19th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 12: 32-48)

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.

‘Sell your possessions and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.

The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’

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Reflection

What sort of a day have I had … or what is my day going to be like?
I spend time focusing on this,
and ask the Lord to be with me as I remember or look forward.
I try to leave all preoccupations behind,
focusing only on this time spent with the Lord.

When I have reached some inner quiet, I read the text above.
I stop when a phrase strikes me.
What does it mean to me? Why would someone do that?
It may help if I can imagine myself as one of the disciples Jesus is addressing,
or as one of the characters: the servants, the master, the householder.
I might move from one to another. What new perspectives come to the fore?

Jesus is encouraging his disciples to be ready
and vigilant for the coming of the Son of Man.
I look to my own life. In what ways does this apply to me?
How will I respond when the Master knocks at my door?
Am I so protective of my own property that I forget to trust,
and see the good in other people’s actions?

I turn to the Lord and tell him how I feel at the end of my prayer.
I ask him for the help and support I need just now.

In gratitude, I say: Glory be to the Father…

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

SYNOD 2020 – NEXT STEPS

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On 30 June, the online Synod Survey closed. Up to that point, 1,300 people had filled in the Synod questions online.

On 16 July, the parish listening sheets all had to be sent to the Synod Office.  It is difficult to say how many people the response represented, but a cautious estimate is that over 20,000 people have taken part.  In addition, the youth survey added another 570 responses.

What happens with all this listening?

Hope University (under the guidance of Father Peter McGrail, director of the Hope Institute of Pastoral Theology) has been analysing all the data so that it can be taken to the Synod Working Party to discern the next steps on our Synod Journey.

Who are the Synod Working Party?

The Synod moderators (Father Philip Inch, Father Matthew Nunes), Mrs Maureen Knight (Pastoral Formation), Mrs Debbie Reynolds (Pastoral Worker), Sr Rachel Duffy FCJ, Miss Kate Wilkinson (School Chaplain), Fr Mark Beattie, Fr Stephen Pritchard and Fr Dominic Curran.

What will they do?

From 15–17 August, the Synod Working Party will gather under the guidance of Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon and Dr Jessie Rogers (from Limerick Diocese).  They will lead a three-day process of discernment and prayer.  Fr Peter McGrail will present all the data from the listening that has taken place and, after a time of discernment, we hope that a number of themes will emerge which indicate the way forward for us on our Synod journey.

Then what?

The themes will be presented to Synod members at the September Synod gatherings in Wigan (21 & 25 September).  They will also be presented to the Archdiocese on Synod Sunday in October, and then each theme will be explored, discussed, examined and prayed about.  Synod members will then be invited to listen to the people of the Archdiocese and with them discern which proposals should be put forward based on each theme.

What can I do?

Pope Francis continually reminds us that the work of synodality is the work of the Holy Spirit and, that if we listen and discern, then the voice of God will be heard.  At the opening of Synod 2020 in February 2019, Archbishop Malcolm said:  ‘In October 2018 we celebrated the first Synod Sunday. In my Pastoral Letter that day I focused on the need to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us through the life and experience of all the priests, deacons, religious and people of our Archdiocese.  It is our duty to discern carefully together what the Spirit is saying to the Church in the Archdiocese and agree on common directions and actions for the future.’

So prayer is vitally important at this time in our Synod journey, especially on 15, 16 and 17 August.  Archbishop Malcolm’s words last February can be at the heart of our praying:  ‘In convoking the Synod I am calling us to be bold and creative in the task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelisation in our Archdiocesan community with its various parish and ecclesial, religious and social communities.’

Thank you for all that has taken place, and please pray as we move to the next steps of Synod 2020.

Synod Prayer

Father, we thank you
for the love you have shown us
in the gift of Jesus, your Son.
We thank you for the gift of the Church,
through which you show us
that you are always with us
and are always at work in our lives.

As we journey together to Synod 2020,
help us to become the Church that you are calling us to be.
May your Holy Spirit be powerfully
at work among us.
Strengthen each of us and guide Francis, our Pope
and Malcolm, our Archbishop.

Help us to respond
to the challenges of our times in new ways
to bring your love to all our sisters and brothers.
We make this prayer
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.


18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 12: 13-21)

A man in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.’ ‘My friend,’ he replied, ‘who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.’

Then he told them a parable: ‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, “What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.” But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?” So it is when a man stores up treasure for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God.’

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Reflection

Today’s readings are about material things and our attitude towards them. Are they at the centre of our lives? The texts also suggest that what we are is more important than what we have.

Qoheleth, ‘the Preacher’, who wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes 300 years before Christ, gives a pessimistic view of the world in today’s First Reading. Is it worth working hard and worrying about our wealth, since we have to leave it to others after our death?

The Gospel develops the same theme. The main problem with wealth is that it risks taking centre stage in our life.  What really matters is making ourselves rich in the sight of God.

St Paul tells us that Christ ‘is everything’ (Second Reading).

In short, “Set your hearts on God’s kingdom first, and on his saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well” (Matthew 6: 33).

(Adapted from ‘Prego’, St Beuno’s Outreach, Wrexham)

SYNOD REFLECTIONS

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Following on from last week’s reflection on the Washing of the Feet…

The Call to Service

Washing feet is a very menial task, a sign of the host welcoming a guest; a sign of the recognition that you are important to me. You are important because of who you are, not because of what you have done for me; not because you are a sinner or a saint, but because in you there is the unique presence of God. Service is at the heart of the Christian Gospel. “My service”, Jesus was saying, “is to die and to rise and to give new life. Your service is to go forward and wash people’s feet to show that it is love that really counts.” My feet are my way to God, I walk the path to God; my feet are that part of my anatomy which enables me to move. They are the way to love. We are all pilgrims on the way. But which feet are we to wash?

—The feet that have never walked; the feet of people who have never had the opportunity of experiencing the walk in any other way than “being walked by someone else”?

—The feet that never wore shoes; that are so poor that they haven’t got shoes?

—The feet that are always shackled; the feet that have been put in prison?

—The feet of those who are so talented; who use those feet in a magical way?

—The feet that give pain as we get older?

—The feet crushed in accidents; feet that are lost through no fault of our own?

—The feet that spend hours training to run a marathon for charity?

—The feet that are blown off by landmines?

—The feet of those who have walked and have never found; the ones who doubt?

—The feet that have always taken the wrong turnings?

—The feet of strangers who have come to our churches?

—The feet that long to walk to Heaven?

 (Extract from a reflection by a Benedictine monk)

Questions to ponder

Who are the people who ‘wash my feet’?
Where does our community already serve by ‘washing feet’?
How can we wash feet for those who never make it to the ‘Upper Room’?
What can I/we do practically to wash feet in the here and now?

Prayer

Loving Lord, you call us and challenge us to service.
Give us humble hearts that care, gentle hands that reach out
and open eyes and ears that recognise opportunities to serve your people.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.