Reflection on 14th Sunday: 3rd July 2022

A Blessing in the Dust

Knowing when to stay, knowing when to leave: this is one of the most challenging invitations for discernment that we will ever encounter. There are times for leaning into the resistance that meets us; times when God calls us to engage the difficulty and struggle that will shape and form us in a way that ease and comfort never can. There is ground that becomes holy only when we remain long enough to see the blessing that can emerge from struggle, that shimmers through only after the dust, kicked up by the struggle, finally begins to settle.

And then there are times for leaving; times when—as Jesus counsels his disciples—the holy thing to do is to shake the dust from our feet and leave behind a place that is not meant for us. This blessing is for those times.

You thought the blessing would come in the staying;
in casting your lot with this place, these people;
in learning the art of remaining, of abiding.

And now you stand on the threshold again.
The home you had hoped for, had ached for, is behind you – not yours, after all.
The clarity comes as small comfort, perhaps, but it comes:
illumination enough for the next step.

I promise you there is a blessing in the leaving,
in the dust shed from your shoes as you walk toward home –
not the one you left but the one that waits ahead,
the one that already reaches out for you in welcome,
in gladness for the gifts that none but you could bring.

Adapted: Jan Richardson

Gospel Luke 10:1-2.17-20

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 a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; 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 his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick and say, ‘The kingdom of God is very near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, “We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near.” I tell you, that on that day it will not go as hard with Sodom as with that town.’

The seventy-two came back rejoicing. ‘Lord’, they said, ‘even the devils submit to us when we use your name.’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Yes, I have given you power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy; nothing shall ever hurt you. Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.’

Reflection on 13th Sunday: 26th June 2022

The Music of the Present Moment

“Anyone who puts a hand to the plough and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” The kingdom of God is love. What does it mean to love? It means to be sensitive to life, to persons, to things; to feel for everything and everyone to the exclusion of nothing and no one. In so many moments in our lives love comes to the surface, signalling that it was there within us waiting to be released. For it to surface, all we have to do is to remove our blocks to sensitivity.

There are two blocks to sensitivity: Belief and Attachment. As soon as we have a belief, we have come to a conclusion about a person, situation or thing. We have now become fixed and have dropped our sensitivity. We have become prejudiced and we see the person from the eye of that prejudice. In other words, we will cease to see that person again. And how can we be sensitive to someone we do not even see? We are like a pilot who operates today on last week’s weather report! We need to take a good hard look at our beliefs, and the mere realisation that they are beliefs, conclusions and not reflections of reality, will cause them to drop.

The second block to sensitivity is Attachment. How is attachment formed? First comes the contact with something that gives us pleasure: a car, an attractively advertised modern appliance, a word of praise, a person’s company. Then comes the desire to hold onto it. Finally comes the conviction that we will not be happy without this person or thing, for we have equated the pleasure it brings with happiness. We now have a full-blown attachment and with it comes an inevitable exclusion of other things, an insensitivity to everything that isn’t part of our attachment. Each time we leave the object of our attachment, we leave our heart there, so we cannot invest in the next place we go to. The symphony of life moves on but we keep looking back, clinging to a few bars of the melody, blocking our ears to the rest of the melody, thereby producing disharmony and conflict between what life is offering us and what we are clinging to. Then comes the tension and anxiety which are the very death of love and the joyful freedom that love brings. For love and freedom are only found when we enjoy each note as it arises, then allow it to go so as to be fully receptive to the notes that follow. When we contemplate the love, joy, peace and freedom, i.e. the kingdom of God, that is ours each time an attachment and belief are dropped, then we will stop looking back and allow ourselves to be enchanted by the music of the present moment.

Anthony de Mello: The Way to Love

Gospel Luke 9:51-62

As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely took the road for 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 off to another village.

As they travelled along they met a man 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.’

Reflection on Corpus Christi: 19th June 2022

Christ is the bread, awaiting hunger1

The Eucharist is telling us that God is our food and all we have to do is provide the hunger. We are reminded of the beatitudes where Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor” i.e. ‘those who are beggars for the things of the spirit.’2 “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He also said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”

‘Jesus promises that when the hunger arises within us to find our own deepest aliveness within God’s aliveness, it will be satisfied—in fact, the hunger itself is a sign that the bond is already in place. As we enter the path of transformation, the most valuable thing we have working in our favour is our yearning. When we yearn, we come into sympathetic vibration with a deeper heart-knowing. The heart is an organ of alignment; it connects us. Yearning is the vibration of that connectedness. In these beatitudes Jesus is not talking about doing virtuous deeds so we’ll be rewarded later; he is talking about being in connection with our fundamental yearning.’3

‘Most of us feel that we are all on our own. In today’s gospel the disciples wanted to send the people out on their own to take care of their own food. There were only 5 loaves and 2 fish. That wasn’t enough. That’s the natural human response. Jesus’ response was to create a new understanding of abundance, of ‘enoughness’, of more than ‘enoughness’- as we see in the twelve baskets left over. Without the awareness of God’s infinite love we all live in a worldview of scarcity. Jesus is trying to move us to a worldview of abundance. This isn’t just a miracle story. It’s not just bread and fish that are being transformed but hopefully our minds and our hearts. We are not just talking about an abundance of bread and fish, but it’s about an abundant mind, a generous heart.

This is an image of the Eucharist: a meal which takes us out of our tiny world where we never feel that there is enough and gives our lives universal and eternal meaning. Our little tiny lives are connected with something bigger, something that matters, something eternal. Suddenly our ordinary little lives have transcendent and universal meaning. Whether we realise it or not, that is the yearning within each one of us. That is our hunger.’4

Adapted: [1] Saint Augustine [2] Pietro Archiati [3] Cynthia Bourgeault [4] Richard Rohr

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.

Reflection on Trinity Sunday: 12 June 2022

Experience Relationship

We have framed the teaching on the Trinity as a belief rather than as an experience. We see different facets of the mystery of the Trinity in Jesus’ life. These are 3 ways in which he talks about his own experience of the divine-human relationship:

  • ‘The Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28) – an experience of ‘beyondness’;
  • ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in me.’ (John 14:11) – an experience of intimacy;
  • ‘ I and the Father are one.’ (John 10:30) – an experience of oneness, of being inseparable, of total union.

These three facets of the Trinitarian experience and the divine-human relationship are open to all of us. If we only allow the ‘beyondness’ relationship our religion can become fear-based, hierarchical, legalistic and paternalistic. Our sacramental traditions and our time spent in reflection and prayer provide the experience of intimacy. But we are uneasy about the experience of oneness. We say, “Only Jesus gets to say that.” ‘We refuse to realise it. We remain blind and deaf to it because we are too busy, which generally means we are too frightened to go deep within ourselves and find God there. All evil springs from my refusal to discover who and what I truly am, from my failure to realise that I and the Father are one.’


All of these facets are not only open to all of us but we need all of them. Any spirituality without all 3 of these experiences becomes imbalanced. This isn’t a ladder. This is a circle and we dance through all of these experiences throughout the course of our lives and we even pass through all three in one period of prayer. We have those moments in life when we need nothing more than to call out to the God who is greater than us; we have those moments when we need nothing more than intimacy and the experience of belovedness; we have those moments in deep silence when nothing is desired but total union….until the dance begins again. A balanced spirituality exercises each facet of this relationship. Which of these facets have we most cultivated and which are most under-cultivated?

Matthew Wright

Gospel John 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.

But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.

He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.

He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.

Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”

Reflection on Pentecost: 5th June 2022

Litany of the Holy Spirit

Whenever we talk about God, the Holy Spirit in particular, all we have in any language is an approximation, a metaphor. On the feast of Pentecost we use ‘powerful wind’, ‘tongues of fire’, ‘breath’. Each one is an approximation because we’re dealing with mystery. Mystery does not mean something you can’t understand. Mystery means something you can endlessly understand. We can never say “I’ve got it.” There’s always more.

I have created a litany of the Holy Spirit. These metaphors aren’t ideas to be intellectually understood. They are inner experiences to be had. Slowly, silently read each ‘name’ for the Holy Spirit. Pause, be centred and sit with each one.

Indwelling presence
Homing Device
Overcomer of the gap
Space between everything
The welcoming within

Inner anointing
Knower of all things
God compass
Cloud of unknowing
Divine DNA

Reminder of the Mystery
Implanted pacemaker
Warmer of hearts
Filled emptiness
Softener of our spirit

If only one of those images name something we have experienced, that’s enough. The important thing is that we learn to draw upon that source. The more we draw upon the Holy Spirit, consciously and actively, the more we will experience the presence and the helping of the Holy Spirit. Each image draws us into a mystery that is implanted within us, the presence that dwells in our hearts. We do not know how to pray, so God gives us the Holy Spirit to pray in us and through us and with us and as us. We don’t know what to say. But we have to find a place within us that is above that, a place that bigger than all of that. From that place we live and move and have our deepest being.


‘The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to reveal to us the truth of our being so that the way of our being can match it.’

Wm. Paul Young

[Fr Richard Rohr’s Litany of 65 names for the Holy Spirit is found in his book, The Naked Now. It is also found / homilies. Sun 19, 2019]

Gospel John 14:15-16.23-26

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments. I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever. If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him. 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.’

Lectio Divina: News

Lectio Divina for this Friday took the readings for Pentecost Year C.

John 20:19-23 As the Father sent me, so am I sending you: receive the Holy Spirit.

There is an official alternative Gospel which two people were minded to reflect on.

John 14:15-16, 23-26 The Holy Spirit will teach you everything.

Read what the group found in the readings here.

Gospel Reflection on 7th of Easter: 29th May 2022

“That they may be one, as we are one.”

‘This beautiful prayer for union is from Jesus’ Last Supper address to his disciples. Here Jesus connects everything: he in his Father, the Father in you; you in God, God in him; God in the world, and you in the world. It’s all one. Jesus is praying that we could see things in their unity, in their connectedness. Oneness is less a goal toward which life is pressing, as it is a return to the truth in which we have always been held.’1 ‘We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. What we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.’2 ‘All that is absent is awareness. Awareness opens our eyes to the reality of our oneness, and our openness to the Spirit allows this awareness to transform us. To be one with everyone and everything is to have overcome the fundamental illusion of our separateness.3

On Thursday, we celebrated the feast of the Ascension, a celebration of oneness. ‘In the story of Christ’s ascension as told in Acts, angels appear next to the disciples as they gaze after the rising figure. The angels ask, “Why are you standing here staring up into heaven?” Most of Christianity has been doing just that, straining to find the historical Jesus “up there.” Where did he go? We’ve been obsessed with the question because we think the universe is divided into separate levels—heaven and earth. But it is one universe and all within it is saturated with the presence of God. The whole point of the Incarnation and Risen Body is the revelation that the Christ is here—and always was! The Ascension is the revelation of the final reunion of what appeared to be separated for a while: earth and heaven, human and divine, matter and Spirit. Jesus didn’t go anywhere. He revealed himself as the universal omnipresent Body of Christ1 On this feast, Jesus asks us to be his witnesses. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the doing that we forget that simply taking time to be with our God is an important witness. This time helps us experience God beyond us, God among us, God within us.

‘Slowly we begin to see that both the one and the many are held together in the One—the Eternal Godhead. And as we come to know our self within this One, we also come to know our oneness with all that is held by the One.’3

[1] Richard Rohr [2] Thomas Merton [3] David Benner

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 to 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. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that 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 that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them.

Gospel Reflection on 6th Easter: 22nd May 2022

“The Holy Spirit will remind you of all I have told you.”

Jesus said these words to his apostles at a time of transition in their lives, at a time when they must have felt that all their dreams were about to be shattered, that everything that mattered to them was about to be lost.

‘One of our greatest fears, and the cause of so much resistance to change, is that we think that we are on the verge of losing irrevocably what we have valued from the past. Don’t be afraid that in letting go you are losing anything at all, because everything that matters, from all the experiences and encounters in your life, has been internalised and is firmly lodged in your heart. It is yours. It is part of you. It travels with you and can never be lost. It will continue to enrich you. Walk on with empty hands so that you will be able to receive the gifts that are still to be given to you.

We internalise what matters. When we realise this, we find a new freedom to move forward. We internalise what matters. We can safely let go of what doesn’t matter, just as our own bodies absorb all that is good and life-giving from what we feed them and let go of the waste.

When we are in transition, we cling to small tokens that remind us of the past. Holding that cherished item may be an excuse to wallow in regret for what has been lost. Or it may be a gentle reminder that all those memories have become part of who we are now and we have every reason to revisit them with gratitude but no reason to let them swallow us up in fantasies about how the grass was always greener in the field we left behind.’

Margaret Silf. The Other side of Chaos

“The Holy Spirit will remind you of all that I have told you.” A definition of remind is ‘to awaken memories of something’. God speaks to us in so many ways: in the words of Scripture, in the people we meet every day, in the circumstances of our lives, in the places we have visited and in the wonders of Nature. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to awaken in us the many treasured memories which we have internalised and which nourish us and remind us of who we are. When holding these life-giving memories, may we feel more fully alive in the present moment, more hopeful for the future and may we experience true peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”

Gospel John 14:23-29

Jesus said to his disciples: “If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him. 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 heats 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 on 5th Sunday of Easter: 15th May 2022

“Love one another just as I have loved you.”

These words are so familiar to us. Perhaps this new commandment is our raison d’etre, our daily aspiration. We may even have the T-shirt. Surely Jesus’ command to love one another was nothing new for the disciples and those of their time. The commandment is well known in the Old Testament: ‘Love God with your whole heart and your neighbour as yourself.’ So what is new?… “Love as I have loved you.” When we reflect on these words, what are our thought processes? Do we look for various Scripture references which speak of God’s love for us and in them find a God who loves unconditionally, a God whose love is indiscriminate, a God who is loving, caring, forgiving, compassionate, understanding and self-sacrificing. We find so many qualities of love for us to emulate. We are constantly looking for ways in which we can do this, ways in which we can show that we love as Jesus loved. But do we have the correct starting point? We are familiar with the story of the traveller who stopped to ask someone the directions to his destination. “If I were you, I wouldn’t start from here,” was the reply. Jesus’ starting point was his awareness that “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”

John 14:11

‘How we embark on our journey of loving others is rooted in our personal experience of who we are. Love is not something we decide to do now and then. Love is who we are. We are created in the image of God and God is love. We were created by a loving God to be love in the world. When we get the “who” right and realise that who I am is love, then we will do what we came to do: Love God and love all that God has created.’1

‘Jesus commandment to us is not that we should wear ourselves out, trying to conjure love from our own easily depleted resources. Rather, it’s that we’re invited to abide in the holy place where all love originates. We can make our home in Jesus’ love. Our love is not our own; it is God’s, and God our source is without limit, without end. “Love one another as I have loved you.” For our own sakes. And for the world’s.’2

[1] Richard Rohr, [2] Debie Thomas

Gospel John 13:31-35

When Judas had gone Jesus said: “Now has the Son of Man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified. If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon. My little children, I shall not be with you much longer. I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

Gospel reflection for 4th of Easter: 8th May 2022

You cannot get there, you can only be there

Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly to the Jews. “Since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans.” Yes, we are not worthy of being one with God, which is eternal life. However, the Jews created a worthiness contest, imposing performance principles which were meant to help us earn or deserve God’s love.

‘Scripture assures us that we are made in the image and likeness of God. The image described in Genesis refers to our original goodness which cannot be increased or decreased. Nothing can change that. “My me is God.” (Catherine of Genoa) We surrender to God’s likeness in varying degrees and stages. The spiritual journey is about realisation, not perfection. It is about awakening, not accomplishing. You cannot get there, you can only be there. But for some reason, that foundational being-in-God is too hard to believe, too good to be true. Only the humble can receive it because it affirms more about God than it does about us. The ego does not like that. The ego makes life all about achievement and attainment. Yet union with God is really about awareness and realignment. It is not that if I am moral, then I will be loved by God; rather, it is that I must first come to experience God’s love, and then I will—almost naturally—be moral.’[1] ‘Each one of us has our own venue where we experience the presence of and our oneness with the One in whose image we are created. For some it might be reflective reading of Scripture, for others it might be art, or poetry or silence. A daily rendezvous with God in those venues will take us to the deeper place where we discover the spark of the divine that is in our hearts.’[2] Then we will discover that the divinity within ourselves is one and the same in all individuals, all creatures, all of life. This is everyone’s supreme purpose in life, this is our vocation.

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. It is also known as Vocations Sunday. ‘The word vocation is rooted in the Latin for voice. Vocation does not mean a goal I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity.’ [3]  We are all called to shepherd each other. “Our calling as shepherds is not to introduce something new, but to reveal, purify and intensify what is already there. Every shepherd is called to be a Sacrament of the mystical, a reminder for others of their divine loveliness.” [4]  

Adapted:  [1]Richard Rohr   [2] James Finley  [3] Parker Palmer                         [4] Daniel O’ Leary

FIRST READING                                                           Acts 13:43-52

Paul and Barnabas carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the sabbath and took their seats. When the meeting broke up, many Jews and devout converts joined Paul and Barnabas, and in their talks with them Paul and Barnabas urged them to remain faithful to the grace God had given them.The next sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of God. When they saw the crowds, the Jews, prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly. “We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans. For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said: I have made you a light for the nations, so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.” It made the pagans very happy to hear this and they thanked the Lord for his message; all who were destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread through the whole countryside.

But the Jews worked upon some of the devout women of the upper classes and the leading men of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory.  So they shook the dust from their feet in defiance and went off to Iconium; but the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

GOSPEL                                                                             John 10:27-30

Jesus said: “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life: they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me. The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one.”