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Showing posts from April, 2017

From the side of Christ

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Today we celebrate the 2nd Sunday of Easter, now celebrated in the Church as Divine Mercy Sunday.  The readings for the feastday, beginning with the Opening Prayer, encourage us to cast our focus on the redeeming “blood”, the washing away of sins in “water”, a new birth in the Spirit, the institution of Confession, and the importance of trusting in Jesus. God always wants to give us the fullness of his graces and his mercy, He never holds back.

"Jesus Christ, in his great mercy has given us a new birth as his sons, by raising Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we have a sure hope and the promise of an inheritance." (Second Reading).

In my reflection of the Gospel today, three different biblical events come to mind. They all have something in common. The story of grace of how our Creator Father can bring life from the side of Christ, be it the first man, Adam, to his Son Jesus, the new Adam.

In one of the creation narratives in the Book of Genesis  (Gen 2:18-24), we are t…

Mary- Rabbuni!

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Mary Magdalene, what are you about,
as I follow your footsteps through the gospels?
You begin and you end with JESUS.
I see you at Simon’s house
with your perfumed oil,
and I find you again at the tomb,
carrying fragrant spices.
What are you about Mary?
You are unique in the gospels,
as the one always at the feet of Jesus.
At your home, where Martha busied herself.
At the Cross with Our Lady.                                                                              
I never find you when you are not in adoration of Him.

Such faithful love did not go unnoticed.         
You were the first to see Him after He rose.
“Mary,” He said,
And you were at His feet again.

Mary Magdalene, what are you about?
Tell me please,
that I too may follow in your way

And anoint today
the Adorable Face of JESUS,
with grateful love.

And sit at His feet,
washing them with
tears of repentance

And stand by the Cross,
consoling Him as I bear
my own little crosses.

And someday, behold Him
resurrected as you…

Easter Greetings 2017

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“Part of the message of Easter is about removing stones.
When those barriers disappear, hope emerges from the other side—new life in Christ.
God specializes in stone removal. Whether you are looking for a way in or a way out,
Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Jesus’ death and resurrection opened the door to new life.
The “stones” that imprison us or block our path have no power to destroy us.
There is only One who can roll away your stones and bring joy, new life, and freedom through Christ.
Who will roll this stone away?” You don’t know where to turn, but you know you want the stone removed.
Then you “look up” in faith, and what you see is truly amazing.
You see  not stones, but pebbles, not darkness, but daylight.
There is a huge opening, and you hear a faint divine whisper in your spirit, “I have already rolled the stone away.”
That’s part of the Easter message. And that’s where our hope lies. “
Have a blessed Easter- you, your families and your communitie…

Love lifted up on the Cross

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Beauty and suffering are always hand in hand. At the top of the mountain is also the painful reality that we must descend. The beauty of truth also embraces offence, pain, and even the dark mystery of death, and that this can only be found in accepting suffering, not in ignoring it. The One who is Beauty itself let himself be slapped in the face, spat upon, crowned with thorns. However, in his Face that is so disfigured, there appears the genuine, extreme beauty: the beauty of love that goes "to the very end"; for this reason it is revealed as greater than falsehood and violence. This is Love Transfigured, it is the ‘beauty that saves the world’. This is Love lifted up on the Cross for me, for you, for the whole world.

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

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“It is your face O Lord I seek, hide not your face” (Psalm 27: 8)
Often, it is much safer and more comfortable to be a part of a mob than to stand on your own. Doing nothing seems the easy way out. Along the Via Crucis, suffering is emptied out into a symphony of people. The poet Kosovel once said: “Sorrow flowers into beauty”. Eternal beauty will continue to give sense to the journey of life of every person.
The life of one woman is changed when she dares to step out from the crowd. Veronica is her name, from the Latin words, ‘vera’ meaning true, and ‘icon’, meaning image. Veronica, transparent in her ways, dares to break with the crowd to be with Jesus. She has to be faithful to herself. Peter denies Jesus but Veronica acknowledges Him. It is only a moment, for the soldiers are there to push her aside and keep the death procession moving. But it is a moment that will forever change her life. She stood alone, and for her reward, she will carry a cloth that is forever imprinted with th…

They pierced my heart, the songbirds cried!

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Jesus says: "I am among you as one who serves. I took your shape and form and in the flesh that limits, fades and dies, I entered into your human experience, to bring you back and to guide and guard your destiny. In the clothes of the shepherd I walked through the hills and valleys, searching every crevice and rock. I uncovered the undergrowth and I took on the cliff's bare edge to find the stray ones, to rescue the lost ones.
The boundary lines moved back to let me pass, and in in the homes of ancient foes, where doors were sealed and fences secured, I sat at table and joined the feast. Day by day, I watched for my prodigal child. The candle in my window was the sign that I was awake and waiting for your return.
I bathed the festered sores of tired feet and eased the wound of heart and soul. The years of desert dryness were brought to life in a spring of living water. It poured out from my side and opened pores of dying earth and the people came with longing to be washed, h…

God in an apron!

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Supper was special that night.
 There was both a heaviness and a holiness
 hanging in the air.
 We couldn’t explain the mood.
 It was sacred, yet sorrowful.
 Gathered around that table
         eating that solemn, holy meal
         seemed to us the most important meal
         we had ever sat down to eat.

We were dwelling in the heart of MYSTERY.
 Though dark the night,
 Hope felt right—
        as if something evil
         was about to be conquered.

And then suddenly
 the One-Who-Loved startled us all.
 He got up from the table
 and put on an apron.
 Can you imagine how we felt?

GOD IN AN APRON!

Tenderness encircled us
         as He bowed before us.
 He knelt and said,
         “I choose to wash your feet
         because I love you.”

God in an apron, kneeling.
 I couldn’t believe my eyes.
 I was embarrassed
         until His eyes met mine.
 I sensed my value then.
 He touched my feet.
 He held them in His strong, brown hands.
 He washed them.
 I can still feel the water.
 I can…

Celebrating the Eucharist-Priesthood and Liturgy and our humble beginnings!

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The liturgy that begins today, Holy Thursday, is a single liturgy which continues until we reach Easter. We are at the start of a three-day celebration of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. We journey from the Last Supper to Gethsemane tonight, from there to Calvary tomorrow, and from the tomb to resurrection and new life at the Vigil of Easter Sunday. But today is a journey which begins in joy, in festivity.
Holy Thursday is one of the truly marvellous days in our faith community. We celebrate the gift of the love of Jesus, given to us for our nourishment - given to us as an example of self-less love. Today as Disciples of the Divine Master, we celebrate many things. We allow the words of Blessed Timothy Giaccardo, our first Pauline priest, to bring us back to the founding charism for our Institute which burned in the heart of Bl. James Alberione.
He writes:"It was April 3, 1947 and it was Holy Thursday.  In the great church of St. Paul in Alba the rite of the canonic…

The angel in the stone

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It is said that one day that the great artist Michelangelo, strolling in a courtyard of Florence, saw a block of rough stone covered with dust and mud. He stopped suddenly to look at it and said: “An angel is hidden in this mass of stone. I want to bring him out!” And he began to work with his scalpel to give shape to the angel he had glimpsed. So it is with us. We are still masses of rough stone, often with layers of dust and grime. God the Father looks at us and says: “Hidden in this piece of stone is the image of my Son, I want to bring it out”.
Is it not true for our life? For us however it is not about the attaining an abstract beauty of building a beautiful statue, but about bringing to light and rendering ever more resplendent the image of God that sin tends continually to cover. We are God’s masterpiece, his work of art but he needs to keep chipping away at us. Hidden in the ugliness of death and sin is the light of the Resurrection if we are willing to wait out until Holy Sa…

Grace freely given-the Anointing at Bethany

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Grace, Mercy, Compassion, and Forgiveness freely and willingly offered to those who repent.
GRACE=
God’s
Riches
At
Christ’s
Expense

Strangely so, all the excitement of the procession into Jersualem, the crowds chanting, the road strewn with coats and branches – it all leads up to, well, nothing. Mark Chapter 11, 11 tells us that Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts, he looked around he then turns around and returns to Bethany. And Bethany is where a very significant event takes place, one that often is glossed over on our Holy Week journey. On the Monday of Holy Week, we are given a Gospel text which often passed over, the Anointing at Bethany. The anointing of Jesus at Bethany is an event which is narrated in the accounts of the four evangelists, something which is relatively rare. The details differ slightly from evangelist to evangelist. As Jesus dines with his beloved friends, Mary does something which only love can do. She took the most precious thing she had…

Entrance into Jersualem: Ride on to Die- Michael Card

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Today I sang this during our guided Holy Hour and someone asked me to record it for them to learn so it thought to share it here too. It didn't quite get it all but you might enjoy the gentle sounds of the psalterium too.


Ride on to die:
Seems the sorrow untold, as you look down the road
At the clamoring crowd drawing near
Feel the heat of the day, as you look down the way
Hear the shouts of Hosanna the King
Chorus
Oh, daughter of Zion your time's drawing near
Don't forsake Him, oh don't pass it by
On the foal of a donkey as the prophets had said
Passing by you, He rides on to die
Come now little foal, though your not very old
Come and bear your first burden bravely
Walk so softly upon all the coats and the palms
Bare the One on your back oh so gently

Midst the shouting so loud and the joy of the crowd
There is One who is riding in silence
For He knows the ones here will be fleeing in fear
When their shepherd is taken away
Chorus Soon the thorn cursed ground will bring forth a crown
And…

The journey from 'Hosanna' to 'Crucify him'- Holy Week pilgrims

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“Lord, we know that every journey begins with a first step. Be with us as we take another step in our Lenten journey and a step towards the Triduum. We began this journey with the sign of ashes on our forehead, reminding us that this is no ordinary walk. We move one step forward in the promise of your light. We seek new meaning in the Easter that awaits us all. But first, we must walk with you to Jerusalem, to Calvary, to the Tomb and beyond. We ask for the courage and the grace that we need to be committed pilgrims along the Calvary Way. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. AMEN.”
As we draw near to the end of Lent, it’s fitting to think about the journey we make during this Holy Week. Holy Week is holy, first and foremost, because of all Jesus Christ did during this week, from the triumphal entry into his city on Palm Sunday, to his teaching in the Temple, to the Last Supper, to his prayer in Gethsemane, to his arrest, torture, crucifixion and death on Good Friday, to his res…

Called to wear God's smile!

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Pope Francis calls us to pause before the joy of the moment when "Jesus looked at me" and to recall the important and demanding, underlying meaning of our vocation: “It is a response to a call, a call of love”. To stay with Christ requires us to share our lives, our choices, the obedience of faith, the happiness of poverty, the radicality of love. It is about being reborn through vocation. Since we are witnesses of a communion beyond our vision and our limits, we are called to wear God’s smile and live joyfully. The world awaits this from us and the world deserves this from us!

Thought for today

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Unless Jesus has all our heart, we don’t want to follow where our hearts will lead us at all.
Unless you fall in love with Jesus — you fall into debated regulations.
Unless you fall in love with Jesus —- you fall into dead religion.
Unless you fall in love with Jesus — you fall into dreaded rules.
Unless you fall in love with Jesus, you end up having an affair with the world. (Ann Voskamp)

Beauty and suffering

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This is from the talk I prepared for Radio Maria in February 2017 as part of a series on Beauty.

Week 3- Beauty and Suffering This week we are going to look at Beauty and Suffering. It might sound very strange to put these two things together, without sounding slightly sadistic.

You hear a lot about happiness these days. You have to be happy 24/7. You have to only do the things you love. You have to wake up everyday and jump out of bed, because if not, you’re broken or you’re unhappy or not motivated. While I certainly wish that were the case, the fact of the matter is, it’s unrealistic. We can’t always be happy, we can’t always do the stuff we love, we can’t always wake up every day feeling like we can take on the world.While there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be happy, we all too often make that our main objective in life. And in our quest for bliss and contentment we fail to embrace the beauty of suffering, when we are faced with it. One of the life-long arguments ag…

"And Jesus wept"- The power of tears

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This Sunday's Gospel has the shortest sentence in the Bible: "And Jesus wept." For some reason, in spite it being a longer Gospel this week, these three words stuck in my heart and head.

"And Jesus wept." Why did Jesus cry? Because there is power in tears. There is solidarity in tears. When Jesus saw his friends Martha and Mary, he was overcome with compassion for them as they suffered the loss of their brother Lazarus. Yet, the tears that flowed may have been also a response to the deep wound of sin which caused death. Death consumed the creation God has created since the time of Adam and Eve. The wages of sin are death and Jesus was getting ready to pay the price. Death had taken Lazarus once and it would take him again. This step of raising Lazarus from the death would stir the hornet's nest of the religious leaders to take action to seek out Jesus and put him to death. Yes, Jesus wept. Yet in this rollercoaster of emotions, Jesus carries out one of his…

Pilgriming on Holy Ground

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Take off your sandals, you are on holy ground! (Ex 3:5)

In its various moments, the liturgical year celebrates nothing other than the fullness of this mystery of walking continuously on holy ground in the company of the saints who walked the pilgrim way of Christ. It has its centre in the annual Easter, everything springs from it and everything tends to it. Christian spirituality is a paschal spirituality, that is, a spirituality polarized by the divine event of salvation, by the paschal mystery lived by Christ and celebrated memorially by the Church.

The imposition of ashes at the beginning of Lent is always a very poignant moment: ‘Repent and believe in the Gospel’. Ashes and fire are two images which accompany me during the Lenten journey. On Ash Wednesday, the burnt palms, symbol of the joy and majesty which accompanied Jesus during his entrance into Jerusalem, are now ashes placed on my forehead…the liturgical cycle continues! I remember often raking out the fire at home and find…