .. This radiating love, (and I am sure you have witnessed this too), is found in people of every age, and situation... People who shine out with God’s love, even when extreme ill health, misfortune and so on, are very much part of their daily lives… 

It is truly God’s grace that shines out…. But for us, our glow is like the moon reflecting the light of the sun; the glow is Christ’s grace reflected in and through those we meet....   Whereas in this gospel, Christ is the actual light shining out for the world...   For us, Christ’s light transfigures us whenever we open ourselves fully to him, and his message and values.

This applies to every aspect of our lives.. including our worship….. Familiarity and routine is great in different aspects of our lives.. including our worship.. Our masses are familiar in that they have a certain form and pattern that allows us to enter into the worship experience with confidence. We hear the scriptures (- God’s word), every time we come to Mass /... So, in the spirit of this weekend’s gospel, and as part of our journey of Lenten reflection.... It is timely to ask ourselves.. What are we hearing when we hear the scriptures proclaimed? When we hear a familiar scripture passage, do we consciously open ourselves to the new and endless insights that are to be discovered from these familiar texts? Do we listen anew "to the beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased?" --  Or do we sometimes fall into the trap of approaching these well-known passages with pre-conceived ideas of the meaning, to the exclusion of the new?

Do we find ourselves returning to our favourite texts of scripture, whilst “editing out” those more challenging, confusing or unsettling parts of God’s message? If we get a glimpse of something new, challenging or different, are we open to hear and perceive its message from the "God of surprises," or does the temptation arise to filter it to the way we usually understand the text. The power of God’s word to transform us is very, very strong, but it can be watered-down, domesticated or minimised to keep things unchallenging and safe. We must listen deeply and be always open to the new and unexpected; and to anticipate being surprised, delighted, unsettled and transformed by God's living word.

The transfiguration calls us all to continue really listening to the Father’s beloved Son; and to expect to hear things that are worth listening to, and worth being transformed into
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REFERENCES:

FR. PAUL W. KELLY

PrepareTheWord.com, ©2014, TrueQuest Communications, LLC.  
 


Saturday, March 04, 2017

Catholic Reflections 594 : First Sunday of Lent. A - Sunday, March 5, 2017

Homily First Sunday of Lent. A - Sunday, March 5, 2017

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
       First Reading: Genesis 2:7-9. 3:1-7
       Psalm: Ps 50:3-6. 12-14. 17. “
Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned
       Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19
       Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11

      
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Please listen to my audio “blog” of the readings, prayers and reflections for the
First Sunday of Lent. A - Sunday, March 5, 2017 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-lent-week-1-year-a
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I offer this time of prayer and reflection, in memory of my dear Father, William John Kelly, who passed away on Monday 27th February, 2017..May he rest in the Peace of Christ….  

We have begun this season of Lent, as a time of penance, prayer and good works in preparation for the celebration of Easter.  It might be initially a bit surprising that this time of re-focusing, self-denial and repentance is described by the church as “this joyful season” - but on closer analysis that is exactly what it is. We are filled with a deep and abiding joy as we know that God’s grace is turning our hearts and minds closer and closer to God’s own heart and mind. We are being cleansed of our sins and restored to full relationship with God that the Lord desires for each one of us, since the beginning.  This season is a living reminder of God’s tender love for us, and the Lord’s great mercy and compassion. 

Saint Paul in this weekend’s second reading refers to the events of the First reading…  The fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. St Paul speaks of how “through the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous.…”   And we see that becoming a reality in the wonderful Gospel today…  Our Lord is tempted in every way in the wilderness…  Right at the start of his earthly ministry….   And right from the beginning he begins his saving work by reversing the disobedience of humanity;  stead-fastly remaining obedient to the will of the Heavenly Father and putting God’s kingdom above any other desires or wants….

The three temptations Jesus faced, really represent key traps in the faith life of all people….  

The temptation to appetite….  We see it in the sin of Adam and Eve… the Lord told them that one tree must not be eaten from..  but humanity saw the fruit and decided for themselves that it was desirable and so took and ate it.  It is putting one’s own appetites and judgement above that of God’s concern for our true good.  The tempatation of appetite…(a craving, passion or lust for something….) .is not only relating to food… but any thing that might seem desirable to us, but not dealt with in the way God advises us to use it or not use it…   appetite for power, for food, for physical or material things….   And so much more….   Wheras, Jesus responded obediently in the face of this temptation…   he reminds us that we are called to seek the food of God’s word.. the
heavenly bread, by which our true appetite is satisfied….   And where faith is nourished, hope increased, and charity strengthened,

The second temptation of Christ, is the shocking sin of Hubris,…. A reckless self-confidence and pride, which challenges God’s judgement and grace. It is a loss of contact with reality; acting in a way that revels in our own power and crows over the results of our power used on others….   It is a temptation to Vanity in ones achievments and abilities……   Christ, responded to this temptation by obedience to the Father and a refusal to test the Father’s goodness and grace.  …

Our Lord was tempted to test his Father’s love and protection. Jesus refused.  He WOULD ONLY ACT according to the will of his Father. He was not on earth to do his own will AND HE WAS NOT HERE TO exploit the ESSENTIAL relationship he shared with his heavenly Father, for his own advantage,. …..His role was to give his life totally into the service of the Father’s will. 

The third and final temptation is to what is called “vainglory”….an excessive pride in ones own achievements and priorities    a desire to dominate and to rule……  It might be a self-justified excuse that if we were given such power we could use it for good…  but the use of power over others to dominate and subdue is inherently not what God is calling us to..  so even then it would be misguided and dishonest…  Christ swiftly rejects the temptation to seize earthly power and put all forcefully and violently under his power….   He knows this is not the way of the Kingdom, and we must worship God alone and no other figure…    

May God give us the grace to use this SEASON OF Lent as a time of re-focus AND DEEPER CONVERSION TO THE VALUES OF THE GOSPEL and in obedience to the ways of God’s Heavenly Kingdom…  which begins even now, here on earth…   . 

May we be reminded of the Garden of Eden, with all its beauty, and recall that everything went wrong when humanity fell for the temptation of rationalising their desires to get what they wanted; disconnected from the purpose and vision of God who gave these things to us.


At times we can be tempted to doubt the promises that God has made to us, …to hesitate in the belief that he is with us always and that he is only interested in our greatest good.

It seems that at times we can be tempted to keep testing this promise. We can find ourselves continuing to call upon God to SHOW us that we really are in God’s palm. Insecure and jealous for God to keep proving to us what God has already assured us.  Jesus resisted that temptation and trusted in that truth. He then went out and lived that truth, in service and self-sacrifice for others, and, as always, for the building up of The Kingdom of God.  .


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Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane has sent through the following Lenten Pastoral Message for his people in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. His Lenten message picks up on an issue that is extremely important at the moment as the Church in Australia and throughout the world, as we are part of the Australian Government’s Royal Commission into Abuse within non-government institutions. 

Here is the Archbishop’s message, which I print in its entirety here:


“LEARNING TO LAMENT”
 
Dear brothers and sisters,

On Ash Wednesday we heard the prophet’s words: “Come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning” (Joel 2:12) – words which echo one of the key themes of Scripture, the theme of lament.  Ancient Israel had to make sense of the blood, sweat and tears that so often marked their history; they had to learn to lament.  So too do we personally and the Church as a whole.  In a sense the Church is always in crisis, always under judgement – not only the judgement of the tribunals of this world but the judgement of God.  That’s why we need to learn anew the art of lamentation which the Bible wants to teach us – especially perhaps in these days of Lent.  That’s part of what it means to come back to God with all our heart.

For the Bible, lament is firstly a refusal of silence before God – at a time when silence may seem the only possible response.  Lament gathers up the most powerful emotions – rage, shame, sorrow, depression, frustration, bewilderment, all of which can be part of our response to whatever crisis we may face.  What are we to do with all the negativity?  The Bible says:  Acknowledge it, give it a voice and let that voice be heard by God.  It says that, even in a time of crisis, a time of break-down, we approach a God who is personal, accessible and attentive to our cry.  This isn’t a God who is absent or who looks the other way but a God who is present and wants us to speak, even in the most negative ways.  God wants our rage, our shame, our sorrow and so on; so we submit them all to him – not for his sake but for ours.

God also wants to hear our most anguishing spiritual and theological questions, which at times we hardly dare formulate.  Where is God in the midst of the mess?  Is there a future to hope in?  Is there healing for wounds that seem incurable?  Has the Church lost touch with the real Jesus?  Does love really have the last word?  Are justice and peace a mirage?  These and many others are the questions God wants us to acknowledge, the questions God wants to hear, especially through the Lenten season.  Putting them to God is part of what it means to come back to him with all our heart.

But that’s not the end of the story.  Biblical faith goes further, because lament leads to petition.  The God who listens to our cry wants us to ask him for what we most need.  We submit our need to a God who we believe won’t be indifferent, a God who will respond and who wants us to work with him to build the future.  Lament is a dialogue between God and us that, step by step, grows more intense; without that dialogue there is no future of the kind Scripture promises and we desire. 

As we let go of our rage, our shame, our sorrow, entrusting them to God, the first glimmerings of real hope appear.  Another future becomes imaginable, and biblical lament always looks to the future, as the Church must do at this time.  We may not be able to sing the praises of God in a time of crisis, be it personal or communal, but lament always contains the promise that praise will come again.  Lament believes that even from a crisis with all its negativity the time will come, by God’s grace and our hard work, when weeping and mourning will finally cease, and we – all of us – will be able to say with the Song of Songs, “the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, flowers appear on the earth and the time for singing has come” (2:11-12).  So may it be as we move through the desert of Lent towards the garden of Easter. 
 
+ Mark Coleridge
Archbishop of Brisbane, Australia

Lent 2017

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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly

ARCHBISHOP Mark Coleridge,  of Brisbane, Australia.LENTEN PASTORAL LETTER 2017

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Archive of homilies and reflections is at: http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au
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First Sunday of Lent. 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.
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,* through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
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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.

Sunday Lent I

Eucharistic Prayer II p.56

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Go in peace.






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