THE WORLD OR THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Jn 15:18-21

It is not always correct to say that we have to make an absolute choice between the world and the Kingdom of God. It is obvious that we are dependent to a certain degree upon the world, if only for the term of our mortal lives here on earth. We live as citizens in the world but we choose to be looking forward to the life to come rather than expending all of our energies upon the things of this world.

Having said that, it is important to remember that we do have to make various choices regarding where and how we use the resources of our lives whether they be material wealth or natural talents. These choices are not insignificant.  Gaudium et Spes, the document on ‘The Church in the Modern World’ from Vatican II reminds us that we have a responsibility to build up and put at the disposal of the family of mankind, the resources of the earth. This idea is drawn from the fact that God gave humanity dominion over the earth at the time of creation. (Gen 1:26-31). This dominion is expressed concretely by the way in which we live.

We can choose to live for the […]

By |April 30th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

THE JOY OF FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER Jn 15:12-17

There is something wonderful about being able to minister the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is not only a tremendous privilege to have people open up their lives in such an intimate and personal way to me, it is also tremendously satisfying to see the work of the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament bringing forgiveness to the penitent. One great consolation for me as a priest is that the power and effectiveness of the Sacrament is not dependent upon me, but on the God for its power and success.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation ministers the forgiveness of God to the penitent person. We need to remember that we are also called to minister the same forgiveness to one another! This is not just an option in the life of a Christian. It is our duty to minister forgiveness to one another. When I sin against you and you against me, we are called by the Gospel to reconcile ourselves with one another before approaching the Eucharistic Table. Why? Simply because when we receive Holy Communion we are proclaiming that we are in union with all other people doing the same thing that day. Obviously, if I am out of relationship with someone […]

By |April 29th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

BEARING FRUIT IN OUR LIVES Jn 15:1-8

When studying the theology of the Sacraments in the seminary I had to try to understand the definition of a sacrament including an understanding that: Sacraments signify what they effect and they effect what they signify! At first this looks like a circular argument, however, ultimately it unravels for us something of the essence of the Catholic understanding of the Sacraments. Let me try to explain.

The Sacraments are guaranteed by Christ, through the ministry of the Church to always be effective in what they are as long as the intention of the minister of the Sacraments is that of the Church when they are celebrated. That is, when a sacrament is celebrated, it works! This is guaranteed by the work of the Holy Spirit through the Church. The effectiveness of the sacrament per se is not dependent upon the holiness of the minister or the recipient. However, the fruitfulness of the celebration of the sacraments in the lives of individuals is a totally different matter.

The Church guarantees the effect of the Sacrament per se; the fruit of the sacrament is dependent upon the faith of the recipient. That is, the Church cannot guarantee the fruit of the sacrament being present […]

By |April 28th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

OBEDIENT TO THE FATHER Jn 14:27-31

One aspect of the life and ministry of Jesus that the Gospel of John keeps returning to is His obedience to the Father in all that He says and does. Jesus makes it quite clear to His disciples that obedience to the will of God is of paramount importance. The life of a disciple is lacking one of its most important constituents if obedience is lacking.

One of the reasons that Jesus gives us for His obedience to the Father is that it demonstrates His love for the Father. The fundamental sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden indicates a lack of filial love. Jesus wants to demonstrate the type of love that Adam and Eve should have displayed for God in the Garden of Eden. This love is the love of filial obedience – the love that a child has for his or her parents. It is a love that ultimately finds it impossible not to be obedient as to disobey would wound the love between the parent and child in such a grievous manner that the child will not even seriously contemplate such an action!

It is this serious nature of sin against filial love that ought to inspire […]

By |April 27th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR ADVOCATE Jn 14:21-26

The Holy Spirit is our Advocate. This means that He stands between us and God to mediate to us the things of God. It is the Holy Spirit, sent to the Church and individuals alike at Pentecost, who is the definitive fulfilment of Jesus’ promise that He will not leave us orphans. An orphan is one who has lost his/her parents and thus he or she has no one to mediate between the world and them. It is a pitiable situation. Likewise, we would have been in a pitiable situation if God had not sent us His Holy Spirit.

The Feast of Pentecost is thus seen as one of the major celebrations of the Church’s year. Indeed, in the Early Church, it was the alternative date for the Sacrament of Baptism if all the catechumens were unable to be accommodated at the Bishop’s Easter Vigil Mass. This expresses to us the Early Church’s high regard for the Feast of Pentecost. The reason for it being the next best alternative date for Baptism is clearly that it expresses, through the celebration of the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit, an appropriate Feast upon which to celebrate the incorporation into the […]

By |April 25th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

LIVING THE NEW COMMANDMENT Jn 13:31-35

As Jesus prepares to leave His disciples and return to His Father, He summarises all that He has taught them in a very simply way. Jesus affirms to them that the key concept of His ministry is love. Christians are to learn to love one another in the way that Jesus has loved each one of us. When we accomplish this task it will be obvious that we are followers of Christ. Until there is love evident in our relationships with one another it is not possible to call ourselves true Christians!

This may sound a little harsh at first but if we think about it, we will see that it is true. Elsewhere in the Gospel Jesus challenges us to love our enemies. It is easy to love those who love us; even the pagans do as much. The real test of love is when it is not necessarily going to be returned to us. The real test of love comes when our love is rejected and returned with hatred and scorn. Then we will see from whence our love comes! If it comes only from ourselves it is probable that we will give up on that person. If it […]

By |April 24th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

TO KNOW JESUS IS TO KNOW THE FATHER Jn 14:7-14

I wonder if we really understand the truth of what is written in the heading above? This heading is merely a reflection of what Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel. Coming to a full understanding of this truth is not an easy task as its meaning is caught up in the mystery of the Trinity. Philip is bamboozled by what Jesus is saying and my heart goes out to him because I know that same bamboozlement when encountering the words of Jesus in my own life.

I think faith in Jesus is much easier if we make a commitment at the beginning to simply accept all that God tells us in his word, in prayer and in the teachings of the Church without question and simply get on with obeying his will! However, there is a catch here, there is something in us that wants to understand – we are not satisfied with mere acceptance of the truths about God, we want to get to know him better. As we pursue the latter path we will be constantly confronted with aspects of the nature of God that are beyond our full understanding – we will understand so much, but never everything.

The […]

By |April 23rd, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE Jn 14:1-6

I do not know if there is any other religion where one of the key figures makes a claim similar to the one Jesus makes here. There are many who have exhorted others to follow the examples of their lives if they want to achieve perfection, enlightenment, nirvana etc, but nothing quite like Jesus who tells us that his life is more than just an example of how to live. He is the very means by which salvation and eternal life will be given to us! It is he, Jesus, who is the key to these realities and not just one example among many!

I am the Way – in some places the Early Christians were called “The People of the Way” because of their distinct understanding of the role of following Jesus’ example to the point of not just the imitation of his way of life, but becoming one with him in his life of sacrifice and self-giving.

I am the Truth – Jesus embodies the essence of truth in all that he says and does. There is nothing contrary in him in that his entire life is given over to doing the will of his father in heaven and thus […]

By |April 22nd, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

THE HUMILITY OF JESUS CHALLENGES US Jn 13:16-20

Humility is not something that comes easily to any of us. I think there is something in us as a result of original sin that wants to assert authority over a situation in terms of our own ability to control or engineer a situation for our own benefit and maybe for the benefit of others as well. This can be done with true humility but if we look ta the history of humanity’s interaction with the world and within the human species, it rarely seems to be done in a humble manner.

One of the dangers of extraordinary ability or greatness is maintaining a humble perspective on life. Too often those who rise to great heights in their profession, whatever it may be and religion is not excluded from this judgement, become overly confident in their own ability and this ultimately leads to sin and disaster. It is interesting to reflect upon the life of Jesus in this regard. He washes the feet of his disciples – I am sure that he would have often been found serving others whenever the possibility for it arose. This is the only way to maintain any sort of humility in our lives and not […]

By |April 21st, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

DOES GOD EVER CONDEMN US? Jn 12:44-50

I do not believe that God actively condemns anyone – it is we who condemn ourselves by the choices we make to sin. If we experience separation form God it is not because he has chosen to reject us or leave us or has forgotten us, but that we have chosen to ignore his will for our lives and have separated ourselves form him through sin.

The condemnation we experience is a result of sin, in other words our choices to stand apart from God’s will and ways. We cannot blame God for this at all! It is a result of our own doing and our own doing alone. What we need to recognise and come to be convinced about is the truth that it is only in God’s will that we will discover true fulfilment and happiness. Apart from God and his will nothing is possible. If we live according to God’s will it is logical that we will be happy and free of any sense of condemnation.

Jesus makes this quite clear in the Gospel where he tells us that anyone who hears and listens to the word of God and keeps it faithfully, will live in the light of […]

By |April 20th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments