Third Sunday of Easter

30th April 2017

In the first reading we have the idea of an early sermon attributed to Simon Peter.  Christians are always struggling to express the mysteries of their beliefs – we see here an antisemitism in the accusation against the Jews, but it also our belief that God can create good even out of our errors – even life out of death!

For the second reading we have more of the sermon we had last week addressed to those being baptised; the new life is offered through the completed life of Jesus – the precious blood refers to the holy life that Christ lived and still lives in us celebrated in the Lord’s supper.

In the Gospel we hear the delightful story that reminds us that even the stranger that we interact with or the person we share food with is for us where Christ is to be encountered, for He lives now in all!

Read more about these readings here

Second Sunday of Easter

23rd April 2017

The reading from the Acts of the Apostles gives us some idea of the character of the groups of early followers of the way of Jesus – their practices, celebrations and attitude to others.  Led by those who had followed Jesus Himself, they formed a loving community celebrating together especially over meals.

The second reading is very like an early sermon to those who had recently been baptised as a sign of their membership of the early Christian community, but it has something to say to us as well.  To this day we often have people joining our community by baptism at this time of the year.

The gospel is from that of John from whom we expect something with a deep meaning.  First there is a reminder that Jesus’ followers have the Spirit of God with them and the boldness to forgive people who offend; secondly is the story of doubting Thomas – we all would like tangible evidence of Christ being still alive but if we could only see Christ in the people around us we would know He is.

For further details click here

 

Easter Sunday Cycle A

Easter Sunday readings are the same as they were in 2014 (see here ).

It is significant that the public life of Jesus is referred to and not just the resurrection.  For Jesus gave His whole life for others – not just His death.  So that’s what we are encouraged to do with our lives as we celebrate the fulfillment of Jesus’ life this season of Easter!

The second reading from Paul makes the same point.  We celebrate the success of Jesus, but want this to affect the way we live now!

Mary Magdelene is an important witness and announcer of the physical absence of Jesus’ body.  But we would now realise as the Church began to, that it is the body of Christians and followers of Jesus’ way of life that comprise the body of Christ here and now.

Palm Sunday Cycle A

The first reading of the Mass today is from Isaiah 50; it is a song by someone who has to tell people what God wants; but these people who are in exile, don’t like what he has to say; they treat him badly!  But he puts up with it and trusts God will see him ok eventually.

 

The second reading, here, sees the ideas from the first reading match very well the life of Jesus.  It makes a beautiful poem or hymn of Christians just after the time of Christ; it is about the suffering of Christ, His acceptance of it and his glorious unity within the Godhead.  This is a central Christian belief that can inspire us through the struggle we have sometimes to live as God wants us to, assuring us of the reward that it brings.

The Gospel is Matthew’s account of the arrest, passion etc. of Jesus – it is long and gives us a lot to think about especially at this time of the year, but perhaps at various times in our own lives.

For further details click here, and some notes from 2013 too.

5th Sunday of Lent Cycle

The prophet Ezekiel is around at the time when most of the chosen people are in exile in Babylon and have been for a generation.  But the international scene is changing and a new leader, Cyrus, will displace the present ruler and he will have a policy of repatriation.  However, many of the exiles have settled into their new surroundings and have no guts for returning to what will be the broken city and delapidated temple of Jerusalem.  Having no guts in this sense might well be what the prophet means when he says the bones must come to life again.  It is a passage, however, that can be interpreted as foreshadowing the belief that there is life after death and especially so at this time in our Christian calendar.  But in the origianl it might be a message to us not to get settled in our way of life, but to enliven ourselves to live more Christian lives.

In this excerpt from Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul is contrasting flesh with spirit, which we might nowadays think of as the difference between selfishness and the concern of love for others.  There is in all of us I suppose, somehting of both flesh and spirit – but the spirit here is most challenging because it is not just living a lively life but it is the spirit of Christ -devoting oneself entirely to loving others as Jesus did and is now wanting to continue doing through us.

The raising of Lazarus is the gospel reading.  We know that in John there is always going to be a deeper meaning under the stories that he tells.  And the main one here is about rising from death to living a risen life; and we know as Christians that this risen life is the life of Christ.  It is a life in which we share – are supposed to share.  Notice some of the significant touches in the story.  The delay of two days before travelling to Martha and Mary.  The different attitudes of those two ladies.  The worry the disciples have of going into hostile territory.  There are all sorts of difficulties climaxing even in death, yet Jesus leads his disciples into these and shows they can be overcome.  These thoughts are appropriate as we draw near to Easter, to teach us something of the significance of death and resurrection in our present situations.

 

4th Sunday of Lent

The first reading is a  selection of verses (1 Samuel 16:1-13 passim) illustrating the way God choses individuals for different roles – not judging by appearances as we might.  So the youngest son doing the job of a sheperd is called to become the great king David.

From the letter to the Ephesians (5:8-14) Paul calls everyone to try to discover what their vocation is – what God wants of each.  They are not to keep their talents to themselves but to wake up to their vocation!

The Gospel is the rather long story from John about the cure of a man born blind. We should realise that we are all in some aspects of our life blind and we may encounter difficulties if we overcome this and start following the real call of Jesus.

Further details here

3rd Sunday of Lent Cycle A

 

This passage is from Exodus – the story of God saving the people from slavery to be His people. But this is not always the luxury we might see it as – it is a hard place but trust God to have a solution even to that!

Here Paul writes to the Romans – through Christ and the gift of God’s Spirit we have a good relationship with God – a state of grace. Christ lived and died to elevate us humans into the love of God.

The section of Good News we hear today is the dramatic story of a Jew encountering a person from a little liked other human group; it is about a single man alone, meeting a woman in a lonely place; it tells of a supposed holy man conversing with a woman who has had several husbands. This could only be God in Christ showing the wonder of His love!

Further details here