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God's Love

1 John 4:11-18 and Mark 6:45-52
God is our Father and he loves us perfectly.  
His love is unchanging.  It does not depend on external circumstances but is constand and sure.  We can trust completely because God is faithful and his love endures forever.
God wants to replace fear with a secure trust in his care for us.  He will set us free from fear as we draw closer to Jesus.  We can trust Jesus with everything: our past, our worries, our pain, our joys and our deepest longings.
We can hand over to Jesus every fear and oppression.  When we do this, something wonderful happens.  Through the Holy Spirit we enter into the inheritance that we received at baptism — we are born again.
As adults we may have taken the step of making our own the promises given us by our parents at baptism, and may have known the grace flowing from such great commitment. But we are weak and sinful.  How easily we can lose our first love for Jesus!  How quickly our vision of living life in the Spirit can grow dim!
From time to time we need to stop and take stock so that we can reaffirm our decision to take seriously the call of Jesus to follow him.  We need to come daily into God’s presence in prayer, repenting of the ways in which we have failed as his disciples.
God’s love is so great that he is quicker to grant forgiveness that we are to ask for it, and he will give us the power of the Holy Spirit to live a transformed life.
Father God, as your sons and daughters we ask you to release us from every fear.  Draw us deeply into the life of the Trinity each day and reveal how much you love us.

Forgiveness, the Scandal of Mercy

Luke 19:1-10
This encounter between Jesus and Zacchaeus the tax collector illustrates perfectly the ‘scandal of grace’.  It brings to the fore this very important biblical teaching that where sin abounds, grace super-abounds.
God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.
Through his encounter with Jesus Zacchaeus had an experience of God’s mercy and compassion which touched him and led him to repentance and conversion.  No one is beyond God’s grace and mercy.
We are to be a living expression, a sign, a sacrament of this same mercy, kindness and forgiveness.  Learning to forgive others, to hold out the hand of friendship and brotherhood/sisterhood to those we find difficult is not easy.
In fact, without God’s grace it’s impossible, but with God’s grace all things are possible.
Lord, you treated everyone you met with great dignity and compassion; as persons created in your image and likeness.  May I now go and do likewise.

Love – Do good – Give

Luke 6:39-42
Love, do good, give; the moral and ethical teaching of Jesus can be summed up in these four words.
The Church draws on thousands of years of teaching and human experience, much of it rooted in the dark alleys of confusion, darkness and sinfulness of its sons and daughters, clergy and lay people alike.  
But the wisdom of the Church resides first in the wisdom of Christ.  She is wise because Christ is wise; we are wise because Christ is wise.  True wisdom is learning daily to live life in the Spirit, learning to listen to the Spirit and to give witness to the fruits and gifts of the Spirit.
In the midst of this endeavour we must live alongside people and learn to relate to them.  The Christian faith should help us to master living alongside our fellows in fraternal love and affection.  We learn not to judge others but to be quicker to judge ourselves.
”If you judge other people you have no time to love them.”  St Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I desire mercy, not sacrifice

Matthew 9:9-13

What the Pharisess failed to grasp – and we have our moments, too – is that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Despite the grace of baptism we carry the wound of original sin and, rather like soldiers on the front line, we seek healing and repair in the field hospital of Christ.

“I can clearly see that what the Church needs today is the ability to heal wounds and warm the hearts of the faithful, it needs to be by their side.  I see the Church as a field hospital after a battle.  It’s pointless to ask a seriously injured patiend whether his cholesterols or blood sugar levels are hight!  It’s his wounds that need to be healed.  The rest we can talk about later.  Now we must think about treating those wounds.”  Pope Francis


(from Bible Alive)
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