I had an annoying habit of never taking any notice of, or rejecting out of hand, ideas or opinions which did not co inside with my own. I still have this habit but at least now I realize that it is the wrong approach. This is progress.
John the Baptist came preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sin. He spoke of a God who was very severe; who rewarded obedience and punished disobedience. John’s God was an Old Testament, monarchical, patriarchal God.
After Jesus’ Baptism by John he worked side by side with John in preaching and Baptising.
When John was arrested by Herod Jesus branched out on his own, preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God.
While Jesus worked with John, there is no indication of friction between them concerning the preaching of John and that of Jesus.
The message today is, be vigilant, be dependable in the performance of ones duty.
Imagine a young couple, friends of your family, honour you with their complete trust by asking you to baby sit their two precious toddlers. You just step out for a few moments to get a DVD from your house which is just two doors down the street. While you are out the couple arrive back unexpectedly early and find you absent with the children climbing all over the furniture.
Imagine you are a soldier on guard duty for your company in hostile territory. You are tired and are discovered sleeping by your company sergeant major.
Would you be surprised if you were never trusted again to baby sit?
Would you be surprised if you were court marshalled, imprisoned and given a dishonourable discharge?
Excuses are unaccep...
Today’s Gospel reading was, and even sometimes today is, cited as a proof for belief in a final judgement day like in a court of law, with accusation, defence and judgement followed by reward or punishment.
Today’s Gospel reading was, and sometimes today is, cited as a proof of Hell and its fiery punishments.
This is no longer so unless your understanding of Scripture is Neanderthal.
Today’s Gospel reading is a parable or fictitious story used to graphically illustrate the prime importance in Christianity of having a constantly outgoing, merciful, forgiving, compassionate, sharing attitude to my neighbour, whomever it may be.
For Jesus of Nazareth compassion for the poor and the unfortunate is the ultimate criterion by which I should judge my life.
His message and example is; “Love your en...
Take any successful business person. Take any successful entrepreneur.
Their success is because they have been willing to take risks. They have had the courage to step out of the mould and risk failure.
Nobody ever became rich by keeping their money in a current account.
This is what today’s Gospel is about.
Am I content to spend my life doing the usual humdrum religious practises or am I willing to step beyond that and take risks in my search for God. Even if in my search I lose my way for a time, God is pleased with my honest searching and will eventually lead me to a good place.
The persons with the three and the two talents risked losing their masters money. They risked everything going pear shaped and ending up with nothing. Even if they lost everything their master would be pleased w...
Lateran – the cathedral church of the Bishop of Rome who is also the Pope- which is situated outside the Vatican City. A property once owned by the Lateranus family and given to the Christian Church by Constantine in 310 ad. The oldest Christian church in existence.
All churches and places of worship are signs of the presence of God among his people.
Church buildings can only be effective signs of God’s presence to his people if the congregation, who gather together in the building, let themselves be built, like living stones, into a spiritual temple with Christ as its foundation and its strength.
Therefore what is important to God is not the splendour and architecture of the building but the spirit of forgiveness, mutual tolerance and support, that exists among the congregation who ...
In the time of Jesus of Nazareth, Judaism had become a morass of hundreds of rules and regulations derived from Devine law by the religious scholars and religious leaders. As Jesus said on another occasion; “The scribes and the Pharisees … tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.”
Human beings generally, no matter the time or place, seem to be chronically addicted to this practise. We see the same addiction to complicated rules and regulations whether it be in governments, religions or the local bowling club.
The recent Synod in Rome is a case in point. The majority of our Church leaders could not see the wood for the trees. They were brought up on these rules and regulations. They attained...
At the time of Jesus of Nazareth, Palestine was a small province of the Roman Empire.
As was their wont they used local indigenous authorities, be they civil or religious, to help them to rule the subject population, to keep the peace, and to collect taxes for the roman empire. If the local puppet authorities were failing in the amount of taxes collected they were summarily replaced by more compliant local people.
Taxes were universality hated (as is true even today) but more particularly in Palestine at that time because they symbolised the subjugation and oppression of the Jewish people by a foreign power.
Questioning the tax system at any time, in any place, can be a very delicate exercise but in the Roman Empire it was regarded as rebellion against the Emperor and a fatal activity.
The ‘Kingdom of God’ or the ‘Reign of God’ which Jesus of Nazareth speaks of many times, is not something which can be accurately explained in words.
Thus we have Jesus giving us many differing examples of what the Kingdom of God is like – examples or parables which differ greatly and can even sometimes seem contradictory to some degree.
Today’s example is aimed primarily at the Jewish religious leadership. They have not only refused to listen to Jesus of Nazareth but also to the many prophets who preceded him. They refused to listen to some, abused and persecuted others and even killed some.
But others responded to Jesus’ invitation. These others were those regarded as of no consequence by the Jewish religious leadership – the poor, the gentiles (non Jews), the sick, the oppre...
I was reading something recently about today’s Gospel reading. The writer speaks about the sense of rejection which the owner of the vineyard must have felt at the conduct of his tenants. He had done so much for them only to be ignored and even insulted.
The first reading is on the same theme. The owner had put so much careful preparation and care into the clearing, fertilizing and the setting up of his vineyard only for it to produce wild grapes. How let down and dispirited he must have felt.
All of us, be it child, teenager, adult or old age pensioner are well aware how painful it is to be rejected, rebuffed or ignored, especially if we are only trying to help.
We have all experienced the pain of having our offers of help brusquely refused. How often has this fear of rejection caused me ...
In Matt. 16:18-19. Speaking to Peter Jesus says; ‘And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ Compare with Matt. 18:18. Speaking to all his Disciples together Jesus says; ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ They seem identical.
After the Resurrection James emerged as the preferred leader of the Jewish Christians.
James was based in Jerusalem and was not only held in high regard by the Christian community there but also by the Jewish Chr...
As far as the Jewish religion was concerned the long awaited and much hoped for Redeemer was coming to save the children of Israel from oppression and to re-establish an independent Jewish State. This state would be a religious entity as well as a political entity.
This is what Jesus of Nazareth was brought up to believe.
Once he started his ministry, after being Baptised by John, he seems to have totally abandoned the political dimension expected of the Redeemer and to a large extent even the religious dimension insofar as it involved the religious structures and mores of that time.
His total concentration was fixed on fighting oppression and abuse of the powerless and the needy and being constantly available to help and comfort and heal the poor, the sick and the sorrowing. This, he decl...
As you will remember from last Sunday’s reading, Jesus had just got news of the execution of John the Baptist. Having known John well (after all Jesus and John were cousins) and having worked closely with John at the Jordan after his Baptism, Jesus was shocked to hear of his summary beheading at the whim of a dancing girl. He wanted to get away from the crowds to grieve for John and to pray quietly on his own. But the people guessed where he was going and were all gathered there when he arrived.
Then we had the feeding of the multitude as we saw last weekend.
In the late evening Jesus not only sent the crowds away but also the Apostles and went off alone to grieve for John, to pray and to think.
Now we take up today’s reading.
The story about walking on the water or the power over water wa...
The disciples said “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
Jesus said. “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”
You can interpret today’s Gospel as a miraculous event symbolizing the institution of the Eucharist where all are fed with the bread of life or you can interpret it as a lesson to us that by sharing what we have everyone can have more than sufficient to eat and to live on.
Like any group of people who go out for the day some bring sufficient food for themselves, some bring nothing and some bring far more than they need. By sharing with the crowd the little that Jesus and his disciples had they prompted the others to also share what they had. In this...
If Satan exists, if devils exist, if the power of evil, the power of darkness exists, then Satan’s realm, Satan’s kingdom is greed, self-interest and selfishness.
If God exists then the realm of God, the Kingdom of God is selflessness, self-giving and sharing.
An ordinary farm labourer is digging in his employers field. By chance he digs up a horde of gold which was buried by some long dead person for safe keeping. He immediately buries it again, sells everything he owns, takes out as many loans as he can get and then buys the field.
A rich dealer in pearls sees the most beautiful pearl he has ever come across. He immediately sells all the other pearls he possesses and buys this most beautiful one.
A man or woman who for many years has been on many dates with many different persons suddenl...
We all expect ambassadors, diplomats, athletes, or anyone else who represents our country, county, village or organisation to act in a way that brings credit to our country, county, village or organisation.
We are representatives of Christianity as a whole, of the Catholic Church in particular and personally of Jesus of Nazareth.
Does my conduct bring credit to Christianity, to the Catholic Church, to Jesus of Nazareth? Is not what I do and say the foundation of all evangelising, of all catechesis. Is not what I do and say the only true foundation from which to proclaim the Gospel – the Good News – of Jesus of Nazareth.
I must constantly ask myself: do I, as a priest, portray a true representation of Jesus of Nazareth or do I represent my own agenda or just an organisation.
‘Liturgy of the Word for Children’ is a concerned and sensitive way to enable children to participate in the formal worship experience of the community. The liturgies are intended to nourish and guide their spiritual growth, and to immerse them in the Word in ways that are understandable to them.
We celebrate the Liturgy through a “kid’s eye” point of view. We try to do this by allowing them to celebrate God’s word at their own pace, giving them the opportunity to ask questions, to interact and to offer their thoughts and reflections, following the pattern of normal congregational liturgy.