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… 😉

The Holy Spirit’s prefered pronouns.

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Fr James Martin SJ once again managed to deeply offend the Holy Spirit today by using the gender pronoun ‘her’.

I find it terribly sad that in these triumphant days of political correctness, diversity and gender neutrality, that a leader in ‘progressive’ Catholic theology such as Fr James Martin SJ could be quite so narrow minded and discriminatory.

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Why does he feel the need to confine the Holy Spirit to a specific gender? By the fact that the Holy Spirit is referred to in the Old Testament using the Hebrew female noun ‘ruah‘ as well as the male noun ‘elohim‘ surely proves that the Holy Spirit is gender fluid? The greek word for the Holy Spirit ‘pneuma‘ is actually gender-neutral. Surely this is a much more progressive way of speaking about the Holy Spirit?

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Perhaps Fr James Martin SJ would like to step out of his uber traditional constrictive gender mentality and stop offending the Trans and Non-Binary communities? I feel he would benefit from spending some time amongst these communities to see that a person can truly exist without the need for rigid gender classification.

I’m in no doubt that the Holy Spirit’s prefered pronoun would be ‘Ze’. When we talk about Zir in this way we offend no-one, and do not restrict Zir to any limits. We acknowledge the fluidity and creativeness Ze is capable of in Zir non-genitalic/genderless form.

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Oh but wait just a second… “Gender ideology is demonic!” Pope Francis insists. He says that it militates against “the order of creation.” He sees it as so toxic, so destructive, that he has compared gender ideology to “the educational policies of Hitler.

Hmmm. Problemo.

Ok sorry Fr James Martin SJ, I guess if you want to remain in good standing with the church you can’t use gender neutral pronouns after all. But I guess that also applies to the fact that you are still calling the Holy Spirit ‘her’ too.

Have you ever heard of a book called The Catechism of the Catholic Church? It’s really good!

Fr James Martin SJ and Fr Dan Fitzpatrick Tweet that the Holy Spirit is Female. How sad.

Let’s start by getting one thing straight shall we? The Holy Spirit is not a boy. It is not a girl. It is a spirit. But let’s also remember that as human beings we have limited ways of expressing our understanding and knowledge of God. Our language is not perfect. And even with our male and female nouns and pronouns we still often struggle to correctly describe certain theological things.

However…

Our limited non-perfect attempts at expression do not give us the right to skew the truth to what we would prefer it to look like. A misplaced word or phrase has massive connotations for certain situations – especially theological ones, and can completely change the meaning of a certain word and the proper teaching behind it. In short – it is not difficult to lead people down the wrong path.

For those in a position of power or trust, this is an incredibly important issue. It is so important for the Pope that he has his own personal moral theologian who oversees every written speech, homily and even his Tweets.

Speaking of Tweets…

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Hmmm. For those of you who don’t know Fr. James Martin, he is an extremely well known Jesuit in America who has written plenty of books and has a very large social media following. His views are vague and liberal. He is not particularly concerned with upholding the truths of the catholic faith but instead is interested in discussing issues like gay marriage, women’s ordination ect… He leaves the content of his posts ‘open’ but does not step in to correct the ordinary person in the pew when they reply to his Facebook posts with comments like:

“Thank you, Fr. Jim for your post. My wife and I are remarried divorced Catholics who anxiously await some change in the Church’s position on people like us. More importantly, though, we have a number of gay and lesbian friends including two married male couples each of whose love for each other could serve as an example to many couples, both heterosexual and homosexual! I pray that the day will come when all of us can be completely reunited within the Church we love and were raised in! God bless you.”

“It was such an honor to obtain a secular appointment to officiate at legal marriages. I have only presided over one: the civil marriage of two wonderful gay friends who have been in a committed relationship for more than 30 years. I know the church would not approve of my doing this, but my conscience and the Holy Spirit said that their union must be legal and blessed.”

Well, I guess if the Holy Spirit told you it was ok to go against church teachings then ‘she’ is right! (Goodness gracious me…)

But every so often priests like this get a little too big for their liberal boots and end up making a big boo-boo. By calling the Holy Spirit ‘her’ based on the ancient Hebrew term ‘ruach’ is one of these big boo-boo’s. Now I am not an ancient Hebrew expert myself – but I have a few friends who are, and I showed them this tweet (hiding Fr. James’ identity) and asked them to give me their honest opinion:

“Hilarious. Just another modern sort suffering from theological confusion. Who said that? According to Strong’s concordance it is a feminine noun. However, in Gen 1:2 it is used with a masculine noun (elohim). It is a fascinating usage. Ruach (feminine) Elohim (masculine plural). Literally translated as Spirit of Gods. The Rabbis are still working that one out.

The Holy Spirit is pure spirit and does not have gender. Gender is of the material creaturely realm. Angels and God do not have gender (though the Son does because he has a body!!). Digressing slightly, the Son is often referred to as the Wisdom of God, but the book of Wisdom refers to wisdom in the feminine! The word ‘Spirit’ as ruach feminine noun, but it does not mean it applies exclusively to women, as per English language. Hebrew is ancient and thus has different rules to English, so he cannot apply the same rules.

The New Testament word is ‘pneuma’ which is a neutral noun. The only phrase I can find where Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit using gender is John 15:26, ‘The advocate…he will…’ Either way, the Holy Spirit is ‘Elohim’ which is specifically masculine, and God is always referred to in the masculine, thus we should always speak of God like that.”

So it seems Fr James either needs to brush up on his ancient biblical nouns, or he knows quite well that what he was saying was a load of old nonsense. But either way – he knew very well to begin with that the church does not refer to the Holy Spirit as a female.

A comment like this has consequences theologically. I mean – what does it mean for Our Lady? Would it make her part of some sort of life giving same-sex union with a female holy spirit? Does that mean that Jesus had 2 mums? What would this sort of idea mean to someone who was not so well educated in theological terms and was dealing with same-sex attraction themselves? Would they feel that because a priest was saying this it was giving them the affirmation they were seeking that a same-sex union, even a same-sex family was ok? It might. I certainly can’t find anything Fr James has ever written saying that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman (correct me if I’m wrong here).

He is leading the people of God down the wrong path.

He is also leading younger priests down the wrong path.

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Hmmm. Again I went to a friend who has studied both theology and ancient Hebrew and asked them (without revealing Fr Dan’s identity) to give an opinion on this statement:

“First premise is wrong. The Holy Trinity NEVER acts alone – and to say the main way we relate to God is through the Spirit is to misunderstand the Spirit’s role is to lead us to the Father, by leading us to Jesus, who is the perfect image of the Father. Seems also to downplay the objectivity of the Holy Eucharist which is a tangible participation in the real Body and Blood of Christ – hardly and insignificant relation to God, rather a particularly intimate one.

Second point is that the gender of verbs really does not get you very far – the Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son – being the love between them, being the glory of Jesus – therefore to posit a kind of competing feminine identity for the creative/salvific mission of God is – heresy. We in fact are the feminine – we are the receptive ones to the Spirit. This is a very dangerous and confused idea – and comes from someone with only a superficial understanding of both language and theology.”

Oh dear. So here you have a young guy – not even been a priest for 2 years, and he is being led astray by the nonsense of a much older and more experienced priest – whom I’m sure he trusts. However, Fr Dan also knows full well that the church has never referred to the Holy Spirit as a female. It kills me to see priests go astray like this – especially young priests. I pray and fast too much for priests to let them throw themselves into Satan’s arms like this. If they don’t like or agree with what the Catholic church teaches them why stay in the Catholic Church? There are plenty of Protestant churches where you can believe whatever the hell you like – go and join one of them. The Catholic church requires solid faithful priests with strong backbones, not lily-livered flannels who’s limp theology destroys the church from within. What’s going on with these guys?

Do they think that by throwing a bit of ancient Hebrew around they are sounding clever? Do they think they have suddenly found a new and incredibly ‘inclusive and diverse’ theology that the church must have inadvertently missed for the last 2000 years? Trying to make the faith ‘acceptable’ to today’s politically correct culture of death? Are they trying to look cool and clever?! Or are they just trying to forward their own warped theological ideas of what they would prefer the Catholic faith to look like?

I contacted both priests today and explained the female/male noun thing and asked them for and explanation. Neither of them admitted error. In fact quite the opposite – although Fr James Martin SJ did delete the Holy Spirit quote from his Twitter feed when he realised it actually made him look a complete um… twit.

Here is another post both these guys shared:

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Worrying isn’t it? And as you can see from the comments, no attempt was made to correct this pseudo idea of ‘Love’ that is being floated around. The person in the pew has been left in error.

If our priests do not believe in the teachings of the church, is it any wonder that the people of God go astray. Maybe we should ask Ireland… When the shepherds lose their way, the sheep perish in the desert.

I’ll leave you with the well known Patrick Swayze liberal hymn to the Holy Spirit “She’s like the wind” (I’m just kidding! Bad joke – I know! – Keep smiling people 🙂 )

Love by the Sanctuary Light

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By  – Victoria Seed

This Sunday at Mass my daughter asked me why there was a red light at the front of the church when all the other candles were white.  She was captivated by the glow of the sanctuary light.  I explained that it was a special light that is always lit when Jesus is at home in the tabernacle.  She found the idea that Jesus is there right now reassuring.  As we watched the priest place the undistributed Eucharist in the ciboria, cover them and return them to the tabernacle, my daughter whispered to me ‘Jesus is going to have a little rest now, and the light says He is still in his home, but you get to take Jesus with you, Mommy, because you had communion!’

I always thought I understood what it meant to treat the Blessed Sacrament with reverence.  I have a good conceptual understanding of how the graces of the Eucharist are meant to nourish our faith and bring us closer to God.  But I have never actually considered what it means to “take Jesus with me” when I leave the church.  The sanctuary light says that He remains in the tabernacle, but what signs proclaim that He remains in me?  Fortunately, the Holy Father answered just these questions in his second Wednesday address on the Eucharist (12th February, 2014):

“We all go to Mass because we love Jesus and we want to share, through the Eucharist, in His passion and His resurrection.  But do we love, as Jesus wishes, those brothers and sisters who are most needy? […]  I who go to Mass, how do I live this?  Do I try to help, to approach and pray for those in difficulty?  Or am I a little indifferent?  Or perhaps do I just want to talk: ‘Did you see how this or that one is dressed?’  Sometimes this happens after Mass and it should not!  We must concern ourselves with our brothers and sisters who need us.   […] Let us ask Jesus, whom we receive in the Eucharist, to help us help them.”

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It is perfectly natural that receiving the Eucharist should bring us, with our cooperation, into greater love and sympathy with our brothers and sisters in Christ because it is Christ himself we receive.  Pope Francis is recalling us to the biblical accounts of Jesus’ ministry:  when we read the scriptures we see again and again how Jesus encourages and requires care for the suffering and the sorrowful.  There is not a single vocation so high and mighty that it allows indifference or neglect of the poor.  The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) shows the unfortunate man being rightly tended by the Samaritan who helped him when his plight was ignored by, for example, a priest who did not wish to risk ritual impurity.  More strikingly still, in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46) Jesus tells us that when we feed the hungry and clothe the naked we care for Him, and when we fail to minister to those less fortunate than us we fail to minister to Him.  How, then, could any true communion with Christ leave us indifferent to human need?

There should be no divide in the Church between the most reverent liturgical traditionalists and the most evangelical social-justice crusaders: both draw their nourishment from the same source, from Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.  The Holy Father tells us that the ‘the mission and the very identity of the Church’ are rooted in the Eucharist.  He says:

A celebration may be flawless on the exterior, very beautiful—but if it does not lead us to encounter Jesus Christ, it is unlikely to bear any kind of nourishment to our heart and to our life.  Through the Eucharist, however, Christ wishes to enter into our life and permeate it with His grace, so that in every Christian community there may be coherence between liturgy and life.

Reflect on those words for just a moment: coherence between liturgy and life.  All true charity has its origins in the Eucharist, and we should always be drawn back to the Mass to receive strength and sustenance from Christ.  But we cannot stay there, within the safe confines of the liturgy.  What we believe about the Eucharist – that it is the true presence of Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity – is made ridiculous if we can receive it without being truly evangelized and converted from within.  If our communion exists only within the walls of the church and the brief moments of the liturgy, then we will have no greater a share in the life of Christ than the paltry part we allow him in ours.  When we receive the Eucharist at Mass we get to take Jesus with us when we go!  We should pray that we may glow as brilliantly and reassuringly as the sanctuary light that promises God is with us, here, now and always.

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Transubstantiation in the words of an 8 year old.

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Yesterday at Mass my 8 year old proved to me that God reveals Himself to whom ever he chooses. I also learned that i cannot do the job of the Holy Spirit.

Watching the priest during the epiclesis he leant into me and whispered excitedly “Look Mummy! He’s going to do it! – Look! He did it!”  

Then on going up to receive communion he says to me “Mummy when i have Jesus in communion i feel different. It feels like i’m really special or something.”

I told him i was very pleased about this and that he was right in what he felt.

Now i have never really gone through the Mass with him with a fine tooth comb. Even into adulthood i wrongly thought the point of transubstantiation was when the priest elevates the host. It seems my son has grasped things much earlier than i did! Through his purity of heart, simplicity and trust, my 8 year old has demonstrated that he not only knows about the authority of the priesthood and the real presence, but truly understands it and (through the Eucharist) is having a relationship with Christ.

It’s so beautiful. He is so beautiful. I’m so happy for him.

“…for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” – Matthew 16:17

Holy Trinity Sunday – Year A

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Rublev’s Trinity Icon is pact with information and Symbolism. The figure on the left is God the Father. The Son, with his head turned to look at the Father in the middle, and the Holy Spirit is the figure on the right.

Each of the figures is of equal size and importance––no member of the Trinity is greater than another but all are co-equal.

The fourth side of the table is open to the viewer. We are invited to come and join them, to be one with God. We are welcome to come and dine, to come and love, to come and be one with God. A place has been set for us.

This is an illustration of our ultimate destiny – to join the Trinity in Heaven for all eternity. But if we look again we realise something else…

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In the chalice on the table is the head of an animal. Some describe this as a calf (to represent Abrahams sacrifice) and others describe this as a lamb, to remind us of the Eucharistic sacrifice where we receive the Lamb of God – the body of our Lord.

In this way we can recognise the table as an altar, and Christ occupying the position where the priests stands during Mass. In fact this is exactly what the priest does: he stands in Persona Christi – in the place of Christ.

Once we understand this we realise that we do not have to wait until after death to come and sit at the table of the Trinity. As Catholics, we are invited now, at every Mass we attend. When we go up to receive Holy Communion, we are being invited to approach the table of God and enter into the life of the Trinity by receiving the Body of Christ – the Lamb of God.

A place has been set for us. God desires us to join Him now. We are being invited to begin our eternal relationship with the Trinity now.

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I remember walking into a confirmation class not long ago when the question ‘What is the trinity, Father?’ was quickly thrust upon me. I gave an iffy look to the catechist who quickly came back with the reply ‘Well I want you to imagine that God the Father is Ice, Jesus is water, and the Holy Spirit is Steam’ as she beamed a smile out to the youngsters. ‘And you see they’re all one, but yet distinct!’

I didn’t have the heart to tell her she had just committed the heresies of partialism, Arianism, and modalism!

The Trinity is a deep mystery of faith, but it is pure love and relationship. Try and describe your relationship with someone in a few sentences or words…. Impossible!! But, however, I offer you today a weak but beautiful description of the Blessed Trinity:

God the Father is the Lover, God the Son is the Beloved, and the Spirit is Love. You cannot have love without a beloved, or a lover, and you can’t have a beloved without a lover or love, all three are necessary but distinct and they are all equal because they participate in love; they are all one. We were made out of love, to love, for love, and to love we will one day return. As a song springs to mind, well, all you truly need is love.

 

Thought for the week…

Lover, Beloved and Love.

 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end. Amen.

 

Download this post in A4 Newsletter format to use in your school or parish: Holy Trinity Sunday – Year A.doc     Holy Trinity Sunday – Year A.pdf

Pentecost – Year A, The Coming of the Holy Spirit

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First Reading: Acts 2:1-21

2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

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Jesus did not abandon his apostles, even when departing from this world to return to his Father in heaven. Ten days later, at Pentecost, one of his most significant promises — the promise to send the Holy Spirit in abundance on them — was extraordinarily realised. After Pentecost the apostles were never again the same. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit impacted dramatically on their convictions and on their enthusiasm to carry out Jesus’ wishes. The effects were immediately noticeable to the watching and listening crowds. It became obvious that God was working powerfully through the Church. At Pentecost the Church earnestly began its mission to the whole world. This mission centres on preaching about the saving name of Jesus and about the wonders of God. God’s greatest wonder is that, through the suffering and death of Jesus the Messiah, people are saved from the consequences of their sins: alienation from God.

The sacrament of confirmation, which celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives and is the sealing of the graces given in baptism, is our personal Pentecost experience when we are transformed into witnesses to the teaching and example of Jesus and his Church. We willingly take on the responsibility to share our Catholic faith with others. The Feast of Pentecost is a wonderful celebration of the missionary Church. Let us reflect on our missionary efforts in our homes, schools and workplaces. How are we willing to demonstrate that we are serious about our confirmation (Pentecost) responsibilities? In what ways do we explain the authentic teaching of the Church? How do we experience Pentecost as a promise realised in our lives, leading us to make the urgency of the gospel message of salvation a reality for everyone we meet?

 

Thought for the week…  

“They are filled with new wine.”

 

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.

 

Download this post in A4 Newsletter format to use in your school or parish: Pentecost.doc    Pentecost.pdf

Seventh Sunday in Easter – The Ascension

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First Reading: Acts 1:1-11

…While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father.

“This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

 

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Fr. Sam…

‘Come follow me!’ is the cry of the almighty master echoing in my heart as I reflect on this Sundays Gospel of the Ascension of the Lord. For the second time in a few weeks our Saviour is ‘lifted up’ – firstly on the Cross on Good Friday, and now as He ascends into heaven. No longer with a crown of thorns but the Sun as His crown. No longer the splintered cross that sustains Him but the clouds of heaven. No longer supported by nails but with the earth itself as His footstool. Through His suffering, His glory has been restored. And what of us? Where are we? How are we to follow? Well we are there gazing upward. We are stood right there with the apostles, experiencing fiery wonder deep within, a wonder transforming fear and tragedy, insecurity and tension into a bright peaceful certainty that floods our hearts with the warmth and love of God. We are called to soar to the heavens as Christ did. Here, we are surrounded by challenges, darkness, and trepidation; the cross. Yet now we are also bathed in the light and hope of the glory of the Lord forever. Darkness never conquers light. Light overcomes darkness. He has won. ‘Come follow me, Alleluia!’

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A Parents Perspective…

Any good Father steps back to allow his children to grow. Jesus completed His work on Earth, and now it is time for His Church to carry on that work. While He is still physically present in the Eucharist – we must become His voice, His hands, and His loving gaze. Sustained by His Body and Blood we can do this. We must be Christ to those around us, and witness to the truth and hope of Jesus Christ – Resurrected, Triumphant and Glorious. The time for us to proclaim the Good News is now, before He returns for a second and final time.

Thought for the week…  

The time for us to proclaim the Good News is now.

 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end. Amen.

 

Download this post in A4 Newsletter format to use in your school or parish: Easter 7th week – Ascension.doc   Easter 7th week – Ascension.pdf

Evangelisation

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We had an Evangelisation day in our diocese today which was really good.

It was great to hear all the initiatives that are being tried out within the different parishes and also listen to new ideas that people had to go forward.

I’m very happy to  hear that Sherry Weddell’s book ‘Forming Intentional Disciples’ is beginning to circulate within the diocese as i believe this book is going to change a whole lot of things here in the UK. To buy this book please visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forming-Intentional-Disciples-Knowing-Following/dp/1612785905

At the end individuals were invited to go up and say a few words… and me, being completely unable to resist a free microphone, decided to jump up and say whatever popped into my small yet enthusiastic brain:

It’s great that so many people are looking to go out into the big wide world and evangelise to people who have perhaps not heard the Gospel before. But it is much harder to evangelise within our own parishes yes? How can we bring people into our parish if the parish is not yet evangelised?

And it is great to evangelise within our own parishes, but much harder to evangelise within our own families yes? How can we be happy within our parish knowing that many of our family members are not evangelised?

And it is great to evangelise within our own families, but are we sure that we ourselves are evangelised?

Let me ask you a question: Can you describe to me your own personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

I’ll ask you again: Can you describe to me your own personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Because if you can’t you are going to have real trouble evangelising anybody else. This is something we as Catholics have to start getting really comfortable with.

I’ll leave you to ponder one of my favourite quotes from G K Chesterton which describes how Jesus should be the absolute love of our lives:

“Let your religion be less of a theory, and more of a love affair.” – G K Chesterton

…I’m developing a taste for freestyling on the mic!

The Transfiguration (Second Sunday of Lent – Year A)

Matthew 17:1–9

17 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

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Fr. Sam Explains…

Why did Jesus only take Peter, James and John up on to the mountain? Why not his best friends, Lazarus and Mary Magdalene? Or how about his Mum? After all this is the moment of His glory, the moment he reveals himself as true God. I guess it’s the same reason he only took these 3 men into his darkest hour also in the Garden of Olives – the most difficult night of his life: They are his Priests. They might not be his favourite, they may deny him (Peter), they may run away (James) or they may be the really faithful (John), but none the less, they are his Priests. He reveals to them, fallen as they are, his most intimate moments; his greatest joy and his greatest sorrow. Why?

Because they too (and every priest after them) will present the Transfiguration of Jesus through the Eucharist at every Mass throughout the world. In the Sacraments they administer, they present Christ in his agony to those who suffer: drawing them closer into His heart. They draw down Christ from heaven, as night falls on day.

Peter, James, John, all of them were someone’s son. When I entered the seminary aged 21 the reaction from my family was mixed. Parents – please do not underestimate the importance of praying for vocations within your own family – so that this manifestation of such goodness, of such truth, of such light, may set fire to the earth forever and ever. 

Clare

A Family Perspective…

Depending on where we are in our relationship with Jesus, the Transfiguration will tell us different things. We may be just at the beginning – interested in Jesus, but not really knowing who He is. We might be at the point of realisation that Jesus IS the son of God and feel totally dazzled and overcome just like Peter, James and John. We might be in the honeymoon period where we are just beginning to fall in love with Jesus – and want to remain within this very strong feeling – not wanting to come down from the mountain.

But as our relationship matures, we realise that if we are to be true disciples of Jesus, we do have to come down from the mountain because there is work to do. The Transfiguration was just a foretaste of the eternal glory of the Resurrection. And before we get to the Resurrection, we have to face the Cross.

This is so true of many situations in our own lives: before we get to hold our glorious new-born baby, we have to sacrifice our bodies through 9 hard months of pregnancy, and then labour, and then birth! Before we can find the glory of peace and harmony in our marriage, we have to sacrifice parts of ourselves that we took for granted as single people. Before we see the glory of our children growing into strong independent adults, we have to put in years of love, patience and sacrifice.

Whatever crosses we find ourselves facing, we can be assured that we will be asked to suffer in some way – but within the context of Christianity, that suffering has meaning and purpose. And eventually, the cross we find ourselves carrying will end and be replaced by the glory of the resurrection.

Thought for the week…  

WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE CROSS, TO GET TO THE RESURRECTION.

Dear Jesus…

Let the reality of your Resurrection give me the strength I need to get through my Crosses in life.

Thank You, I love You Jesus. Amen.

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