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Is it possible to be faithful to the Truth whilst also being humble and compassionate?

Posted on January 11, 2016 at 8:39 AM Comments comments (0)
Jesus was compassionate but firm in the Truth

Pope Francis, during his Sunday Angelus, has spoken about the importance of Baptism and the role it plays in our lives.  Having earlier baptised 26 baby girls and boys at morning Mass, the pope was keen to impress upon the gathered faithful the critical nature of this sacrament.


The pope said that in Baptism the Holy Spirit "burns and destroys original sin, returning to baptism the beauty of divine grace.”


The pope then stressed the importance of following Jesus and being obedient to the Truth whilst remaining true to Christ’s qualities of tenderness and humility.  And here, I think, is the critical issue for us Christians today.  While we must speak the Truth we must do it in a spirit of tenderness and humility.  But similarly, while we must be tender and humble in our approach, we can never stray from the Truth.  It's not a balancing act because that would suggest compromising one or both aspects.  Instead we are called to deliver the Truth in its fullness and to do this in a fully humble and completely tender way.


In my experience people tend to be more inclined to do one more than the other.  For example, some people may reject certain elements of Christ’s teaching with the aim of showing more compassion and tenderness to people.  This is because some elements of teaching are difficult to accept, especially set against the backdrop of an increasingly liberal and relativist society.  Others may be more determined to stick rigidly to the Truth but seem to lack that tenderness and humility, especially when they see a threat to Christ's teaching.


Ultimately we need to be firm in both elements.  We need to be firm in our faith, in the same way that Christ was and in the way that God calls us to be.  Jesus’ disciples died unimaginable deaths because they were firm in their faith and didn’t go along with the popular views of society.  They stuck to their beliefs even though everybody mocked them and thought they were talking nonsense.  They refused to reject the truth of Christ and the Church he established, preferring to invest their lives in being the men Jesus called them to be with the sure and certain hope of an eternal reward.  Similarly, we need to be firm in our tenderness and humility.  Jesus had an uncanny knack of being firm but also loving, gentle and kind.  When he prevented the prostitute from being stoned by the scribes and the Pharisees he was careful to tell her to “go and sin no more”.  But he did this while telling her that he didn't condemn her.  He wanted her to stop sinning, to stick to the Truth.  But he also wanted her to know that she was loved and that mercy would be shown to her.


It's important for us to remain true to both aspects when it comes to our faith.  We must be true to Christ and his teaching and we must be tender and humble in remaining faithful to that teaching.  The Truth is what it is and it doesn’t change.  It can be found in your copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  And the tenderness and humility we need in order to take that Truth to others can be found in the loving person of Jesus Christ.


So, is it possible to be both faithful to the Truth and be tender and humble?  Yes.  Just look to the example of Jesus and in him you will find the perfection of fulfilling both aspects.

Jesus calls us to love politicians too you know

Posted on May 11, 2015 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (0)
These people need our love and prayers too
 
 
It’s not often you hear people standing up for politicians but that is precisely what I am about to do!  As the dust settles on last week’s UK General Election the usual lampooning of political figures and parties has started up once again as we embark on another five year cycle of ridicule and abuse in the direction of those elected to lead our country.
 
 
As Christians our call is simple: to love one another and to keep God’s Commandments.  Indeed, this was the call at Mass last Sunday for those blessed enough to be there to hear the Word of God. 
 
 
So, in light of this calling, is it okay to ridicule our politicians?  Is it okay to speak ill of them and to make fun of them?  Is it okay to abuse them?  The answer is quite simply no.  Of course it isn’t okay to ridicule politicians; to speak ill of them; or abuse them.  We are called to love them!  God expects us to love our political leaders just as much as we love our own families. That’s what brotherly and sisterly love ‘God-style’ is all about!  There are no exceptions. 
 
 
Yet this does not mean we cannot question our politicians and call them to account.  That is all part of the democratic process and indeed we, as Catholics, are expected to participate in that process in order to ensure God’s Commandments are upheld in our country.  But we must be careful not to cross the line into the territory of abusing our politicians.  We shouldn’t even be gossiping about them (remember Pope Francis’ call to refrain from gossiping applies to all God’s children, even those in political office).
 
 
So as we embark on this latest cycle of government with those newly elected and those elected to serve another term, let us pray hard for our political representatives, that they will serve the people of the United Kingdom with love, mercy, and compassion; and with justice at the heart of their policies.  They have a very difficult job and that job is made all the more difficult by a media constantly trying to undermine them and make mischief from their every move. Let us pray that our politicians will not be swayed by the traps set for them by the evil one and let us hope that moved by the Holy Spirit they will appreciate the importance of God’s Commandments and that they will draw inspiration from the loving example of Jesus Christ as they lead our country.
 

It is true….only Jesus can save us (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 26th April 2015)

Posted on April 24, 2015 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)
Only this man has the power to save us
 
Sunday’s First Reading (Acts 4:8-12):
 
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter said: ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’
 
 
 
Only Jesus Christ can save us.  Only Jesus Christ can save us. Only Jesus Christ can save us. Only Jesus Christ can save us…. 
 
 
Has it sunk in yet?? It’s quite incredible to think that each one of us can be saved from sin and death and brought to eternal life.  It’s even more incredible to think that all this is achieved through one man!  Can you imagine being that one man?  Can you imagine if you were the key to Heaven; the key to eternal life?  Wouldn’t it be quite a responsibility?  It certainly would; but it would be worth all of that responsibility to see wave after wave of people coming back to you because they trust in you and because they believe in you and believe in the Church you founded. Yet conversely, wouldn’t it be so sad to know that not all of your created people are coming back to you?  Wouldn’t it be sad to be rejected by your very own creation?  Rejected despite coming to earth to spread the message of a perfect love; rejected despite performing miracle after miracle to help the poor and the needy; rejected despite suffering greatly at the hands of your oppressors who humiliated you and abused you before nailing you to a cross; rejected despite rising from the dead and revealing yourself to those close to you who then took that great news to the ends of the earth.  After all of that and still you are rejected!  How breathtakingly sad must that be for Jesus? 
 
 
It would seem that no matter how often we are told Christ is the only way to God and the only way to salvation, we still don’t quite take it in.  Even Jesus himself told us that he was the way, the truth and the life and that nobody can get to the Father except through him; yet many still doubt.  So here is St Peter, the rock upon which Christ’s Church is built, telling us once more that Christ is the only one who can save us. 
 
 
So, are we prepared to really let this sink in?  And even more importantly, are we prepared to take this message to the ends of the earth no matter what?  You see, we can’t possibly just keep this to ourselves or within the confines of our families and close friends.  An increasingly aggressive secularism tells you to keep it to yourself, but Jesus tells you to take it to the ends of the earth!  So let’s get out there and tell the world that Jesus is the only way!  It is Jesus Christ, the most perfect, most beautiful, most glorious, most incredible man who ever walked this earth who can give us the gift of eternal life.  It is the most precious Jesus, that man who took on unbearable pain on our behalf, who is the key to our salvation.  Trust him, love him and surrender to him.  And encourage others to do the same.

Instituting the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 12th April 2015)

Posted on April 10, 2015 at 8:02 AM Comments comments (0)
From Sunday’s Gospel (John 20:19-31):
 
‘The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’’
 
 
There is a lot to take on board from this week’s Gospel story.  There are perhaps two important strands; the first is Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples, the second is Thomas’unbelief.
 
I would like to focus for a moment on the first of these. When Jesus breathes on the disciples and gives them the gift of the Spirit he also gives them a power; he delegates the power to forgive and retain sins.  It is here that the first priests of the Church receive the grace and the power to bring to us the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  And as Christ intended his priesthood and his Church to grow, this same power is attributed to each priest of the Church today. 
 
Could Jesus have simply said that all sins are forgiven and that there is no need to seek the assistance of a disciple or priest to hear Confessions?  Yes he could have.  He could quite easily have said this if he wanted.  But he didn’t.  He wanted his children to come forward to reveal their wrongdoings and he wanted to hear them say that they were sorry.  We are all called to go forth to Confession and to reveal our sins and to ask God's forgiveness, a forgiveness He is always prepared to give us.  Even Pope Francis visits the confessional twice per month.
 
In this Gospel passage Christ institutes the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation.  He entrusts the Sacrament to his Church and to his priests. He then asks us to come forward to receive this great gift.
 

Only Jesus can bring us into the light (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 15th March 2015)

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 11:29 AM Comments comments (0)
Sunday’s Gospel (John 3:14-21):
 
'Jesus said to Nicodemus:
 
‘The Son of Man must be lifted up
as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost
but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world,
but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned;
but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,
because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.
On these grounds is sentence pronounced:
that though the light has come into the world
men have shown they prefer darkness to the light
because their deeds were evil.
And indeed, everybody who does wrong
hates the light and avoids it,
for fear his actions should be exposed;
but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,
so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’'
 
 
Perhaps it would be of benefit if we carved up this Gospel passage a little.  Perhaps we should boil it right down into a few snappy statements of fact, as declared by Jesus.  He says this:
 
God gave the world His only Son
 
Everyone who believes in the Son will not be lost but may have eternal life
 
God sent his Son not to condemn but to save
 
No person who believes in the Son will be condemned
 
Whoever refuses to believe in the Son is already condemned
 
It’s hard hitting stuff!  How can we reconcile the fact that God is all loving and all merciful yet He is prepared to allow people to be condemned!  We are all God’s creation, so how can He allow any of us to be lost? 
 
It’s a conundrum alright and it’s a stumbling block for many people.  But one thing that is absolutely certain is that what we are reading is the Word of God.  These are the words of Jesus Christ; the words of God made man.  There can be no dubiety about the reality of these words and their applicability to all people.  These words apply to everyone.  Yet sadly so many people aren’t aware of them.  But hey, that’s why you and I exist!  We have been given a special grace by God to have knowledge of His Word.  Not only that but we have been entrusted to take that Word to others! 
 
How do you think our faith spread back in the early days of the Church?  How do you think the Word of God found its way into the hearts and minds of so many people through the years?  Simple.  People used their mouths, their hands, and their feet to spread the Word!  There are millions of people out there who do not have the joy of God’s Word and His Truth.  We are called to take His Word to all of those who have not yet heard. Wow!  God doesn’t ask much of us does He??
 
And while we may have this huge responsibility on our shoulders, we needn’t do it alone. No, Jesus is always with us.  And God sends His Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide as we try to bring the Truth to all people.  We are never ever alone.  That is why we must follow Jesus’ example and take time out to sit in a quiet place and pray.  We must learn to take some time away from the crowd to clear our heads and to be in the presence of God, the Father who loves us and wants us to love Him back. 
 
This day, take some time to speak with Jesus and ask him for guidance on how you can be an instrument of God’s work.  Ask him what you can do to take God’s Word to other people.  Ask him if there is anything specific God wants you to do to bring His Truth to those who do not believe.
 
Remember the warnings of Christ when he speaks of those who refuse to believe.  He says that they are already condemned.  But this needn’t be the case.  We can change this!  We can bring people to God and save their souls!  In today’s world which has embraced the modern idea of new-age spirituality and religion it is widely accepted that each individual person is entitled to believe in what they want and do pretty much whatever pleases them. It is their life and ‘who am I to interfere?’ is the general consensus in a society with an increasing desire for relativism.  And while God’s great gift of free will for all people makes this possible, sacred scripture is full of warnings about how we ought to live our lives.  Too often we hear the cry that ‘Jesus wouldn’t do this’ and ‘Jesus wouldn’t do that’.  Who are we to decide what Jesus would and wouldn’t do?  If we want to know what Jesus would and wouldn’t do we just need to read the Word of God.  It’s all there in black and white! 
 
The difficulty many people have is that they find it hard to accept some of the difficult teachings of Jesus.  They find it difficult to accept some of the harsh words he sometimes has to say.  But remember, this doesn’t change the fact that he is pure love, pure gentleness, pure compassion, and pure mercy.  He is still all of those things.  It’s just that some of his teachings challenge us. And there can be no greater challenge than to bring the condemned into new life in Christ!  That’s the challenge Christ sets us is in this Gospel passage. God doesn’t want anyone to be condemned. He wants everyone to love Him and to eventually be with Him in Heaven.  But sometimes we choose the wrong path.  But thankfully there is only one wrong path which makes it really easy for us to know when we and others around us are going the wrong way.  The wrong path is simply the path that Christ isn’t walking along.  If we want to take the right path we need to follow Christ.  It is that path that will lead us to God.  Jesus himself said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one can get to the Father except through me”.  Jesus isn’t lying here.  It’s impossible for him to lie for he is all good.  No, Jesus is telling us in a very honest and frank manner that we need to follow him if we want to get to the Father.  Any other route to the Father simply will not work!  Why?  Because there is no other route to the Father!  Every other route is one of darkness.  Jesus is the only way.  It is Jesus who brings us into the light.
 

A call to Catholic dads: man up and make Jesus the real hero! (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 1st March 2015)

Posted on February 27, 2015 at 10:11 AM Comments comments (0)
Jesus Christ: truly heroic
 
Sunday’s First Reading (Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18):
 
‘God put Abraham to the test. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he called. ‘Here I am’ he replied. ‘Take your son,’ God said ‘your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.’
 
When they arrived at the place God had pointed out to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son Isaac and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.
 
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he said. ‘I am here’ he replied. ‘Do not raise your hand against the boy’ the angel said. ‘Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your son, your only son.’ Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt-offering in place of his son.
 
The angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven. ‘I swear by my own self – it is the Lord who speaks – because you have done this, because you have not refused me your son, your only son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.’’
 
 
This is perhaps one of the most difficult passages in scripture for us to understand.  Can you imagine if you picked up the paper to read that a man took his son up a mountain to sacrifice him for God??  To say there would be an outcry would be a huge understatement.  Thankfully God didn’t want Abraham to actually sacrifice Isaac; rather, God wanted to see if he was prepared to do it.  And he was.  Out of fear and respect Abraham was prepared to do whatever God asked of him.
 
So how can we align this to today and our own lives?  Can we class ourselves as an Abraham, willing to entrust our children to God?  Perhaps the first thing to do is to think about who our children really are.  Do we consider our children to be gifts from God, entrusted to us by their true Father in Heaven?  And in response to this great gift from the Father do we praise and glorify Him and teach our children to do the same?  If the answer is yes to both of these questions then you are on your way to being a modern day Abraham!  You accept that your children belong to God and you delight that He has chosen you to look after his little ones! 
 
But there’s more; and while the following is relevant to all parents, perhaps it is most relevant to the fathers among us.  As Catholic fathers we are all called to be Abraham.  We must always remember that God created our children and it is to Him that they will hopefully one day return.  God wants His children returned to Him and He has entrusted you with the task of shaping His child and developing that child into a tabernacle in which the Holy Spirit can flourish for all eternity.  You aren’t just raising your child so that they have a nice life, visit lots of places, experience lots of thrills and die at a respectable 80 or 90 years of age.  You are raising your child so that they will live forever in Paradise!  What responsibility!  And while western society is making a very good job of trying to dispense with the need for fathers in our world, nobody can deny that every child has one.  So, can you be like Abraham and do whatever God tells you to do?  Can you be the ultimate father to your child?   
 
Jesus, when he died on the Cross, was the sacrifice God was preparing the world for when he sent Abraham up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac.  God, in His love for us, didn’t hesitate to spare Isaac when he realised what faith Abraham had in Him.  But years later, and on another mountain (Calvary), it was God’s own son who would be sacrificed.  And it would be the sacrifice to end all sacrifices; a sacrifice to bring an end to death itself and open the gates to eternal life in Heaven.  And while many may criticise God for having done this to His own son, He did it out of love for all of His children; that is, every human being who has ever lived and is to live. 
 
God doesn’t want you to take your child up a mountain so that you can offer them up as a human sacrifice.  But He does want you to respond to His call to raise that child to be like His own son, Jesus Christ.  He wants your child to share in the perfect life of Jesus and to make Jesus the ultimate role model.  No footballers, no movie stars, no musicians.  Jesus. And the first step to ensuring Christ is the role model of choice for our children?  We must make him our role model too.
 
So let us all accept the great gift of children from the Father and let us put in the effort to give them the best chance of eternal life.  And may all of us, especially the dads, make Jesus our role model so that our children will know that following Jesus is the best way to live their life. Remember, Jesus is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’.  He is the only way to the Father.  While Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo may provide you with great goals, and Johnny Depp may deliver a flawless big screen performance, none of them can possibly give you eternal life. By all means enjoy what talents these guys have to offer; they are, after all, gifts from God.  But when your child asks you who your role model is and who they should aspire to be, only one name should fall from your lips: the name of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.  So man up all you fathers out there, and don't be afraid to tell your kids who the real hero is!     
 

It's Time for the Gossiping to Stop

Posted on February 6, 2015 at 6:53 AM Comments comments (0)
Pope Francis has condemned gossip on numerous occasions
 
“I tell you, on the day of judgement you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned”
 
Matthew 12: 36
 
More than any other Pope in the past, Pope Francis warns us frequently to guard against gossip.  He has talked of how gossip is a powerful tool of the devil and has even admitted to being tempted to gossip himself.  He states: "It begins this way, discreetly, like a trickle of water.  It grows by infecting others and in the end it justifies itself."
 
So what exactly is gossip?  And why does the Holy Father have such an issue with it?  Surely it is just harmless talk and can even strengthen bonds between us and those we are talking to?  It is important that we are clear on what we mean by ‘gossip’ so we can easily spot it discreetly working its way into our hearts.  And it is also important to be sure of what it is lest we become overscrupulous and falsely accuse ourselves of being a gossip.
 
As always, it serves us well to turn to the Catechism of the Catholic Church for answers and, regarding conversation, it states:
 
Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:
 
· of rash judgement who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbour;
 
· of detraction who, without objectively valid reasons, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
 
· of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgements concerning them.
 
Gossip therefore can be harmless if it does not disrespect another’s reputation and if it does not keep you from attending to your other responsibilities.  But it can become harmful when it leads you to rashly judge your neighbour, or damage their reputation among people who don’t know them (even if what you are saying is true), or when you spread lies about them.  It places us on the seat of judgement, causing us to overlook the plank in our own eye and does other untold damage that we might never fully realise.
 
Our culture is bathed in gossip.  We need only to look at a gossip magazine or tabloid newspaper to appreciate how prevalent it is in society.  We should remember that celebrities are people too.  And I would suggest soap operas and other television programmes, although not technically gossip as of course the characters aren’t real, may predispose us and lead us into the habit of this particular sin.
 
So perhaps in our examination of conscience we could consider the following points when thinking of a time we talked about someone; What was my reason for talking about them?  Was what I said true or was I rashly judging them?  Did I negatively colour the opinion of that person when talking about them to other people?  How would the person feel if they overheard what I said?  How would my comments reflect upon me if they were somehow recorded or published?  Did what I say bring me to a better understanding of the person and call me and others to love them more, or did it bring division?
 
May we pray for God’s mercy for the times we have failed to uphold our neighbour’s reputation and for His strength to resist all forms of gossip, as we say the words of St Francis of Assisi:
 
O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.
 

Pope Francis encourages parishes to take part in ’24 Hours for The Lord’ initiative

Posted on January 27, 2015 at 11:02 AM Comments comments (0)
Pope Francis hears a young man's confession
 
Pope Francis has invited parishes around the world to dedicate a full 24 hours to the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent. The initiative, which started in 2014 and takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent, has already been enthusiastically received by dioceses and parishes around the world.  It is hoped that it will encourage people to come to Confession and to meet the Lord.  It is also hoped that parishes will ensure the initiative coincides with Eucharistic Adoration.
 
If your parish doesn’t yet have any plans to take part then approach your parish priest and encourage him to do so.      
 

The Kingdom of God is in your hands, now go forth and evangelise…. (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 25th January 2015)

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 7:47 AM Comments comments (0)
 
Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 1:14-20):
 
‘After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’
 
As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him.
 
Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets. He called them at once and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.’
 
 
We are all called to be fishers of men, just as Simon Peter and Andrew were called byJesus.  And while it isn’t a particularly easy task, it is one which requires our endeavour and commitment. 
 
Jesus never asks us to do anything that isn’t worthy of the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, our need to evangelise is an important one and one we must take seriously. But as there are many different types of fish with different colours and coming in different shapes and sizes; so it is with people.  Every person has a distinct character which may make it easier or more difficult in encouraging them to follow Jesus.
 
There is no simple, exact science to evangelising.  There are many ways in which we can cast our nets out into the world in the hope of catching souls for God.  One may be a simple act of kindness to a poor person in the street; perhaps spending a little time with them.  A simple act like this may encourage that person to seek God and may even encourage others passing by to wonder why someone should commit such an act of kindness. That wonder may just lead them to think that God may have something to do with it.
 
Perhaps you are at work and colleagues start to gossip and bad mouth another colleague.  This is your chance to step up and discourage such behaviour!  Such a simple act may make your colleagues wonder why you would think that a bit of gossip could be wrong.  That wonder may just lead them to God.
 
The list of possibilities is endless when it comes to evangelising.  There are so many opportunities for us to evangelise and it doesn’t always need to be the blindingly obvious.  While directly encouraging someone to pick up a Bible or to go along to Mass are other valid ways to evangelise, we need to be aware that there are a whole range of ways to bring people to God. 
 
And to be successful as a ‘fisher of men’ we don’t need to achieve immediate results for our endeavours.  Rather, our job is often a case of throwing the seed of faith out there and letting the Holy Spirit do the rest.  If we can just tee things up for the Spirit to work its magic, we will be helping Jesus in his mission to bring people to God.
 
The Kingdom of God is indeed at hand, for the Kingdom of God is in your hands.  Go out and make disciples of all nations and be a fisher of men and women by your simple acts of love for others!
 

Through baptism we recieve God's favour (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 11th January 2015)

Posted on January 9, 2015 at 7:47 AM Comments comments (0)
 
Sunday's Gospel (Mark 1:7-11):
 
'In the course of his preaching John the Baptist said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’
It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’'
 
 
Isn't baptism awesome?  Here we have Jesus himself being baptised in the Jordan with the Spirit descending on him and the voice of the Father saying: 'You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.'
 
What a moment for John!  He knew that one greater than he was coming and this great voice from above confirms that Jesus is that great one.  John actually hears the voice of God speaking.  It's an incredible moment. 
 
Yet this moment is played out across the world each time someone is baptised.  Think of your own baptism and imagine the voice of the Father at that very moment proclaiming: 'This is my son/daughter, my favour rests on you.'
 
You are truly blessed by God through your baptism!  You have received immesurable graces through your baptism and God is delighted to proclaim this!  Many of these graces may not be known until you are one with the Father in Heaven but you have received them and He wants you to be pleased as He is pleased with you.
 
Remember, God loves you.  He delights in your being, in your very existence!  Perhaps now is a good time for us to thank Him for giving us life and for pouring out His graces upon us.  Perhaps it is a good time for us to just say a simple 'thank you' to our Father in Heaven and to let Him know that we acknowledge His love for us. 
 
He gives us His favour, the least we can do is say 'thank you'.
 

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