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

MY FATHER IS A GARDENER Jn 15:1-8

Fairly soon after my conversion experience as a eighteen year old I read a book by Colin Urquhart which was titled as is this reflection. It was a very instructive experience as I learned very early on that God was like an orchardist – he prunes his trees with the intention of maximizing the amount of fruit for harvest. Now I am a very logical sort of person, I like reading maths books for fun and relaxation, (logical – seems to me to be more like crazy, I hear you think) and so a God who wants to maximize the benefit he gets from his disciples is a sensible God.

 

With this in mind I was ready when he started to prune my life and cut out many things which really did not serve me in the call to holiness. It may have been a little or a lot painful depending upon the instance in question, but it was all worth it because I knew what the goal was and I trusted the Gardener. I cannot explain why I was convinced that the Gardener desired the best for me but I am pretty sure that the fact he sent his Son […]

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

…HE HAS NO POWER OVER ME Jn 14:27-31a

 

The title of this reflection is critical to the life of disciple of Jesus. Jesus tells us that ‘the ruler of this world’ is coming – that is Satan is alive and kicking so to speak. However, the important thing about all of this is not that Satan is still alive but that he has no power over Jesus, and because of his generosity with us, us as well. Do you believe this, or not? If not, then you are going to find it virtually impossible to grow as a disciple of Jesus; if yes, then the possibilities are endless.

 

Jesus is aware, even before he has endured his passion, death and resurrection, that he is going to be victorious. He is telling his disciples, and that includes anyone who chooses to follow him, that they will share in his vicory too. Why? So that we will all be able to return to the Father. Sin has separated us from our Father in Heaven – Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating fruit from the tree of Good and Evil; Jesus has come to dwell with us in order to reunite us with his Father. […]

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

ARE WE REALLY TEACHABLE? Jn 14:21-26

One of the roles of the holy Spirit is that he will teach us all we need to know about the spiritual life. This task will be impossible unless we are teachable, that is, we need to embrace the virtue of humility and be ready and willing to learn about the new way of life we have embraced as disciples of Jesus. It takes a lot of humility to remain teachable throughout our lives because the danger is that after a few years of walking in the ways of Jesus we begin to think that we know all that we need to know and so become less and less teachable.

 

The question we have to ask ourselves is whether or not we want to embrace the fullness of the grace that God has for us. This is the big question. We may think we have reached that fullness already but the reality is that we never reach the fullness of the graces of God in this life – maybe some of the true mystics of the Church come close but even they will be the first to admit that God is much bigger and grander than they have experienced. We need […]

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

BEING DEVOTED TO PRAYER Acts 6:1-6

Any leader in the Church from the Pope down to the leader of the smallest prayer group in the world ought to have meditated long and hard on the text we have for the First Reading today. Why do I say this? It is very simple. The apostles were finding that there time was being consumed by administrative functions that while essential, did not really have to be done by them. So they raised up deacons to help them accomplish such tasks. But this was not just about getting the jobs done, in fact, the primary reasoning behind the raising up of the deacons was so that the apostles could DEVOTE themselves to prayer and the preaching of the Gospel. What does it mean to devote one’s self to something? I am glad you asked that question! To devote one’s self to something means to give it your fullest and undivided attention. I think every leader in the Church, including myself should ask him or her self, “Am I fully devoted to a life of prayer and proclaiming the Gospel?” And if not, as I think the case will be, what are you going to do about changing the priorities […]

By |May 14th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

YOU WILL DO GREATER WORKS THAN ME Jn 14:7-14

Do you believe that the title of this reflection is true? I hope so as it is! Does this mean that we are gretaer than Jesus? Of course not! What it means is that Jesus, in his absolute generosity to us, has made available to us the power that he used to perform the miracles in his ministry here on earth. How do we gain access to this power and grace?

 

Unfortunately the cost is great and very few men or women are willing to pay it, namely, the cost is our lives! The cost is a life of discipleship – surrender to the will of God and choosing his will over our own or that of the world around us. The choice to respond to the call of discipleship is the most fundamental choice we make in our spiritual lives. It is from this basis that everything else flows. We have to know if we are willing to pay the price of discipleship because if we say we are then God will eventually put our resolve to the test.

 

It is good to reflect upon the lives of the martyrs in this regard as they make the supreme sacrifice of their […]

By |May 13th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

TO WHOM ELSE CAN WE TURN? Jn 14:1-6

Earlier on in John’s Gospel Jesus has turned to the disciples and asked them if they want to leave him as there are many deciding to give up the life of discipleship because it is too hard. In today’s Gospel we hear the expanded reason why Peter tells Jesus that they do not want leave. In Chapter six the reason given is that there is no one else to whom to turn and follow. Here we find this expressed in more positive ways in terms of Jesus being the Way, the Truth and the Life. What does this – nay, what should this mean to us?

 

There is no simple answer that fits every person. Each of us must discover for ourselves how it is that Jesus is our Way, our Truth and our Life. We cannot allow our faith to rest on the shoulders of others alone. We must personalize it for our own needs and requirements. Each of us is an individual person, unique in the eyes of both God and the world. We all have our talents and we all have our needs. Jesus can meet these needs and develop our talents only if we know him […]

By |May 12th, 2017|Daily Scripture|0 Comments