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The Narrow Door

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Luke 13:22-30
 
The gate or door to salvation is Jesus himself (John 10:9).  He knocks on the door of our souls (Rev 3:20) and invites us to acknowledge that he is Lord.  God created us without us, but he does not save us without us.
 
How can we then be saved?  By turning to Jesus every day, acknowledging our need of him and asking for the grace to live out our vocation.
 
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Way of Salvation, the Truth of Salvation and the Life of Salvation.  In following you we find the key to life, and we are guided and led by the Light of Life.
 
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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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Come, Lord Jesus

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Luke 12:35-38

“Be patient waiting for Jesus’ return.  The tension between now and the final event of Jesus coming again must be lived in serene hope, committed to the present moment – we are pilgrims in search for a lasting home; we hope, as our forefathers in faith did, for a better homeland, in other words for heaven.  Come, Lord Jesus, come.” 

Pope St John Paul II

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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 importance of listening – Martha or Mary?

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Luke 10:38-42
 
Mary did what Martha didn’t — she made time.
 
We know in our own hearts that the decision to find time to pray is often harder than the decision to attend to work, write another email, make a telephone call etc . . .
 
Today we put out into the deep in expectation of encountering the Lord in a new way in prayer.  Today we rejoice in the pearl of great price, the ‘one thing’ that is needed, which is to be still and know that God is God.
 
“Prayer means launching out of the heart towards God; it means lifting ones’s eyes, quite simply to heaven, a cry of grateful love from the crest of joy or the trough of despair; it is a vast, supernatural force that opens out my heart and binds me close to Jesus.” Ste Thérèse of Lisieux.
 
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Who is my neighbour?

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Luke 10:25-37
 
Who is your neighbour?  Our faith invites us to go beyond our immediate circle and to reach out to people who fall outside our neat categories and boxes.  We are called to love and to care for people who might be unlovable by the standards of the world: criminals, drug addicts, drug dealers etc . . .
 
Despite the social action element of the parable many Church fathers saw that Jesus was in fact the Good Samaritan and we the wounded, bruised body on the roadside.
 
There is a profound depth to this parable whch the Holy Spirit can open up to us.  We are called to be merciful, but mercy is about understanding our need for redemption and salvation.  
 
This is the greatest human need: to know God’s forgiveness, mercy and healing.
 
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