It was dubbed ‘mission impossible’. First of all, it took nine days to find the Thai boys and their coach 4 kilometres into the cave. Then the challenge of getting them out posed a huge headache. But this is where ‘mission impossible’ ignited the whole world and brave divers from all over the planet zoomed in on this cave. This wave of enthusiasm led to what could be called the ‘greatest escape of all time!’ ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’ is a motto that was often repeated in my childhood and it was never more true than in this case. Continue reading
In September 2010, Pope Benedict made a historic visit to Great Britain. On his first day there he celebrated mass at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow. After the mass, a single Mum made this quote. ‘We’re all trying to do life and do it as well as we can, even though we are all flawed.’ This down to earth quote sums up life for a lot of us. Yes, we are all flawed, but we have a lot of living to do and we do it as best we can. It touches into today’s readings also which have a lot to do with failure and weakness. It is even surprising that such moments of weakness and failure find their way into the Scriptures at all. Continue reading
A man had an addictive habit in his life. He said: “It took me a long time, and countless failures, to realize that you can’t change your life simply by willpower. You can only change it by grace and community.” Alcoholics Anonymous has always known this. It’s not enough just to have willpower. It’s only by touching some higher power that we actually change our lives. Both Jairus and the unknown woman in today’s gospel are also aware of this and sense in Jesus this higher power. While their journeys to Jesus take very different routes, they are nonetheless convinced that Jesus and only Jesus can help them in their desperate situations. Continue reading
George Bernard Shaw won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. One of the reasons for the prize was his great play, Saint Joan, written in 1923. Though baptised a Protestant, Shaw abandoned conventional Christianity, yet he was fascinated by Joan of Arc. He was interested in how people of genius are most often destroyed by the narrow-mindedness of their time. For him genius did not mean intelligence or exceptional skill. Genius was the ability to rise above the cultural and moral limitations of one’s time. Continue reading
We have two parables today about the coming of the kingdom of God. The first is rather puzzling. It is not good news for the activists, the doers, the loner cowboys or the DIY – do it yourself brigade. This is the only parable in the Gospel of Mark that neither Matthew nor Luke copied into their own Gospels. Apparently, it was unpopular from the get-go. Continue reading
When I first started learning Pedi here in South Africa I was very surprised by the greeting they used. ‘Le kae?’ It means, ‘where are you?’ Usually, we greet by asking ‘how are you?’ but ‘le kae?’ ‘where are you?’ seems to be looking at life from a very different angle. It’s a very pertinent question in today’s readings. The first reading begins with God asking Adam, ‘where are you?’ This question comes from a deep concern in God as if our first parents are no longer there or have fallen off the planet. What’s clear is the fact that they are no longer present to God. And indeed, Adam says precisely that. Once he heard the sound of God in the garden, he admits, ‘I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ The nakedness in question, of course, is Adam’s inability to be present to God, to be wholly open and transparent to God like it was before the fall. Continue reading
‘Lord, I am not worthy, that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.’ Today we celebrate the feast of the body and blood of Christ and it is very appropriate that we recite this prayer just before we receive Holy Communion. The great danger facing all of us concerning the Eucharist is that it can become routine and taken for granted. Hence the importance of this feast to bring home how great and awesome this mystery is.
Back to the prayer. It recalls the words of the pagan centurion. Jesus was amazed at the utterance of this outsider so much so that he exclaimed: “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Obviously, this outsider was completely in awe of Jesus, detecting in him something special; something out of the ordinary that spoke of a different world and a different way of looking at life. The Mystery of the Eucharist should draw a similar response from us. It is the Mystery of Christ par excellence. It is the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to be with us always. It is the realisation of Psalm 23, namely, that the Lord is my Shepherd and there is nothing else that I want or need. It is, as Vatican II proclaims, the source and summit of the Christian life. Luke sums us the profound impact the Eucharist had on the early Christian community when they shared the one loaf and the one cup. “A sense of awe was everywhere … all whose faith had drawn them together held everything in common … with unaffected joy.’ Continue reading