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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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The Good Shepherd

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Gospel: John 10:27-30

Jesus said: ‘The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me. The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one.’

How do we hear the voicer of the Shepherd?  In our prayer, through the Scriptures, through the teaching of the Church and through the light of our conscience.  We all err and fall and walk in darkness, but the Lord's voice is constantly calling us to life eternal.  Jesus wants not one of his sheep to be lost.  Our lives are a pilgrimage to the safe pasture of heaven and the gift of eternal life.

Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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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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Humility

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Today's Gospel reading: Matthew 20:17-28

" . . . the Son of Man to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

The Lord uses this instance of naked ambition to teach true greatness: humility.

But what is humility?  We can be tempted to think that humility is about low self-esteem or running ourselves down, but humility has more to do with having a sense of God's greatness and of our fallenness – not in a way that crushes but in a way that puts the focus on God.

What truly keeps us humble is the gift of self-knowledge: an awareness of our faults, sins and weaknesses.  Padre Pio said, "Humility and purity are the wings which carry us to God and make us almost divine.  Remember that a bad man who is ashamed of the wrong things he is doing is nearer to God than the good man who blushes at the good that he is doing."

Chris

(from Bible Alive)
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Jesus and Anger

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Righteous anger is rare; it was the anger that Jesus displayed when he drove the market traders out of the temple (John 2:13ff) but perhaps he is the only human being who has expressed sinless anger.

During Lent we can examine our hearts and confess our sins, and it is an ideal opportunity to look at the causes of our anger.  The way to overcome anger is to repent.  We come before the Lord and confess our anger, then turn away from it.  As we do so, the Holy Spirit gives us the grace to face the fear that can fuel anger.

"Know this my beloved brethren.  Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work for the righteousness of God."  (Jas. 1:19-20).

Chris

From Bible Alive
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Sin and Repentance

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Today's Gospel reading: Luke 11:29-32

The crowds got even bigger and Jesus addressed them.  ‘This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign.  The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah.  For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.  On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.  On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here.’



Lent is a time to be healed, restored and lifted up. Repentance was for the people of Nineveh the gateway to life, and so it is for us. We follow One who is greater than Jonah and Solomon: we follow the Christ, the Son of the Living God. 

The Holy Spirit leads us to salvation along the well-worn path of repentance, sorrow and penance. The Queen of Sheba was moved by the teaching of Solomon. The Ninevites were compelled to repent by the teaching of the reluctant evangelist Jonah. 

How much more, then, should we be moved and compelled to repent by the teaching of the One who is greater than Jonah, Moses and all the prophets – Jesus Christ, our Saviour?

Chris

From the
Bible Alive today.
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Lent

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Lent is also a time for us to discover anew and afresh the Gospel, the "Good News", which Jesus began to proclaim immediately after his time of testing. What is the Good News? The Good News is a message of two parts. The first part is to repent and the second to believe in the Gospel. We walk together on this road marked out for us by the Church and take up our call to resist the devil, knowing that he will flee, and to embrace freely and with love the Gospel, which is Christ with us and in us – the hope of salvation.

Chris
(from today's Bible Alive)
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