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

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

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

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

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

GOD IS FAITHFUL 1 Cor.1.1-9

In the day and age of advanced communications, I think we tend to lose something of the personal touch of a handwritten letter. Even when I am writing letters to folks back home it can be computer typed! Although some correspondents remain “old fashioned”, I will respond to them through written communication. When one writes a letter, it seems more expressive since they are sharing something of themselves. Isn’t it a joy to receive letter in the mail? A brother priest of mine receives letters from his mother every month without fail, still written by hand with the personal touch.
In the New Testament, we have a series of letters written by Paul, the great missionary and apostle to the Gentiles. He writes very personally, expressing his love and concern for the churches. These letters were read aloud as the people gathered to hear the news from their friend. Sometimes the letters were full of challenging comments; it depended on what they needed to hear! These letters make good reading and prayerful reflection even today.  Sometimes we can pass them by as times of the past. However, they can be very good practice for daily Christian living. Take one of his […]

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

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
  • 24415814113_78d88ed91b_n

Love seeks union

When we look at how love works, there are two things that seem to be universal. Firstly, Love seeks to be known. When you fall in love with someone you have a desperate desire to make this love known to the other person. This desire seems to go beyond all reason to the point where you sometimes can’t control yourself. Even if you are not allowed to tell this person that you love them, you will find yourself making it known in all sorts of indirect ways.

Once love becomes known, we find that the second element of love comes in to play: Love seeks union. As soon as someone speaks to us of their love, there is an inherent understanding that that love wants to seek union with us. This is why people find it threatening to be told that they are loved. This knowledge always leads somewhere, and sometimes people are not willing to go to that place.

If you look at the bible, you can see this same dynamic playing out. The Old Testament is God seeking to make his love known. Once this love is spoken clearly, it is only natural that this love would […]

By |March 17th, 2016|The Call|0 Comments
  • carpenter-2

Why was Jesus a Carpenter?

Carpentry is a very strange profession. A carpenter will take a tree and intentionally destroy its natural beauty. The carpenter will hack away at the trunk of the tree, removing its defensive layer through the use of axes, saws and chisels. In fact, if you did not understand what the carpenter was doing, you would think that this person simply delighted in doing violence to a piece of wood.

But it is through this violent action that the inner beauty of the wood is revealed. A master craftsman not only shapes the wood for a useful purpose, they also allows the true colour and grain of the wood to be seen.

At this point we need to ask the question, was it purely an accident that Jesus was a carpenter? Was it simply a random chance that the saviour of the world would take on this profession or was God trying to reveal something about how he works with his people?

The scriptures often describe the purifying work that God does through the image of refining Gold or cleaning dirty clothing. But maybe the best image is the image of a carpenter. It can often be hard to understand what God is doing […]

By |October 16th, 2015|The Call|0 Comments