Fr Dave's Blog

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.


17th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 11: 1-13)

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’  He said to them, ‘Say this when you pray:

‘“Father, may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come;
give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test.”’

He also said to them: ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him”; and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up to give it you.” I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.

‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. What father among you would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or hand him a snake instead of a fish? Or hand him a scorpion if he asked for an egg? If you then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

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Thought

Today, why not take a few minutes to pray the Lord’s Prayer, but pray it slowly – pausing at the end of each line for a moment to think about the words you’ve just said.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

 

SYNOD REFLECTION

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God in an apron!

Supper was special that night.
There was both a heaviness and a holiness hanging in the air.
We couldn’t explain the mood.
It was sacred, yet sorrowful.
Gathered around that table eating that solemn, holy meal
seemed to us the most important meal
we had ever sat down to eat.

We were dwelling in the heart of MYSTERY.
Though dark the night, hope felt right—
as if something evil was about to be conquered.

And then suddenly
the One-Who-Loved startled us all.
He got up from the table
and put on an apron.
Can you imagine how we felt?
GOD IN AN APRON!

Tenderness encircled us as he bowed before us.
He knelt and said,
“I choose to wash your feet because I love you.”

God in an apron, kneeling.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I was embarrassed until his eyes met mine.
I sensed my value then.
He touched my feet.
He held them in his strong, brown hands.
He washed them.
I can still feel the water.
I can still feel the touch of his hands.
I can still see the look in his eyes.

Then he handed me the towel and said,
“As I have done, so you must do.”
Learn to bow. Learn to kneel.
Let your tenderness encircle everyone you meet.
Wash their feet – not because you have to –
but because you want to.

It seems I’ve stood two thousand years
holding that towel in my hands.
“As I have done, so must you do,”
keeps echoing in my heart.

“There are so many feet to wash”, I keep saying.
“No.” I hear God’s voice resounding through the years.
“There are only my feet.
What you do for them, you do for me.”

Macrina Wiederkehr in ‘Seasons of your Heart’ (p 79)


16th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 10: 38-42)
Jesus came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking. Now Martha who was distracted with all the serving said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered: ‘Martha, Martha,’ he said ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.’
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Reflection

It’s the kind of story everyone loves to hear:  an ordinary person treats a stranger kindly and the stranger turns out to be someone extraordinary.  In today’s 1st Reading, that’s what happens.  Abraham welcomes three strangers during the afternoon heat of the desert.  He and Sarah go above and beyond in serving them.  Only at the end of the story do the strangers reveal themselves – not wandering travellers, but the Lord.

In the Gospel, Martha and Mary make Jesus welcome – each in their own way.  Martha cooks for their guest while Mary attends to Jesus by listening to him.  Don’t we try and do the same when we have guests?

Contrast those two stories with what is going on at the border between America and Mexico.  Children are separated from their parents and held in cages – they have no adequate access to medical care, no basic sanitation, they’re exposed to extreme cold at night and don’t have adequate access to drinking water or food.  For adults, there is dangerous overcrowding in detention centres.  People held up signs with the word ‘help’ written on them as Mike Pence toured the facilities last weekend.  President Trump talks about making America great again.  Is this making America great?

Some Christians have responded by saying migrants should come to America legally, then there would be no problem.  What they fail to realise is that America has raised the bar so high it’s very difficult for an asylum seeker or refugee to get into America legally.

In our own country, we’re not much better.  We take one of the lowest quotas of refugees in Europe.  We keep asylum seekers in detention centres that are worse than any prison.  Contrary to popular rhetoric, our immigration policies are among the strictest in the world.

In his message for this year’s World Day for Migrants and Refugees in September, Pope Francis writes: “The most economically advanced societies are witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism which, combined with a utilitarian mentality and reinforced by the media, is producing a “globalization of indifference”. In this scenario, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion. In addition to the hardships that their condition entails, they are often looked down upon and considered the source of all society’s ills. That attitude is an alarm bell warning of the moral decline we will face if we continue to give ground to the throw-away culture. In fact, if it continues, anyone who does not fall within the accepted norms of physical, mental and social well-being is at risk of marginalization and exclusion.”

Fr Dave

SYNOD 2020 REFLECTIONS

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On Listening

Teach me to listen, O God, to myself.
Help me to be less afraid to trust the voice inside
in the deepest part of me.
Teach me to listen, Holy Spirit, for your voice
in busyness and in boredom, in certainty and doubt,
in noise and in silence.
Teach me, Lord, to listen.
Teach me to listen, O God, to those nearest me,
my family, my friends, my co-workers.
Help me to be aware that no matter what words I hear,
the message is:
“Accept the person I am. Listen to me”.
Teach me to listen, my caring God, to those far from me
the whisper of the hopeless, the plea of the forgotten,
the cry of the anguished.
Amen.

Fr John Veltri SJ

A People Place

If this is not a place where tears are understood,
Where do I go to cry?
If this is not a place where my spirits can take wing,
Where do I go to fly?
If this is not a place where my questions can be asked,
Where do I go to seek?
If this is not a place where my feelings can be heard,
Where do I go to speak?
If this is not a place where you’ll accept me as I am,
Where can I go to be?
If this is not a place where I can try to learn and grow,
Where can I be just me?

William J. Crocker

Blessing

May we be blessed with companions on the journey,
friends who will listen to us
and encourage us with their presence.
May we learn to live with what is unsolved in our hearts,
daring to face the questions
and holding them until, one day, they find their answers.
May we find the still, quiet place inside each one of us
where we can know and experience
the peace that passes all understanding.
May love flow in us and through us to those who need our care.
May we continue to dream dreams and to reach out into the future
with deeper understanding of God’s way for us.
Amen.

(Source unknown)

 


15th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 10: 25-37)

There was a lawyer who, to disconcert Jesus, stood up and said to him, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What do you read there?’ He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ ‘You have answered right,’ said Jesus ‘do this and life is yours.’

But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of brigands; they took all he had, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead. Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan traveller who came upon him was moved with compassion when he saw him. He went up and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him on to his own mount, carried him to the inn and looked after him. Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said “and on my way back I will make good any extra expense you have.” Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands‘ hands?’ ‘The one who took pity on him’ he replied. Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’

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Reflection

“Today’s liturgy presents us with the parable of the “Good Samaritan”, taken from the Gospel of Luke. This passage, this simple and inspiring story, indicates a way of life, which has as its main point not ourselves, but others, with their difficulties, whom we encounter on our journey and who challenge us. Others challenge us. And when others do not challenge us, something is not right; something in the heart is not Christian. Jesus uses this parable in his dialogue with a lawyer when asked about the twofold commandment that allows us to enter into eternal life: to love God with your whole heart and your neighbour as yourself. “Yes”, the lawyer replies, “but, tell me, who is my neighbour?” We too can ask ourselves this question: Who is my neighbour? Who must I love as myself? My parents? My friends? My fellow countrymen? Those who belong to my religion?… Who is my neighbour?

“Jesus responds with this parable. A man, along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, was attacked, beaten and abandoned by robbers. Along that road, a priest passed by, then a Levite, and upon seeing this wounded man, they did not stop, but walked straight past him. Then a Samaritan came by, that is, a resident of Samaria, a man who was therefore despised by the Jews because he did not practise the true religion; and yet he, upon seeing that poor wretched man, “had compassion. He went to him, bandaged his wounds, brought him to an inn and took care of him”; and the next day he entrusted him to the care of the innkeeper, paid for him and said that he would pay for any further costs.

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“At this point, Jesus turns to the lawyer and asks him: “Which of these three — the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan — do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell victim to the robbers?”. And the lawyer, of course — because he was intelligent, said in reply: “The one who had compassion on him”. In this way, Jesus completely overturned the lawyer’s initial perspective — as well as our own! I must not categorize others in order to decide who is my neighbour and who is not. It is up to me whether to be a neighbour or not — the decision is mine — it is up to me whether or not to be a neighbour to those whom I encounter who need help, even if they are strangers or perhaps hostile. And Jesus concludes, saying: “Go and do likewise”. What a great lesson! And he repeats it to each of us: “Go and do likewise”, be a neighbour to the brother or sister whom you see in trouble. “Go and do likewise”. Do good works, don’t just say words that are gone with the wind. A song comes to mind: “Words, words, words”. No. Works, works. And through the good works that we carry out with love and joy towards others, our faith emerges and bears fruit.

“Let us ask ourselves — each of us responding in his own heart — let us ask ourselves: Is our faith fruitful? Does our faith produce good works? Or is it sterile instead, and therefore more dead than alive? Do I act as a neighbour or simply pass by? Am I one of those who selects people according to my own liking? It is good to ask ourselves these questions, and to ask them often, because in the end we will be judged on the works of mercy. The Lord will say to us: Do you remember that time on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho? That man who was half dead was me. Do you remember? That hungry child was me. Do you remember? That immigrant who many wanted to drive away, that was me. That grandparent who was alone, abandoned in nursing homes, that was me. That sick man, alone in the hospital, who no one visited, that was me.

“May the Virgin Mary help us to walk along the path of love, love that is generous towards others, the way of the Good Samaritan. My she help us to live the first commandment that Christ left us. This is the way to enter into eternal life.”

Pope Francis, 10 July 2016

SYNOD REFLECTIONS

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A New Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the people I cannot change,
which is pretty much everyone,
since I’m clearly not you, God.
At least not the last time I checked.

And while you’re at it, God,
please give me the courage
to change what I need to change about myself,
which is frankly a lot, since, once again,
I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.
It’s better for me to focus on changing myself
than to worry about changing other people,
who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying,
I can’t change anyway.

Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up
whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter
than everyone else in the room,
that no one knows what they’re talking about except me,
or that I alone have all the answers.

Basically, God, grant me the wisdom
to remember that I’m not you.
Amen.

(Fr James Martin SJ)

It’s Christ’s Church – not ours!

“Remember, it’s Christ’s Church, not ours.  Jesus founded the Church, died for the Church, sent his Spirit to the Church, and will someday return for his Church.  As the owner of the Church, he has already established the purposes, and they’re not negotiable.  Our duty is to understand the purposes Christ has for the Church and to implement them.”

(Rick Warren in ‘The Purpose Driven Church’ © 1995 Rick Warren)

In his biography of St Francis of Assisi, St Bonaventure tells the story of Francis entering the little dilapidated chapel of San Damiano.  As he prayed before the crucifix, he heard a voice say: “Francis, rebuild my church, which has fallen into disrepair.”  At first, Francis took this literally, physically restoring the ruined chapel.  Later, he came to understand his mission in a more spiritual sense: to recall the Church to the radical simplicity of the Gospel and to the image of Christ in the poor.


14th Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Gospel  (Luke 10: 1-9)
The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you”.’
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SYNOD REFLECTIONS

The Empty Chair

A priest went to visit a patient in his home. He noticed an empty chair at the patient’s bedside and asked what it was doing there. The patient said, “I had placed Jesus on that chair and was talking to him before you arrived. For years I found it extremely difficult to pray until a friend explained to me that prayer was a matter of talking to Jesus. He told me to place an empty chair nearby, to imagine Jesus sitting on that chair and to speak with him and listen to what he has to say to me in reply. I’ve had no difficulty praying ever since”.

Some days later as the story goes, the daughter of the patient came to the rectory to inform the priest that her father had died. She said, “I left him alone for a couple of hours. He seemed so peaceful. When I got back to the room, I found him dead. I noticed a strange thing though: his head was resting not on the bed but on a chair that was beside the bed”.

From “A Way to God” by Anthony de Mello SJ

Pope Francis’ Five Finger Prayer

Using the fingers on your hand, start with the thumb and pray these intentions in this order:

1) The thumb is the closest finger to you. So, start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “sweet obligation”.

2) The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.

3) The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.

4) The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.

5) And finally, we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective and, also, you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.


Solemnity of SS Peter & Paul

Gospel  (Matthew 16: 13-19)

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’

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(c) McCrimmons

Reflection

The lives of Peter and Paul “were not neat and linear. Both were deeply religious: Peter was one of the very first disciples (cf. Jn 1:41), and Paul was “zealous for the traditions of [his] ancestors” (Gal 1:14). Yet they also made great mistakes: Peter denied the Lord, while Paul persecuted the Church of God. Both were cut to the core by questions asked by Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” (Jn 21:15); “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). Peter was grieved by Jesus’ questions, while Paul was blinded by his words. Jesus called them by name and changed their lives. After all that happened, he put his trust in them, in one who denied him and one who persecuted his followers, in two repentant sinners. We may wonder why the Lord chosen not to give us two witnesses of utter integrity, with clean records and impeccable lives? Why Peter, when there was John? Why Paul, and not Barnabas?”

4.2.7

“There is a great teaching here: the starting point of the Christian life is not our worthiness; in fact, the Lord was able to accomplish little with those who thought they were good and decent. Whenever we consider ourselves smarter or better than others, that is the beginning of the end. The Lord does not work miracles with those who consider themselves righteous, but with those who know themselves needy. He is not attracted by our goodness; that is not why he loves us. He loves us just as we are; he is looking for people who are not self-sufficient, but ready to open their hearts to him. People who, like Peter and Paul, are transparent before God. Peter immediately told Jesus: “I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8). Paul wrote that he was “least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle” (1 Cor 15:9). Throughout life, they preserved this humility, to the very end. Peter died crucified upside down, since he did not consider himself worthy to imitate his Lord. Paul was always fond of his name, which means “little”, and left behind his birth name, Saul, the name of the first king of his people. Both understood that holiness does not consist in exalting but rather in humbling oneself. Holiness is not a contest, but a question of entrusting our own poverty each day to the Lord, who does great things for those who are lowly. What was the secret that made them persevere amid weakness? It was the Lord’s forgiveness.”

“How many times might Peter have thought back to his denial! How many scruples might Paul have felt at having hurt so many innocent people! Humanly, they had failed. Yet they encountered a love greater than their failures, a forgiveness strong enough to heal even their feelings of guilt. Only when we experience God’s forgiveness do we truly experience rebirth. From there we start over, from forgiveness; there we rediscover who we really are: in the confession of our sins.”

“Brothers and sisters, in the presence of these witnesses, let us ask: “Do I renew daily my own encounter with Jesus?” We may be curious about Jesus, or interested in Church matters or religious news. We may open computer sites and the papers, and talk about holy things. But this is to remain at the level of what are people saying? Jesus does not care about polls, past history or statistics. He is not looking for religion editors, much less “front page” or “statistical” Christians. He is looking for witnesses who say to him each day: “Lord, you are my life”.”

From Pope Francis’ Homily for SS Peter & Paul, 29 June 2019

WARRINGTON WALKING DAY 2019

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Many thanks to Michele Walker and Gemma Caswell for these fabulous pictures. 

If you’ve got some photo’s to share, please send them to frdave@rcaolp.co.uk

 


The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (C)

Gospel  (Luke 9: 11-17)

Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.

It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.’ For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, ‘Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.’ They did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.

4.2.7

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ,
you ask of us to be your body for the life of the world.
Nourish us here with your word of life,
give us your body to eat and your wine of joy to drink,
that we may become more like you
and learn from you to live no longer for ourselves only
but for God and for the people around us.

Who live and reign with Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

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Synod Reflection

The Prophetic Community

I believe that the way ahead, the only way,
lies through our making ourselves what we ought to be.
When our sons and daughters,
our grandsons and granddaughters
can look at the Catholic Church and say:
‘There is the community
of reasonable and sensible people
who actually believe in this person called Jesus Christ
and his resurrection.
That is the community which is not obsessed with itself,
but puts itself at the service of humanity.
That is the community in which people pull together.
That is the community which has fire in its belly about justice:
doesn’t mind rattling the bars of people’s cages.
That is the community which clearly possesses a treasure
a hidden treasure which makes its members happy’.
When our children and grandchildren can look at us
and say that about us
they will also want to say:
‘And that is the community
I wish to belong to’.

Monsignor Tony Philpot


The Most Holy Trinity (C)

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Gospel  (John 16: 12-15)

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I still have many things to say to you
but they would be too much for you now.
But when the Spirit of truth comes
he will lead you to the complete truth,
since he will not be speaking as from himself
but will say only what he has learnt;
and he will tell you of the things to come.
He will glorify me,
since all he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.
Everything the Father has is mine;
that is why I said:
All he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.’

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Prayer

At Mass this weekend, we will listen to “The Deer’s Cry” by Irish composer, Shaun Davey, and sung by Rita Connelly.  It’s based on St Patrick’s Breastplate.  You can listen to it by clicking on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGHWiAGpIP0

I arise today
Through the strength of Heaven
Light of sun
Radiance of moon
Splendour of fire
Speed of lightning
Swiftness of wind
Depth of the sea
Stability of earth
Firmness of rock

I arise today
Through Gods strength to pilot me
Gods eye to look before me
Gods wisdom to guide me
Gods way to lie before me
Gods shield to protect me

From all who shall wish me ill
Afar and anear
Alone and in a multitude
Against every cruel
Merciless power
That may oppose my body and soul

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise, Christ to shield me
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me

I arise today.

Lyrics © David Platz Music, Bucks Music Group Ltd.

 


Pentecost Sunday (C)

Gospel  (John 14: 15-16, 23-26)

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If you love me you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate
to be with you for ever.

‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own:
it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you while still with you;
but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all I have said to you.’

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Prayer

Today, let’s read through the Sequence for the Solemnity of Pentecost, also known as ‘The Golden Sequence’ because of its beauty.

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,
From the clear celestial height
Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Come, thou Father of the poor,
Come with treasures which endure
Come, thou light of all that live!

Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,
Dost refreshing peace bestow

Thou in toil art comfort sweet
Pleasant coolness in the heat
Solace in the midst of woe.

Light immortal, light divine,
Visit thou these hearts of thine,
And our inmost being fill:

If thou take thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay
All his good is turned to ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew
On our dryness pour thy dew
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will
Melt the frozen, warm the chill
Guide the steps that go astray.

Thou, on us who evermore
Thee confess and thee adore,
With thy sevenfold gifts descend:

Give us comfort when we die
Give us life with thee on high
Give us joys that never end.


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