Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Reflection: Twenty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time

August 27, 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.22:19-23; Ps.137; 2nd Reading – Rom.11:33-36; Gospel – Mt.16:13-20]

YOU ARE THE CHRIST

It was easy for the disciples to tell Jesus what “others” said about him. But when it came for them to speak about their own relationship with Jesus, they seem to have found some difficulties!!! In fact, while everyone was ready to repeat what “others” have said… it was only Peter who “spoke up” and said what was their (and in particular his) experience of who Jesus was.

It happens quite often in our own life too – whenever we speak about Jesus, God or our faith. We find it quite comfortable and easy to repeat what “others” say about these things, or what “others” have experienced or written, but when it comes to speak about our own experience… We often struggle with difficulties to speak about our own experience of Jesus, God, faith and we hardly have the courage to speak up about what we have experienced in our spiritual sphere. To understand more fully why this is the case we might want to consider the following reasons:

  1. We are “shy” or maybe we think it falls under “pride” to talk about these things (which is hardly – and never is – the case)…

  2. We do not have a true relationship with Jesus…

  3. There might also be some other hidden agenda lurking within us…

Peter’s own experience of Jesus is that he saw in Jesus the “Christ, the Son of the living God”. We all know very well that Peter later denied Jesus (three times!) and there was also a time when Jesus called Peter directly to his face ‘Satan’ because Peter did not let the Father of Heaven guide him in his thoughts. But when Peter was personally asked about Jesus, Peter talked about what was his own experience and not that of others… Jesus not only appreciated Peter’s sincerity and declaration, but he also made him a rock upon which he (Jesus) was to build his church. It is a Church that will stand firm as long as it is built on solid ground and have the presence of the Lord!!!

So too, Jesus is asking us this same question: “Who do you say I am?” He wants us to be conscious of ourselves and see what relationship we cherish with Him. He wants us to consider if we are true followers of Christ. He wants us to be aware of our worthiness and to give us the “keys of heaven” if we are worthy to act in his name. In the same way that he knew Peter was not perfect, he also knows we are not perfect but he wants us to co-operate with him and recognise him for what and who he is! But unless we create a true relationship with Jesus, we will never get to know him well. He knows of our forgetfulness too – that is why he will ask us the same question again: “Who do you say I am?”

“Lord, when you created us, you knew that we were fragile human beings and that we will give in to the temptations of the wicked one. At the same time you came into the world to be with us and to give us the help we need to create a relationship with you and with the Father. Lord, help us be that rock upon which we are worthy to carry your Church. 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: Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

August 20, 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.56:1.6-7; Ps.66; 2nd Reading – Rom.11:13-15.29-32; Gospel – Mt.15:21-28]

LORD, HELP ME

The Canaanite woman of the Gospel addressed Jesus as “Son of David”, a title reserved to the Messiah. It is therefore perplexing why Jesus did not give heed to her pleads. Furthermore, she was using the words used by the Jews to pray: “…take pity on me”; and she was also asking something that God Himself has been doing from the beginning of time – to free the human being from the devil’s torments…

Jesus’ reaction was that He just kept silent a word. This reminds us of His trial, when he was in front of Pilate. Even here, when He was asked about the truth He did not say anything. By the way, she was saying true things about Him… So, again, why is it that He did not give heed to her?! Neither did He when the disciples pleaded with Him?! It seems as if Jesus was refusing to listen… especially because the disciples’ reasons were that she was “shouting”.

By now the woman was at His feet, kneeling – characteristic of those who are putting their fate totally in the other person. This time she just says “Lord, help me”. She does not mention anyone else but is in front of Him. While before she asked for pity on her because of her daughter, now she is asking for help just for her own sake. Even here, Jesus seems to have problems to help her: “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.” Only after He heard what she had to say did He help her: “…even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table”. Once again she is recognising Him as Master…

Poor woman! She had everything against her, especially the fact that she was Canaanite. She was an unbeliever who was pleading with Him just because He happened to be passing from the whereabouts. Jesus put her to the test by putting her on the same level as an animal, not even of a slave… She continued to persist… And her persistence won His favours: “Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted”. This “her wish” does not reduce itself to her daughter’s freedom from the devil’s torments, because of which one should show pity, but also, and most of all, the “help” that she asked, because of which she now shows that she truly believes! She now has faith, she became part of the ‘House of Israel’.

“Lord, sometimes we do ask You to have pity on us but then we do not do anything to merit your pity. Sometimes we do address You as Son of David and as Master and Lord, but at the same time we do not really believe what we say. We are so used to saying a lot of words that we hardly mean them. Sometimes, Lord, in our spiritual being, we are strangers in our own house. Lord, enlighten us to be more conscious of our deeds”

 

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: Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

August 13, 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 – 1Kings19:9,11-13; Ps.84; 2nd Reading – Rom.9:1-5; Gospel – Mt.14:22-33]

COURAGE! IT IS I !

The relationship of Jesus with God the Father is so strong that even after a long day of preaching and healing the sick, Jesus still wanted to find some time to be alone with the Father in prayer. We are told that after sending the disciples to the other side of the lake (and sent the crowds away) Jesus went to the hills by himself to pray and therefore to talk with the Father. This close relationship between Jesus and God his Father is felt throughout the whole story presented to us today. In fact at the end of the gospel we are told that Jesus is clearly recognised by those in the boat as “truly, the Son of God” worthy to be worshiped and adored!

In between all of this we are presented with an interesting story: it was evening and the weather has changed, the boat was battling with a heavy sea. It must have been a sudden storm because being fishermen they would have foreseen the change of weather. But this, we are not told except that they were “battling with a heavy sea for there was a head-wind”. Furthermore we are also told that when they saw Jesus walking on the lake towards them, ‘they were terrified’ and shouted ‘It is a ghost’ as they cried out in fear. Well, considering it is not a common occurrence to see someone walking on a lake, especially in a head-wind storm, their fear and their reaction are more than reasonable and justified.

Jesus understood their distress and tried to calm them down by telling them that it was him. Peter, amidst all, challenges Jesus who in turn accepts Peter’s challenge and challenges Peter back to do what Jesus himself was doing i.e. to walk on the water. Peter does so but ‘as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink’. We are told that Peter asked Jesus to save him and in response Jesus rebuked Peter’s ‘little faith’. When they got into the boat, the wind dropped and the men in the boat recognised Jesus as the Son of God. Quite often we pass through the same experience as Peter and his companions in the boat. We know Jesus: we know who he is and what he has done for us. We also see his wonders around us, even in the dullest moments. But then, when Jesus himself passes near us we fail to recognise him. He tries to reassure us that it is him, but we challenge him. To show us that it is truly him, he challenges us to do what he did. If we accept his challenge… we still doubt and therefore let the things around us discourage us and we lose our faith in him. When we call his name and he gives us his hand to save us, how do we recognise him for what he is?

“Lord, you are the Son of God and my Saviour. Give me the courage to shout: “Lord! Save me!” 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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