It all sounds like gibberish to me.

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Tower of Babel

My priest gave a great Pentecost homily today. He Began by talking about the tower of Babel. The rather over confident (more like arrogant) people of that time wanted to build a tower high enough to reach God – ie. they wanted to control God. When God saw what they were trying to do He confused all their languages. In the confusion and communication breakdown the whole project failed.

Then we have Pentecost. The Holy Spirit descends on the disciples and they suddenly realise they have the ability to speak in all different tongues. They are understood by everyone.

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What struck me about these two situations was the issue of control. The people building the tower of Babel wanted complete control. The fools wanted a relationship with God, but they wanted to be in charge. God wasn’t having any of it! They were completely full of themselves. The tower of Babel and desire to be in control was mans initiative.

In contrast, the disciples had let go of themselves and their own ideas had been filled with the Holy Spirit. They had all received many spiritual gifts – power, if you will, but it was God’s power and they knew and respected that. They were not full of themselves but were full of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost was God’s initiative.

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If we take these ideas into the present day we can see that things have not changed so much! Within the Catholic Church we have certain pro-abortion ‘Theologians’, and certain pro-divorce and remarriage Cardinals. We have the pink clergy brigade and the lunacy of the coven of banshee’s that will not stop screeching about female ordination.

Honestly, some of the stuff these guys come out with is so hard to get one’s head around – it would be easier to decipher and translate an army of Minions than it would be to work out what those groups are saying.

All these groups do seem to want a relationship with God, but they want it on their terms. Oh but hang on a minuet, I do too. There were many years I was having a relationship with Christ but refused to stop using contraception. And then there was the phase when I used to use prayer as an escape from the duties of a wife and a mother. That phase must have been rather tiresome for God. I would turn up to pray feeling all holy and excellent, and then I would just run the show and talk, talk, talk and wouldn’t let God get a word in edgeways! I couldn’t risk actually listening to God – He might tell me that the best place to find Him was in the pots and pans! 😉  – (Teresa of Avila).

And then there is the issue of suffering. “I promise I will believe in You God and I’ll never do anything wrong again – just as long as You don’t ask me to suffer in my life, ever. Well maybe a little bit but only as much as I say is ok…” 

Ha!Ha!

We all try to control God in our subtle little ways. It stems from our chronic lack of trust and chronic lack of humility problem. Yeah, that’s  what was afflicting the Tower of Babel builders, and that’s what affects us today. And when we begin to rely on ourselves in this life we soon find that nothing makes sense – just like the Babel builders did.

But as we see from Pentecost, when we let go of ourselves and our own ideas in complete humility and trust, God can then come and fill that space with His Spirit, and all of a sudden everything makes sense – even the really crazy impossible paradoxical stuff like agape love. We must let go, and let God.

I’m still working on it… 😉

Happy 1st Birthday Faith in our Families!

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Pentecost – Year C

“… Receive the Holy Spirit…”

Gospel: John 20: 19-23

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Gospel Summary

The disciples were once again gathered together, and they were afraid. They had locked the doors. The risen Jesus comes in among them. He shows them the wounds on His hands and His side. They are filled with Joy. Jesus tells them “Receive the Holy Spirit…” and breathes the Spirit onto them.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

How do we allow the Holy Spirit to interact with us every day in our family relationships? Outside of prayer time, are we aware of his loving, gentle presence? We forget that he is with us every day of our ordinary day-to-day lives – even in the most mundane of activities. The sacred, vocational life-giving love of spouses and parents is a sacramental sign of God’s presence and creative action. When two or more are gathered together in Jesus’ name, he is in their midst. Is this not true when spouses, parents and children are gathered together in Jesus’ name?

The Family that Prays together, Stays together!

Think of the normal daily event of meal time. Where is God in this ordinary family activity?  Every family meal has creative, loving, caring, comforting, joyful, patient, kind, generous, emotional and financial supportive elements to it.

Take a few moments before eating this evening to say Grace, and simply thank God for each other: “Dear God, Thank you for Mum and Dad, and… (Name each family member). Please bless our family, Amen”.

  • I recognize the Holy Spirit in our family life when…
  • Our family needs the grace/help of the Holy Spirit because…
  • The Holy Spirit is always present – even in the most mundane of activities!

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. 

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.

And You shall renew the face of the earth.

The Ascension – Year C

“… He withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven….”

Gospel: Luke 24: 46-53

46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” 50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

Gospel Summary

Reminding the disciples of previous prophetic predictions, Jesus quotes the scriptures saying that the Christ will suffer and then rise from the dead. Letting them know that he is about to leave them, Jesus instructs the Apostles to continue the ministry which he began. They are to remain in Jerusalem until they are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. After delivering these instructions, Jesus raises his hands as in victory and ascends to Heaven. The disciples are filled with joy as they return from Bethany to Jerusalem.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

Jesus was finally leaving the disciples for the last time. And so dawns the final era of mankind – the era of the Church. Christ is of course the head and we (the Church) are His body. The present time is a time of the Spirit and of witness. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we are to witness to the redemptive death and glorious resurrection of Christ to those around us, until He comes again in Glory.

It is strange to think that we are living in the final era of Mankind. The era of the Church has been put in place by Christ Himself. He is with us at all times through the Holy Spirit and of course He is with us physically through the Eucharist. He wants to work in us and through us to reach others. To think that Christ wants to use me is a humbling thought. It is easy to think that we are too small to be of any importance whatsoever – but this is not true. Most of us are not asked to change the whole world like Blessed Pope John-Paul II or Francis of Assisi, but instead we are to concentrate on those closest to us and carry out the Lords final commandment – “Love one another as I have loved you.” He does not expect us to do this alone or even on our own merits. No, He has given us a helper – the Holy Spirit. And He has given us a community – the Church. It is through the Church that we are able to draw the strength and wisdom to proclaim the Good News until the end of this era when Christ will return for the last time.

  • We are living in the final era of mankind – the era of the Church.
  • The present time is a time of the Spirit and of witness.
  • At the end of this era, Christ will return for the last time.

Dear Jesus,

Help me to understand the importance of your Church here on earth. Help me to cherish and pray for the Priests who represent you. May I always call on the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide me.

Thank You Jesus, I Love You, Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter – Year C

“…But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, will teach you everything...”

Gospel: John 14:23-29

23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me. 25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

Gospel Summary

In this Gospel, Jesus prepared his disciples for his return to God. Jesus promised them that the Holy Spirit would live within them and provide strength and courage. The Spirit would always be available to help them as a counsellor and advocate. Through the Spirit, they would recall the words and teachings of Jesus and even come to understand these things in a way that they could not before. In addition the disciples would receive peace from the Spirit. The peace of the Spirit would be a kind of peace which provided a special inner serenity.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

The Holy Spirit is often the most overlooked person of the Holy Trinity. This is perhaps because it is hard to describe what the Holy Spirit actually is. I have heard it described as ‘God’s power’ and even explained in similar terms as ‘The force’ in Star-wars!

Perhaps the best way to describe the Holy Spirit is ‘God at work in our hearts’. The Holy Spirit enlightens us – not only to the deeper meanings of scripture, but to the simplest parts of our day to day lives. In the light of the Holy Spirit, we can recognise Gods presence in the most mundane of tasks – doing the washing up, taking the dog for a walk, even the school run!

One of the most recognisable fruits of the Holy Spirit is peace. This is something that many people lack today. For us to begin to find this peace in our busy and stressful lives we must first acknowledge that modern life does not lend itself to peacefulness. Pope Francis has recently asked us to reflect on whether we are “slaves to our work…”  This is a very profound question. I suppose we could also ask ourselves whether we are slaves to the TV in the evenings, or the computer? Do we ever give ourselves a moment during the day to sit quietly and recognise where God is working in our lives? When I first began to do this I found it extremely difficult. I was not used to the stillness and the silence and quite often found myself dropping off to sleep! But as I got used to it, it began to dawn on me that this stillness and silence was something that I needed just like food and water. The Holy Spirit doesn’t shout – it whispers to us, and we need to make the time and the space in our lives to stop for a moment and listen.

  • Can I find a moment today to sit quietly with God?
  • Where is God working in my life at the moment?
  • The Holy Spirit doesn’t shout, it whispers.

Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me

Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me

Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me,

Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me.