Baptism of the Lord

Jesus's baptism was the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God's Suffering Servant. He allowed himself to be numbered among us sinners – he is truly "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29

In today's Gospel we are seeing unfolding before our eyes the "fulfilling of all righteousness" (see Matt. 3:15). We are witnesses to Jesus's consenting to his Father's will, which was his death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.

The coming down of the Spirit at Jesus's baptism looked forward to the coming down of the Holy Spirit on us, a prelude to the new creation. We commit ourselves to entering more deeply into the mystery of our baptism, praying about it, seeking to understand it and growing in our appreciation of the wonderful grace.

Chris
(from Bible Alive)
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The Holy Spirit

The Spirit knows our hearts and our shortcomings but wants us to have confidence in his power to renew us. The command to love one another would be impossible to fulfil were we to rely on ourselves – we need his love, help and support. When we welcome the Spirit to be our teacher and guide he will come without our knowing, without our being aware of how it happens. But we will find him dwelling within, speaking to us and counselling us what we must do. If we are sorrowful he will comfort us in our affliction. The flame of his love will burn in us and we will love God and our brothers and sisters with a love that is encouraging, warm and constant.

Chris
(from Bible Alive Reflections)
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Love

Today's first reading is from St John's first letter, 1 John 3:11-21. John knew and talked to and touched Jesus, the Son of God, the one who laid down his life for mankind.

"This how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." (v16).

And from Victor Hugo, "To love another person is to see the face of God". The key to loving others is to know that we are loved by God. And we know that we are loved by God because he sent us his only son to die for us.

God bless

Chris
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The New Year

Happy New Year!

We do not know what the New Year will bring us or our community, or any community around the world. But we do know that whatever happens to us, tragedy or joy, peace or war, tumult or stability, we are children of God, redeemed by the Son and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Regardless of any New Year resolutions that we might make the most important resolve that we can commit to ourselves is to know the love of God and the power of His resurrection.

"Everything comes from love, all is ordained for our salvation; God does nothing without this goal in mind."
St Catherine of Siena

Chris
(from today's Reflections in Bible Alive).
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Who will be saved? Luke 13:22-30

According to C.S. Lewis, "A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do."

Heaven and eternal life are our goal and purpose. This is not to deny that we have free will and can ultimately reject God through our own decision – but because God desires that everyone should be saved (see 2 Peter 3:9).

from Bible Alive for 31 October 2018.

Chris
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Every human . . .

"I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God." Luke 12:8.

And C S Lewis summed up the meaning of today's gospel (Luke 12:1-7) like this:

"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours."

Lord grant me the grace to relate to everyone equally, justly, fairly, conscious of their dignity and worth in God's eyes.

Chris


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The Lord – Blessed John Henry Newman

"May the Lord support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and our work is done.

"Then in his mercy may he give us safe lodging, and holy rest, and rest at the last. Amen"

Blessed John Henry Newman
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Marriage

We pray for married couples, giving praise to God for their witness of love. We pray, too, for those who are separated or divorced that they would know in a practical and real way the support and prayers of the Church community.

from
Bible Alive Reflections.
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Strangers

Today's gospel, Matthew 9:38-48, deals with strangers who deal in the business of the disciples – driving out demons in the name of Jesus. The disciples appear to be jealous of outsiders doing what was their prerogative (or that of Jesus, their Lord).

But Jesus reminds them that if these people are not against Jesus and his disciples they are for them: no one can be neutral when it comes to the Word. Perhaps we need to be reminded of our tendency to reject outsiders who might jeopardise our own position in society, that the Spirit works wherever he wills, that Jesus and his redemption are for anyone who will accept Jesus as Lord.

Chris
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The scandal of grace

Luke 7:36-50

In today's gospel, Jesus teaches the Pharisee about grade. Every human being has fallen short of God's glory; those who find themselves in the cycle of addiction, the trap of sexual sin or the grip of obsession appear in greater need of salvation. Simon the Pharisee considered himself superior to the woman "who had lived a sinful life".

But we all need God's grace; we all benefit from God's forgiveness.

Chris
(from today's Bible Alive Reflection)
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