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Avoid our hearts becoming hardened

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Matthew 12:14-21
 
Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved, the favourite of my soul. 
I will endow him with my spirit,
and he will proclaim the true faith to the nations. 
He will not brawl or shout,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. 
He will not break the crushed reed,
nor put out the smouldering wick
till he has led the truth to victory:
in his name the nations will put their hope.
 
Isaiah 42:1-4
 
One of the ways that we can guard against our hearts becoming hard is by reading the Scriptures with the focused aim of drawing from them a deeper insight into the mystery of Christ.  This is what Matthew was doing in today’s reading: he was drawing deeper insight from the writing of the prophet Isaiah.  He saw that Jesus was latent in the Old Testament and was able to recognise those Scriptures which testified about him (as above).
 
Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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Evangelise

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Matthew 9:32-38
 
The Gospel is essentially a message, the kerygma.  It involves us witnessing to the truth that Jesus, who suffered, died and rose again from the dead, is the Lord of history and the Lord of our lives; and that in believing in him and accepting his lordship we are born again, and through baptism we enter into Christian life.
 
The Lord wants to equip us to be effective workers in the harvest field so that we can have the freedom and the confidence to lead others to Christ.
 
Lord, teach me not to be afraid to witness to my faith.  Teach me never to be ashamed of the Gospel but to be proud of the message which can transform not only people’s lives but the whole of culture, society and the world.
 
Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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Collaboration

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Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

Earlier, in Luke’s Gospel Jesus sent out the twelve disciples to heal disease and teach about God’s kingdom. Here he sends out a much larger group, ahead of Himself in pairs to every town and place He himself intended to grow. Being sent in pairs reminds us of the value of team work . In order for communities to grow and flourish the gifts of many are needed. Synergy is needed. This happens when individual talents and harvested and aligned as in the beauty of a choir singing in perfect harmony, or a sports team at the peak of their performance.

Synergy is like a power of the Spirit that rewards collaborative efforts. It is when we can dream and strive for the possibility of things before they happen. Synergy promotes collaboration, not competition or exclusion.

Jesus gathered his followers around him, men and women, who were enthused by his vision. He sends his followers out in pairs so that they can support each other. In all our different roles we too are sent out ahead of him as parents, ministers of various kinds, politicians, educators, social workers, nurses.....

In any team, a parish council, a ministry group, a choir we need a kind of synergy. We are all responsible for our Church, not just a select few. We all have different roles to play, we all have responsibilities. When we promote collaborative teams and strive for synergy, we embrace each others' stories and work for the common good. Then exciting things are possible.

Jane Mellett

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The Holy Trinity

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The greatest mystery of Christian truth is that in the Godhead there are three Persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  Faith allows us to accept this revelation; faith allows us to rejoice in it and enter into it.
 
A famous icon by Rublev depicts the Trinity as three angels around a table with space reserved for another guest.  We are that guest, because by the grace of baptism we are invited to immerse ourselves in the mystery and glory of the triune life of God.

"O Eternal Trinity, God, you are an abyss, a deep sea; you have given yourself to me – what greater good could you give?  By your light you enlighten our minds, as by your light you have brought me to know you."  Saint Catherine of Siena

Chris

(from Bible Alive)

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Meditation on Ascension

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I rather liked this meditation by Dr Luigi Gioia OSB; I found it on sayittogod.com:
 
<https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VM5FLg7v3tq5N7JH7l1Fu3oh8bNRVZwtdLSdDkidtdc/edit#heading=h.3be0nja0quwa>
 
God bless
 
Chris
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The Deep End – Love One Another

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‘Love one another’ is the basic principle of Christianity, as Jesus loved. It is simple, yet we can make it so complicated.

Jesus’s love was controversial for some people, because it was love without exclusion. To love as Jesus loved is to love those it is hard to love. This love ultimately leads to Jesus’ death. Jesus loved sinners, tax-collectors, prostitutes, people of other religions, the poor, the unwanted, the sick, the beggar and the leper.

This is is also too much for some Christians today. It is hard to love sinners or fanily members or friends who have hurt us. Yet this is the love we are called to. Once we begin to accept that we are infinitely loved by God, it is like a domino effect where that love is poured outwards in our lives.

We are part of this outpouring of God’s creative love and are called to bring it into places where there is none. In this way we are helping to heal, sustain and nourish ths world.

Let us hear those words of the Gospel more clearly today. ’Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this everone will know that you are one of my disciples.’

Let us dream of, and work towards, a world where this is a reality.

Jane Mellett.

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Doubt

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Faith in God and acceptance of Jesus is often reached through a process which involves questions, struggles and difficulties.  Indeed, there can be a way in which, as St Augustine said, doubt and unbelief are really no more than fear dressed up: "For I keep my heart from assenting anything, fearing to fall headlong; but hanging in suspense I was worse killed."

Doubt can be the gateway to faith.  In his poem Bishop Blougram's Apology Robert Browning wrote, "The more of doubt, the stronger faith, I say, if faith o'ercomes doubt".

Lord Jesus, when like Thomas I am tempted to doubt, help me to repent and turn away from the darkness and to embrace the light of your truth, saying in my heart, "My Lord and my God".

Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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Maundy Thursday

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Today's Gospel reading: John 13:1-15

Jesus washes the feet of his disciples; he humbles himself to them to show them how they must serve each other.

'Jesus, come, my feet are dirty.  You have become a servant for my sake, so fill your basin with water; come wash my feet.  I know that I am bold in saying this, bur your own words have made me fearful: "If I do not wash your feet you will have no companionship with me."  Wash my feet, then, so the I may be your companion.  But what am I saying, "Wash my feet"?  Peter could say these words, for all that he needed washing were his feet.  For the rest, he was completely clean.  I must be made clean with that other washing, of which you said, "I have a baptism with which you must be baptised."'  (Origen)

Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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Plotting against Jesus

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Today's Gospel reading: John 11:45-56

As we stand on the eve of Holy Week, we are invited to enter into the mystery of the cross.  It is not possible to escape the difficult reality that God's beloved Son was delivered up to the most brutal, cruel and torturous method of capital punishment known to mankind.  The only way the human race could be saved was by Jesus embracing the cross.  Flesh and blood alone cannot penetrate this mystery – we need a revelation of the Holy Spirit.

"The world is full of mysteries: heaven is all mystery to us earthly creatures.  But whoever embraces the cross with open heart finds there the explanation of a thousand mysteries." (Archbishop William Ullathorne).

Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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The Cross

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Today's Gospel reading: John 8:21-30
The cross was an historic event which is made present to us every time we celebrate the Eucharist.  St Bonaventure said of St Francis of Assisi:”The memory of Christ Jesus crucified was ever present in the depths of his heart like a bundle of myrrh.”  This Lent we pray for this same grace – that the memory of the cross, of Jesus lifted up, may so burn in our minds and hearts that it brands therein the sure knowledge of God’s love, not only for us but for the whole of humankind.  If we seek the cross of Christ this Lent, we will find the glory of Christ, because nothing so reveals his beauty, his truth and his goodness than his cross
Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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