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God's ways, not ours. His will, not mine

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Matthew 20:1-16
 
The point of today’s parable is that in the kingdom the blessings and rewards of God are received out of God’s goodness and love, not on the basis of our merit or the length of our service.  Many years ago St Teresa of Avila wisely commented: :We should forget the number of years we have served him.  The  more we serve him, the more deeply we fall in his debt."
 
God’s ways – the way he thinks, the way he acts, the way he moves – are so different from our ways.  God allows his sun to shine on both the righteous and the unrighteous, and we impose our own thinking on God’s kingdom at our peril.  
 
Remember that the poor thief crucified alongside Jesus, who, it is fair to assume, had not lived a very good life, was promised paradise on that very day.  We must resist limiting God’s work or actions and insisting on our view of the world, of people or of situations.
 
God sees what we do not see and his goodness and mercy have no bounds.
 
Lord please help us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we will be able to discover your good, pleasing and perfect will.
 
Chris

 
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What must I do, Jesus?

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Matthew 19:16-22
 
Faith is an action word.  As James writes of Abraham, “Faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works.” (Jas. 2:22).  Jesus’s prescription to the young man, “go, sell . . . give,” paves the way for what comes: entering into and enjoying a continuing love-relationship with Jesus.  
 
For the young man, wealth was a barrier to surrender; for us the barrier may be something else: fame, comfort, pleasure, approval . . . Let’s ask, as the young man did:”Lord, what must I do?"
 
What we do with Jesus’s reply determines whether we go away sorrowful or stand rejoicing.
 
"All to Jesus, I surrender,
All to him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust him,
In his presence daily live."
(Weeden and Van DeWinter)
 
Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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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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Knowing the Father

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Matthew 11:25-27

As we become one with Jesus Christ in baptism and the life of faith, we are taken into his intimate relationship with God the Father. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we share in the love that exists between the Father and the Son.   We don’t enter this relationship primarily through intellectual understanding. When we adore the Holy Trinity we are caught up in a heart knowledge that is far more simple and profound, and we enter into the relationship and learn far more than we can ever understand intellectually. Through this sharing we become like 'little children', like the 'babes' Jesus talks about, and we begin to experience truths that are far beyond our imagination. 

Heavenly Father, by the revelation of Jesus Chris in the power of the Holy Spirit, draw me into the mystery of your everlasting love. 

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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I desire mercy, not sacrifice

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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

Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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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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Christ the High Priest

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John 17:1-2, 9, 14-26
 
Jesus’s high-priestly prayer brings us into the very heart of the Trinity.  The Blessed Trinity is a unity of the union of three divine Persons in one divine God, a divine unity joined for eternity in a communion of profound love.
 
Our Lord and Master focused not on himself but on pleasing his Father and protecting us by his prayer.  He united himself to his Father’s will: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me” (John 4:34).  He submitted entirely to it: “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
 
As we keep Jesus’s word, we shall experience the love of the Father and the Son: “he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him” (John 4:21).
 
The Father and the Son dwell in the hearts of all those who believe and obey Jesus’s word and they dwell in the Father and the Son.  This divine indwelling is given to us by the Spirit at our Baptism.
 

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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