20th Sunday Cycle A

20th August 2017

The first reading tells us what we need to hear and to realise; but the words are limited by the writer to the situation he is in – limited to those who join the Jews and keep the rules of their religion.  We must update this core message for our times and for our situation – all who do what God wants of them are pleasing to God

In this section of Paul’s letter to the Romans he shows his disappointment that it is mostly non-Jews who are Christians; but he believes that God will find a way to bring all into His company whatever their situation just now.  Perhaps this can teach us how we should see people who are different from our religion in one way or another!

In Matthew’s gospel reading today he tells us a really powerful story that would have shocked some of his readers, for it is all too easy to think that it is only those who profess themselves as followers of Christ that will receive any blessing from God – it is clear that the gospel – the good news – is much broader than this.

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19th Sunday Cycle A

13th August 2017

The reading from the first book of Kings tells us of Elijah when he was really depressed but went up the mountain where God was expected to be. How surprised he was that God was not powerful or even scary to this man feeling cheesed off with God. Though his face was covered from actually seeing God, yet God was there in gentleness – after all it was a breeze!

Paul opens his innermost feelings to the Christians in Rome that he is really concerned that his own people, the Jews, have distanced themselves from Christ Who was not just God but was one of them as well. It so upsets Paul he goes overboard in suggesting what he would do to win them over – giving up everything for others!

The gospel reading from Matthew is an account told to illustrate to all his readers that when Christ calls us to do something, it might not just seem difficult but actually impossible – and yet if we respond to the call of Christ that we hear (or sense) we can achieve things that can only be called miraculous!

For more detail about the texts click here.

The Transfiguration

6th August 2017

The Book of Daniel is one of the later books, in just the second century Before Christ, but in Catholic Bibles it is classed with the prophets rather than just the (later) writings. It is an interpretation of the Jews’ history chiefly during and since the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, this is followed by a number of visionary ‘dreams,’ to which were added even later three other such stories. Our reading for today is from the beginning of the second of these sections, omitting the prose in verses 11 and 12. This comes after the description of the demise of the four beasts representing the foreign empires that dominated them. So what will come next, they hope, in their history is the reign of their own God, described in the most elaborate and visionary language; and from His throne He will establish a leader of His own making who will also be a universal ruler over the whole world. All this is the belief and hope that the downtrodden people have – and Christians liken Jesus’ influence gradually affecting our world as the fulfillment of this dream.

The New Testament reading is from the opening section of 2 Peter. The letter was attributed to Peter to give it authority in the tradition of much writing in those days of attributing a book to some famous or well-known person.  In the extract the writer draws on his own powerful experience of the present of Christ in the world, in order to encourage those who are growing weak in the Christian belief  in the past, present and eventual success of God’s creation as a wonderful enterprise of His presence active and powerful everywhere.  The writer loks back to the account he knows of the transfiguration in the gospels with which he is familiar and forward to the final and complete coming of Christ at the end of time in which he believes.  We live in the meantime, between these two events and even have a part to play in progressing the the final outcome.

 

The Gospel is from Matthew’s version of the transfiguration.  We remember that the gospel is the good news, and this bit of it reminds us that what we should see in the world is the presence of God; the good news is that God in Jesus has brought to completion the Law and order based  represented Moses’ leadership and teaching and the with His Spirit the fulfillment of the prophecies and hopes of Elijah and all the prophets;  our response to this good news is to see it and to bring it to light for ourselves and others in our world right now.

17th Sunday ordinary time Cycle A

30th July 2017

In the first reading from 1 Kings, we hear about the prayer of Solomon when he has been chosen to be king. He prays for wisdom and in doing so illustrates that he already has wisdom.  This is often the pattern when we pray for appropriate things.  You might want to listen to Handel’s anthem used at coronations but based on Solomon being anointed by Zadok the priest.

The second reading follows on from last week’s and makes sense after today’s first reading.  We may feel we don’t know what God wants of us or what we want to ask for from God.  This reading begins in the original Greek that Paul wrote with “yet” or “but” in the sense of “however” or “nevertheless.”

Matthew’s gospel extract tells parables to illustrate what God’s kingdom, now in process, is like.  Just like the scientific explanation of creation, it is beautiful but ultimately a mystery; however we are all involved in it with a part to play – which we must play if we are to end up as part of God’s great plan for everything.

Read more here if you like!

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time Cycle A

23rd July 2017

16th Sunday Cycle A

In the Book of Wisdom we note there is a real sense of sin but this is accompanied with a realisation of the infinite power of God to forgive, overcome and counteract the effects of sin; and the lesson we should learn from this is about our own attitude to others.

Paul in the letter to the Romans adds to the process suggested in the first reading with the idea of the very Spirit of God enabling us (saints, as he calls us) to emulate the attitude of God and to pray appropriately.

In the reading from Matthew we hear in story form the very way that God is with the world He creates and the way that we should recognize in our world of change – from failure to success, from small to surprisingly grand!

read more here.

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

16th July 2017

The prophet Isaiah tries to communicate to us the great confidence that he has in the achievement of the Word of God present in our world, so that we can enjoy and take part in God’s ongoing work in our world.

Paul writing to the Romans takes up the same theme but sees it in the process and struggle that is going on in the world and points out the part that we are chosen by our understanding of this process to play our part in it!

In the gospel Matthew writes of the struggle that was going on in his world – and is still with us in our situation today – where for some people things seem to get worse but for us who should know better, there is the challenge to make use of this.  Isaiah had much the same idea in his day because the world God wants is still in process!

 

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14th Sunday of the year Cycle A

9th July 2017

The first reading is part of an oracle which has been added into the book of Zechariah, probably at a time when the people were ‘in a bad place.’ They needed to be reminded that God, unlike a warrior armed and on a mighty horse, will come into the world and establish a gentle rule of peace.

The next reading is from Romans 8:9-13 passim[1]. Paul writes to the Christians in Rome saying that we are not just people living our lives in the secular world, but because of Christ our lives are elevated into the realm of the Spirit of God – as long as we live at that level.

Matthew’s message to his readers is given in the words of Jesus (Mtt 11:25-30). It tells us that although we may have worries or troubles if we focus on Jesus we can be like the young and their so often joy just in the present moment and the simplest things.

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[1] Passim mean omitting some parts of the section referred to.