26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 16: 19-31)

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”

‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’

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Thought

The image of the rich man and the poor man at his gate plays out in every generation.  In our own day, think of the migrants waiting at the border between the US and Mexico, or the borders between Europe and Africa.

The image of Lazarus longing to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table makes me think of the enormous imbalance in the appropriation and consumption of the earth’s resources, creating a ‘first world’ and a ‘third world’.

The rich man wasn’t condemned for being rich, but because he didn’t notice what was going on around him – he didn’t notice Lazarus.  And even if he did, he did absolutely nothing to help him.  Do I notice what is going on around me?  Do I care enough to do something, or do I leave it to others?

A little thing we can do to help this week is to take part in CAFOD’s Harvest Fast Day on Friday.  It’s one of two fast days in the year that helps to fund CAFOD – the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.  In our name, CAFOD reaches out to the poorest of the poor.  You can find more information here:  www.cafod.org.uk  

Prayer

Open our eyes, O Lord,
to see the poor and the needy at our doors.
Open our hearts to welcome them to our tables,
and to share with them,
the many good things you have given us.
Through Christ our Lord.

SYNOD 2020

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“The Quiet Revolution of Pope Francis: A Synodal Catholic Church”

Former Irish Provincial, Fr Gerry O’Hanlon SJ, will examine Pope’s Francis’ focus on a renewed Church with a missionary focus and how this can translated on the ground in parishes.  He will review the opportunities, barriers and fruits of being a more Synodal Church and how this demands a change of role for bishops, the ordained and all the baptised in the world today.

The talk marks the twelve-month countdown to Synod 2020 and is a key to the whole synodal process that the Archdiocese has embarked upon.  Monday 7 October in Liverpool Hope University Chapel L16 8ND.  Tea and coffee from 7.00 pm, talk at 7.30 pm concluding at 8.45 pm.  Optional Night Prayer at 9.00 pm.  All are welcome!

EXTRAORDINARY MONTH OF MISSION

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Pope Francis asks us to pray with him at midday every Friday in October, the following prayer:

God our Father,
when your Son Jesus Christ rose from the dead,
he commissioned his followers
to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’.

Through our Baptism you send us out
to continue this mission among all peoples.

Empower us by the gifts of the Holy Spirit
to be courageous and enthusiastic
in bearing witness to the Gospel,
so that the mission entrusted to us,
which is still far from completion,
may bring life and light to the world.

May all peoples experience the saving love
and generous mercy of Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
Amen.

 


25th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 16: 1-13)

Jesus said to his disciples:  ‘There was a rich man and he had a steward denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.” Then the steward said to himself, “Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.”

Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, “How much do you owe my master?” “One hundred measures of oil” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty.” To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond and write eighty.”

‘The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.

‘And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?

‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’

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Reflection

I make my way to the place I like to go to prat… maybe it’s indoors, but it could also be outdoors, walking or sitting in a favourite location…

Perhaps I close my eyes, intently focusing on sounds, smells or the touch of a much loved object.

I quieten my mind in the way which works best for me…

In time, I read the text from today’s Gospel. Maybe I can imagine myself with the disciples listening to Jesus, or I listen to Jesus speaking to me personally. What feelings arise as I hear Jesus’s words on money and genuine riches? …

I ponder: what are my genuine riches? They may not be related to money, but perhaps friendship, family, a fulfilling job or…  I give thanks to the Lord for them and tell him what is in my heart.

Maybe I can ask myself whether these riches sometimes take over and displace the Lord at the centre of my being… I think about my attitude towards God and money…  Am I, as Jesus suggests, the slave of one rather than the other, or do I try to keep a sense of balance so I can focus on what really matters? …

I spend some time in quiet, wordless contemplation.

In time, I take my leave, thankful for any insights he has given me today.

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

SYNOD 2020

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Synod Reflection

Don’t just look at the obvious gifts, the talent. There are hidden and latent gifts, much deeper ones, which are linked to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to love. They too must flower.

In Christian Community, everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable.

It will be well, therefore, if every member receives a definite task to perform for the community, that they may know, in hours of doubt, that they too are not useless and unusable.

Every Christian community must realise that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak.

Using our gift means building community. If we are not faithful the building will be weakened. St Paul emphasises the charismatic gifts in this building but there are many others which are more directly linked to a quality of love. Bonhoeffer speaks of the different ministries a community needs: holding one’s tongue, humility, tenderness, silence in the face of criticism, listening, constant readiness to render small services, support of brothers and sisters, proclamation of the Word, speaking the truth in love. There are people who have the gift of being able to sense immediately, and even to live, the sufferings of others that is the gift of compassion. There are others who know when something is going wrong and they can pinpoint the cause that is the gift of discernment. There are others who have the gift of light they see clearly what is of fundamental concern to the community. Others have the gift of creating an atmosphere which brings joy, relaxation and individual growth. Others again have the gift of welcome. Each person has a gift to use for the good and growth of all.

(From ‘Community and Growth’ by Jean Vanier)

Synod Talks

“The Quiet Revolution of Pope Francis: A Synodal Catholic Church”

Former Irish Provincial, Gerry O’Hanlon SJ, will examine Pope’s Francis’ focus on a renewed Church with a missionary focus and how this can translated on the ground in parishes. He will review the opportunities, barriers and fruits of being a more synodal church and how this demands a change of role for bishops, the ordained and all the baptised in the world today. The talk marks the twelve-month countdown to Synod 2020 and is a key to the whole synodal process that the Archdiocese has embarked upon.  Monday 7 October in Liverpool Hope University Chapel L16 8ND.  Tea and coffee from 7.00 pm, talk at 7.30 pm concluding at 8.45 pm.  Optional Night Prayer at 9.00 pm.  All are welcome!


24th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 15: 1-10)

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:

‘What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me,” he would say “I have found my sheep that was lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance.

‘Or again, what woman with ten drachmas would not, if she lost one, light a lamp and sweep out the house and search thoroughly till she found it? And then, when she had found it, call together her friends and neighbours? “Rejoice with me,” she would say “I have found the drachma I lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.’

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Reflection

Cardinal Basil Hume, who died in 1999, once spoke about prayer using today’s parable of the lost sheep.  He said:  “Quite often we simply do not know how to pray, and feel that deep sense of being lost.  I think it is good at such times to see oneself rather like the lost sheep in the parable, caught in the briars, surrounded by fog, and the more you try to escape from the brambles the more you get entangled.  The more you try to rush through the fog the more likely you are to get lost.  When you are in that mood, wait and in your prayer imagine that sheep entangled in the briars with the fog all around. Just wait for him, Christ the shepherd, to come through the fog and disentangle you” (cf. ‘Light in the Lord’,  p 121).

Prayer

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall declare your praise.
My sacrifice is a contrite spirit.
A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.

(Psalm 50)

SYNOD 2020 TALKS

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As we move to the next phase of our Synod Journey, there will be a series of talks to help us to better understand some of the pressing concerns of the Church and society.  The talks will take place in Liverpool Hope University Chapel.  Tea and coffee from 7.00 pm, talk at 7.30 pm concluding at 8.45 pm.  Optional Night Prayer at 9.00 pm.

The first talk will take place on Monday 7 October.  Fr Gerry O’Hanlon SJ will speak on The Quiet Revolution of Pope Francis: A Synodal Catholic Church.  The talk will address:

Our context: the signs of the times in Church and Society.
Synod as renewal of faith, reform of Church, missionary focus.
Biblical, historical and ecumenical roots of Synodality.
Pope Francis and Synodality – from an ‘era of change’ to a ‘change of era’.
How this might translate on the ground in parishes/dioceses.

All welcome!


23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 14: 25-33)

Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them. ‘If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of him and saying, “Here is a man who started to build and was unable to finish.” Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.’

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Reflection

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiXnbOORTAU

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare,
will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the pris’ners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

John L Bell & Graham Maude (c) 1987 WGRG, Iona Community.
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. One License #A-632722.

SYNOD REFLECTIONS

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Last Monday, 2 September, Pope Francis spoke some wise words to the Bishops of the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church:

“But you underscored something we must not lose: Synod and Synodality, and Holy Spirit. It’s not to advertise but, in the last issue of the “Osservatore Romano,” dated Sunday, but which came out on Saturday, there is a beautiful article on the presence of the Holy Spirit in the synodal journey. Because there is a danger: to believe, today, that to undertake a synodal journey or to have an attitude of synodality, means to carry out a survey of opinions, what does this one think, that one, that other one… and then hold a meeting, and come to an agreement… No, the Synod isn’t a Parliament! Things must be said, discussed as is normally done, but it isn’t a Parliament. Synod is not a coming to an agreement as in politics: I give you this and you give me that. No. Synod is not to undertake a sociological survey, as some believe: Let’s see, let’s ask a group of laypeople to do a survey, to see if we should change this or that or the other… You must certainly know what your laypeople think, but it’s not a survey; it’s something else.

“If the Holy Spirit isn’t there, there is no Synod. If the Holy Spirit isn’t present, there is no Synodality. In fact, if the Church isn’t there, the identity of the Church… And, what is the identity of the Church? Saint Paul VI said it clearly: the vocation of the Church is to evangelize; in fact, her identity is to evangelize.

“Enter this Synod of yours with this spirit, with the Holy Spirit. Pray to the Spirit. Argue among yourselves, as much as you want… Think of Ephesus, how they argued! But they were good… And, in the end, it was the Spirit that made them say: Mary, Mother of God. This is in fact the way. It’s the Spirit, because we don’t want to become a congregational Church but, rather, a Synodal Church. And go on this way.”

Translation by Zenit