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The Good News

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Mark 1:14-20
 
From the beginning of Mark’s Gospel we are introduced to the ideas of repentance, belief and good news.
 
The gospel, literally “good news”, is that God became man to save and resuce us because we could not save ourselves from sin, death and the power of evil.
 
The Good News is that God loves us and revealed that love to us by sending Jesus, his only son and the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, to die on the cross and to rise again on the third day.
 
The Good News is that our sins are forgiven, our lives are wiped clean by the blood of Jesus, and we are reconciled with God the Father, restored as his sons and daughters, blessed with a new dignity, purpose and hope.
 
The Good News is that we have received the Holy Spirit; we are a new creation.
 
Lord, teach me to be a witness of your grace and of the joy of heartfelt repentance, and in turn lead others to know deeply and personally your mercy and forgiveness.
 
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Come to me, all you who are weary or burdened, and I will give you rest

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Matthew 11:28-30
 
Jesus invites us to lay down our burdens and come to him for rest.
 
We create many of our own burdens when we are imprisoned in fear, resentment, anger and anxiety.  The teaching of Jesus and his new law of love offers another kind of wisdom for life, and offers freedom from our own bondage.
 
His healing presence in the Sacrament of Reconciliation softens our inner reactions and gives us peace and hope.  When we come to Jesus in the Eucharist he gives himself as heavenly food that satisfies the deepest hungers of our heart.
 
We learn to be united to Jesus and to be like him in his gentleness and humility.  Coming to Jesus refreshes our hearts and makes them like his.
 
Lord Jesus, attract me to yourself.  Teach me to be still before you, to look upon your gentle, humble face.
 
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Signs of the Times

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Luke 12:54-59
 
What are the signs of the times today?  How do we know that God is living and active among us?  
 
The election of Pope Francis is a sign of the times, certainly: his love for the poor, his refusal to accept or mbrance many of the élitist trappings of his office; his passion for the simple Gospel message; and his love for God and for Jesus.
 
Another sign of the times is the rise of new spiritual movements.  The Holy Spirit is at work in our midst.  The signs of the world are ever apparent and we do well to note them also: the rise of militant atheism, materialism, fascism and moral relativism.
 
One of the great prophets of the modern world was St Pope Paul VI.  He wrote, “The split between the Gospel and the culture is without doubt the drama of our time, just as it was of other times.  Therefore every effort must be made to ensure a full evangelisation of culture, or more correctly of cultures.  The have to be regenerated by an encounter with the Gospel.  But this encounter will not take place if the Gospel is not proclaimed.”  (Evanglii nuntiandi 20).
 
Lord God, you gave courage to the Holy Martyrs.  Grant us the grace to seek to understand the signs of our times and always to be prepared to share with others the reason for our hope in Christ.
 
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"Whoever acknowledges me before men . . ."

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Luke 12:8-12
 
Today, in the here and now, it takes a certain courage to stand up for our faith.  It is easier on one level to stand up for Christian values and ethics.  People often talk about the Catholic or the Christian ethos as if simply speaking in these broad terms says as much as is needed about who we are as believers.  But what if someone asked, “What part does Jesus play in that ethos?”  Would that question be met with embarrassed silence?
 
St Ignatius of Antioch said, “Don’t just be known for being a Christian, but for living as one.”  Pope Paul VI put it like this, “For witness, no matter how excellent, will ultimately prove ineffective unless its meaning is clarified and corroborated.” – what Peter described as accounting for the ‘hope that is within you” (1 Peter 3:15).  
 
Pope Paul VI went on to say, “The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life.  There is no true evangelisation if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are not proclaimed.” (Evangelii nuntiandi 22)
 
 
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The Deep End – Love One Another

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‘Love one another’ is the basic principle of Christianity, as Jesus loved. It is simple, yet we can make it so complicated.

Jesus’s love was controversial for some people, because it was love without exclusion. To love as Jesus loved is to love those it is hard to love. This love ultimately leads to Jesus’ death. Jesus loved sinners, tax-collectors, prostitutes, people of other religions, the poor, the unwanted, the sick, the beggar and the leper.

This is is also too much for some Christians today. It is hard to love sinners or fanily members or friends who have hurt us. Yet this is the love we are called to. Once we begin to accept that we are infinitely loved by God, it is like a domino effect where that love is poured outwards in our lives.

We are part of this outpouring of God’s creative love and are called to bring it into places where there is none. In this way we are helping to heal, sustain and nourish ths world.

Let us hear those words of the Gospel more clearly today. ’Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this everone will know that you are one of my disciples.’

Let us dream of, and work towards, a world where this is a reality.

Jane Mellett.

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