Please excuse the lack of formatting in recent posts and the delay in website updates. The webmaster is stuck in Padstow harbour waiting suitable conditions for the passage to Dale. Maintenance of the website is very difficult using a phone. I know you will bear with me. This week’s Lectio will have to wait until the next opportunity.
“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.’ ‘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.’   Richard Rohr  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.”
Dear friends, as you may know, from the 25th -29th of April, the Xaverain Community in the UK held the XIV Regional Chapter in Coatbridge. .We were fortunate to have the presence of the Congregation’s Vicar General, Fr. Mario Mula, s.x. and the General Councilor Fr. Javier Peguero, s.x. The theme of our Chapter was “Towards a Sustainable Mission and Presence in the UK today.” We looked at various components of our mission in the UK reflecting on Community Lifestyle, Financial Sustainability, Missional Activism and Structures. We also elected our new leadership team. Frs. Patrick Duffy, s.x. (Regional Superior), Jim Clarke, s.x. (Vice Regional), John Convery, s.x., Ian Bathgate, s.x and Steve McKend, s.x (Councilors). At the next Mass, on Saturday June 4th, 2022 at 4pm we will share more of the outcomes of the Chapter. We wish to thank you for your constant support of us in this Province and ask that you keep us in your prayers as we move forward.
Our Lectio Divina for this Friday corresponds to the Fourth Sunday in Easter Year C.
Jn 10:27-30 I give eternal life to the sheep that belong to me.
Please, let’s keep on praying for peace.
What a wonderful passage. The shepherd never fails to look after his sheep. Our saviour never fails to protect us. The sheep recognise and trust the shepherd and all I am asked to do is the same. My whole faith is based on just three words. TRUST, OBEY and LOVE. If I am to follow Jesus I must have all three. The sheep ( myself ) will be guided safely home and join the rest of the herd. Only the shepherd knows the way home. I must follow blindly knowing that the path might have many ups and downs but ultimately I trust the shepherd. If I can trust my sat nav to get me to my destination then surely I can show the same trust in my shepherd.
A Shepherd looks after his sheep. We have the ultimate Shepherd in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are His sheep and He will not let us be lost. I know I have wandered away from Him at times and He always brings me back. Jesus says “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me.” “No-one can snatch them away from the Father’s care.” “The Father and I are one.” He will never leave us. Again, in this passage confirming the Holy Trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons in one God.
oday’s short, familiar, powerful, beautiful passage took me by surprise.
My first emotional response was of longing, sadness, compassion for those who seem to be on the road to being lost while Jesus claims:” Not one of those who belong to me will be lost”. We know Christ suffered abominably in love through his passion and won eternal life for us all as he rose from the dead. No saint who did not need this. We know the crucifixion does not end and Jesus’ painful thirst for souls goes on and on. So, who are those who belong to the Father who will not be stolen from him and who are the others? The mystery is lost in The Trinity.Many hear the word, his voice, often, be it in church, via the media or a friend but the truth does not seem to penetrate. But what do I know? What do I know of the tiny seed planted through the Holy Spirit, maybe even from a brief word of yours or mine? God’s word goes forth and does not return to him empty.
Then, I am led to repentance for the times in my life when I and others might have thought that I had never really listened…for where were the fruits showing at those particular times? God has given me a great gift of hope. He never gives up on us. In “The Chosen” there is a scene with Mary Magdalen, which comes from the imagination of the writers but is quite powerful and holds precious truth. Mary has some small relapse but when she returns Jesus tells her:”We want your heart and we have that. The rest takes time.” Hope!! I am filled with gratitude, wonder, joy, love, love, love. He will never give up on me and will not let the enemy steal the life he has planned for me. So is it for others. I am weak and little; he is big, strong, mighty and subdues my enemy with the flick of his finger or should I say the breath from his mouth.
He will be the same for others but, mysteriously, he has ordained that we help each other with our prayer. So, I pray “constantly”, give thanks for people of all times, loving him on their behalf, and do not cease to believe though I do not see and do not understand. Rejoice always!
Continuing Easter blessings for you all.
Sometimes it is hard to discern the voice of Jesus amidst the clamouring of all the other voices in our lives. Life becomes confusing. We are faced with choices and decisions that we struggle to make. The voice of Jesus is not always the loudest one but it is always there if we take the time out to listen for him. When we hear him he asks us to follow him – the answers to our questions may not be ones we want to hear and following him may be hard and demanding leading me to ask myself if I am 100% sure I truly do? But we are held in the Father’s hand. As a parent we want to protect and defend our children and keep them safe. We do whatever is humanly possible to try to make sure this happens. How much more does our Heavenly Father love us – no one can snatch us out of his hand. Wherever following Jesus leads me will be held safely and truly loved.
Love and blessings
I know them
He know us and He knows what we can be. The invitation to follow Him and become who He would have us be is always there, and even though we may stumble and fall His love lifts us up to begin again. What an amazing journey this is.
Today I am reminded that Jesus is my protector and Shepherd who guards and guides, who feeds and protects me from the dangers of this life and defends me from anyone who would try to take me away from him. I am assured of this if I keep listening to his voice. Thank you Lord.
My words were: ‘never be lost‘; ‘no one can snatch them‘
This very short Gospel arose in me many questions.
I understand at the time of Jesus the life of a shepherd and his flock was well known; where each shepherd and his sheep spent all time together, they got to know each other very well indeed. The shepherd was responsible for keeping the flock together and safe, for leading it to good pasture… The sheep depended totally on the shepherd for life.
Thus the image of the Good Shepherd is a good description of the relationship between Jesus and his followers.
As the sheep, the followers of Jesus listen to His voice, His words became clear for those who remain with Him, while they are an enigma for those who don’t. And in consequence they follow Him, knowing that He will protect them, He will be their guide in life.
Furthermore, in between listening and following, they get to know each other well. Therefore they have a personal relation, a conscious communication, a communion, of the whole being: mind, heart, and will; a relationship which brings eternal life to the followers. Becoming the follower’s spiritual maturity?
Is this relationship with Jesus and the eternal life it brings what can never be lost or snatched away?
A famous Spanish philosopher and writer, José Ortega y Gasset, talking about the self described as ‘I am me and my circumstances’; expression which well apply to me today. I am one of these sheep who hasn’t been with Jesus all the time, who was lost, who didn’t remain in Him. Was it because I didn’t listen, because it was not clear His words for me, or because I didn’t know Him so well? Was I lost totally? Was I snatched?
And yet, the Lord, the Good Shepherd, the mad shepherd who leaves 99 in order to search for one lost came for me, rescued me. Such mad love has Jesus Christ for each one of us.
And now, do I listen to His voice? Do I know Him well? Do I have my full self in this relationship with my Saviour? Honestly I just can say, I try.
In consequence, I always ask the same Grace for those who today are lost, who don’t recognise the permanent presence and company of God walking with them day by day; who can’t not see that Listening, Knowing and Following Jesus is the only way in which their lives will have full meaning, full Joy.
Temptations happen and will always happen, trying to snatch us from our Lord, but, He will be there by all of us, guiding and protecting us; giving us LIVE to the full.
Please, Clement Lord, go and rescue all those lost today, bring them back to You, as You did with me. In Jesus Name I pray.
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.’ ‘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.’ 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.’  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.” 
Adapted: Richard Rohr  James Finley  Parker Palmer  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.”
The Dawn of a New Day
‘When life gets difficult, when we become lost, confused, and afraid, when the changes of life are not what we wanted or think we deserve, we try to go back to the way it was before, to something safe, something familiar. We revert to old patterns of behaviour and thinking. No wonder that after the events of the previous days, Peter says, “I’m going fishing.” My hunch, however, is that Peter is not really trying to catch fish as much as he is fishing for answers. We can leave the places and even the people of our life but we can never escape ourselves or our life. We take ourselves with us wherever we go. Peter may have left Jerusalem but he cannot get away from all that happened during those three years of discipleship. So he fishes for answers. What have I done? What were those three years about? Who was Jesus? Where is he? Who am I? What will I do now? Where will I go? What will happen to me? Peter is dark night fishing. We have all been there, asking the same questions as Peter, looking for our place in life, seeking peace, and some sense of understanding and meaning; fishing through the darkness but ‘catching’ nothing. We come to the limits of our own self-sufficiency, when we have nothing to show for our efforts and nothing left to give. We are empty. But this emptiness is not the end or a failure. It is a beginning.’1
Then “it was light and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus.” He looked like another fisherman. ‘The limited presence they had called Jesus has become a universal presence we call the Christ who is available beyond all the limitations of space, time, ethnicity, nationality, class and gender. He no longer looks like the Jesus the disciples knew. He looks like you and me. The Christ Mystery is the indwelling of the Divine Presence in everyone and everything and is encountered in ordinary occupations like fishing and is present in all the circumstances of our lives.’2
Returning to the familiarity of our former routines may help initially but at some point we may become aware that we need to ‘cast our nets’ in another direction, that we need to see and do things differently. Only then will we experience what it means to be “filled with the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19), a fullness that belongs to everyone. (The number153 refers to the fact that at that time in Israel the Jewish people believed that there were 153 nations on earth.)
‘The dark night of fishing has given way to the dawn of a new day, new hopes, new possibilities.’1
Adapted:  Michael Marsh  Richard Rohr
Gospel John 21:1-19
Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.
It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything friends? And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’ They knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.
He is Risen!
Lectio Divina for this Friday focussed on the reading for the Third Sunday in Easter Year C.
John 21:1-19, or in the shorter extract John 21: 1-14
Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish.
Read the group’s responses here.
The group ask us all to continue praying for peace in Ukraine.
Also please pray for the Xaverians in their chapter meetings. May the Spirit lead them.
“There will now be a short intermission.”
Your webmaster is going to be out of sight of land for a while.
Until he returns you have our permission to sing
“For those in peril on the sea”.
Back in a week, or two or?
That You May Come to Believe
John, the author of today’s Gospel, deemed the story of the so-called “Doubting Thomas” an essential one to help us “come to believe.” John invites us to face our doubts, speak our fears, and yearn for more — more intimacy, more encounter, more experience of the living Christ. In Thomas we see a man who wouldn’t settle for someone else’s experience of resurrection, but stuck around in the hope of having his own; a man who dared to confess uncertainty in the midst of those who were certain; a man who recognised his Lord in scars, not in wonders. What is striking about Thomas’ story is not that he doubted, but that he did so publicly, without shame or guilt, and that his faith community allowed him to do so. And Jesus’ response was that he met Thomas right where he was, freely offering the disciple the testimony of his own scars, his own pain. Thomas’ story reminds us that resurrection is hard; hard to accept, hard to internalise and hard to apply to our lives, especially when our lives are marked by pain, loss, uncertainty and death. If nothing else, Thomas reminds us that faith isn’t straightforward. Accepting the resurrection, living it out, sharing it with the world, is tough. It’s okay to waver. It’s okay to take our time. It’s okay to hope for more.
John’s desire for his readers was that they would come to believe, that they would consent to the process, the path. The implication is that belief is not instantaneous. Conversion is a lifelong process. Maybe this is why the earliest Christians referred to their new faith as “The Way.” A ‘way’ is not a destination. It’s a road to walk. It’s an invitation to journey. John chose an encounter between doubts and scars to help us come to believe. Though we are a resurrection people, we are also a people in pain. The world around us is wounded, and the scars we’re carrying will likely last a long time. Jesus’ scarred body resonates for us in so many ways. Jesus and his scars are everywhere. Jesus opened a way for Thomas through the marks of his own suffering and trauma, sharing his broken body so that Thomas could find his way to wholeness by accepting his own woundedness. The story that comes after Easter is a story of scars and doubts. This is a tremendous gift; ponder it “so that you may come to believe and that through believing you may have life in his name.”
Adapted: Debie Thomas journeywithjesus.net
‘The encounter between Thomas and the Risen Jesus is not only a story about believing in the fact of the resurrection but it is a story about believing that we are wounded and also resurrected at the same time.’
Gospel: John 20:19-31
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Our Lectio Group have resumed their programme and today had both Lectio Live at the Centre as well as their usual online session.
Today they were reading the reading for the Second Sunday in Easter Year C.
John 20:19-31 Eight days later, Jesus came.
Read what the Scripture said to them here.