Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time 20th October 2019

Fr David's Reflection on the Word This Week

 

 

Prayer is any communication with God and should involve listening just as much a speaking. We are urged to vocalise our prayers of intercession to God, who already knows our needs before we ask. However Jesus stresses the significance and the need to, nonetheless, still do the asking.

 

I am delighted at the response to the invitation to compose a prayer for our new parish and particularly at the quality of the thinking and creativity that went into these prayers. We now have now got a new parish prayer to help us on our journey as one big parish to really be truly united and grow in cooperation and love.


In any activity in life we quickly learn that we should never give up. We are to persevere and be patient in all things in life. Everything comes to those who wait.

 

Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel that we need to apply the same principals to prayer. We are called to be patient, to persevere and to never give up. Using the example of a woman seeking justice from a judge who is not particularly upright, Jesus tells us that God who is all loving will surely listen to our prayers and will grant them if they be according to his will.  Jesus is urging us not to be disheartened if our prayers do not seem to be listened to. If our prayers are unselfish, for other people’s needs and are genuine and sincere in their nature then let us leave them in God’s hands and for him to respond in his own way and his own good time. Most importantly Jesus urges us to persist in prayer and to trust his words.

(Fr David)

 

Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Sunday 13th October 2019

Fr David's Reflection on the Word this Week 

 

Jesus has come to show us that salvation is possible for all, through him. His offer of salvation crosses the borders of nationality and race as well as long standing feuds from the past. Suffering and illness can change us and can make us grow in faith, in appreciation, in gratitude or it can make us bitter and resentful. Pain and suffering can bring  people closer to God or they can drive people away from him.

 

In today’s Gospel , Jesus tells the Samaritan leper that his faith has saved him. Conversion and salvation are separate events:  all the lepers were healed  and all ten of them seemed to believe Jesus had the power to  cure but only this foreigner was converted, healed and saved. He had the faith and insight to recognise the source of this unexpected healing.

 

So we are asked to be grateful people to grow in our faith in the Lord despite the difficult and unpleasant experiences that life can throw at us. To see that through faith and the promise of salvation lie lasting healing of body, mind and soul which is when a person can be open to discover their  road to eternal salvation.

 

Coming to Mass on the Lord’s day is the best way to show we are grateful people, it’s the perfect way to show our gratitude to God for all the blessings in our life. At today’s Sunday Eucharist , let us bring to the Lord at least  ten ways in which we feel we have been blessed by him in the week that has just passed. In the expression of our appreciation may we humbly grow in our love and respect for the one who heals us of all that prevents us from living life to the full.

 

(Fr David)

 

 

 

Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time 6th October 2019

Fr David's Reflection on the Word This Week

 

It’s very human to want to be appreciated for what we do for other people. However in today’s Gospel the Lord speaks to us of not needing to be noticed all the time for what we do. There can be a side to each of us that yearns to have our good deeds as well as our talents and achievements recognized. The Lord warns us not to strive for this because He sees everything that is done and he misses nothing. Let us offer up our small acts of kindness and selflessness to the Lord and not be trying to impress other people by them. We are to see ourselves as servants doing no more than our duty.

The other side of the coin is that we ought to strive to be more observant and therefore appreciative of what other people do for us so that we do not take them for granted. We should include God among those of whom we ought to be more appreciative. Like others who help us, we can also tend to take God’s unconditional love and friendship for granted; surely it is far better to acknowledge this and respond generously to it?

The message of the Gospel today is that a little faith, provided it is truly authentic can do great things, even achieve the impossible. We are urged by the Lord to go on serving the Lord without any claim on a reward. So in the coming week let us ask the Lord to help us build on the little faith that we have and to humbly acknowledge that we are simply servants doing no more than our duty.

 

(Fr David)

 

Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time 29th September 2019 

 

Fr David's Reflection on The Word This Week

 

The expressions, “pampering oneself” and “living the life of Riley” come to mind in hearing the first reading today from the prophet Amos. He warns us about getting so caught up in luxuriating and not giving a thought to those who are poor. The rich man in today’s Gospel is so caught up with himself that he does not even notice the sick, homeless and hungry Lazarus who was begging for food from him outside his own home. There are times when we get so caught up with our own lives and busy diaries that we also fail to see the needy on our own doorstep.

The message from Amos and likewise from Jesus in the Gospel is clear ~ we will be judged for such actions. We cannot plead ignorance because we know that some people are poor and struggling. Let us make a point of keeping ourselves up to date on the global picture especially where there are occasions where people suddenly find themselves without their homes, their livelihoods and their dignity.

We are urged these days to think about living sustainable lives to think about what we need, not just about what we want and to always think what can we give to those who, often through no fault of their own cannot make ends meet.

The parable of Jesus reminds us that once we die we cannot undo the wrongs we have committed. Our Lord who is risen from the dead directs us and encourages to show love to everyone. He emphasises the need to share what we have with those who do not enough to live on. He also urges us to repent of our sins while we are still able to do so.

 

(Fr David)

 

Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 22nd September 2019

Fr David's Reflection on the Word This Week

 

The 1st reading speaks of the tendency that we can have to short- change people, cheat others out of what they are due, rip people off and practise other acts of dishonesty and deceit. Amos reminds us that God sees all of these acts which he will notice and remember. When we cheat and try to get away with something that is dishonest, then we are really only cheating ourselves. If we sell someone short then it’s our own integrity that we have sullied. Dealings of this sort naturally damage our relationship with God. It’s high risk, because if we get found out for our underhand and dodgy dealings, this can do irreparable damage to our reputation and our good name in the community.

Having integrity, telling the truth, being fair and setting impeccable standards in our dealings with each other are the ways to ensure that we are in good standing with the Lord and with each other.

Trust is a very important thing to have between people. However it is very easily broken. Once it has been broken, it is very difficult to restore. We need therefore to understand the importance of honesty and the delicacy of the precious gift of trust so that we can prioritise them and help them to grow in all our relationships.

In the coming week, may we strive to invest in riches that endure and so help to build the Kingdom of God. We do this by trying to live more simply and by being totally honest and upright with each other in our thoughts, words and actions. 

 

(Fr David)

 

 

Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 15th September 2019

Fr David's Reflection on the Word This Week

 

 

The second parable is probably the least famous of the parables we hear in today’s Gospel but with a bit of explanation of customs at the time of Jesus, it’s meaning becomes clearer: The 10 coins or pieces of silver weren't worth very much monetarily, but they were of great sentimental value. These pieces of silver were a gift from her husband's family, the mark of a married woman, which she put in her hair on very special occasions. The woman might wear them while her husband was away to remind her of his love. These coins were to be worn with five pieces on each side of her head, fastened with little hooks. To lose one coin would be shameful and devastating.

It was believed that the loss of this precious coin represented the withdrawal of God's favour from the family. It was also a cause of great grief for the husband, so much so that he might actually expel his wife from their home because of the disgrace she had brought to him. This is why Jesus tells us in the parable that the woman lit the lamps, diligently swept the floor and carefully searched for the missing coin. She wouldn't give up until she found it. When she did, she would invite her friends and neighbours in to rejoice with her. They would all understand the significance of finding the coin and her relief.

The lost coin could be likened to a person within the household who is lost. The parable of the lost coin also gives us a glimpse of that in which God delights. When a sinner is restored to friendship with God, it is a cause of great rejoicing and cause for celebration.

 

(Fr David)

 

 Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 8th September 2019

 

Fr David's Reflection on the Word this Week 

 

We measure people’s commitment to a cause by the sacrifices they are prepared to make for it. Think about something that you yourself have accomplished in life, or of someone, like an Olympic athlete, that has won great honour.  In order to accomplish something like that, what did you have to do?  You had to put all your energy into it. You had to make sacrifice. You had to eat and drink healthfully and carefully. You had to commit yourself totally.

Being genuine followers of Christ also involves making sacrifices.  The two short parables that Jesus mentions in today's Gospel are examples of this. Jesus tries to show that if you want the kingdom of heaven and if you want to be a faithful disciple of his, then you have to sacrifice things that would get in the way of achieving that goal.

Jesus uses a parable about construction. When you are about to build a building, you would be foolish if you didn’t first  sit down and estimate the cost of it and know whether you can really afford to do it. Similarly, the follower of Christ needs to know what it is going to cost to follow Jesus.

Perhaps  this week we can  focus more attention on our goal, even if it means giving up some of the things on which we think we depend. Reflect this week about whether you have your priorities right. If necessary, start to change your priorities by looking at the end goal. Be like the builder who knows what kind of building he wants, but makes sure that he has the capital necessary to get it done. And if you don’t have it right now, bring to your prayer what you might have to do in order to make this possible at some point in the future.

 

(Fr David)

 

Twentysecond Sunday in Ordinary Time 1st September 2019 

 

Fr David's Reflection on the Word This Week

 

 

No-one likes to be embarrassed and in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives a very practical example of avoiding embarrassment. The worst form of embarrassment is when we have wrongly assumed that we are more important than other people. Using the example of where you might sit a Wedding Banquet he tells us that if we always put other people first and put ourselves second then we are not likely to be shown up for thinking that we are full of our own importance. This is a good strategy to adopt in lots of different situations in life.

As Christians we should learn the gift of humility ~ we are to see other people as God sees them. After all, we are all the children of God and are all equally loved by God. When we take it upon ourselves that we matter more than other people do, then we are on dangerous territory and are at risk of rightly being put in our places. The one place of honour we should all strive for is a place at the Heavenly Banquet which is reserved to those who have tried to live out the Gospel of Christ to the best of their ability.

Let us pray in the coming week to be genuinely humble by putting others first; to seek out the greatness in others and not in ourselves: and without our prompting to allow others to see for themselves the goodness in us, for which we give glory to God.

 

(Fr David)

 

 
Twentyfirst Sunday in Ordinary Time 25th August 2019

 

Fr David's Reflection on the Word This Week

 

In today’s Gospel, St Luke reminds us of Jesus’ definitive journey to Jerusalem, which will be the climax and focal point of his ministry.  He reminds us also of the urgency which this journey proclaims and the radical, costly response it calls for.  Nothing must be taken for granted.  There is a stern warning that many, having been invited by Jesus to follow him but failed to respond, will not discern the reality of their situation until it’s too late.  Jesus here challenges the whole concept of religious privilege.  Those who will stand outside knocking,  are former table companions who listened to his teaching but did not follow it. They will be excluded.  No one can rely on a privileged position or even religious heritage: for people will come from the four corners of the earth to eat in the kingdom of God, echoing Isaiah’s vision (Isaiah 25:6-8).


We are faced with the paradox of exclusion and inclusion.  There will be a remnant, the few who will enter by ‘the narrow gate’, perhaps bowed down and with stragglers coming along too. So we must understand what it means to enter by that narrow gate. Narrow gates sometimes lead into gardens and humble homes, and often we even have to stoop to enter them. This recalls Mary’s Magnificat, which we heard on 15th August for the feast of Our Lady’s Assumption, where the lowly will be exalted. It also reminds us of Luke’s concern for the marginalised and suffering people in our world whom Jesus will welcome.

Let us pray this week that we recognise and take the opportunities to ‘enter through the narrow door’ and so fulfil Our Lord’s wishes for us to gain access to the Kingdom of God through service to our neighbours.

(Fr David)

 

 

 

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time 18th August 2019

Fr David's Reflection on the Word this Week

 

 

Jesus tells us that he has come to bring fire to the earth. Fire is very powerful and brings change and it results in things being renewed. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles in the form of tongues of fire. This changed  them considerably and renewed them. When we pray to the Spirit, we ask him to "enkindle within us the fires of divine love."

To understand what Jesus means about families being split apart because of him, it is easier to understand this if we consider that we encounter differing forces within us whenever we think about taking him seriously. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

There is a restlessness within Jesus in today's gospel. There is a task ahead that must be faced, no matter how unpleasant or challenging it is. He longs to complete the work entrusted to him by the Father. With his dying breath on Calvary when referring to the task entrusted to him by the Father, he says "It is finished”

He goes on to say: "I have come to bring division." This seems strange, until we reflect seriously on it. If Jesus appeared to a group of people anywhere on this earth right now, he would create division. The reason he would create division is that, once he begins to speak his message, the crowd will become divided, some agreeing with him, and some opposed to him.

The first conflict we  must face up to, and deal with, is the conflict within ourselves. If do we really decide to take Jesus seriously, there will be all sorts of voices coming at us; voices of prudence, voices of reason, and other voices intellectualising. May the Lord help us in this daily conflict in the coming week to grasp the truth about who Christ is for us and what he asks of us.

 

(Fr David)

 

 Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 11th August 2019

 

Fr David's Reflection on the Word This Week

 

There are lots of things in life that we can be afraid of. There are things like spiders and mice that that we call fears but are really just things that some people don't like. There are other things that make us afraid and really can debilitate us and prevent us from being able to be ourselves. These include fear of failure, fear of being laughed at or embarrassed for our failings, fear of the unknown and fear of pain, suffering and death.

The phrase "do not be afraid" appears many times in the Scriptures  including those from this weekend's readings. Therefore it is a key message that God is asking us to hear. He wants to take away our fears and give us his strength and reassurance so we can be free to live.

Today's second reading states that faithfulness and trust in God's promise are really important. The letter gives the example of Abraham who showed great courage when God asked him to leave his home and go to a new land. This was further illustrated when Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac his only beloved son but trusted all would work out alright and he was of course very right to do so. 

The Gospel asks us to keep on trusting and believing in God when life throws challenges at us. So in the coming week may we remain committed to our responsibilities. May we also remain faithful and obedient in our service of the Lord and one another. May we also be confident about the words of Jesus that give us life and hope. 

 

(Fr David)

 

 

 

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 4th August 2019 

Fr David's Reflection on the Word This Week

 

 

Today's Gospel Reading speaks of the right attitude towards possessions. On one level Jesus is addressing the young man’s brother perhaps who is being selfish in not sharing his inheritance. On the other hand, he is talking to us and saying that we need to put our trust in God and not in material things that do not last..


Possessions are necessary for life. But possessions can assume such an importance in our life that there is a danger that we could be obsessed with them. There is a risk we get obsessed with desiring to acquire possessions so much so that we no longer hear the Lord speaking to us. When that happens we have indeed got our priorities all mixed up. However a person's life does not consist of possessions. There is more to life than the accumulation of possessions. It is sobering to remember that what we have accumulated, we have to leave behind when we die. Likewise, if ever we have accumulated knowledge it is best left behind as wisdom for those whom we have advised and mentored.

The Lord has indeed blessed us enormously, but we need to 'rise above materialism,' and to share our blessings, and so find ways to build up our accounts in heaven.

May the Lord help us in the coming week to put our possessions into context and to put our energy into those things that will endure. By doing this we will indeed be building the Kingdom.

(Fr David)

 

 

Seventeeth Sunday in Ordinary Time 28th July 2019

Fr David's Reflection on The Good Samaritan Parish

 

Last weekend we announced the news that we are now one parish. We were also able to announce that Bishop John had chosen the new name for the parish from amongst the nominations that the people of Burnley had considered. So we are to be called the Parish of the Good Samaritan.


One of the things I like about the new name is that it is quite unique and I think that’s great. So far the only two places I have discovered with the same name are a Catholic church in Ambridge in Pennsylvsania, USA and a parish near Chalons Sur Soane in France. These could be potentially good places to link up with. The parable is only found in St Luke’s Gospel therefore I would suggest our parish feast day could be 18th October, the feast of St Luke the Evangelist.

 

Jesus tells the parable so he is the story-teller. However significantly according to the Church Fathers, the Good Samaritan is a Christological title for Christ. The man left dying by the roadside is humanity, dying of its sinfulness: The Samaritan is Christ, the outcast, the one rejected, despised and ultimately crucified. The outcast is the one who shows compassion and love for humanity by tending to his wounds. The Samaritan pours oil and wine on the wounds ~ these are symbolic of the sacraments. The man is taken to the inn which represents the Church where he can be welcomed and restored. The Samaritan promises to make good on his return and Christ of course promises to come again.

 

Therefore I see the Good Samaritan as a title for Our Lord. So, our new parish is under the patronage of Christ himself. Jesus himself is urging us to seek salvation for ourselves through our practical love for our neighbour and thereby show our love for God. I see the title of our new parish as unique, challenging and at the same time comfortably familiar. May the Lord continue to guide us on our journey to unity.

 

(Fr David)

 

Fr David's Reflection on Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday 21st July 2019

 

On Thursday we had a very enjoyable day of retreat and pilgrimage to Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire. Ampleforth is a Benedictine Monastery and the Benedictine monks pride themselves on their hospitality, which forms part of their Rule, given by St Benedict. The monks made us very welcome during our visit to this elegant place, seeped in history and set in glorious surroundings. As a North East lad, I was brought up by my wonderful parents to appreciate the importance of showing hospitality to guests.

 

The Benedictines also of course give great priority to prayer, giving praise and glory to God. Very early in the morning each day the monks come into their abbey church to pray together largely centred on the beautiful singing of the psalms. They pray the hours of the day together and on Thursday we also joined the monks for their lunchtime prayer. In today's Gospel, Martha is showing great hospitality and love to Christ by serving and waiting on him. Mary is just happy being in the presence of the Lord, showing love for Jesus by listening to him and having time for him. When Martha complains that Mary is not helping her with the serving; he tells her that Mary has chosen the better part. The Lord here is emphasising the precedence of prayer.


Prayer is about giving glory and praise to God as well as just being in the company of the Lord. Prayer is fuel for the soul and it’s therefore absolutely essential. Mary was just happy to enjoy the Lord's company and that's a great example of prayer. Being like Martha by showing hospitable to  tend to the needs of others is an important way of showing our love for others. However prayer is about showing our love and our dependency upon God.

 

(Fr David)

 

 

Fr David's Reflection on Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Sunday 14th July 2019

 

The commandment “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” which we hear in today’s Gospel is not just a Christian teaching. Jesus however brought a completely new understanding to the commandment. This teaching is understood differently in different religions and cultures. And the key to its understanding lies in the question that the lawyer asks Jesus in today’s gospel, “Who is my neighbour?” that I have an obligation to love?

Among the Jews of Jesus’ time there were those who understood “neighbour” in a very narrow and restrictive sense. The average Jew would not have regarded the Samaritan as a neighbour. They were considered as outsiders. The circle of neighbourly love did not include them. Jesus came into a world of “us” and “them,”. The “us” being the circle of those recognised as neighbours, and the “them” being the rest of the world regarded as hostile strangers and enemies of the people.

The new thing in Jesus’ teaching of neighbourly love is his view that all humanity is one big neighbourhood. Thus he broke down the walls of division and the borders of prejudice and suspicion that humans build between “us” and “them.” To bring home this point he tells the story of the Good Samaritan. This man would be regarded as “Public Enemy Number One” by the Jewish establishment simply because he is Samaritan. However he is the one of the three passing travellers who fully proves himself to be neighbour to the Jewish man in need. Thus to the question “Who is my neighbour” Jesus’ answer is: Anyone and everyone without exception.

God knows and loves each and every one of us without exception, so I pray in the coming week that we remember this love and that we seize all the opportunities to show love for our neighbours whenever the opportunity presents itself.

 

(Fr David)

 
 

 

Fr David's Reflection on Fourteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time

 

Sunday 7th July 2019

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks about there being few labourers of the harvest and the need to ask the Lord for such labourers. This Gospel often gets to think about vocations to the priesthood and Consecrated life. There is often a mentality of doom and gloom when we think about the future of the Church. I think as we look back over the last 2000 years we can see that the Lord has provided for his Church with labourers of the harvest. There have always been lean times and more promising times in the history of the Church, but of the Lord’s faithfulness to his promise there should be no doubt.


I tend to be a positive thinking person and I see signs of hope for the Church. Pope Francis has got us all thinking about our faith in a different way.  As Diocesan Vocations Promoter I continue to work with a small number of quality men  currently discerning a possible vocation to the priesthood for our Diocese in the future.  In mid-June, I took part in the discernment weekend at Hyning Hall when a number gathered to discover more about serving in the Church as  labourers in the Lord’s Vineyard. In addition on 20th July,  Bishop John will ordain Rev Damien Louden and Rev Bob Hayes and Nathan to the priesthood at the Cathedral.


We need to continue to pray for and encourage vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life . The best way to encourage vocations is to be a good authentic example of the Christian life ourselves by continuing to show our love for Our Lord, His Church, the Mass, The Eucharist and the sacred priesthood.


This is the way we can urge those the Lord is inviting to make the next step. However we still need to back this up with asking the Lord with sincere prayers of desiring new vocations.



 

(Fr David)

 

 

Fr David's Reflection on Saints Peter and Paul

 

Sunday 30th June 2019

 

Simon Peter was a fisherman from Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee. He was with Jesus from the outset of his ministry. His name was changed by Jesus to Peter to be a rock for the Church ~ because Jesus saw within him his strong faith. His faith was a great source of strength for the Early Church.

 

Saul of Tarsus was a Jewish Pharisee, well educated and very devout in his religious practise. He never actually met Jesus but was persecuting the early Christians because he believed they were a threat to his Jewish faith. He became Paul the great missionary after his conversion experience on the Road to Damascus. He became a missionary whose main aim in life was to share the Good News that had transformed his life so dramatically.

 

They both were martyred in Rome for their faith. In this year of faith we give thanks for the faith of these two great heroes of the Church. Today we celebrate the gift of our faith, which has the apostles as its foundation.

 

We pray that we may like Ss Peter and Paul be open to be called by the Lord to respond to his invitation ~ to be formed by his love to change the direction of our lives accordingly: and to be sent out into the world to spread the Good news that everyone matters to God.



 

(Fr David)

 

 

 

Fr David's Reflection on The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

 

Sunday 23rd June 2019

 

Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi, which means the Body of Christ. This is a term that is used to describe the Church. Christ is the Head of the Church and we are the Body. In The Blessed Sacrament we are invited to receive the Body of Christ and we are to be like Christ in the way we treat God and other people.  We are to become therefore, He whom we receive in Holy Communion.


The Real Presence of Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament is of course central to our faith as Catholics. Before we receive Holy Communion we are asked to say “Amen”. This word means “let it be so”. When we say “Amen” to the consecrated host shown before us, as we receive the Eucharist, we are in effect making a proclamation of our faith.

 

The word “Eucharist” is another word for the Blessed Sacrament. It derives from a Greek word meaning “thanksgiving”. The best way to thank God for the many blessings in our lives is by receiving the Lord in Holy Communion and trying our best to put his teaching into the practice of our daily lives.

 

It would be good in future years to consider having a Corpus Christi procession in our churches, which is a great way of showing our devotion to this gift to the Church. It would also be good to consider organising Quarant’ore devotions in one of churches next year. This consists of  40 hours of Exposition over a period of days leading up to Corpus Christi.

 

May the Lord help us to fittingly celebrate this great gift of our faith on this feast of Corpus Christi, and bin

 

(Fr David)

 

 

Fr David's Reflection on Most Holy Trinity

Sunday 16th June 2019

 

We tend to approach the Trinity as something to be grasped intellectually. However I think it’s more important to be seen as something that is rather to be experienced. This manifests itself in the relationships that exist within the Blessed Trinity and which flow out from it.

 

The Trinity continually lives in the tension between concealing and revealing. On the one hand, the Trinity is shrouded in mystery and eludes our attempts to define it. However God constantly reaches out to make Himself known to us, to engage us in the loving relationships that lies at the heart of this mystery of our faith.

 

In today’s Gospel the Holy Spirit, John stresses the importance of the Holy Spirit which carries on the work of the Jesus after Jesus has departed for the Father. The Spirit, we are told, helps the Church to grasp the full meaning of all that Jesus has said, especially about what is shared about the Father.

 

Central to today’s celebration, is an invitation to open ourselves to the love that is at the core of the Blessed Trinity. It reminds us that love is at heart of our understanding of what God is really like. St Paul echoes this, in today’s 2nd reading: “And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us”. So how will we in the living out of our daily lives in the coming week, open our hearts to the love that is the Trinity’s ultimate gift to us?

 

Fr David

 

 

Fr David's Reflection For Pentecost

 

Pentecost Sunday 9th June 2019

 

Today is the feast of Pentecost, the glorious final day of the season of Easter. The Apostles were together experiencing bewilderment over how to move forward when the Holy Spirit flows among them and breathes courage into their hearts. This marks the birthday of the Church, guided through time by the Holy Spirit himself.

The Spirit comes like a powerful wind: we can’t see the wind but we can see what it does. Similarly we can’t see the Holy Spirit but we see what it does in other people. The Church is all about people with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is at work in his Church but we need to look for the signs which are all around us. It would be too easy to miss them or dismiss them.

The Spirit also came upon the disciples as tongues of fire. Fire changes everything, because after a fire everything has changed. It’s also a sign of renewal because after a fire, everything has to be made new again. The disciples were never the same again after Pentecost ~ they were renewed by the Holy Spirit and it was evidenced by their confident proclamation about the Risen Jesus. We are told that those who witnessed this event were "amazed and astonished."

Pentecost immerses us in the brilliance of fire and the power of wind, calling us to trust in something bigger than we are. As we look back over the journey that the Church has taken since the first Pentecost, let us marvel at how the Lord has remained utterly faithful to His Spouse through many different circumstances. As our three parishes go through a process of change let us pray to the Holy Spirit for his continuing guidance, hope and trust that all will be well.

 

(Fr David)

 

 



Fr David's Reflection


Sixth Sunday of Easter 26th May 2019


There was once a king who asked one of his artists to produce a painting depicting peace.  The paint he produced was of a thunderous waterfall crashing down to the rocks below, you could practically feel the force of the water, the painting was so graphic.  At first the king was angry at the artist "this is not peace" he said:   the artist urged him to keep looking at the painting.  Then the king's eye was caught by a detail he had not previously noticed; at the base of the painting near where the water crashed to rocks was a little tree and in its branches a bird's nest in which a sparrow was sitting on her eggs, eyes half closed, waiting patiently for her eggs to hatch.  The king now understood the message of peace of his artist; that it's possible to be at peace even in the chaos of life.

 

During his Last Supper Jesus spoke of peace to his disciples: "Peace I leave you my own peace I give you, a peace that the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.  So do not let your hearts be talking about peace, because real peace is communion with God.  Jesus was in perfect communion with God so he could talk about peace even as his enemies were closing in on him and death was just around the corner.  Peace is a sense of inner calm that signifies right relations with God and others.  Peace is the fruit of trusting God.  Pleasing God is thus the dominant factor in life.  This is something that can be retained even in times of conflict, turmoil and unresolved problems. 

 

The Lord offers us the gift of his peace, it's not an easy peace of course it's a peace that has been won by his victory over sin and death.  Anyone who tries to bring two or more parties together in a conflict can often have a tough time.  Being a peacemaker is far from easy but it's what we should all strive for, because peace is what we all hope for in life.  Our prayer for peace is that we should all become peacemakers and not shy away from all the opportunities we have, to bring Christian love into situations where hatred and division prevail.  This can all be possible if we are truly in communion with God and like Jesus desire his will before our own desires. 




(Fr David)

 



Fr David's Reflection


Fifth Sunday of Easter 19th May 2019


Jesus gave us a marvellous example of love by everything he did with his life; with his compassion for the sick, the sinner and those who were suffering. He then tells his disciples on the eve of the greatest act of love, his Passion and Death that they are to love one another as “I have loved you”. Therefore as followers of Jesus today, we are also to show love through the living out of our daily lives.

Mother Teresa was once helping a man in a terrible condition with gangrene. An observer noticed and said to her: “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars!” She replied: “Even I wouldn’t do it for that amount! However I do it out of love for God.”

Love is about being sincere and generous with each other. Love is about those who have more than they need, sharing what they have with those who do not have enough to live on. Love is about those who are not of our faith, meeting Christ in us, through our kindness and humility. Love is being able to rise above the grudges , jealousies and meanness of spirit which form barriers between ourselves and others. Love is not limited to just our friends but is extended to everyone. Love comes from God.


 



(Fr David)

 

 


Fr David's Reflection

Third Sunday of Easter 5th May 2019

 

Peter’s denials by  Jesus at a crucial moment are very well known. Despite being so close to Jesus, out of fear he said  three times that he didn't even know the Lord.  Perhaps not so well known are the "three yeses” that Peter says to the Risen Jesus on the shore of the Lake.  There is always an awkwardness when reconciliation is needed after difficulties between two estranged friends which in many ways Jesus and Peter were. Jesus had predicted Peter would deny him and so is very aware of what Peter has done to him out of fear. He had also stated that Peter would emerge from this moment of weakness stronger and better.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is masterful in helping Peter to move on from his mistakes so he can be free to lead the Church in the future. Without making reference to the three denials, he simply asks three times whether he loves him. Perhaps Peter is upset at the third question because he at that point realises what the Lord is accomplishing by this powerful conversation. Jesus gives him the mandate to be a shepherd to his people and to lead the Church.

May we also ask invite Jesus into any strained relationships that we are experiencing at the moment . May we have the same sensitivity that Jesus used with Peter. May we be full of love and forgiveness and so facilitate reconciliation. May the Lord give us the courage, words and actions that we need in order to put behind us past hurts and wrongs so that our relationships can be healed, rebuilt and grow healthily on the foundations of our Christian faith. 

 

(Fr David)

 

 

 

 

 

Fr David's Reflection

Second Sunday of Easter 28th April 2019

Divine Mercy Sunday

 

Easter is about new life. Everything about Easter is about things being new, refreshed, changed and different. After our Lenten observances we should be stronger in our faith and our commitment to the Lord.  At Easter we have received the new holy oils blessed by the bishop on Maundy Thursday at the Chrism Mass and these are central to a number of the sacraments to be celebrated throughout the year.

The newly blessed Easter water is also a sign of the new life through the sacrament of Baptism which is the gateway to life with the Risen Lord in the Church. The most central symbol to our Easter faith is the brand new Paschal candle which represents the presence of the Risen Lord, who has conquered death forever through his own death of the cross. This candle will be lit at all our liturgies throughout the rest of the Easter season as well as at baptisms and funerals throughout the coming year. The Paschal candle is lit at a funeral to remind us of the promise of eternal life offered to the departed Christian at their baptism.


May we take anew to our hearts the words of Our Lord to Thomas in today’s Gospel  ~ “Happy are those who have not seen, yet believe”. May the richness of the symbolism of our Catholic faith help us throughout the year to see the Risen Lord at work in our lives. May Our Lord help us with the challenges that life presents to us and help us to respond to his invitation to join him forever in heaven through our obedience and trust in the words of his Gospel. 

 

(Fr David)

 

 

 

Fr David's Reflection on Easter

Easter Sunday 21st April 2019

 

If anyone asks me what is the most important thing about our faith ~ I respond it is believing in the resurrection of Jesus. Easter is at the heart of what it is to be a Christian.  It’s the reason why every Sunday is the Lord’s Day and why we are asked to come to Mass. Every Sunday, because of Easter, is a celebration of the Resurrection.
Easter Sunday is the key to our faith and to our hope, and is central to everything that Jesus taught concerning himself and the Kingdom of God.  It is central to everything that the Church has proclaimed since the day that Jesus ascended into heaven. So we are to believe in the testimony of those who saw the risen Jesus and talked with him - and wrote his words in our Sacred Scriptures. We are to believe too in the testimony of those like Paul and the millions of Apostles and Saints after him who have testified to the fact that the Risen Christ has visited them.
So today we celebrate our faith. Today we stand up with everyone else present in church this day as we are sprinkled with the newly blessed Easter water and say I believe in Jesus Christ who was crucified, died, was buried and rose from the dead. We say this because we believe and through our own personal relationship with the Risen Lord Jesus.

 

(Fr David)