Archive for the ‘Fr. Jesmonds’s Sunday Reflection’ Category

Reflection: The Most Holy Trinity

June 11, 2017

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Ex.34:4-6,8-9; Dan.3; 2nd Reading – 2Cor.13:11-13; Gospel – Jn.3:16-18]

“FATHER-SON-HOLY SPIRIT”

Jesus is speaking with Nicodemus and it is clear that Jesus’ relationship with Nicodemus is quite different from the relationship with his own disciples. For a start, Jesus is speaking with a Rabbi … a learned person, a Teacher who knows what is written in the scriptures (the Old Testament).

At the same time Jesus understood that he could be more open with Nicodemus, and so Jesus revealed, to this “highly cultured” individual, things that would be quite difficult to grasp and understand by the simple uneducated “work orientated minds” of his own disciples! Alas, even Nicodemus struggled to fully understand… or rather, he was not yet ready to accept Jesus’ teaching, which placed Nicodemus as one of those who “refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son”.

Let us take a moment to consider why Nicodemus is put before us as an example: Nicodemus has demonstrated an interest in Jesus’ teaching by taking the initiative to go and talk to Jesus during the night (where Jesus would have more free time to dedicate to listening as well as talking to him). Now, Nicodemus knew what was written about the Messiah, and therefore must have realised that Jesus was acting like the foretold Messiah. But there is something in Nicodemus’ cultural formation that placed his acceptance of what Jesus said in an awkward position: namely, that there is only one God, so how can it be that this Jesus speaks about the ‘Son of God’? This concept was so difficult for Nicodemus to grasp that Nicodemus simply ‘refused to believe’. Although Nicodemus was a highly cultured man, he still found it difficult to understand and to accept Jesus’ teaching about ‘God’ and his ‘Son’. Jesus was speaking of only two persons of the Trinity (He has not mentioned the Holy Spirit yet!) and still for Nicodemus this was too incomprehensible and unacceptable.

So, how do we compare with Nicodemus? Well, unlike Nicodemus, we are not highly literate in the sense of what the scripture says. Unlike Nicodemus it often happens that we are not ready find the time to create a dialogue with Jesus (and let him speak to us). But like Nicodemus we may struggle to believe and at times we may also ‘refuse to believe’ because we have our own fixed ideas of how things are/should be and deep down we do not really want to change.

Furthermore, Nicodemus had only two persons of the Trinity (the Father and the Son) to deal with and we have all three (the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son)… and understandably this could make things even more difficult to grasp. Jesus is quite aware of this and so he is asking us to simply believe in him, and in doing so, we may arrive to ‘understand’ the mystery of the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is not to ‘understand’ in a ‘cultural/literate’, but in a ‘spiritual’ sense which can only be achieved through faith in Jesus. Once we believe in the Son of God, we may have eternal life (as Jesus promised) and therefore we can ‘understand’ the true meaning of what Jesus tried to reveal when he spoke about his Father in heaven and the Holy Spirit that he gives to those who believe in him.

“Lord, bestow on us the gift of faith. Help us to be readily open to your word and to create a relationship with you and through you to create a relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Thank you Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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Reflection: Pentecost

June 4, 2017

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Acts 2:1-11; Ps.103; 2nd Reading – 1Cor.12:3-7,12-13; Gospel – Jn.20:19-23]

“PEACE BE WITH YOU”

When one reads the Scriptures, one is often amazed at how the same things are presented and told in different ways, different points of view but with a common, though seemingly different, conclusion.

Today’s gospel starts by telling us that the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jews. At the same time we are told that Jesus came and stood among them and they were filled with joy on seeing him. The disciples experienced the contrasting feelings from being ‘closed and afraid of the Jews’ to being ‘filled with joy’ when Jesus came and stood among them. In today’s readings we have the same story where the disciples receive the Holy Spirit, but we have two different versions of it.

In the first reading we hear that the coming of the Holy Spirit was a noisy and a colourful event. We are told that the noise filled the entire house in which the disciples were sitting.  Furthermore, to provoke our imagination, we are told that something like tongues of fire appeared to them which then separated and came to rest on each of their heads. As a consequence, they started to give evidence and began to speak foreign languages. In the gospel, the same story is told but without such imaginative aids. We are told that Jesus simply appeared and stood among them, assuring them that it was really him (by showing them his hands and his side) and after he gave them his “Peace” (for the second time), he told them what he was going to do with them – by sending them as Jesus himself was sent – and finally he breathed on them, giving them the Holy Spirit.

The action of receiving the Holy Spirit in the two accounts is quite different. But despite these differences, there are some important commonalities:

– The Holy Spirit is given from Heaven (or from Jesus)…

– The others receive the Holy Spirit because they decided to follow and stay close to Jesus as his disciples…

– The Holy Spirit gives the disciples the courage to speak (gift of speech) and to give evidence…

– The Holy Spirit also gives the disciples the opportunity to do things that only God can do (such as forgiving or the retaining of sins). In other words the Holy Spirit will work through them…

We too have received the Holy Spirit in our Baptism and then confirmed through the Sacrament of Confirmation. Although we do not know how we received him, we do know that we have the Holy Spirit because we are baptised… However, we also know that just having the baptismal certificate and the Confirmation are not enough for we also have to follow Christ and his teaching… until the end. We have to let the Holy Spirit work in us and – most important – work through us. Then what Paul says in today’s second reading will be true in our lives: “No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit”.

“Lord, you gave us the Holy Spirit. Give us the wisdom to let Him work in us and through us! Thank you Lord!”

 

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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Reflection: Ascension of the Lord

May 28, 2017

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Acts 1:1-11; Ps.46; 2nd Reading – Eph.1:17-23; Gospel – Mt.28:16-20]

“TO THE END OF TIME”

These are the final words of Jesus to his disciples in the gospel of Matthew, before he left them to go to the Father. Although he is going to the Father, and therefore leaving them, Jesus promises the eleven disciples that he will still be with them… “always” and “till the end of time” which links in very well with what we have been hearing over these last few Sunday-gospel-readings. Jesus promised his disciples that He will live in those who love him, and who keep his commandments. He repeats the same message again in today’s gospel, giving it the double emphasis [“always” and “till the end of time”] to assure the disciples that “he is with them”. Jesus’ promise was kept. At the same time, the promises made by the Father in the Old Testament were kept – God promised the Emmanuel (meaning God with us) and He sent Jesus to become one of us. Also the promise of the Holy Spirit that God made through Jesus was kept. Even though (at this point in today’s gospel) they have not yet received him… but when they do receive the Holy Spirit they will be ready to be Jesus’ “witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth”. At the same time they can also act in the name of Jesus. These eleven disciples who were ready to love Jesus and keep his commandments, are ready to receive the Holy Spirit and therefore will be ready to become witnesses of their experience with Jesus. But until they receive the Holy Spirit (at Pentecost) it appears that their human fragility seems to have the better part of them.

This human fragility remains to be an essential part of the human being’s existence wherever and whoever one might be. We are told in today’s gospel that although Jesus had arranged to meet his eleven disciples on the mountain in Galilee (which means that they have already met the risen Lord) some of them still hesitated to fall down before him (i.e. adore him). There were obviously still some who doubted his presence, failed to recognise him and failed to recognise his power. They should have known better because (1) they were always with him, (2) they have witnessed many times how extraordinary he was when he was with them and (3) there were times when they themselves recognised him as the Son of the Living God or God himself. But despite having had all these experiences with Jesus, we are told that at the moment of truth, some of them still “hesitated”.

Quite often we find ourselves having doubts not too dissimilar as some of these eleven disciples. We do listen to the word of God, we do “know” Jesus, even though we did not have the same direct experience as that of the eleven disciples, we hear and listen to his word (either read for us or we read it ourselves), we are baptised and we know what Jesus said in today’s gospel and we know that he kept his word. We also know that He is with us always and to the end of time (as He promised).

“Lord, thank you for always being there for us. Thank you for wanting to become part of our human existence and take on you our strengths and weaknesses. Give us the wisdom we need to let the Holy Spirit that the Father promised (through you) make his dwelling in our hearts. Let us be always conscious that you are already with us and in us… yes, to the end of time! Thank you Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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