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Gospel Reflection – 4th Sunday of Lent

Exemple

Fr Brendan Byrne reflects on this weekend’s Gospel:

Today’s Gospel describes a perfect drama in eight scenes. The man’s blindness is cured right at the start, in the opening scene. But his ‘journey to the light’ in this physical sense becomes a symbol of a much longer journey: a journey out of the ‘darkness’ of unbelief to faith in Jesus as the ‘Light of the world’.

Jesus in fact appears only at the beginning and end of the drama. In between, the healed man— and his parents—engage in a battle with religious authorities, who constantly pressure him to deny the truth of what Jesus has done for him. Their intensifying hostility, however, only serves to propel him on a journey of ever growing faith that comes to a climax when he falls down and worships Jesus.

As the story develops, the man’s character emerges. Questioned about Jesus, he never goes beyond the evidence; he simply sticks to the facts and draws conclusions about Jesus as they are forced upon him. His journey into faith is a journey into ever deeper perception of reality.

The adversaries, on the other hand, resort to denial of the obvious facts, then to unfounded accusations and personal abuse. Finally, they appeal simply to their own authority and status. While the man comes to the Light, they, despite their physical sightedness, journey to the darkness of sin and unreality.

Going in opposite directions, the two journeys dramatically illustrate two responses to Jesus, the Light of the world.

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Exemple

Fr Brendan Byrne reflects on this weekend’s Gospel:

Weary and thirsty from his journey, Jesus asks a Samaritan Woman to give him a drink. Soon, however, he begins to convince her that he has a far greater gift to give her: not the inert water of a well but ‘living water’, the life-giving gift of the Spirit.

The woman half grasps his meaning but can go no further. Like all who reach a certain stage in the spiritual life, her knowledge of Jesus cannot go forward until the truth of her own life has been owned and set on the way to healing. That is why Jesus instructs her, ‘Go, call your husband’.

Jesus’ knowledge of her personal life leads the woman to recognize him as a religious expert (a ‘prophet’). So she brings up the subject of worship, a key matter of dispute between Jews and Samaritans. But Jesus speaks of a ‘worship’ transcending these divisions: a worship of God from hearts transformed by the Spirit of truth, the truth to which Jesus is gently leading her.

Later, the woman will exclaim to her townsfolk ‘Come and see a man who has told me the story of my life’. That is not the usual translation of her words but it is a wonderful description of pastoral and spiritual direction: Come and see a man who shown me how my life, in all its ups and downs, its wrongs turns and failures, is nonetheless a meaningful story that God’s grace is weaving through the power of the Spirit.

 

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Exemple

Fr Brendan Byrne reflects on this weekend’s Gospel:

The second Lenten Sunday Gospel records the mysterious episode of the Transfiguration. In biblical imagery whiteness signals closeness to God. The three privileged disciples glimpse for a moment Jesus’ divinity unveiled.

Shortly before this episode he had made clear to them his destiny to suffer and be killed in Jerusalem (16:21). Peter protested at this. He could not square a destiny to suffer with knowledge of Jesus as Messiah and the Son of God’ (16:16 and 16:22-23).

Now the Father’s declaration from on high, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him!’ confirms with divine authority that these two truths must be held together: Jesus is God’s beloved Son and he is, as he has said, going to fulfill his messianic vocation in this unforeseen, costly way.

Peter had wanted to ‘hold’ the moment of glory (‘Let us build three tents …’). But there are to be no ‘short cuts’ of this kind to glory. The Messiah who came, ‘not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many’ (20:28), will enter into the pain and suffering of the world to heal it from within. Being God’s Beloved Son will not shield him from suffering but actually lead him, out of love, to enter into it more deeply.

It is with this deepened sense of his identity and mission that we are invited to continue with him our Lenten journey to Jerusalem.

 

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Exemple

Fr Brendan Byrne SJ reflects on this weekend’s Gospel:

Sometimes a sudden loss or illness or experience of failure, or even a trip overseas takes us out of our ‘comfort zones’. These are times when the usual things that support us and protect us from feeling insecure and vulnerable are stripped away.

What is really being stripped away is a false identity that rests on three things: 1. I am what I do, make or produce: 2. I am what people think of me—my importance; 3. I am what I have—possessions, gifts, talents, etc. All of these things we can lose—leading to depression if we have really invested our sense of worth in them.

The temptations Satan puts to Jesus during his “desert” experience involve much the same three things: 1. ‘Make bread out of these stones’; 2. ‘Impress people by making a spectacular leap from the pinnacle of the Temple’; 3. ‘You can possess the whole world if only you worship me’.

Jesus dismisses each suggestion, totally secure in his true identity as God’s beloved Son, an identity that, as elder Brother, he has shared with us.

Lent is a time when we are invited to go out with Jesus a little beyond our spiritual comfort zone. We share something of his ‘desert’ experience so as to know more deeply where our true identity and security lies: not in what we can make or do, nor in what other people think of us, nor in what we own, but in the fact that we are beloved sons and daughters of God.

 

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On behalf of Fr Jude and the Parish Council, I would like to thank the Knights of the Southern Cross for sponsoring our adult formation session, held on Wednesday evening, on “Love and Mercy in the Gospel of John.

The well-renowned Johannine theologian, Fr Francis Moloney sdb, presented a very inspiring theological reflection of John 13 when Jesus, faced with his imminent death, chose to reveal his love for his disciples by doing something both deceptively simple yet profoundly significant: by washing their feet! Fr Frank reflected on how the act of washing feet was a revelatory act, revealing the extent of God’s love for us in the act of laying down of life in humble service. By this simple and personal act, we learnt, Jesus also reveals what the community of faith must do to share in the divine story: to be true disciples and to share in the eternal life that comes from faith in Jesus, we (like Peter) must be washed by Jesus and we, in turn, must ‘wash the feet’ of others in a spirit of genuine humility and compassion. Jesus’ washing of the feet of his disciples is indeed symbolic of the love that characterises our God.

In this Year of Mercy, we are invited to do as Jesus has done: to reveal the humble and selfless love of God by washing the feet of others.

Geralyn McCarthy

 

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On Thurs 23 June, the Parish held a Volunteers Meeting where we updated our volunteers on how as a Parish we were seeking to meet the ever changing face of ensuring our Parish is a safe, vibrant and enriching place.  Here is what one person had to say about the experience:

The information session for volunteers provided me with insights into my obligation as a volunteer. Fr Jude and Geralyn McCarthy lead the workshop and spoke about both parish and legal aspects of conduct within the Parish Community and in particular in any dealings with children, elderly and the vulnerable.

As the night progressed, it became apparent to me how vitally important it is to understand my legal obligations as a volunteer through our actions and/or inaction.

I left with a greater knowledge and appreciation for guidelines and my responsibilities as a parish volunteer in order to make our parish community great.

Terezia

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YOUNG PAULIST SPIRITUAL FELLOWSHIP EVENT

Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ appeals urgently for “a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet…which includes everyone” (LS 14). It is particularly directed to those in the minority world who pollute and consume much of its resources, believers and non-believers. The Church in Australia has great capacity to respond and act to protect our Common Home. It will need to be “bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets” (EG 49) to achieve a global ecological conversion to heal damage done and build “a harmony between the Creator, humanity and creation.” (LS 66)

The Young Paulists offer this opportunity to take part in this free workshop which helps unpack a little of Pope Francis’ Encyclical. Join us to explore key themes in the letter to help us respond to the question at the heart of the Pope’s Encyclical:  What Kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? (#160).

The workshop, led by Pat Long from EarthSong, aims to help us deepen our appreciation of why the Pope has written this letter and how we might embrace our responsibility to care for the Earth and in so doing, care for the poor who cry out for a different way forward.

Date: Thursday, 19th May 2016

Time: 7pm – 9pm

Where: St James the Apostle Church

RSVP: via email by Monday 16th May for catering purposes (light refreshments to be served)

Email: [email protected]

We hope to see you all there!

 

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St James The Apostle