This blog is for the use of the whole parish; please let me know if you'd like to contribute.


Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

Jesus and the Holy Spirit

Permalink

Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

We can be easily swept along by the world's philosophical answers to life's fundamental questions.  The media often presents experts who proffer their answers to these, and we may feel lost in a world that is full of instant answers and strong opinions!  However, when we conform our attitudes to the truth of the Gospel and Jesus' teaching we can be confident that we are living a life that is pleasing to God.  Christ came into the world to set us free from futility and emptiness.

The way of Christ is simple: we believe in Jesus and love one another (v. 23).   When we allow the truth of the Gospel to reveal Jesus, we experience an interior attraction to his teaching.  The Spirit transforms us to be more Christ-like, and penetrates our hearts with the truth about ourselves and gives us the courage to admit how we have been unfaithful, marred God's image and tainted our relationship with him. We can enter into life-giving dialogue with the Spirit in which we speak, listen and express ourselves trustfully with the joy of being welcomed, accepted, forgiven and restored.

The Spirit knows our hearts and 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 God's love, help and support. When we welcome the Spirit as our teacher and guide, he will come without our knowing how, without our being aware of how it happens. But we will find him dwelling within, speaking to us and counselling us on 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.

Come, Holy Spirit! I welcome you in a new way into my lịfe today. Show me the attitudes and opinions that close my heart to your gentle persuasion. Help me to be aware of your presence that always consoles, enlightens, refreshes and directs. I believe that every wall of fear, confusion and temptation must yield before your truth and love.

Chris 
 

 

1 John 22–46 • Psalm 27–8, 10–11 • Matthew 4:12–1, 23–25

Comments

Gratitude

Permalink

The sun just above the horizon

Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash

New Year's Eve invites us to prayerful reflection and self-examination as we look back on the year passed and look to the coming one. The liturgy aids this process by presenting to us St John of the Cross’s Prologue for prayerful consideration.

Today's Gospel helps us to understand that the search for meaning begins and ends with the coming of Jesus, because today's Gospel helps us to understand that the search for meaning begins and ends with the coming of Jesus, because he is the Logos: the reason and meaning of all that is. If the question is, “What is the meaning of life on earth?”, the answer is, “Jesus of Nazareth”.  Our lives find their meaning, direction and purpose in him because by and for him we were created.

What the Scriptures and revelation make clear is that a time will come when at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue will confess that he is Lord. Our reflection, then, as we look back on the old year and forward to the new, should be evaluated not on achievements or goals, but on growing and maturing in our ability to give praise, glory and honour to the Father for sending us his Son.

Our lives find their ultimate meaning and purpose in giving glory to God for Jesus, so our main attitude should be gratitude. We must search for the mercies of God. The more we look for him the more we will find.  As the saying goes, "Better to lose count while naming your blessings than to lose your blessings to counting your troubles”.

The great poet and mystic William Blake said, "Gratitude is heaven itself”. Today let gratitude for the past inspire us all with trust for the future. We don't know what the New Year will bring, but we do know that God is with us, in our failures, successes and every moment of our lives.

This year may we thirst to know the Father more deeply, love the Son more intimately and walk in the Spirit more eagerly.

The children of Israel did not find in the manna all the sweetness and strength they might have found in it – not because the manna did not contain them, but because they longed for other food.' (St John of the Cross)

 

1 John 2:18–21 • Psalm 95(96):1–2, 11–13 • John 1:1–18

 

Chris 
 
Comments

Magnificat

Permalink

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

 

Luke 1:46–56

“O King whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one.  O come and see man whom you made from clay.”

The Magnificat is Mary’s special prayer which offers us a wonderful glimpse into the personality and very heart of Mary: her lively awareness of God as both her Lord and Saviour; her humility and her own sense of poverty and nothingness; her bold awareness and proclamation of the wonderful things that God had done for her; and her acceptance of her role in God’s plan of salvation.  As we reflect and ponder on Mary’s qualities, we find our personal love for her grows.  We realise that God not only chose her to be his Son’s mother, but also our mother and a model for Christian life.

Mary, as a daughter of Israel had a keen sense of the importance of God’s people in his divine plan.  Mary’s prayer in the Magnificat is not her prayer alone but is also the prayer of Israel.  We can discover the spirit of the Magnificat in numerous prayers in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 2:1–10; Psalms 34:1–3 and 98:1–3).  In this sense it’s not unique but rather reflects how the wisdom of the Old Testament finds its fullest and most perfect expression in the events and circumstances of the New.  God had always intended that his Son’s Incarnation would bring healing and eternal life to the fallen and wounded human race.  He chose Israel, his beloved people, to be the place where the momentous meeting between God and humankind would take place.

Despite their sin and rebellion, Israel had remained God’s chosen people.  In Mary God found someone who was a living embodiment of all that Israel had aspired to be: humble, receptive and obedient.  Mary fulfils Israel’s role perfectly as the place of welcome for God’s Son, and the Magnificat expresses beautifully her sense of being right at the heart of God’s plan for her own life and his people.

Lord Jesus during Advent may my should magnify you and my spirit rejoice in God my Saviour, as I taste in ever-increasing measure the beauty of your presence and the goodness of your life.

1 Samuel 1:24–28 • 1 Samuel 2:1, 4–8 • Luke 1:46–56

 

Chris 
 
 
 
Comments

Burdens

Permalink

 

http://heartsofcompassioninternational.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-hear-from-god-part-1.html

God knows that we carry many burdens, but what is our greatest burden?  God knows we have many troubles. but what is our greatest trouble? God knows we have many challenges, but what is our greatest challenge? We often think we are alone with our burdens, troubles or challenges, but perhaps the truth is that we all carry something similar: deep down we have lost a sense of God's love and forgiveness, and we feel that he is far from us.

Our deepest need, then, is to rediscover God's love, forgiveness and plan for our lives. But how can we do this? We can be saved and figure out our salvation by co-operating with the Holy Spirit.  He urges us to find time to pray and be still, for it's in this time of quiet and reflection that we can hear the Lord speak to us.

What does God say to us in prayer?  The Holy Spirit urges us to find time to read his Word, the Scriptures, and calm our minds and refresh our own spirits. What does God say to us through the Scriptures?  The Holy Spirit urges us to deepen our gratitude and sense of awe every time we celebrate the great gift of the Body and Blood of Christ.

What does God say to us through the Eucharist? The Holy Spirit urges us to forgive those who have sinned against us or offended us in any way.  What does God say to us through this gift of forgiveness?  The Holy Spirit urges us to reach out to those on the margins of our society: prisoners, the poor, cold, hungry or naked. 

When we co-operate with the Holy Spirit, find time to pray, read the scriptures, receive the Eucharist, forgive our enemies and serve others in love, charity and humility, God says to us:

'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for l am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.' (Matt. 11:28-30)

 

Isaiah 41:13–20 • Psalm 144(145):1, 9–13 • Matthew 11:11–15

Chris 
 
Comments

Faith with Humility and Trust in God

Permalink

Jesus was amazed at the centurion's faith. Nowhere in Israel had he found such faith as in this Gentile, a representative of a hated foreign oppressor. What was it in the centurion's behaviour that so impressed the Lord? The disposition with which he approached Jesus can be summed up in two words: faith and humility. He had complete confidence in Jesus's ability to heal his servant, and he was so humble that he did not consider himself worthy to have Jesus come into his house.

What did the centurion see in Jesus that gave him such faith, when many of the Jewish leaders were not open to Jesus's message? He was a man in authority and recognised Jesus’s absolute authority over sickness and evil. But this was not just his own shrewdness; only the work of God's grace in his heart could have brought him to such a position of faith.

It's with these same two attitudes that we should approach Jesus during this season of Advent. We need to be humble enough to see our weaknesses and neediness, and we should have complete faith in the power of Jesus to heal us and cleanse us from our sins. So perfectly do the centurion's words sum up the way we should approach Jesus that they have been incorporated into the liturgy. We say them just before our most important encounter with Christ, our reception of his body and blood. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Christ into our lives in a special way, and we can take these words to heart as we begin this season.

The same is true for us: only God can bring us to see who Jesus really is and our need for him, and we must be open to his work within us. If we approach Jesus with faith and humility this Advent, inviting him into our lives, we shall find that he will work powerfully within us and give us far more than we imagined. Let us be expectant that he will do great things for us in the coming weeks.

Lord Jesus, we are not worthy to receive you, but we know that if you say the word we shall be healed.

 

lsaiah 2:1-5 • Psalm 121(122):1-9 • Matthew 8:5-11

Chris 
 
Comments

Jesus's Love

Permalink
Jesus loved the people of Jerusalem and wept over their rejection of him.  But he wasn’t weeping for his own sake: these tears expressed a tender love for them.  These language of tears offers us a wonderful insight to the very heart of God.  Jesus’s tears were not only for Jerusalem but also for all who reject God and rebel against him.  This is not a harsh or vindictive God but One who weeps warm tears of love.
 
St Thérèse of Lisieux wrote beautifully of the depth and extent of God’s love for us:
 
“My God, everywhere your love is misunderstood and cast aside.  The hearts upon which you are ready to lavish your love turn away to earthly pleasures instead, as if happiness could be found in more material attachments.  They refuse to throw themselves into your arms and accept the gift of your infiinite love.
 
“Must this rejected love of yours remain shut up in your own heart?  If only you could find souls ready to offer themselves as victims, to be burnt up in the fire of your love!  You would lose no time in satisfying their desire.  Thus you would find a welcome outlet for the pent-up force of your great devotion.
 
“Jesus, grant me the happiness of being such a victim, burnt up in the fire of your divine love."
 
1 Maccabees 2:15–29 • Psalm 49(50): 1–2, 5–6, 14–15 • Luke 19:41–44
Comments

The Parable of the King's Ten Servants

Permalink

A slightly different account of today's Parable of the Talents appears in Matthew's Gospel (see 25:14-30).  Matthew mentions only three servants, whereas Luke has ten, and there is a substantial difference between the sums of money involved.  Furthermore, in Luke's version the servants are given an equal amount, whereas in Matthew's a differentiation is made.

Luke is explicit about Jesus’s motive in telling his parable.  As verse 11 makes clear, he wants the people to understand that the fact that he is approaching Jerusalem doesn’t mean that the kingdom is is close at hand.  The man of noble birth must go away “into a far country to receive a kingdom and then return” (v. 12).

In the meantime, his servants are given responsibilities that they must fulfil. The servants – in other words, we as disciples – are not to put their feet up (so to speak), relax and rest on their laurels.  Instead, they are to devote their lives to the building up of God's kingdom on earth (see Acts 1:8-11).

The bottom line of the parable is that from those who are given much, much is expected.  The servants who produce a return from what they are given respect their master and understand his importance as king. On the other hand, the servant who fails to provide a return has a faulty or disordered understanding of his master, fearing him and seeing him as  “ . . . a hard man. You take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow” (v. 21).

We who have been blessed with so many graces must produce much in return. If we cultivate a healthy understanding of who God is, we will produce a rich harvest.  If, however, we have a misguided or wrong understanding of God, and see him as judgemental, harsh, unforgiving, unloving, etc . . ., our return will be small.

Lord God, may I serve you with all of my heart, soul and strength, and produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

 

2 Maccabees 7:1, 20–31 • Psalm 16(17): 1, 5–8, 15 • Luke 19: 11–28

Comments

Wisdom

Permalink
Wisdom 13:1 – 9
 

1 But all men are vain, who are not under the knowledge of God, and who, from these good things that are seen, were not able to understand he who is, nor, by paying attention to the works, did they acknowledge he who was the artisan.

2 Instead, they had considered either the fire, or the air, or the atmosphere, or the circle of stars, or the great sea, or the sun and moon, to be the gods that rule the world.

3 If they, being delighted by such sights, supposed them to be gods, let them know how great the Lord of them is in splendour. For he who created all things is the author of beauty.

4 Or, if they wondered at their power and their effects, let them understand by these things, that he who created them is mightier than they are.

5 For, by the greatness of the creation and its beauty, the creator of these will be able to be seen discernibly.

6 Yet, up to this point, the complaint about this is lesser. For perhaps they made a mistake in this, while desiring and seeking to find God.

7 And, indeed, having some familiarity with him through his works, they search, and they are persuaded, because the things that they are seeing are good.

8 But, then again, neither can their debt be ignored.

9 For, if they were able to know enough so that they could value the universe, how is it they did not easily discover the Lord of it?

Comments

The Kingdom of God – Jesus

Permalink

Heavenly background, “Come Lord Jesus"

Wisdom 7:22–8:1 • Psalm 119:89–91, 130, 135, 175 • Luke 17:20–25

 

Paul taught us that the kingdom isn’t about rules or regulations but about our interior life of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (see Romans 14:17).  And St Anthony of Egypt said, “There is no point in our travelling to find the kingdom of heaven . . . As the Lord has already told us, God’s kingdom is within you.”

Jesus turned the idea of God’s kingdom on its head.  the Jews were expecting a political Messiah who would overthrow their Roman oppressors and re-establish the Davidic line and dynasty.  They rejected Jesus as a result of their expectations.  God’s kingdom was breaking into their world but they were too preoccupied with their own concept of the kingdom to recognise it.

God’s kingdom, manifested in Jesus, is first and foremost a spiritual reality rather than something earthly (vv. 20–21; John 18:36).  The kingdom is not even a place or a way of life but a person:  Jesus is the kingdom and the kingdom is Jesus.

Reflecting on the Our Father, Cyprian of Carthage wrote, “ ‘ Thy kingdom come’ . . . Christ himself is the kingdom of God, whom we day by day desire to come, whose advent we crave to be quickly manifested to us.  For since he is the resurrection, because in him we rise again, so also the kingdom of God may be understood to be himself, because in him we shall reign.

The closer we are to Jesus, the closer we are to God’s kingdom.  Also, the closer we are to Jesus, the more we will pray for his return, because we long to see the ones we love.  We manifest God’s kingdom to the world by showing that we know Jesus, through our witness of peace, love, joy and righteousness in the power and the grace of the Holy Spirit.

“Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (St Augustine)

 
 
Chris
 
 
Image from https://www.faithgateway.com/pray-come-lord-jesus/#.YYzAqi-l1pQ
Comments

The Love of Money

Permalink
Luke 16:9–15
 
In Jesus’s encounter with the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, the gloves were well and truly off.  He knew that they loved wealth, possessions and status (v.14), and that by addressing the issue of being trustworthy with money or property he was striking a sensitive chord.  He would go on to condemn them for being greedy and self-indulgent.
 
Let us be clear, however, that Scripture does not condemn wealth in and of itself; it’s the love of it that’s wrong.  Jesus was addressing the heart of the matter, not the practical reality of how we handle currency or the simple fact that some have more than others.
 
St Francis de Sales put it like this: “Pharmacists have almost all kinds of poison for their use, as circumstances may require, but they are not poisoned, because they keep their poisons not in their bodies, but in their shops.  In a like manner you may possess riches without being poisoned by them, provided you have them for use in your house or in your purse, and not by loving them in your heart."
 
The danger we run is of turning the spotlight on the Pharisees rather than on ourselves, on our attitudes, thoughts and ways.  God wants us to be generous and kind to others – not mean, spiteful or self-indulgent.  We should use our wealth to build the kingdom, to promote the Gospel of life and to do our utmost to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor of this world.
 
We are born into this world naked, we leave it without a penny and are buried with our inheritance.  (St Ambrose).
 
Chris
 
Comments
Acts
Adult Education
Advent
alms
angel
angels
anger
annunciation
answer
Apocalypse
apostles
apostolic
archbishops
architect
ascension
ask
atonement
banquet
beatitudes
bishop
bishops
Blessed
blessings
blind
blood
body
brokenness
burden
CAFOD
care
centurion
chances
change
charity
Children
Christ
Christian
Christian Aid
Christ the King
church
Churches Together in Biggleswade
cleanse
come
comfort
coming
commandment
commitment
compassion
Conference
contemplation
conversion
coordinator
Coronavirus
courage
covenant
COVID-19
cross
cure
daily bread
Damascus
death
death to self
delight
desert
diocese
disciples
divine
Divine Office
divine work
divinity
Dominicans
doubt
Downside
earthly matters
Easter
eat
effort
encouragement
end-time
enemy
equality
eternal
Eucharist
evangelise
evil
example
fairness
faith
faithfulness
fasting
Father
faults
fear
fear of God
feed
fever
fiat
find God
food
foretold
forgive
forgiveness
foundations
fountains
Francis
free
fruit
fruitfulness
Fund-raising
future
Gabriel
generosity
gentle
gift
giving
glory
God
God's
God's Plan
God's will
God-man
Godhead
Golden Rule
good
gospel
grace
gratitude
greatness
heal
healing
health
heart
heaven
heavenly matters
High Priest
Holy Spirit
Holy Week
Holy_Spirit
homeless
hope
Hosea
humble
humility
hypocrisy
I AM
immortality
incarnation
increase
In Jesus's Name
innocence
insight
Internet
jealousy
Jesus
joy
justice
Justice and Peace
kindness
King
King David
kingdom
knowing
knowledge
law
Lent
leprosy
life
light
live streaming
living
Logos
Lord
Lord's Prayer
lost
love
Magi
maranatha
martyr
Mary
Mass
Matthew
meaning
meditation
mercy
Messiah
mindfulness
Ministries
miracle
miracles
mountains
mystery
mysticism
name
narrow path
Nazereth
neighbour
new creation
new life
New Testament
New Year
Nineveh
None
obedience
Old Testament
OneWorld
online
Organisation
Our Lady
outcast
outcasts
Palm Sunday
parable
Parish
Parish Youth
Passion
Paul
peace
penance
perfect
perfection
Peter
Pilgrimage
pity
poem
poor
Pope
power
praise
prayer
Prayers
preparation
proclamation
Prologue
promise
prophesy
prophet
protection
question
recovery
reflection
refugee
reign
rejects
renewal
repentance
rest
resurrection
revelation
righteiousness
righteousness
risen
Rock
Rolheiser
Sabbath
Sacraments
sacrifice
Sadducees
Safety
salvation
Satan
save
Saviour
sayittogod
Scriptures
second
Second Coming
seed
self-indulgence
self-sacrifice
sent
sermon
serve
service
sheep
shepherd
sights
signs
silence
sin
sinfulness
Social
Solomon
Son
soul
sower
spirit
Spiritual
splendour
St Benedict
steadfast
Stephen
stoning
storm
storms
strength
struggle
suffering
SVP
talents
teaching
tears
temptation
The Cross
Thérèse of Lisieux
time for God
today
transgressions
Trinity
trust
truth
understanding
unity
unworthy
victory
vine
vinedresser
vineyard
virgin
Visits
walk
watchful
water
way
wealth
weary
Website
will
Witness
women
Word
work
World
worship
yearn
Year of Faith
yoke
You
RSS Feed 
January 2022 (1)
December 2021 (3)
November 2021 (6)
October 2021 (3)
September 2021 (4)
August 2021 (3)
July 2021 (1)
June 2021 (2)
May 2021 (2)
April 2021 (2)
March 2021 (1)
February 2021 (7)
January 2021 (7)
December 2020 (7)
November 2020 (8)
October 2020 (4)
September 2020 (7)
August 2020 (6)
July 2020 (8)
June 2020 (8)
May 2020 (9)
April 2020 (9)
March 2020 (17)
February 2020 (9)
January 2020 (7)
December 2019 (8)
November 2019 (7)
October 2019 (6)
September 2019 (6)
August 2019 (3)
July 2019 (5)
June 2019 (4)
May 2019 (3)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (5)
February 2019 (2)
January 2019 (5)
November 2018 (1)
October 2018 (3)
September 2018 (2)
August 2018 (2)
June 2018 (3)
May 2018 (3)
April 2018 (3)
March 2018 (5)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (5)
December 2017 (7)
November 2017 (4)
October 2017 (3)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (3)
June 2017 (6)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (4)
March 2017 (6)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (5)
December 2016 (4)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (3)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (5)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (8)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (4)
March 2016 (6)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (3)
December 2015 (5)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (2)
September 2015 (2)
August 2015 (1)
July 2015 (3)
June 2015 (3)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (6)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (5)
January 2015 (2)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (4)
October 2014 (7)
September 2014 (5)
August 2014 (3)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (5)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (5)
March 2014 (6)
February 2014 (9)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (5)
November 2013 (6)
October 2013 (5)
September 2013 (7)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (5)
June 2013 (5)
May 2013 (1)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (3)
February 2013 (1)
January 2013 (5)
December 2012 (10)
November 2012 (7)
October 2012 (6)
September 2012 (6)
August 2012 (4)
July 2012 (2)
June 2012 (6)
May 2012 (10)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (3)
February 2012 (2)
January 2012 (8)
November 2011 (1)
October 2011 (1)
September 2011 (1)
August 2011 (1)
May 2011 (1)
April 2011 (1)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (2)
January 2011 (2)
December 2010 (2)
November 2010 (1)
October 2010 (3)
September 2010 (1)
August 2010 (1)
May 2010 (1)
March 2010 (2)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (3)
November 2009 (2)
October 2009 (1)
July 2009 (1)
May 2009 (1)
April 2009 (2)
March 2009 (1)
February 2009 (3)
January 2009 (1)
November 2008 (1)
October 2008 (1)
September 2008 (4)
August 2008 (2)

This site uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the site to operate and have already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but parts of the site may not work. To find out more about cookies on this website, see our Privacy Policy.