THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE WORD OF GOD Is 55:10-11

We all readily accept the effectiveness of rain in watering the earth. I grew up in the driest inhabited continent, Australia and have seen my fair share of droughts and the wretched state of the countryside when there are prolonged periods without rain. Conversely I have also witnessed the dramatic transformation of that same land when sustained rains finally arrive. There is no more succinct and effective demonstration of the need life has for water. I wonder why we are so reluctant to give the same credence to the Word of God in terms of our faith.

 

The Reading from Isaiah 55 likens the effectiveness of rain on the land to Word of God coming forth into the lives of His people. Herein lies the challenge for us: to open our hearts to receive God’s Word such that our openness will result in His Word being able to accomplish its mission. In the Creation accounts of Genesis we see the power of the Word of God bringing something out of nothing and order to the chaos. It is this same effect that God wants to have in our lives with His Word today. The problem being that few of us are […]

By |March 7th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

JESUS LOVES SINNERS AND SO SHOULD WE! Lk 5:27-32

Jesus caused scandal according to the leaders of the Jews when He ate and consorted with tax collectors and sinners. It seems to me that this is a very narrow-minded position to take. In fact it is fraught with danger as it is based upon making a judgment that will ultimately come back to haunt us as we are all sinners, without exception. From a completely practical point of view, how on earth will it be possible to bring the Good News to such people if one is excluded form associating with them in the first place?

 

It is important to recognize that Jesus never condones any of their sinful practices but challenges them to repent and change their lives. This is constantly at the heart of each of these instances in the Gospel and serves to remind us of the necessity in our lives to refuse to be a part of sin and corruption in order to call people to repentance and conversion. We can never let our guard down in this area as we are constantly under temptation from many directions as the devil seeks to bring us over to his way of thinking over and against that of […]

By |March 4th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

BREAKING THE UNJUST FETTERS Is 58:1-9

It ought to be impossible for any Christian to live in peace while there are people who are unjustly treated anywhere in the world. This may sound a little unreasonable but let us reflect upon it for a moment. It is certainly true that God will never rest at peace while there is still injustice in the world and it is from this basis that the same can be said for all who are seeking to develop the heart of God for His people. At the same time it is important to note that I am not saying that everyone is necessarily responsible for the injustice that may exist. We may or may not be practically able to contribute to its elimination. However, at the very least we can be praying that someone will be actively working against whatever the injustice may be.

 

Let us look a little more closely at our individual situations in terms of looking at the society in which we live. I am not about to give an analysis of any individual society here but there are a few broad strokes that we can look at such as: Is there an equitable distribution of the wealth of […]

By |March 3rd, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST 2Cor 5:20-6:2

Ash Wednesday

 

We begin once again our Lenten journey. Let us focus our attention on the Second Reading for now. St Paul affirms that we are all called to be ambassadors for Christ. What does this mean? Put simply it means that each of us, according to God’s will for our lives, is to give witness to the truth of the Gospel to the world. Through the witness of our lifestyle we must be calling out to the world to change its ways and repent of sin and live holy and righteous lives.

 

This sounds like an enormous responsibility and at one level it is, however, to be realistic, all it is is a call to be obedient to the will of God as best we can. God cannot ask any more form us than this! On the other hand, this is not just an incidental little thing. God’s calling, as we learnt yesterday will involve sacrifices and endurance. It will mean being ready to allow God to lead us on the adventure of our lives. It will mean experiencing situations where we will have to place our trust in God and let go of any hope of remaining personally in control […]

By |March 1st, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

THE GIFT OF AUTHORITY Mt 16:13-19

In a world where the doctrine of individualism is strong authority is often something that is looked upon with at very best suspicion if not with outright hostility. I was recently reading a book about the life of Cardinal Newman and it tells us that in one of the articles of speculative theology that he wrote he concluded it with words to the effect that he recognizes that he is not the final authority on matters of truth within the Church and thus he humbly submits the article to the Church for its affirmation or rejection. Rarely today do we see academics in any disciplines, secular or religious, deferring to any levels of authority in such a humble and wonderful way. It is I believe something that we need to rediscover for the sake of unity and healthy dialogue on matters in question.

 

One of the most evident reasons for the survival of the Catholic Church as an institution for 2000 years is its strong sense of authority and the healthy exercise of the same. Yes, there are times when the Church leaders have reached beyond their legitimate bounds of authority but then we are a Holy Church made up of […]

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

IS PRAYER ALWAYS THE ANSWER? Mk 9:14-29

It can sound very glib and unconvincing when someone tells you to pray about a particular problem and you will get an answer. I believe in the power of prayer but not in terms of it being a magic cure-all for the problems that confront us in our daily lives. For me the most important thing is whether or not I am trying to develop the daily habit of prayer. Herein lies the foundation for seeing prayer as at least part of the solution to all of our problems. Prayer is not something that I should be turning on and off in my life when I need it. It should be something that permeates every aspect of my life – something about which I will feel very uncomfortable if it is not there in regular and healthy doses.

The disciples are unable to cast out a particular demon due to a lack of prayer. Perhaps they had been neglecting this aspect of discipleship for a while and Jesus takes the opportunity to remind them to return to it. Perhaps their prayer needed to go a little deeper than where it was at? Perhaps any number of other different explanations, however, suffice […]

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

SO OFTEN FAITH IS THE ONLY ANSWER Heb 11:1-7

It is not a matter of being anti reason; it is simply the truth that sometimes the only way ahead is to choose to have faith and let some of the questions that arise in our minds and hearts be, without having to have an answer to them all. This section of the Letter to the Hebrews is very aptly placed at the end of our reflection upon the proto-historical section of the Book of Genesis as it serves to remind us of the central role of faith in our lives when it comes to our seeking to understand many of the more profound aspects of human existence.

 

Our author lists a number of the key players in the proto-historical drama and situates them in the context of faith as a reminder to us to never forget that we are a people of faith on a journey seeking the truth of these matters. If we divorce our search for truth from our faith we are certain to end up with the wrong conclusions. This path is one that is all too evident in the secular understanding of life that is permeating twenty first century society. The world would be wise to […]

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

THE SCATTERING OF THE NATIONS Gen 11:1-9

Have you ever stopped to reflect upon the nature of language and how different many of the languages are from one another yet they each serve the same purpose – namely to help us communicate with one another? This is the object of today’s first reading and it is an appropriate reflection to bring to conclusion the proto-history of the Book of Genesis.

 

The people of three or four thousand years ago asked themselves why there are so many different languages. They then wrote today’s text, either based on an older legend or maybe they created it themselves in order to explain how such an unfortunate state of affairs came to be. It is this process of reflection that has addressed a number of similar and profound realities in the experience of the peoples millennia ago. We have followed their reflections upon creation and sin; the experience of toil in work and pain in childbirth; we have looked at the question, albeit very briefly, of fratricidal thoughts and actions as well as the general sinfulness of humanity and so on.

 

What do we learn from these 11 chapters? I hope we have been able to understand that such questions and many others […]

By |February 17th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

THE DIFFICULTIES OF BEING A DISCIPLE Mk 8:27-33

The Apostle Peter is an extraordinary figure in that he seems to be something of a mix between a man with incredibly deep insight into the truth and a very simplistic application of that truth to reality. Take the example we have before us in today’s Gospel. Peter comes up with the deep truth that has been hidden form the eyes of most that Jesus is indeed the Messiah; yet he very quickly incurs the wrath of Jesus by speaking against the mission for which He, the Messiah had been sent. Admittedly it was virtually impossible for Peter to have known what the precise will of God for Jesus was in terms of Jesus’ upcoming Passion, yet Peter speaks against the words of Jesus as He describes such in a rather roundabout fashion.

 

I believe this gives rise to much hope for us all in that a man with such deep insight can also be so profoundly wrong yet it not exclude him from a significant ongoing role in the life of the Church. In other words, what God seems to be looking for in a disciple is someone who is willing to learn and give his or her life over […]

By |February 16th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

DIFFERENT KINDS OF BLINDNESS Mk 8:22-26

I do not have any doubt at all that Jesus cured the physical blindness of many in His time. In fact, I believe that this still happens today! However, I cannot help thinking every time I read one of the stories of these healings in the Gospels that God is saying more to us than that He has the power to heal physical blindness. I think God is telling us that we should be looking deep into our hearts and minds for different sorts of blindness that are contributing to our inability to perfectly follow His will for our lives.

There is no doubt that each of us is blinded to the love of God to one extent or another. This is a direct consequence of sin in our lives. The question is not whether or not the blindness is there, but what are we doing about it? God never stops trying to reveal His love to us but wee are often too busy or simply just not interested to listen for His voice. This is a far more tragic form of blindness than the man who cannot see in the Gospel! Our blindness can take on many forms and degrees […]

By |February 15th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments