Sunday, 3 July 2022

The Kingdom of God is very near you

Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C - 3rd July 2022

 Gospel: Luke 10: 1–12.17–20 (part)

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if someone of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on them; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves their wages; do not move from house to house, and eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, ‘The Kingdom of God is very near you.’

Gospel Reflection from St Beuno's Outreach

I help my mind to prepare for prayer by slowing down and settling my body first. I focus my attention on my breathing, following each in and out breath.

When I am stilled enough for prayer, I read the Gospel passage a few times until I become familiar with it. I use my imagination to picture Jesus sending out the seventy-two and giving them his guidance.

What do the followers look like?

I wonder if is there a tone of urgency ... calm confidence ... compassion ... or perhaps something else in how Jesus speaks to his followers?

What am I drawn to in the words of Jesus?

Perhaps I imagine that Jesus comes to my faith community and meets with me and my fellow followers. He is preparing and encouraging us, and wants us to go before him into the streets, neighbourhoods and areas that are familiar to us.

Jesus sends me and his followers out with nothing but ourselves. Why? Do I feel ready to accept his call?

How do I feel about this mission he is giving to me?

I share with Jesus my fears and hopes, asking for whatever I need to be able to set out before him. I listen to what Jesus says to me.

I close my prayer by imagining praying the Our Father with Jesus by my side.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Follow me

 Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C - 26th June 2022

Gospel Luke 9: 51–62

As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely took the road to Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem. Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?’ But he turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village. As they travelled along they met someone on the road, who said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’

Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me,’ replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’ But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.’ Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good-bye to my people at home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’

Once the hand is laid on the plough...

Gospel Reflection from St Beuno's Outreach

As I settle slowly into stillness, I try to set aside anything that may be distracting me, entrusting it to the Lord’s safe keeping. I ask for the Spirit’s help to guide me through this Gospel text. I read until I am familiar with it.
Perhaps I place myself in the scene, travelling alongside Jesus on the road. I notice the expression on his face and hear the tone of his voice.
Now I turn my attention to the three people Jesus meets on the road, and listen to them talk. Do I see something of myself in any of them?
Are there times when I feel tied down by something, or anxious about
‘not having’ or of ‘letting go’? Where do my priorities lie?
I ponder how I am being called to follow Jesus. How can I respond? Perhaps I’ve tried to make excuses. I can be confident that the Lord will not ask of me anything more than I can give.
Thanking the Lord for his invitation to follow him, I let him know what is in my heart. I ask him to give me whatever grace I need.
I may like to close with the prayer of St Richard of Chichester:
Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.

Click here to read or listen to a One-Minute-Homily on this Sunday's readings from The Jesuit Post

Sunday, 19 June 2022

They all ate as much as they wanted

 The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), Year C - Thursday 16th June 2022

Gospel Luke 9: 11–17

Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.

It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’

But they said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.’ For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, ‘Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.’ They did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.

Gospel Reflection from St Beuno's Outreach

As I prepare to pray, I take the time to relax my body and mind. I breathe in the goodness of God, aware of being in his presence. I ask him to be with me, to pray within me as I ponder his word.

When I am ready I slowly read the text.

I may wish to visualise the scene. I look at Jesus in this lonely place.

How does he welcome the crowds? What does he do?

And how do the disciples react?

They are completely baffled when told to feed the people themselves. What would my reaction have been? Would I have been listening to Jesus or worrying about the next problem?

Jesus, in getting his disciples to sit the people in groups and then distribute the food, is preparing them for their forthcoming ministry. What is he teaching me?

I ponder his actions foreshadowing another evening meal.

I observe his abundant generosity.

I turn to the Lord in gratitude for his gift of the Eucharist. I may wish to offer him my small contribution so that he may use it as he wills.

I end my prayer with a ‘Glory be ...’

Click here to read or listen to a One-Minute Homily on this Sunday's Gospel, from The Jesuit Post

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Everything the Father has is mine

 The Most Holy Trinity, Year C - 12th June 2022

Gospel John 16: 12–15

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I still have many things to say to you, but they would be too much for you now.

But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come.

He will glorify me, since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine. Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said: “All he tells you will be taken from what is mine.”’

14th century ivory carving of the Holy Trinity,  V&A Museum

Gospel Reflection from St Beuno's Outreach

Mindful of this feast of the Holy Trinity, I begin my prayer by making a very slow, thoughtful sign of the cross. Perhaps this is a gesture I often make without really thinking ... but today I take time to ponder each person of the Trinity. I prepare myself for prayer in whatever way works best for me.

In time, I slowly read through the Gospel a number of times, savouring the words, and noticing where I find myself drawn.

I take my time – revisiting the words or phrases that particularly speak to me. I invite my creator, who is God the Father ... the Word made flesh who is my saviour Jesus Christ ... and the Holy Spirit, bringer of light and wisdom ...

to enlighten my heart and mind as I continue to ponder the mystery of their unity.

I may want to imagine myself now standing alongside the disciples, looking on as Jesus speaks. Perhaps at first I find his words too much to comprehend fully. Then Jesus speaks directly to me, reminding me that I share, with him, the knowledge of what is to happen in the days and weeks ahead ...

the horror of his death on the cross, and the glory of his resurrection and ascension into heaven. How do I feel now as I ponder what I myself believe to be that truth brought by the Spirit, glorifying Jesus and the Father?

As I begin to draw my prayer to a close, I ask myself how my beliefs influence the way I am living my life now. Do my actions always bear witness to the love I have been given? Do others see the love of God through me?

In faith and humility, I ask for the graces and blessings I need always to bear true witness to the glory of the Father, Son and Spirit.

Click here to read or listen to a one-minute homily on today's readings from The Jesuit Post

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Receive the Holy Spirit

 Pentecost Sunday, Year C - 5th June 2022

Gospel John 20: 19–23

In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. 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.’

Gospel Reflection from St Beuno's Outreach

I go to my place of prayer, to my room, and I ready myself for prayer. I take my time as I gradually become more still. I don’t rush.

I ask for the help of the Holy Spirit spoken of in today’s readings.

I might like to try to pray this Gospel imaginatively, having a sense of closed doors, of a dark, suffocating room, a taste of fear.

I take time to experience something of this in my prayer.

But then, a transformation. Jesus standing before me, showing me his wounds, smiling and saying to me, ‘Peace be with you’.

How am I feeling now?

Do I want to say something, do something, by way of response?

I savour this encounter.

Then he breathes on me – can I feel his breath?

What is this gift of the Holy Spirit he is offering freely? What do I want to say, do now?

I spend the remainder of my time in prayer, savouring the Lord, present to me and I to him.

I speak to him from the heart and end, when ready, with a slow sign of the cross.

Click here to read or listen to a One-Minute Homily on today's readings from The Jesuit Post

Saturday, 28 May 2022

Father, may they be one in us

 Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C - 29th May 2022

Gospel John 17: 20–26

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father, I pray not only for these, but for those also who through their words will believe in me.

May they all be one. Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. With me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one that the world will realise that it was you who sent me and I have loved them as much as you love me.

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so they may always see the glory you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Father, Righteous One, the world has not known you, but I have known you and these have known that you have sent me.

I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so I may be in them.

Gospel Reflection from St Beuno's Outreach

Aware that God desires my company, I begin my prayer time gently and slowly. I allow myself to become increasingly conscious of God’s loving presence in this moment ... of his living Spirit within me.

I read Jesus’s intimate, prayerful words, addressed to his Holy Father.

If I can, I read them aloud and let their mystery sink into my heart.

I notice if they find a welcoming home within me ... or if there is any resistance to them.

Do I thirst, like Jesus, for a sense of unity amongst all Christians?

In what ways could I acknowledge our differences, whilst celebrating what we have in common? I reflect ...

I read these profound words again. I listen to Jesus’s voice as he speaks to his Beloved Father... of his life in the Trinity... of his life in me ... of the Father’s love in me ...

Maybe I am able to sense the Christ’s presence within my body as I meditate on his words of relationship and love ... on his invitation to share in the mystical love of the Father.

I rest in Jesus’s prayer for all believers. When I am ready, I slowly end my prayer, perhaps saying ‘Come Lord Jesus, Maranatha!

Sunday, 22 May 2022

This is my gift to you

 Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C - 22nd May 2022

Gospel John 14: 23–29

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If anyone loves me they will keep my word,

and my Father will love them,

and we shall come to them and make our home with them.

Those who do not love me do not keep my words.

And my word is not my own: it is the word of the one who sent me.

I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.

Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,

a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me say:

I am going away, and shall return.

If you loved me you would have been glad to know

that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this now before it happens,

so that when it does happen you may believe.’

Gospel Reflection from St Beuno's Outreach

Finding a quiet space wherever I can, I notice how I am feeling, and get ready for my prayer.

I take as long as I need to become still, confident that the Lord always waits patiently for me to join him. He gazes on me tenderly, delighted I am here, loving me just as I am. Settling into stillness, I set aside anything that may be troubling me, entrusting it into God’s safe hands for now.

I read the Gospel slowly and carefully. I may like to picture Jesus speaking to me personally. I let his words soak in and ponder what they mean for me.

If anyone loves me, they will keep my word’. In what ways am I doing this? What might I want to say to Jesus?

I may find myself reflecting on the word ‘Advocate’ ... or perhaps other words come to mind: ‘lawyer’, ‘helper’, ‘teacher’, ‘guide’, ‘defender’, ‘comforter’, ‘counsellor’, ‘supporter’ ... ? I ponder their significance. Perhaps I think of other words for peace too ... ‘calmness’, ‘Shalom’, ‘freedom’, ‘harmony’, ‘wholeness’, ‘completeness’ ... What does peace look like for me in my life just now? Maybe I sense the comfort and reassurance that Christ’s peace brings.

In times when I may feel afraid or troubled, what do I do? To whom do I turn? Do I place my trust in the Lord, or try to rely on myself?

Maybe I associate the phrase ‘a peace the world cannot give’ with current conflicts throughout the world. I pray for all those affected in any way.

I speak to Jesus about any feelings that have arisen from my prayer, then close with a slow sign of the cross.

Click here  to read or listen to a One-Minute Homily on this Sunday's gospel

The Kingdom of God is very near you

Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C - 3rd July 2022  Gospel: Luke 10: 1–12.17–20 (part) The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sen...