WHY INVOKE THE IMAGE OF JONAH? Mt 12:38-42

 

Most scholars agree that there is at least an element of the apocryphal in the story of Jonah and the whale – is it really possible for a whale to consume a person and then spew them out on the shore at a later date? Well, regardless of the veracity of this story, Jesus uses it to make a point during his ministry and the point is precisely to emphasise that no matter how fantastic the story of Jonah and the whale is, even more amazing is the reality the people are experiencing in the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God into their lives through the miracles and preaching of Jesus.

The wisdom of Solomon is not apocryphal and it drew visits from royalty coming from east and west. The wisdom of God is being manifest in the words of Jesus in a way that is far greater than through Solomon. Fort example, Jesus actually speaks the forgiveness of sins of those who repent. The forgiveness of sins is part of the wisdom of God for our salvation. Yes, I say wisdom, because only through the reasoning of God could anyone have arrived at the plan of salvation that Jesus implements. […]

By |July 18th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

LIVING A TRULY BALANCED LIFE Lk 10:38-42

It is important when we reflect upon this story of Jesus’ encounter with Mary and Martha that we remember to place it in context. Jesus is not telling us that serving a visitor in one’s home is a bad thing to do. He is simply saying that there is a time to serve and a time to just sit and reflect upon life. We need to find the right balance between the two! I think we all know at least one person who tends to hide behind busyness in order to avoid having to relate to the people in his or her life. This is what Jesus is addressing. We must find time in our lives to serve those around us; we must also find the time to simply be with them and to enjoy one another’s company. This is the essence of human relationships.

We live in a world that rewards activism and industriousness to the point that we tend to forget about the need for silence. I was reading a book the other day and one of the points it was making is that, generally speaking, people today lack silence in their lives and thus are unable to reflect […]

By |July 17th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

Feeding the Multitude

Is 25: 6-10a God has provided us with a world that has sufficient food and material wealth for everyone. Why are some people starving and living in terrible poverty? There are many reasons for this but no small part is that the wealthy ignore their responsibility to share! Yes, it is a responsibility before it is a choice! There is a moral obligation here that we ought to respond to but more often than not do not.

Jesus, teach us how to share with those who have less than we do. I know I cannot change the situation of world poverty but I also know I can contribute a little bit to the solution.

Mt 15: 29-37 This feeding miracle is a miracle of hope and providence. The world does have enough food to feed everybody – it just needs to be better distributed. In some countries up to 40% of food is wasted. How can this be acceptable when there are so many who do not have enough to eat? Do the wealthy think they will avoid judgment on this issue? The Scriptures are quite clear they will not! Yes, much poverty has to do with corrupt leaders and other problems […]

By |December 2nd, 2015|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

BUILT TO LAST Lk 6:43-49

The other day I was walking along a beach in Zambales and I saw a house being built right at the high tide mark on the beach. It struck me as quite a silly place to build a house because, not only would the waves of a storm threaten its foundations, it was also built right beside the bank of a stream that emptied into the sea which was already causing erosion problems with the foundations on that side of the house. I very much doubt that the house will survive too many typhoon seasons!

Sometimes it seems that we do not make sensible decisions about where and how to build our houses. This is not only the case with houses, but it also seems to ring true regarding the foundation of our spiritual lives as well. Too often as a priest I come across people who have built their spirituality around a particular experience, or set of experiences, that are slowly fading away and taking their faith with it. The only way to build a faith that will endure the test of time is to build it upon a solid commitment to Jesus! Without this it will be destined to […]

By |September 12th, 2015|Daily Scripture|0 Comments
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Sow, don’t throw

A seed, no matter how small, is extremely powerful. All it takes is for a seed to fall into a crack within a large rock  or a block of concrete and eventually the seed will grow and crack the rock open.

All of us are like blocks of concrete. Our hearts are so hard or indifferent that the love of God normally doesn’t penetrate. Yet within our hard hearts, there are many small cracks: areas where pain or fear create an opening. If a word of love or hope is carefully placed into one of these ‘cracks’ in the surface of our life, it will grow, and take root, and eventually break open our hardened hearts.

This is a very simple image of evangelisation. When you encounter another person, you are looking at a block of concrete. Throwing seeds at the person is only going to make them more hardened to the gospel. Your task is to actually move closer to them, looking closely at that block of concrete (their life) until you find a small crack in the surface. This process could take minutes, or it could take years. But it is time well spent. As soon as you find an […]

By |February 12th, 2015|The Call|0 Comments

LIVING THE TRUTH IN LOVE Eph 4:7-16

The above heading describes the central principle of discipleship. It is the example that Christ has given us to follow. It sounds as though it should be easy to do, but for all who have set themselves this task they have found it much easier to say and understand than to put into practice!

The thing that makes it so difficult is temptation and sin. This is the constant struggle of the disciple, namely to reject temptation and sin and embrace the will of God for our lives. The times when we fail to do this should not discourage us. We need to get up and get on with life, repent of our sin and set our eyes back on the goal and move forward. The Reading tells us that the goal of life is to “grow in every way into the head who is Christ;” furthermore, the way this happens is that ‘living the truth in love’ allows the body and all its parts to be strengthened and come together in unity and love.

Each Christian has to decide to make these principles his or her own if they want to progress in the life of holiness. Once the decision is […]

By |October 25th, 2014|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

Youth Ministry after Evangelii Gaudium

I’ve just come back from Adelaide and the Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention. It was a great weekend! This workshop looks at Pope Francis’s exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG) and ‘marries’ three key concepts from the exhortation with some key research from Dr Christian Smith of Notre Dame University Indiana which he presents in his 2014 book Young […]
By |October 8th, 2014|chris ryan|Comments Off on Youth Ministry after Evangelii Gaudium
  • eagle-flying

The Call: Scared eagles

The prophet Isaiah tells us that “those who put their trust in the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall rise up with wings like eagles” (Is 40:31).

The promise sounds very encouraging, yet we need to be aware of what is not being said about this image. An eagle is able to soar up to the heights precisely because it has nothing. An eagle does not carry a parachute in case of emergency, it does not carry a map or GPS so that it can maintain its course, it does not harness itself to the nearest tree in case it fails on take-off and it does not carry a phone ‘just in case’ something bad happens along the way. If an eagle had these things, it would be extremely safe and in no danger of ever being hurt. However this would be because it would not be able to get off the ground.

When the scripture says that we will be able to soar like eagles when we trust in the Lord, it is because we are choosing to not put our trust in everything else. In that place of vulnerability, we are able to soar to the heights and achieve […]

By |September 9th, 2014|The Call|0 Comments

THERE IS A TIME FOR FASTING AND FEASTING Lk 5:33-39

 

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, the author writes that there is a time for all things under heaven. When the disciples of John the Baptist approach Jesus and seem to be complaining about the way His, Jesus, disciples do not fast. Jesus uses this idea in His reply. The laws regarding fasting are not absolute. If a person is sick, or too old or too young they are exempt from the law. There are also special occasions when it is not right to fast. On the other hand, there are also special occasions when it might be right to fast even though it is not required by the law.

 

Jesus wants His followers to think about the things that they are doing and not just blindly follow laws that may have been written with a particular purpose in mind that no longer applies. I am not advocating any sort of anarchy here! Generally speaking, I am sure that we all agree that laws are necessary to ensure order in our lives. However, they are not meant to control our lives to the point that it is impossible for the Spirit of God to lead us in new ways according to the […]

By |September 5th, 2014|Daily Scripture|0 Comments
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The Call: The Cardboard-self

Imagine a world where every person carried in front of them a life-sized cardboard cut-out of themselves. This cardboard cut-out would be a the perfect image of themselves; their best picture, professionally ‘photoshoped’ to create the most perfect appearance. Whenever these people met each other, they would push their perfect image of themselves forward and request that the other person talk to the picture and not look at the real person behind.
Some might say that this is what our world has become. We celebrate perfection so much that we now hide behind a false image for fear that other people might see who we really are. As Christians, the real danger is when we do this to God. We come to prayer and present to God our ‘best selves’. We assume that since we do not like our ‘real-self’, surely God would not be pleased with it either.
It should be obvious that God would hate being presented with this ‘cardboard person’ as much as we would. He loves us in our real-self with all of its imperfections; he definitely does not like our pretend-self. If you feel that you are not encountering God in your prayer, perhaps it is because […]

By |August 27th, 2014|The Call|0 Comments