Eucharistic Adoration – Society’s Ultimate Rebellion

One of the greatest weaknesses of todays society, and one of the greatest sadnesses of our time  is the dehumanisation of us all.  If you take a step back and try to look upon your life from the outside it can look a little something like this:

Is it any wonder that 1 in 4 of us will at some point in our lives suffer with low self-worth, anxiety and depression? And even worse than this is the fact that we constantly sedate ourselves to this pain with a self prescribed diet of mindless entertainment and quick fixes. Is there really no way out? Is this really how life is meant to be? Am i really nothing more than a rat in this horrible unending race? Is that what we are – a race of rats?!

Please, please please please do not believe that this conveyor belt drone like existence is how God wants you to spend the rest of your life. You are unique. You are amazing. You are loved. Before He formed us in the womb He knew us. Luke 12:7 tells us that “…even the hairs of your head are all counted…”.

Psalm 139 tells us :

13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15     My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
    all the days that were formed for me,
    when none of them as yet existed.

We are Fearfully and Wonderfully made. And more than that God had already written His plan for each and every single day of our lives as His eyes beheld our unformed substance. Wow!  

God has a plan for your life. 

Eucharistic Adoration is (viewed through the eyes of todays society) completely bonkers. You are not producing anything. You are not gaining anything. You are not entertaining yourself. In fact i would go as far as to say that Eucharistic Adoration is society’s ultimate rebellion. When we spend time in silence with our creator we begin to realise who we really are . We begin to see ourselves as He sees us, and realise that He never intended us to be a number – a rat in a rat race. We begin to realise that we are unique, we are amazing and we are loved.

Mother Teresa puts it like this: 

“That is why I encourage you to make your Holy Hour (of Adoration) through Mary, the cause of our joy, and you may discover that no where on earth are you more welcomed, no where on earth are you more loved, than by Jesus, living and truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the best time that you will spend on earth. Each moment that you spend with Jesus will deepen your union with Him and make you soul everlastingly more glorious and beautiful in Heaven, and will help bring about an everlasting peace on earth.”
 
“When you look at the crucifix you understand how much Jesus loved you. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you NOW. I beg the Blessed Mother to touch the hearts of all Parish priests that they may have Eucharistic Adoration in their parishes, and that it may spread throughout the entire world! – Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
 

Eleventh Sunday – Year C

“… She has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair …”

Gospel: Luke 7:36-50

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37 And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” 41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he cancelled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Gospel Summary

There is no doubt that Simon, the Pharisee, prided himself in his religion. He followed the laws and thought himself a very devout person. Therefore, it bothered him that such a sinful woman would join the dinner in his home. It especially annoyed him that his guest, Jesus, allowed her to stay and even treated her with respect. Of course the woman knew rejection at the hands people like Simon who thought they were better than she was, but Jesus forgave her her sins because she was so sincere in her belief. To explain his action, Jesus told Simon a parable about two people who owed large sums of money. One person, however, owed ten times the amount of the other. Jesus asked the Pharisee which debtor would be more grateful for the forgiveness. Naturally he replied that the person with the greater debt would be happiest. Jesus said so it was true for the person with the greatest sin. At that he turned to the woman, forgave her, and told her to go in peace.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

How did the people in this story view this woman? Simon the Pharisee saw her only as a dirty whore. Jesus however saw beyond her sin, to who she really was – the person God meant her to be.

People often speak about having a ‘change of heart’ when they come back to God. It is as if they suddenly become aware of how much God loves them. This in turn leads them to feel real heartfelt sorrow for the things they have done wrong in their lives. The woman in the story was having this experience. She may have been following Jesus for a while – listening to Him and taking notice of what he was doing. She was on her own spiritual journey. But there would have come a point where she – like all of us today – suddenly felt that she could no longer deny what her feelings were telling her about God. Blessed Pope John Paul II described this feeling akin to ‘falling in love’.

Her heart must have been close to bursting when she realized that Jesus had always loved her – despite the bad things she had done. And all He wanted was for her to come back to Him so she could discover who she really was, in His eyes. In His eyes, she had infinite value and worth. She was worth dying for.

When we realize that this is how Jesus loves us, all we can feel in response is gratitude and love. Our hearts are moved in real, true repentance and we don’t want to sin anymore. We just want God.

  • Where am I on my spiritual journey with God?
  • Do I realize who I am and how much I am worth in Jesus’ eyes?
  • Jesus loves me so much that He died for me.

Dear Jesus,

Help me to see my value and worth through your eyes.

Teach me who I really am.

Thank You, I Love You Jesus, Amen.

 

Tenth Sunday – Year C

“…When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her…”

Gospel: Luke 7: 11-17

11 Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12 As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. 13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man I say to you, arise!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favourably on his people!” 17 This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.

Gospel Summary

From his place among the crowd of disciples and many other followers, Jesus is attentive to another procession that includes a widow, the coffin containing the body of her only son, and the many people from the city of Nain who were with her. He touched the coffin, commanded the son to arise, and gave the son to his mother. The crowd proclaimed Jesus to be a great prophet in its midst, and recognized that they had witnessed the power of God.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

Why did Jesus decide to have compassion on this widow and her only son? And why did Luke feel it was important enough to be documented? If we read the passage again we can see there are some similarities between this story and the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The young man who died was his mother’s only son – as Jesus was Mary’s only son. The woman was a widow – Mary was also a widow by this point. Both stories end with the son no longer dead. This miracle was indeed a foreshadowing of Jesus’ own death and resurrection – but also of the compassion He would demonstrate to His own Mother (who would also become a childless widow) when on the Cross he entrusted her to John to take care of for the rest of her life.

This story also points out clearly the fact of Mary’s perpetual virginity. There are some non-Catholics who argue that Jesus had sibling’s – which is of course not true! – But how do we know this for sure?

Luke uses the Greek word “monogenes” meaning “only-begotten”. Jesus is also described as “monogenes” in John’s Gospel. Also, there was no social security in the time of Jesus. A widow would have relied solely on her children to provide for her. A childless widow would have had to beg for money and food. During the crucifixion, Jesus entrusted His disciple John to take care of Mary. Why would John have been asked to do this if there were biological siblings available to do the same job? If she had other children, she would not be able to devote herself 100% to Jesus (and to us). Her perpetual virginity is a commitment to us as much as anything. She truly is our Mother.

We can also see now why Jesus felt so moved with compassion for the widow in Nain. He recognized in her, what His own Mother would soon be facing.

  • Do I know anyone who is old and lonely?
  • How can I show compassion to this person?
  • How do I want to be treated when I am old?

Dear Jesus,

Help me to be compassion to those around me, as you were compassion to the widow at Nain. Help me to understand people’s circumstances without judging them. Help me to remember those who are lonely or have no family to care for them.

Thank You, I Love You Jesus, Amen.

Corpus Christi – Year C

“… And all ate and were filled…”

Gospel: Luke 9:11-17

11 When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured. 12 The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

Gospel Summary

Jesus continued to teach the crowds that had gathered until late in the day when his disciples came to him and said that Jesus should let the crowd go so that they might find food and a place to stay. Jesus told the disciples to feed the crowd themselves, but they knew it would be impossible because they only had five loaves of bread and two fish among them. Jesus instructed the disciples to divide the people into groups of fifty. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, blessed and broke them and shared them among the people. Not only was this food sufficient for the crowd but they had twelve baskets of leftovers.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

Meal times are so important for families. They ‘gather the group’ together, strengthen bonds, and let us feel part of something bigger than just ourselves. This is the same in our parishes. Being part of a larger group with other families helps us to remember that there are others just like us, sharing the same joys and difficulties that we have. We can find so much strength, joy and comfort every Sunday when we all come together in Jesus’ presence to share our weekly, holy ‘meal’.

The feeding of the 5000 was a miracle. But so is the Mass. In fact it is possible to draw quite a few parallels between the two events. They both involve a large number of people coming together in the presence of Jesus, to listen to His word and to share a meal. At both events the people are hungry – spiritually as well as physically. And at both events Jesus gives the people more than they can ever need – unending sustenance, replicated thousands of times over.

The feeding of the 5000 is a sort of foretaste of the Holy Mass we enjoy today – except of course that the bread we consume at Mass is the ‘Bread of Life’, Jesus Himself. He is the unending sustenance we crave. He is the only thing that can satisfy our hunger, completely and eternally.

  • The greatest hunger in the world today is…
  • Only Jesus can truly and completely satisfy this hunger.
  • How will I feel when I receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist this week?

Soul of Christ, sanctify me                                  

Body of Christ, save me

Blood of Christ, inebriate me

Water from Christ’s side, wash me

Passion of Christ, strengthen me

O good Jesus, hear me

Within Thy wounds hide me

Suffer me not to be separated from Thee

From the malicious enemy defend me

In the hour of my death call me

And bid me come unto Thee

That I may praise Thee with Thy saints

and with Thy angels, forever and ever , Amen

 

 

Passion Sunday – Year C

“Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Gospel: Luke 22: 14–71, 23: 1-56,

1 Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate. 2 They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.” 3 Then Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered, “You say so.” 4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for an accusation against this man.” 5 But they were insistent and said, “He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.” 6 When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7 And when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time.

8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. 9 He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. 12 That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies.

13 Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 I will therefore have him flogged and release him.” 17 18 Then they all shouted out together, “Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!” 19 (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; 21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.”

23 But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.

26 As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28 But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us’; and to the hills, “Cover us.’ 31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” 44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.

47 When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. 49 But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Gospel Summary

The chief priests and the scribes, unable to sentence Jesus to death them-selves, handed Him over to the Romans. Pilate could not find Jesus guilty of any crime and so to appease the angry crowd, he had Him flogged. But the worked-up crowd continued to shout for Jesus to be crucified. Eventually Pilate gave in – even though he knew he was condemning an innocent man to death.

Jesus was led away and given His cross to carry. When it became too much, the soldiers forced Simon of Cyrene to help Jesus carry the cross. Then they crucified Him. He was stripped, mocked and brutally murdered. And all the time He continued to beg His Father to forgive the people doing it to Him. He was recognised as innocent by the criminal hanging next to Him and by the Roman Soldier at the foot of the cross.

Then the sky grew dark, and at 3 o’clock Jesus shouted “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Then Jesus died on the cross.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

If you have not yet had the chance to visit your church and walk around the Stations of the Cross, please try to do so. I would also very much recommend watching ‘The Passion of the Christ’ – but be advised, it is the most moving, realistic depiction of the crucifixion I have ever seen and certainly not for kids. I saw it first in my early twenties and it had a major impact on me. It is available on You Tube.

Holy Week is such a mixture of emotions – from the high of Jesus’ entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, to the washing of the disciple’s feet and the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, to the agony in the garden and finally Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, and then the excitement and joy of the Resurrection. Quite frankly it is emotionally exhausting!

But don’t be afraid of this emotion. We have Mother Mary to guide us through this next week and show us what it truly means to love Jesus.

It is when we view the events of Holy Week through the eyes of His Mother that we can begin to understand that it is all about love. We have a God that loves us so much that He would rather send His only Son to die for our sins, rather than risk spending eternity without any one of us. Through Jesus’ crucifixion we are saved. Through His glorious Resurrection we are assured of eternal life! Thank You Jesus! Thank You for doing for me what I could not do for myself! Thank You for loving me so much!

  • Jesus died on the cross for me.
  • He has taken away my sins.
  • Through His resurrection, I am assured of eternal life.

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for dying on the cross for me. Thank You for taking away my sins. Thank You for doing the work I am not able to do for myself. Thank You for assuring me of eternal life through your Resurrection. You are the Son of God, You are the Light of the world, You are the Way the Truth and the Life.

I Love You Jesus, Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Lent – Year C

“…this brother of yours was lost and has been found.…”

Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable: 11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.” ‘ 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27 He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ 28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29 But he answered his father, “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ 31 Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’ “

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

I remember when I was 18, sitting my parents down and apologising to them for the past 5 years! And I really meant it. It took courage and humility. Then I went to confession for the first time since my first confession. This was the turning point in my life where I started to build a good honest relationship with my parents, and with Jesus.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the parallels between the two relationships were obvious. Mum, Dad and Jesus all loved me unconditionally. They created me. They wanted me to come back to them. And strangely enough as soon as I did, all 3 of them started to bestow great gifts upon me! They had been waiting and desperately wanting to give me these gifts – but I wasn’t in a position where I could receive them. I was pushing them away. So what prompted this change of heart from me? Perhaps it was the awful situations I kept getting myself into. Perhaps it was dawning on me that adult life was on the horizon and I had no idea how to cope. But really I think it was because I was given the grace to realise that there was really no need to rebel. My parents could not force me to love them. Jesus could not force me to believe in Him, but, all 3 of them were still there for me – despite everything that I had done. In my heart I felt sorry, because I suddenly realised how much I was loved.

  • Is there anything in my heart I feel sorry for?
  • Do I realise how loved I am?
  • Is it time for me to turn back to God through confession?

Dear Jesus,

Your mercy is greater than my sin – in every situation! There is nothing you can’t forgive me for. Help me to come to confession and talk to the priest about what I feel sorry for. I want to build a new, honest relationship with you. Help me come home.

Thank you, I love You Jesus, amen.

A4 Download for your school or parish: Fourth Sunday – Year C.doc  Fourth Sunday – Year C.pdf

 

Second Sunday in Lent – Year C, The Transfiguration.

“This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

Gospel: Luke 9:28-36

28 Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35 Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” 36 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

Gospel Summary

Peter, James and John went with Jesus to pray and witnessed the transfiguration. Along with Jesus stood Moses and Elijah. The disciples had no idea what was happening and Peter, in his ignorance, suggested that they erect three tents to commemorate the event. As though to correct Peter’s misunderstanding, a voice came from the cloud naming Jesus as his son and telling the disciples to listen to him. There was not to be confusion about Moses or Elijah being equal to Jesus nor should Peter have tried to assume control of a holy happening, but rather listen to this holy one.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

The Transfiguration, in today’s Gospel is a foretaste of the Resurrection, which was meant to give the Apostles courage to face the coming Suffering and Death of Our Lord.  Even after having been warned by Jesus about the coming persecution, St. Peter did not want to accept the cross.  Rather, he wanted to set up three tents so that they could stay on the mountaintop with this beautiful foretaste of the Resurrection. 

Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote of St. Peter, “If there was one dominant characteristic about St. Peter, it was that he hated discipline, mortification, and self-denial. He’s just like the rest of us. He wanted to lay hold of the immediate and that which is joyful, but he did not want to have anything really crucial (cross-bearing) in his life.” How willing are we to embrace the cross?  Are we looking for the mountaintop experience to be the focus of our life with Jesus? Are we like St. Peter, not wanting to let go of the spiritual exhilaration and instead cling to the life-saving cross? We cannot stay on the mountaintop, revelling in the glory of the Resurrected Lord, if we have not first embraced the cross.  Let us not run from the crosses in our lives but instead ask for the courage to embrace them as Jesus did.

  • What are the crosses in my life?
  • Am I accepting or rejecting these crosses?
  • This life and these crosses are only temporary.

Dear Jesus,

Give me the courage to recognise and accept my crosses as you did. Help me understand that this life is only temporary, and my destiny is to spend eternity with you in perfect happiness, peace and love in the promise of your glorious Resurrection.

Thank you, I love You Jesus, amen.

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First Sunday of Lent – Year C

‘…Do not put the Lord your God to the test…’

Gospel: Luke 4: 1-13

1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4 Jesus answered him, “It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.’ “5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ “9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ 11 and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ “12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Gospel Summary

After His Baptism, Jesus went into the desert for 40 days.  He ate nothing and was hungry and thirsty. There, the devil tempted Jesus to turn away from God and worship him instead. Jesus refused each of the three temptations by quoting scripture from the book of Deuteronomy thus making clear his obedience to God.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

On Ash Wednesday we receive ashes on our foreheads signifying our mortality, our human sinful nature, and our dependence on Christ to take away that sin and to lead us to eternal life. It takes humility to be able to stand up and say ‘I am a sinner.’ The notion always reminds me of an Alcoholics’ Anonymous meeting where you have to stand up, say your name and admit your addiction, which is always received with a pat on the back and a round of applause! But perhaps this isn’t so far from the truth. Many people I know who struggle with their faith seem to have a problem with the idea of sin. One such person said to me “Look, I’m really not that bad! Hitler was much worse!” I agreed with her that by the world’s standards Hitler was much ‘worse’ than she was, but… are we to judge ourselves on the world’s standards, or on God’s standards? God is pure love, pure justice and pure truth. Is it really feasible that I can compare myself to these impeccable standards? Of course not! Should I feel guilty about this? Of course not! But what we must do is to accept our human condition. We are all sinners. We are all imperfect and we are all in need of redemption. We cannot take away our own sin. When we find the humility to come to this realization, it begins to dawn on us just how much we need Christ and His Cross.

Lent is a time of preparation.  We have this time to properly prepare ourselves for our Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. It is a time of self-reflection and repentance. Many people choose to give up something for lent. But we must remember that fasting is useless unless done in conjunction with prayer. Over time I have come to the understanding that obedience to God’s will is the best form of fasting one can undertake. In this way I am fasting from having my own way, and instead trying my best to do things God’s way. I try to focus on one area of my personality where I know I need improvement. This year I have decided that I need to work on my patience and generosity, in my marriage and with my kids. (God help us all!)

  • Am I a sinner?
  • Is anybody perfect?
  • Jesus takes away my sin by His death on the cross.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for dying on the cross for me. You take away my sin – something I cannot do for myself. I am reliant on You and on Your cross. I am so grateful for what you did for me. Help me to prepare well this lent.

Thank you, I love You Jesus, amen.

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Fifth Sunday – Year C

… They caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.”

Gospel: Luke 5: 1-11

1 Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7 So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Gospel Summary

Jesus arrived as Simon-Peter, James and John were finishing for the day. However, He asked Simon-Peter to pull his boat out from the shore so He could teach the crowds. After, He instructed Simon-Peter to throw his nets in for a catch. Simon-Peter doubted this action but obeyed Jesus anyway. The catch was so huge that James and John had to come and help. Simon-Peter recognized that this was a miracle and suddenly became aware of his own sin. But Jesus told them “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.”

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

One of the essays I wrote for my studies last year was entitled ‘Why has western society lost its sense of sin?” It focused on the spiritual void that we are now experiencing in Europe and the UK. Secularism has had a massive part to play in this. God has even been written out of the European constitution! But when we fail to recognize holiness, how are we to recognize sin? Right and wrong become this ‘grey area’ in which moral relativism begins to rule: Man takes the place of God and decides for himself what is sin and what is not. Perhaps the saddest thing about this is that we have forgotten that sin is something that harms us.

In this week’s Gospel, Simon-Peter has an overwhelming moment of self-realization. When confronted with the enormous catch of fish, Simon-Peter suddenly becomes aware that Jesus has performed a miracle. But it is perhaps the gift of the miracle that provokes such a reaction of humility from him.

God wants to give us so much. More than we could ever comprehend. God’s generosity is limitless and all we can do is to accept it! Perhaps a way to understand this is to remember a time someone bought you a lovely present you really weren’t expecting. At that moment we feel often feel overwhelmed that this person values us so much. Many times you hear people say “I couldn’t possibly accept this, it’s too much, I don’t deserve it!” Well, Simon-Peter was having a similar reaction – except that his reaction was also a moment of self-realization. Simon-Peter had suddenly become acutely aware of God’s holiness, which consequently made him acutely aware of his own sinfulness. With this new found humility, he is able to leave his old life behind and follow Christ with his whole heart. Perhaps as we begin to think about Lent, we too can take time to humbly comprehend the great gift God has given us – His Son.

  • Can I recognise holiness?
  • Can I recognise sin?
  • God’s generosity, love and mercy know no boundaries.

Dear Jesus,

Help me to become more aware of holiness and sin in my day to day life. Open my eyes to holiness and sin at work, with friends, on TV and in my home. Help me to turn away from sin and to realise there is no need to fear when drawing closer to you.

Thank you, I love You Jesus, amen.

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Fouth Sunday – Year C

…no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.”

Gospel: Luke 4: 21-30

21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, “Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’ “24 And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. 25 But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26 yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30 But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

Gospel Summary

Jesus went to Nazareth and taught in the temple. At first the people were amazed at his knowledge but then it occurred to them, he was one of them—a carpenter in their own village! They became very angry with Jesus and planned to throw him bodily from a nearby mountain top. Jesus simply walked through the crowd and left.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

The Jews Jesus was speaking to prided them-selves as being ‘Gods chosen people’. They were eagerly awaiting their promised Messiah. When Jesus began to reveal Himself as the Messiah, they were amazed and up-beat. But they suddenly changed their attitude as Jesus continued to speak to them. Jesus used two examples from scripture to illustrate what His earthly mission was all about. However, the widow at Zarephath in Sidon, and Naaman the Syrian were both Gentiles. This would have outraged the Jews as they presumed themselves as a race to be ‘Gods chosen people’. To think that God was offering salvation to every Human being on earth put the Jews on the same level playing field as the Gentiles. This is what the angry crowd couldn’t accept.

Do we ever make the same mistake as the angry crowd? Do we ever assume that our religion, race, our job or how much money we have makes us more important than other people? It is an easy mistake to make. Jesus teaches us in this week’s Gospel that each and every one of us human beings is of equal value to God. He loves us all the same. It also reminds us that Gods love is not just reserved for Christians. In fact it would be fair to say that being a Christian only increases our responsibility to share the love of Christ with those who don’t yet know it. Let us concentrate this week on showing the beauty of our faith to those around us, as we continue to be living examples of Christ’s love.

  • God’s love knows no boundaries.
  • Jesus came to give the Good News to all people.
  • How can I show the beauty of my faith?

Dear Jesus,

I am sorry if I have ever proudly thought myself as being more important that someone else. I am also sorry if I have ever put my-self down as being worthless. Both these things are untrue! Help me see myself and those around me through Your eyes.

Thank you, I love You Jesus, amen.

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