Having celebrated the great feasts of Easter and Pentecost it’s appropriate that we pause to reflect and celebrate the great God behind all of this with a feast day. This is, as St. Paul says. ‘the God in whom we live and move and have our being;’ the God who has loved each one of us into life and constantly longs for our companionship. I limit myself to three points about our amazing God, namely, i) God is great, ii) God is love and iii) God is for us. We begin with the greatness of God by taking a page from that wonderful hymn, ‘O Lord my God’ as it provides us with an excellent starting point for this contemplation. Continue reading
Pentecost is truly a wonderful feast. It is that magnificent moment of wind, fire, power and miraculous transformation. It is truly the new age of the Spirit when all is changed, changed utterly. The Apostles are at the heart of it just as they were at the heart of all those strange happenings when a certain Jesus of Nazareth walked the roads of Galilee and spoke of new thoughts, new deeds, and new things. Now, these new deeds are taking place. Now they are walking the talk. And the response is nothing short of amazing. People from the four corners of the earth are hearing them in their own language. This is the reverse of the Tower of Babel which was famous for the division and the breakdown of community; famous for the multiplication of languages so that people no longer knew or understood each other. Now everyone understands the Apostles in their own tongue. Here is the great gathering together of the nations of the world once more. All nations, peoples, tribes and cultures are brought together and celebrate their common heritage in Christ. We are now all brothers and sisters in the family of God, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, woman or man. There is no longer any distinction that favours one at the expense of the other. Continue reading
There is a story that when Jesus returned to heaven after his death and resurrection, the Archangel Gabriel was surprised to see him back so soon. Thirty-three years is not a long time, especially when you think about the importance and proportions of the task he had been given to do.
‘Back so soon?’ Gabriel said to Jesus.
‘Well, I would have stayed longer but they crucified me,’ Jesus replied.
‘Oh, so they crucified you,’ said Gabriel. ‘That means you failed.’
‘Not necessarily,’ said Jesus. ‘You see I called together a little group of disciples. They will carry on my work.’
‘And what if they should fail?’ asked Gabriel.
‘I’ve no other plans,’ Jesus answered. ‘There is no plan B.’ Continue reading
There is a lovely story that illustrates how Jesus can be present among us. It concerns a group of salesmen attending a sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. In the end, it meant a mad rush to the airport and then through the airport to the gate. Not surprisingly, one of these salesmen accidentally kicked over a table full of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane, just in time. Continue reading
A few years ago, I attended a funeral whose hobby was homing pigeons. It was very appropriate then that at the graveside his own pigeons were released. There was a lovely symbolism to it. As his treasured pigeons flew home, their master was making his own way back home to God. When these birds were released they flew straight up in the air and then went around in circles for a while before setting off in a certain direction. This circling around wasn’t mere show. They had to keep circling until they found their bearings. Once found, they set off home. Continue reading
What do you do when bad things happen to good people? This is the difficulty that Peter is faced with in the second reading today. His communities are having a torrid time. The risen Lord had given them new hope and joy, but now they are suffering for their faith. They have to endure persecution, torture and even death for their belief in Jesus. Peter responds by reflecting on Jesus, who, when faced with persecution did not retaliate but bore his sufferings for love of us. ‘Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps … When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.’ Continue reading
The author John Shea distinguishes three different movements in the mass. First, you gather the folks, then you tell the stories and finally you break the bread. This is what we do every Sunday and this is what happens with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Many scholars have taken up this story as a great example of what every mass should be like. Continue reading