7th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 6: 27-38)

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To the man who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek too; to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks can you expect? For even sinners do that much. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’

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Reflection

Today’s Gospel passage needs no commentary.  Jesus is quite clear:

Love your enemies
do good to those who hate you
bless those who curse you
pray for those who treat you badly
To the man who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek too;
to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks you,
and do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you.
Treat others as you would like them to treat you.

Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves;
do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves;
grant pardon, and you will be pardoned.
Give, and there will be gifts for you
because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.

How do you feel as you read what Jesus says?  Can you understand why he says what he says?  Do you recoil at any of the things he says?  Talk to him about it…

Prayer

Compassionate God and Father,
you are kind to the ungrateful,
merciful even to the wicked.
Pour out your love upon us,
that with good and generous hearts
we may keep from judging others
and learn your way of compassion.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Prayer © 1998 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.  Scripture Reading from The Jerusalem Bible © 1966 by Darton Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday and Company Ltd.

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THE PROTECTION OF MINORS IN THE CHURCH

Vatican Summit, 21 – 24 February 2019

At the end of the summit, Pope Francis made a powerful address which you can read below.  Simply click on the link.

pope-francis-address-24-february-2019

 

 

 


6th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

INAUGURATION OF SYNOD 2020

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Two weeks ago, on Sunday 3 February, the Archbishop inaugurated Synod 2020 during a special service in the Cathedral.  In his homily, the Archbishop reflected on the Gospel chosen for the occasion – the Presentation of Jesus in the temple.  Archbishop Malcolm shared some profound reflections and offered great hope for the Church.  His homily is well worth reading.

Homily preached by The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool, at the Service for the Opening of Synod 2020 on Sunday 3 February 2019 in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.

On my desk I have a statue of St Joseph holding a pair a of turtle doves, the modest sacrifice of the poor. This was the offering that Mary and Joseph made when they journeyed to the temple in Jerusalem to fulfil the Law of Moses in Mary’s purification and Jesus’s presentation. It reminds me that we are to be the Church of the poor, poor people as the servants of the poor. Jesus was a poor preacher with nowhere to lay his head, and it is with that in mind that we step forward together on the road to Synod 2020.

In the Gospel reading from St Luke which we have just listened to, Mary and Joseph after the completion of their rituals were met by an old man named Simeon. He is described as a holy man, devoted to prayer and waiting for the consolation of Israel. He was part of a group known as the ‘quiet ones’, who sought in prayer the hope of salvation. They had no interest in political or military solutions to the sorrows of their people. They chose prayer as the best route to the future hope.

The Holy Spirit filled this man and revealed to him that he would see the Messiah before he died. The Spirit brought him to the temple that day and led him to the couple who held Jesus in their arms. He took the child into his own arms and began to sing. The song he sings is the death song of an old man, but it is filled with hope because he has completed his purpose in life by seeing Jesus. He found the child in the arms of poor people making the offering of the poor. In the sunset of his life he encountered the sunrise of the poor. In the evening of his life, he was fortunate enough to behold a new day.

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And what does Simeon prophesy? What does Simeon say when he picks up Jesus into his arms? Simeon doesn’t say I have seen the Messiah; instead he says, I have seen God’s salvation. And this salvation is not just for the Jews but for all people. And then he goes on to explain that many will be divided over Jesus. He will be a sign of contradiction: many will listen and follow, and many will reject Him, to the point Mary herself will be wounded in her heart because of what happens to her Son.

From Simeon he heard the first human hymn that was composed out of love for him. Simeon could go in peace because he had seen the Saviour of the world. Let us reflect now where we are up to in our journey to Synod 2020. We have been the quiet ones. We have prayed as an Archdiocese for over a year, quietly before the Blessed Sacrament. We hold in our arms the ‘salvation which has been prepared for all the nations to see’. We are the poor making an offering in the Mass of the poor Son of God, and we pray that we will have our eyes opened and our ears unstopped so that we can see further and hear more acutely as we form our vision for the Church in Liverpool. We have learnt that it sometimes takes the vision of an old person to show us that what we sometimes see as old and worn out is often the beginning of something new. The sun is not setting on the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, but a new day is breaking, a new dawn is rising. This view is the vision of Simeon and it has to be our view too.

Maybe we can ask Simeon, the prophet, to help us remove the evening and the night from our eyes and see brightly as we enter upon the road together towards Synod 2020. As we hear Simeon’s song our vision is changed. When we listen to each other our vision will be changed too. We believe that because we are baptised the Spirit of God lives in us; that is the spirit of Jesus whom Simeon cradled in his arms; that is why this change will happen within each of us. God’s spirit can change words into understanding, sounds into sight and song into a clear vision of the future.

It is with confidence then that we can look to the future as walk together on the road ahead of us.

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If I may digress for moment. the Letter to the Hebrews tells us: ‘By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. For he looked forward to the city that has its foundations, whose architect and builder is God.’ (Hebrews 11:8‑10)

When Gregory of Nyssa comments on this passage, he says that it was only when Abraham did not know where he was going that he knew he was going the right way. We are all sons and daughters of Abraham, so maybe the same is true of us. We often do not know where we are going, but maybe that is when we know we are going in the right direction.

Let us return to Simeon: we are not to be downhearted by Simeon’s prediction that there will be suffering and pain in store for Jesus, and that Mary will suffer as a result, just like any mother. It takes another old person who happened to be passing by, a prophetess called Anna, to cheer us up. We may surmise that she had a great smile on her face as she embraced Mary and Joseph and praised God for their child and spoke of Jesus to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

We can learn from Anna that to speak of God to others is to praise him, and in praising him we will be filled with joy.

The journey ahead towards Synod 2020 may seem long and arduous, and there will be many diversions and setbacks, but with the hope of Simeon and Anna in our hearts we will come to a new vision for our Archdiocese and it will be transformed into the Church that we are called to be.

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More news about the Synod next week.

 

 


5th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 5: 1-11)

Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.

(From ‘The Jerusalem Bible’ © 1966 by Darton Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday and Company Ltd)

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Reflection

I take time to read this passage slowly and prayerfully, conscious that the Lord is here right now, desiring my company, wherever I may be.

Perhaps I am inspired to place myself in the scene … watching how Jesus talks to the crowds … noticing his invitation to Simon Peter … his words of reassurance and affirmation … the response that he inspires.

What particularly touches me in this passage?

Jesus uses Peter’s everyday skills to do something unexpected and remarkable … made possible because Peter trusts his invitation. I ponder the ways in which God can use my ordinary gifts to do extraordinary things.

Might God be inviting me, like Peter, to launch out into ‘deeper water’, even if at first I think there might be no purpose?

I speak to the Lord as to a trusted friend, and listen for his response. Is there anything I need to let go of to help me follow Jesus with greater freedom? I ask for any help I need.

When I am ready, I end my prayer in gratitude: Glory be …

(Adapted from Prego (c) St Beuno’s Outreach, Diocese of Wrexham)

Prayer

In faith and love we ask you, Father,
to watch over your family gathered here.
In your mercy and loving kindness
no thought of ours is left unguarded,
no tear unheeded, no joy unnoticed.
Through the prayer of Jesus
may the blessings promised to the poor in spirit
lead us to the treasures of your kingdom.
Through Christ our Lord.

(From the English translation of ‘The Roman Missal’ © 1973 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved)


4th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Today’s Second Reading is St Paul’s hymn to love – a passage that is well-know to most of us.  Here’s an extract:

1 Corinthians 13 :4-8

Love is always patient and kind;
it is never jealous;
love is never boastful or conceited;
it is never rude or selfish;
it does not take offence, and is not resentful.
Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth;
it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
Love does not come to an end.

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Reflection

I can’t think of a better description of love than that.

Someone once suggested reading the passage but replacing the word ‘love’ with ‘God’.  So:

God is always patient and kind; 
God is never jealous; 
God is never boastful or conceited; 
God is never rude or selfish; 
God does not take offence, and is not resentful. 
God takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; 
God is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
God does not come to an end.

How does it feel to hear God described like that?

Someone else suggested reading the passage but replacing the word ‘love’ with ‘I’.  So:

I am always patient and kind; 
I am never jealous; 
I am never boastful or conceited; 
I am never rude or selfish; 
I do not take offence, and I am not resentful. 
I take no pleasure in other people’s sins but delight in the truth; 
I am always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
I do not come to an end.

How does it feel to say those words?

Prayer

Lord, help me to love like you love.
Help me to be patient and kind;
not to be jealous, boastful, conceited,
rude or selfish;
not to take offence or be resentful.
Help me not to take pleasure on other people’s sins,
but to delight in the truth.
Help me to be ready to excuse, to trust, to hope,
and to endure whatever comes.
Lord, help me to love like you.

Fr Dave