Visitation MARY IS OUR MODEL FOR FAITH Lk 1:39-56

 

Elizabeth recognises that Mary carries within her a child that is very special. Admittedly, seeing that the child is the Son of God, it is a completely unique situation, so perhaps we might even expect her to be able to sense something. I like to think that what Elizabeth sensed of Mary, namely that she was carrying within her womb the Christ child, should be true of us all. That is, when we come into the presence of others our faith in God should be so great that it is tangible to them in some sort of fashion.

 

I know this sounds as though I am putting a lot of pressure on Christians to manifest their faith without speaking a word, but it should be possible. People ought to be able to discern that we are men and women of faith even before we have told them that we are such. The way we live our lives – the compassion with which we relate to others, the charity we share with those in need, the time we spend with the lost and lonely and many other works of mercy and love, ought to reveal to anyone who knows us or […]

By |May 31st, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

THE FATHER WILL GIVE US ALL THAT WE NEED Jn 16:20-23

The promise of Jesus at the end of today’s Gospel Reading is not a blank cheque for anything that we might happen to desire.There is a context in which the promise is made that clearly indicates to us that the person asking blessings of the Father is a disciple whose aim is to proclaim the Kingdom of God. This effectively limits the promise to those things that we need for our faith walk with Jesus.

 

That’s a bit of a pity, I hear you comment under your breath. Well, yes and no. It is ridiculous to think that God is going to give everyone everything they want without any basis for it. It makes a lot of sense that he would give all that is needed for the proclamation of the Gospel as that is his stated aim all through the Scriptures and at the heart of every revelation through the lives of the saints since. I think what Jesus is really saying is that those who seek to serve the Kingdom will not find God wanting in providing the means to do exactly that.

 

The saints know that this is true – it is one of the secrets of their […]

By |May 26th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM Jn 16:16-20

In one of the psalms we read that crying may endure through the night but joy comes with the morning. This is often so true of discipleship. Jesus tells his disciples that it will look as though the powers of the world have triumphed and that they, his disciples, have lost, however that is not the case. Things are not always as they first seem to be, as there sorrow will ultimately be turned to joy!

 

Jesus is referring at least in the first instance to his own passion, death and then resurrection. The first two aspects of which reflect defeat and the the third final victory. The first two are overcome by the third! This is also often the pattern of discipleship. There are many false starts and dead ends in the life of a disciple of Jesus as we learn how to listen to God’s will and then put it into action. There are times when we make mistakes and have to turn back to find the right path again, but in the end, if we keep faith with the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us, we triumph. This is God’s work in us.

 

Even if […]

By |May 25th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

GIVING GLORY TO GOD IN OUR LIVES Jn 16:12-15

The importance of embracing the truth in our lives becomes evident when we understand that our lives are supposed to give glory to God. There is nothing more integral to the glory of God than the beauty of truth. As we reflected yesterday, we live in a world trying to sideline the importance of truth. We do this to our own peril and the peril of the society in which we live! If we want a just society then it must be built on the truth or not at all.

 

When convenience and personal preference are the primary guides to decision making, we are in a lot of trouble. When expediency and pragmatism are the foundations of our moral reasoning we are also in trouble. Yes, they play a part, but only in so far as they are in the service of truth. Truth is the bedrock upon which society must build its norms and practices. The Roman Empire collapsed because its society had degenerated to the point of virtually becoming amoral in its approach to many things. Western society today is quickly approaching the same level of amorality in its approach to many issues surrounding human reproductive practices. There is […]

By |May 23rd, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

BEING CONVINCED OF SIN IN OUR LIVES Jn 16:5-11

Do you want to be convinced of the sin in your lives? I hope so! This is one of the roles of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian. We live in a day and age of denial and the primary denial that is taking place concerns the nature of te human person. Many academics are denying that there is anything fundamental to the structure or the psyche of the human person such that there might be demands made upon the actions of the individual. They might not say it in the words that I have just used but what I have just expressed is the fundamental basis of the relativistic scepticism that permeated much of today’s society. There are no absolute truths is the catchcry of this trend; what is true for me may not be necessarily true for you. This may be the case but there must be some truths regarding the human person or there is no basis for morality or any sort of ordered society.

 

Access to abortion is one of the key issues. Abortion in its most basic description is the killing of an innocent, unborn child. Proponents of abortion on demand will use […]

By |May 23rd, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP Jn 15:26 – 16:4a

A German Lutheran Pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, wrote a book called “The Cost of Discipleship,” sometime before World War II. He was an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime during the 30s and 40s and was arrested and put in a concentration camp where he died about two days before the liberation of that camp by the allied armies in 1945. The book is a classic, and deservedly so, in its description of the cost of choosing the life of being a disciple of Jesus. And what makes it more so is that the author himself lived it out to the full in his life.

 

If we are ever afraid to speak the truth in love we have to ask ourselves why, and if it is simple that there might be a cost involved, whether to our reputation or even our life, we must pray for the grace to disregard the cost and speak the truth in love because that is what both love and the truth and being a disciple of Jesus demand of us. There can be no justice and no true love where truth does not abound; there is no true discipleship of Jesus and the Gospel where truth […]

By |May 22nd, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

GIVING AN ACCOUNT OF OUR FAITH 1 Pet 3:15-18

 

This text from the First Letter of St Peter, a text that is most often regarded as a baptismal homily or instruction, is one that we should reflect upon often in terms of our commitment to mission. St Peter tells us that proclaiming the Gospel is not an option for a Christian. Of course we can choose to refuse to share our faith with anyone but then not only would our faith be untrue to itself, it would also die! St Peter reminds us here to always be ready to share what we have received with anyone who asks about it.

 

I even think that it is a good idea for us to have a few short testimonials prepared that we can easily draw upon when the right situation arises. It can never hurt to be ready with a short personal testimony or simple Gospel presentation that can be shared in two or three minutes. Peter suggests that at least part of our motivation for doing this will comes from reverencing the Lord Jesus in our hearts. In other words, if we truly treasure the gift of faith and salvation we have received, then we will be well on the way […]

By |May 21st, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

STRUGGLING TO REMAIN TRUE TO GOD Jn 15:18-21

 

There is a great danger in the Prosperity Gospel movement in that it fails to recognise that suffering, in one shape or form or another, is always going to present even, and perhaps more so, in the lives of the holiest of Christians. We cannot escape suffering. If you study the lives of the mystics of the Church you will discover that they all underwent quite significant levels of suffering – physical, emotional or psychological.

 

The prosperity Gospel says that a person with faith in God should experience only blessing and wealth in their lives. Any suffering or poverty is simply due to a lack of faith! This is far too simplistic to even approach being true. It forgets the fundamental truth of Christ’s passion and death for a start! And, practically speaking, there is no convincing argument to support the claim. On the contrary, all the evidence is in the other direction!

 

One of the most evident features of Prosperity Gospel Churches is the youthfulness of the congregation. Once a person starts getting old, and sickness becomes more prevalent, they begin to realise that the premises of Prosperity Gospel thinking are fundamentally flawed and they drop out and return to […]

By |May 20th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

THIS I COMMAND YOU … Jn 15:12-17

Does love command? I think it does! It is in the very nature of love that it is an invitation from one person to another. However, when we understand what love is and have received the love of God into our lives this invitation to love others becomes a de facto command as anything less than love for our fellow human beings is not good enough nor worthy enough of Christian love.

 

The example that Jesus gives us of loving us while we were still sinners is an incredibly strong example and one that is very difficult to follow. It is also the basis upon which we can understand the commanding nature of love in that there is nothing that anyone can do to us that would excuse us from the responsibility and duty to love our neighbour! Love is not simply the invitation to enter into a relationship – it encapsulates everything else that is needed to make that relationship endure unto the end.

 

Jesus speaks of how we are his friends and that we have moved from a servile to friendship basis for our relationship with him. Masters command their servants and their servants obey. Friends invite other friends into […]

By |May 19th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

LOVE ONE ANOTHER Jn 15:9-11

In more than half and it is probably closing in on three quarters of the weddings I have done, this Gospel Reading from John is the one the couple choose. Sometimes I am not sure if they realise they have a choice and so are just following what they have heard in the weddings they have attended. Nevertheless the sentiment of the Reading is most appropriate for the occasion.

 

It is also a sentiment that is appropriate when considering any of our relationships. All human relationships need to be governed by love and self offering. Any relationship that has the self as the focus will shrivel and die because eventually the other runs out of love to give because there is no reciprocal infilling of love occurring. We begin to understand this dynamic better as we reflect upon the selfless nature of the Father’s love for his Son and vice versa. Elsewhere in the Gospels Jesus continues the image by saying that we need to love one another in the same way that God has loved us and that we want others to love us.

 

The circle is now complete. The image of the Father and Son’s love for each other […]

By |May 18th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments