Reflection on Corpus Christi: 6th June 2021

This is my body. This is my blood.

Last year, at the time of today’s feast day, the national lockdown restrictions were gradually being eased. During the previous months we had been unable to gather together to celebrate Mass. We reflected on the life of the Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who, because of his travels and research as a palaeontologist, often found himself without the means to celebrate the Eucharist in its traditional form. “I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar. I will make the whole earth my altar and on it I will offer God all the labours and sufferings of the world. This bread, our toil; this wine, our pain, representing the solidarity of all human kind and all beings, and the earth itself.” For Teilhard, the Consecration is already there. “I firmly believe that everything around me is the body and blood of the Word. That is why, in our prayer at the altar, we ask that the consecration (transformation) may be brought about in us.”

One year later, we are conscious that the bread of toil and the wine of deep pain continue to be offered daily on earth’s global altar. We have become more aware of the solidarity of all humankind, we are experiencing ‘what has been true since the first moment of our existence: We are the very Body of Christ.’ (R.Rohr) We often wonder how we can live this awesome reality. In his ‘Heart Prayer’, James Finley offers us the following practice which deepens our awareness of our inter-connectedness:

‘At times there is within each of us a burden almost more than we can bear. At those times, it helps to renew the awareness of our breathing. When we inhale, we inhale God loving us through and through, burden more than we can bear and all. God is the Presence that spares us from nothing even as God unexplainably sustains us in all things. Grounded in that love, I invite you to think of someone in your life whom you know and love, who is carrying within them a burden. As you inhale, inhale into yourself their burden so that in the spiritual realm of love they no longer have to carry the burden alone. You inhale their burden not to carry it, because it will crush you, but you inhale it that it might dissolve in Love, in the Love in which all our burdens dissolve. Then exhale into the depths of their burdened heart the Love that is at once your love and God’s love as one love. Expand this practice to those around you… your family… to our suffering world. The reality of God’s love inter-connects all of us. We pray that we will not break the thread of this inter-connected awareness, of belonging to each other, of being one body in Christ.

Gospel Mark 14:12-16,22-26

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed, his disciples said to Jesus, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him, and say to the owner of the house which he enters, “The Master says: Where is my dining room in which I can eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large upper room furnished with couches, all prepared. Make the preparations for us there.’ The disciples set out and went to the city and found everything as lie had told them, and prepared the Passover.

And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. Take it,’ he said ‘this is my body. Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, l shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.’

After psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives.

Reflections on Trinity Sunday: 30th May 2021

This weekend we have two reflections to share with you and also a video. So there is plenty to get you thinking as we celebrate this special feast day.

Reflection One: “Relationship”

‘The deepest and most profound truths of our lives are not provable facts. They are, rather, relational, personal, and intimate. They offer experiences and meaning, not explanations and understanding. The Feast of the Holy Trinity is not about a doctrine, ideas, or concepts. It is a feast of life, a feast of being and existence, a feast of love, a feast of sharing and giving.’1

‘When we describe God, we can only use similes, analogies, and metaphors. All theological language is an approximation, offered tentatively in holy awe. That’s the best human language can achieve. We can say, “It’s like . . .” or “It’s similar to . . .”; but we can never say with absolute certainty, “It is . . .”, because we are in the realm of beyond, of transcendence, of mystery. We absolutely must maintain a fundamental humility before the Great Mystery; otherwise religion worships itself and its formulations instead of God. The mystics would say that whenever we stand apart and objectify anything we stop knowing it. We have to love, respect and enter into relationship with what we desire to know. Yet Mystery isn’t something we cannot understand. Mystery is endlessly understandable. “The Spirit of truth will lead you to the complete truth.” ( John 16:13) There is no point at which we can say, ‘I’ve got it’. Always, and forever, Mystery gets you.

Trinity is saying, “In the beginning is the relationship.” “Let us create in our image” (Genesis 1:26-27). When we start with God as relationship, we begin the spiritual journey with an awareness that there has to be a DNA connection between the One who creates and what is created. Both science and theology use this same language of relationship. One of the many wonderful things that scientists are discovering is that the pattern of the neutrons, protons, and electrons in atoms is similar to the pattern of planets, stars, and galaxies: both are in orbit around one another, and all appears to be in relationship to everything else. The energy in the universe is not in the planets, nor in the atomic particles, but very surprisingly in the relationship between them. The energy in the Trinity is not in any precise definition or in the partly arbitrary names of the three persons of the Trinity as much as in the relationship between the Three. We must reclaim Relationship as the foundation and ground of everything. The Trinitarian revelation starts with the nature of loving—and this is the very nature of being!2

Adapted: [1] Michael Marsh [2] Richard Rohr

Video

This video is session 3 of a retreat given by Matthew Wright. The first 37 mins is on the Trinity and the remainder is on the Incarnation.

Our editor writes “After listening to the part on the Trinity, I wished I had heard it earlier in the week. My immediate reaction was to think that I would leave it and use it next year. But it’s very difficult not to share something as good as this right away so this week you have a ‘Buy one get one free’ scenario.  It’s also difficult to condense a 37 minute presentation into an A5 sheet of paper. I’ve done my best but have given you the link above in case you may be interested. I do recommend it.”

Reflection Two: “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.’

H.A.Williams

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

Reflection on Pentecost: 23rd May 2021

The Energies of the Spirit of God

‘Pentecost is a feast of the mysterious movement of God. Each year it is an invitation to be attentive once more to God’s presence in our lives. The Apostles, locked together in a room, suddenly experienced the movement of the Spirit as a rushing wind which brought a surge of energy which hadn’t been there before, an energy which changed their attitudes and motivated them with enthusiasm and hope. They moved from being weak and discouraged to being people with inner vitality. They discovered a dynamic power of love and a new determination to live what Jesus had proclaimed to them. We need to be attuned to the movement of the Spirit if we are to hear the call to transformation or deeper growth. We can forget or take for granted the smaller breezes if we are not deliberately attentive to them. It is easy to dismiss these moments of transformation, either because we are too busy or because we do not recognise the activity of the Divine in our everyday lives.

Galatians 5:22 describes the working of the Spirit of God as the fruits of ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ I used to think of these fruits as ‘things’ given to us, like something in gift boxes. Now I think of them not as things but as energies. They are dynamic sources of growth in us. We often pray “Come Holy Spirit” as if the Holy Spirit is separate from us. We are created in the image and likeness of God, therefore the Spirit of God is already within us. Our prayer then becomes, “Come forth from within us and help us to recognise and live your energies. May we be aware of your rushing wind and may it bring about change in us and through us.” We can choose whether or not to act upon these energies, whether or not to allow them to become effective in us. The poet Jessica Powers writes that the person who experiences the wind of the Spirit “turns like a wandering weather-vane towards love.” We always have the option to resist this turning. The choice is ours.’

Adapted: Joyce Rupp. May I have this Dance?

‘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

Reflection on 7th of Easter: 19th May 2021

“May they be one like us.”

‘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. 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.’1 When we look for words to describe the mystery of our oneness with God, ‘we can only use metaphors and the language of poetry, offered tentatively in awe and pointing towards a mystery that we don’t know until we have experienced it. We cannot ‘get’ to such a place. We can only rest and rejoice in the experience.’2

James Finley offers us his poetic insight into the mystery of our being one with God. ‘Let’s say you’re at the ocean and you’re just ankle deep. It’s true you’re only ankle deep, but it’s also true you’re in the ocean. It’s also true, if you just head out to deeper water, it’ll get plenty deep, soon enough. That depth is a measurable depth. But what if the middle of the ocean is infinitely deep? And what if the infinite depth of the ocean is infinitely giving the infinity of its depths to your ankle-deep degree of realization of it and also to each incremental degree of entrance into it? And what if poetically we say that the ocean and its hidden centre become a metaphor for God? What if His hidden centre is infinitely deep, like a bottomless abyss of love? And what if the bottomless abyss of love is always giving itself away whole and complete, in each incremental degree of awareness of our oneness with Him, even when our awareness is just ankle-deep, catching momentary glimpses of this reality?’

‘Transformation comes by realising our union with God right here, right now, regardless of any performance or achievement on our part. A heart transformed by this realisation of oneness knows that only love ‘in here,’ in me, can spot and enjoy love ‘out there.’ To each person we can bow and say, ‘Namaste. The divinity in me salutes the divinity in you.’2

Adapted: [1] Thomas Merton, [2] Richard Rohr

Gospel John 17:11-19

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said: “Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us. While I was with them, I kept those you had given me true to your name. I have watched over them and not one is lost except the one who chose to be lost, and this was to fulfil the scriptures. But now I am coming to you and while still in the world I say these things to share my joy with them to the full. I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world. I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.”

Reflection on 6th of Easter: 9th May 2021

Falling in Love

‘Today’s 3 readings are all about the central theme of love and how we grow from self-love to family or group love and then to universal love. The first reading describes Peter’s moment of ‘growing up’. Until that moment he had believed that God only loved the Jewish people but the Holy Spirit revealed to him that God has no favourites. In the second reading John makes that perfect equation between God and love. God is Love. To grow in love is the supreme work of our lives and the gospel invites us to live a life of universal love in our love of God, ourselves and our neighbour. It’s an ever-expanding circle of love.’

Richard Rohr

“This is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God’s love for us.” So often we perceive love on our terms, on how we love and how we expect others to love, and even how we expect God to love. Growing in love is not only a case of expanding the ways in which we express our love but is primarily our openness to a growth in our perception of love itself. We have all experienced those ‘Aah’ or ‘Wow’ moments when we feel one with someone or something much bigger than ourselves, when we are given a taste of divine union, a moment of awe or a moment of oneness. If a Sacrament is an experience of God’s love, then these moments are sacraments of the infinite, unconditional, awesome, beautiful, all-embracing love of God. We want these moments to last forever. They can occur at any time and in any place: in our relationship with others, with art, poetry, music, literature, nature, science, in our service to the community – and even in the midst of deep suffering when we are able to surrender ourselves over to the mystery of being lovingly sustained in the midst of our pain.

James Finley uses the following poetic image: ‘Imagine a stone on an underwater cliff being constantly dislodged by the movements of the water. At it rests on each protrusion the stone thinks it has reached its destination – until the next movements of the water and it rolls off and continues falling. We are like that stone, we come to a place where we imagine we have the final say in what love and life is about. And then something happens in our lives and we are dislodged from the ability to live on our own terms. And we continue on in the descent. This is the divine strategy of artfully dislodging us from anything less than an infinite union with infinite love.’ This is falling in Love.

First Reading: Acts 10

As Peter reached the house Cornelius went out to meet him, knelt at his feet and prostrated himself. But Peter helped him up. “Stand up”, he said “I am only a man after all!” Then Peter addressed them: “The truth I have now come to realise” he said “is that God does not have favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.”

While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came down on all the listeners. Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter were all astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit should be poured out on the pagans too, since they could hear them speaking strange languages and proclaiming the greatness of God. Peter himself then said, “Could anyone refuse the water of Baptism to these people, now they have received the Holy Spirit just as much as we have?” He then gave orders for them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterwards they begged him to stay on for some days.

Second Reading: 1 John 4:7-10

My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love. God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God’s love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.

Gospel: John 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete. This is my commandment: Love one another, as I have loved you. A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I shall not call you servants any more, because a servant does not know his master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father. You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name. What I command you is to love one another.”

Reflection on 5th of Easter: 2nd May 2021

Being Connected

‘Would we rather have a friend who is always right or who is in right relationship with us? Would we rather have a friend who is always correct or who is always connected to us? We know the answer to these questions. Today’s gospel is saying that God wants us to be in right relationship with Him, to remain connected to Him. “I am the true vine. You are the branches. Cut off from me you can do nothing. ”1 ‘In Scripture, the word true is often used to describe what is eternal and divine.’2 ‘When we are rooted in the True Vine our lives will produce His fruits of love, intimacy, mercy, forgiveness, justice, truth, generosity, compassion, presence, wisdom, healing, reconciliation, self-surrender, joy, thanksgiving, peace, obedience and humility. When these fruits are not evident in our lives then we are living apart from the Vine.’1

When we are disconnected from people and places we love, we can become homesick. When we have become disconnected from the Source of our being, our restlessness or our feeling of dis-ease is an experience of homesickness which can only be eased by responding to Jesus’ invitation, “Make your home in me as I make mine in you.” ‘This is about abiding, not performing. It is about holding on to our core identity more than perfect behaviour—which would only make us proud and self-sufficient, even if it were possible. It is a coming home to the divinity in ourselves. The greater our awareness of God-within-us, the more open we will be to God within the people he sends into our lives.’1

St Augustine reminds us that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. That restlessness comes from a sense of being incomplete which arises when we have looked in the wrong places for nourishment, enlightenment, direction, leadership, life, community and truth. ‘Each of us needs to find what keeps us connected to our true Source and then be faithful to that. It might be art, or poetry, or silence, or being vulnerable in the presence of that person in whose presence we are led home.’3 When we are home, we will discover that ‘we are already one but have imagined that we are not. What we have to be is what we already are.’4

Adapted [1] Richard Rohr [2] John MacArthur [3] James Finley [4] Thomas Merton

Gospel John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes it to bear even more. You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you. Make your home in me, as I make mine in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it. It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples”.

Reflection on 4th of Easter: 25th April 2021

Love is Our Vocation

Fr. Maximillian Kolbe

Today is known as Good Shepherd Sunday and is also called Vocations Sunday. The idea of vocation is central to the Christian belief that God has created each person with gifts and talents oriented toward specific purposes and a way of life. In the broadest sense,
‘Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.’

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2392

A shepherd is a common image of leadership in Hebrew scripture. In Jesus, we see that it’s about the loving relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. It is about knowing each one by name, knowing who we truly are. Whatever our life circumstances, love is our vocation. Whether we shepherd one other individual, a small group or a large community, ‘we are called to be a Sacrament of the mystical, a reminder for others of their divine loveliness. Our calling is not to introduce something new, but to reveal what is already there.’

Daniel O’ Leary

John O’ Donohue offers a blessing on our vocation to loving leadership. The beauty of a blessing, he says, is the belief that it can affect what it unfolds.

May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a vocation,
Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve.

When the way is flat and dull in times of grey endurance,
May your imagination continue to evoke horizons.

May you know the wisdom of deep listening, the healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze, the decorum of held dignity.

May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you. May those you meet know that you see and respect them.

In your heart may there be a sanctuary for the stillness where clarity is born.
May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seed of change will flourish.
May the new draw its enrichment from the old.

May integrity of soul be your first ideal.
The source that will guide and bless your work.

Gospel John 10.11-18

Jesus said: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; this is because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock and one shepherd.

The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’

Reflection on 3rd of Easter: 18th April 2021

The Christ Mystery

‘In every post-Resurrection story we notice that the people involved do not recognise Jesus. Mary Magdalene thinks he is the gardener. The disciples on the way to Emmaus think he is another traveller. When they are telling their story to the other disciples in today’s gospel, Jesus appears again and they all thought he was a ghost. They are unable to recognise the holiness that stands among them. This is God revealing himself in the oh-so-ordinary, oh-so-daily world. ‘Touch me, my hands and my feet .. and see.’1 ‘He was flesh and blood. He ate. He still wore the wounds of crucifixion. That Christ’s flesh remained broken, even in his resurrection, serves as a powerful reminder that his intimate familiarity and solidarity with our human condition did not end with his death.’2

“He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” ‘With Jesus’ resurrection, God shatters human preconceived ideas of who God is, where God’s life and energy are to be found, and how God works in this world. This is not a rejection of the natural order. It is allowing the natural order to open to and reveal something more.’3 ‘The limited presence we called Jesus has become a newly revealed presence, a universal presence available beyond all the limitations of space, time, ethnicity, nationality, class and gender. Jesus has now become a universally available presence whom we call the Christ, in whom “were created all things in heaven and earth; everything visible and invisible.” ( Col.1:16) The Christ Mystery is the indwelling of the Divine Presence in everyone and everything. We live in a Christ-soaked world. All is an apparition of the Divine.’1

Albert Einstein is supposed to have said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ‘We opt for the latter when we learn to offer a foundational, daily ‘Yes’ to the moment right in front of us, when we say ‘Yes’ to the universal Presence that is available everywhere, when we say ‘Yes’ to the forgotten reality that all creation is both the hiding place and the revelation of God.’1 ‘We, like the apostles, can then become witnesses to this, based not on an intellectual understanding, but on our growing awareness of the Christ mystery. This is resurrected life.’

Adapted: [1] Richard Rohr [2] Jan Richardson [3] Michael Marsh

Gospel Luke 24:35-48

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread. They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, “Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they could not believe it, and they stood dumbfounded; so he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.

Then he told them, “This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the prophets and in the Psalms, has to be fulfilled.” He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.”

Reflection on 2nd of Easter: 11th April 2021

Opening locked doors

“The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews.” ‘We all know about locked doors. The locked doors of our lives are not so much about what is going on around us, but what is happening within us: fear, anger, guilt, hurt, grief, the refusal to change. There are a thousand different locks on the doors of our life and they are always locked from the inside. Some days it seems easier and safer to lock the doors of our house and avoid the circumstances and people in our lives. However, every time we shut the doors of our life, our mind or our heart we imprison ourselves. For every person, event, or idea we lock out, regardless of the reason, we lock ourselves in. Like the disciples in today’s gospel, we lock the doors and live in the past.’1

‘Forgiveness is the only way to free ourselves from the entrapment of the past. That is why forgiveness is so central to the Easter mystery. Old hurts linger long in our memories and are hard to let go. When we forgive someone, when we forgive ourselves, we experience a healing within ourselves; we unlock a door. When we refuse to forgive, when we hold onto the ‘sin’, when we retain that ‘sin’, we add another bolt to that locked door. Forgiveness reveals three goodnesses simultaneously. When we forgive, we choose the goodness of the other over their faults, we experience God’s goodness flowing through ourselves, and we also experience our own capacity for goodness in a way that almost surprises us. We are finally in touch with a much Higher Power, and we slowly learn how to draw upon this Infinite Source. Can we also forgive reality? To receive reality is always to bear with reality for not meeting all of our needs and our conditions. To accept reality is to forgive reality for being what it is, almost day by day and sometimes even hour by hour. Only then will we finally experience Christ’s life-giving peace. We will then be free to unlock our doors, step outside and fully live. ‘2

Adapted: [1] Michael Marsh [2] Richard Rohr

Gospel: John 20:19-31

In the evening of that same day, 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.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord,’ he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer, but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him: ‘You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.

Reflection on Easter Sunday: 4th April 2021

“They saw the linen cloths lying on the ground.”

In her poem, ‘A Remnant of Resurrection’   Joyce Rupp reflects on that part of the daffodil, the spathe, which protects the fragile bud but is discarded when the daffodil is in full bloom. On her kitchen table she had placed a bunch of daffodils with tightly wrapped buds.

behold, in the early hour of dawn,
I see resurrection on my kitchen table,

what captures my attention
is one small, thin remnant,
voluntarily discarded,
beneath the smiling daffodils.

this dry, transparent cover,
a cast-off tube of protection
once concealing a fragile bud,
conveys the price of blooming.

I pick up this remnant of resurrection
and hold it for a long, silent time,
wondering what soul-shroud of mine
needs to be unwrapped,
before I, too, am blooming.

We may have many  soul-shrouds:  dreams of how we wanted our lives to be; busyness – to avoid being fully present to our life situation. Perhaps we may be holding onto something even though we know it isn’t helping us to grow. It’s almost like a security blanket, a survival strategy, because we feel we have nothing else to hold onto.

  • God of discarded remnants, your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left and what needs to be carried into the future. We yearn for insight and wisdom.
  • God of the empty tomb, untomb and uncover all that needs to live in us.
  • God of the wonder of Resurrection, remove our resistance to the surprising ways you choose to enter our lives.
  • God, source of all life, breathe life into all that is unlived within us.

Gospel: John 20:1-9

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,’ she said, ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’  So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb.  They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first;  he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in.  Simon Peter, following him, also came up, went into the tomb, saw the linen cloths lying on the ground  and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had still not understood the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.