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

Reflection: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 5, 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 – Is.58:7-10; Ps.111; 2nd Reading – 1Cor.2:1-5; Gospel – Mt.5:13-16]

“SALT & LIGHT OF THE WORLD”

Jesus tells his disciples that they are ‘the salt of the earth’ and ‘the light of the world’. He also mentions and compares them to a ‘city built on a hill-top which cannot be hidden’. It is a great honour to be compared to and looked at as ‘salt’, ‘light’ or a ‘city’. There is something really important in today’s gospel in that we don’t only consider ‘salt’ or ‘light’ or a ‘city’ in isolation, but also we consider them one and all altogether. Furthermore Jesus is telling his disciples that they are not simply ‘salt’ and ‘light’, but that they are ‘salt’ and ‘light’ … ‘of the earth’. ‘Salt’, as we know, gives taste to food and ‘light’ gives colour and form to what is visibly seen in its presence. Thus, Jesus is telling his disciples that they are to give ‘taste’ to the world (like salt) and, that they are to ‘enlighten’ the world (like light). This comparison with the salt and the light is not for sake of the salt or for the light in itself… but to represent what one does i.e. their effectiveness in life (like the salt and the light) – and no one can doubt the importance of either salt or light in our everyday life!

In addition Jesus then goes on to tell his disciples that ‘the salt’ should not ‘become tasteless’ or ‘it would only be good to be thrown out and be trampled underfoot by men’. He also says that if a light is lit, it is put in a place ‘where it shines for everyone’. Interestingly Jesus does not say anything about how the disciples can still continue to be effective as ‘salt’ or as ‘light’ of the world and the reason is, as we are told, because Jesus is talking to his disciples. The disciples are people who not only heard Jesus speak, but they also accepted his word in their life and therefore they followed him and became his disciples. By what he is saying, Jesus is urging them to remain united to him. In this way, although still ‘salt’ and ‘light’ of the world, they will be at the disposition of the Father as Jesus had done. He too put himself in the hands of the Father.

Jesus’ actions led to give praise to the Father in heaven. In the same way the actions of Jesus’ disciples will also give praise to the Father in heaven (through being ‘salt’ and ‘light’ of the world) as long as they remain united to Jesus and so what they do, will lead to give praise to the Father.

Although Jesus never directly said to us that we are ‘salt’, ‘light’ or ‘a city built on a hill-top’, by choosing us to be his disciples (and we, in turn, reciprocate this wonderful invitation and agreed to become his disciples) then, as disciples of Jesus, he is still telling us that we are ‘the salt of the earth’, ‘the light of the world’ and ‘a city built on a hill-top’ which cannot be hidden. We are therefore urged not to lose our identity and not to forget who we truly are. If we are ‘the salt of the earth’, then through our actions, the earth must figuratively ‘taste’ better. In the same way, if we are ‘the light of the world’, again through what we do, the world must be figuratively ‘enlightened’ to see the presence of God. If we are ‘a city built on a hill-top’, then through our existence, we are to be seen and noticed (as disciples of Christ) for the Glory of God the Father in Heaven.

“Lord, you ask of us to be the salt and the light of the world. Through our existence you ask of us to make a difference in the world around us. Give us the strength that we need to be able to give evidence of your presence in our life and to make a better world around 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: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 29, 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 – Zep.2:3,3:12-13; Ps.145; 2nd Reading – 1Cor.1:26-31; Gospel – Mt.5:1-12]

“REJOICE AND BE GLAD”

It seems that our faith is built on future expectations, that being on earth depends on Heaven and/or Hell, that whatever we do depends on our future, that we live a “good” life because, when we die, we go to Heaven to enjoy the presence of the Lord for eternity… It seems that our way of thinking is quite different from Jesus’ way of thinking. Let us consider what message Jesus is trying to convey in today’s gospel.

We’ve already established that Jesus’ teaching is totally different from our way of thinking. Jesus starts from the opposite point of view to ours and says that the future is a consequence of the present and not the other way round. Finding ourselves (or not) in the presence of the Lord, depends on how we live our life on earth. Though we should keep in mind this “future” as a point of reference and arrival, this same future point should be looked at as an end result of the way we have lived on earth. If we keep this idea in mind, then it is easier to understand the gospel and the readings that we are presented with today.

We are told that Jesus went up the hill (i.e. indicating the presence of God), sat down, was joined by his disciples and then Jesus began to speak. Consider this scene to the parallel scene of a Judge entering a courtroom (or a King entering a palace hall) joined by his counsellors. It seems that what Jesus is about to say is very important! Thus, it seems that before Jesus said anything, he had a look around him and spoke about the people who were there in the crowd. He saw people who were poor and others who were mourning. He noticed people who were suffering hunger and thirst and others who were being abused and persecuted in the cause of right … (as Jesus himself was treated by the Jews!). At the same time, he also saw people who were gentle, merciful, pure and were peacemakers. Jesus takes this situation as the starting point of his teaching. Whatever situation we find ourselves in, we must be ready to let ourselves go entirely in the hands of God and in doing so, God will see that this commitment is rewarded (if not on earth then it will take place in heaven).

Thus, what happens in the afterlife is entirely in the hands of God. But what we should do while we are still here on earth, whatever the situation may be, is to always trust in the mercy and the providence of God.

“Lord, you want us to rejoice and be happy. Give us the wisdom to learn to do so as we trust ourselves in the Father’s immense love at all times. 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: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 22, 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 – Is.8:23-9:3; Ps.26; 2nd Reading – 1Cor.1:10-13,17; Gospel – Mt.4:12-23]

“THE KINGDOM IS CLOSE AT HAND”

In today’s gospel, what we are told “from that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand’” is the same message that John the

Baptist preached when he was baptising. John is reaching the end of his purpose in the history of salvation: he has been arrested, in prison, can no longer preach and his end/death is near. Jesus is now in the scene. It is Jesus’ turn to preach and he uses the same words as preached by John the Baptist, an invitation very similar to what the Old Testament Prophets used. However, while past Prophets preached that the kingdom of God ‘will come’ – i.e. an event in the future – John the Baptist and Jesus, preached that the kingdom of heaven is now ‘close at hand’ – i.e. the event is already happening in the present… already, but not yet!!!

This is the moment where Jesus enters into public life, according to Matthew, the gospel writer. Matthew does not hesitate to introduce Jesus as the itinerant who went from Nazareth to Galilee, settling in Capernaum, Zabulun and Naphtali. This small introduction by Matthew tells us that Jesus had already been foretold by the Old Testament Prophets. The gospel writer tells us that the Prophet Isaiah wrote “…the people that lived in darkness has seen a great light; on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned”. Thus Matthew is presenting Jesus as this ‘great light’. The gospel writer no longer speaks about John the Baptist because John is in now prison and has served his purpose in the life of Jesus. On the other hand it is now Jesus who is travelling through these different places and starting his public life. Matthew is therefore speaking of Jesus as the ‘light that has dawned’.

Yet, it seems that for Jesus it was not enough to be this “great light that has dawned”. Jesus wanted to share this light with others. Jesus did not want them only to see the light but also to become this ‘light’ themselves. Jesus ‘called’ some others to follow him more nearly and called them in twos so they can give evidence when the time comes. These were not perfect people, but weak fishermen … and yet Jesus was prepared to help them overcome their weakness to become like Jesus as ‘the light of the world’. The first thing that they had to do was to follow him and to listen more closely to his word, to listen to Jesus’ proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom and also, they were to bear witness Jesus’ healing power. This is the evidence they would have to give of Jesus and to truly become ‘light of the world’ like Jesus.

As followers of Jesus, we are also asked to become ‘light of the world’ like the Apostles. Are we ready to listen to his word and give evidence of what we experience in our relationship with him?

“Lord, your invitation to repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand is a continuous renewal of your love for us. We know that you are near and we know that we should repent. Give us the courage to listen to you, do what you say and give evidence of your presence with 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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