Reflection on the Feast of Christ the King 25th November

Christ, the King of the Universe

The official name of today’s feast is Christ the King of the Universe, an attempt to reach a universal understanding of what’s going on. The Franciscan understanding is that the first idea ( the Alpha) of history is that God wanted to materialise; God who is spirit, who is shapeless, who is formless, wanted to take form. That’s Plan A. Most Christian understanding of history is based on a ‘Plan B’, that everything started with a big mistake – which is a terrible way to start history. ‘Plan B’ sees Jesus as a ‘mop-up exercise’ correcting Adam and Eve’s supposed fault. Plan A is that this material universe reveals the invisible God. That’s what it means for the Christ to be the King of the Universe. Jesus himself rejects the title of king. “That’s not what I’m about. I just came to reveal the Big Truth, not to be a king in your worldly sense.” Rather than ‘king’ maybe we should use the words ‘the first revelation of what’s going on’, ‘the inner DNA of everything’.

The Christ is not the same as Jesus. Jesus has existed for only 2000 years. The Christ, the king of the universe, has existed, according to our understanding of the universe, for 14.6 billion years! We call it ‘the Big Bang’. That’s when God decided to show God’s self. That’s the Incarnation. That’s the Alpha point. The Alpha and the Omega are the same thing. What God revealed as Plan A -that God is in the universe, in creation, in every creature, in everything that exists – is a revelation of the mystery of God. I hope you recognise that that means you are inside of something very sacred, very beautiful and inherently holy.

So Jesus doesn’t come to proclaim any kind of domination or control of history. He simply says, “I am naming the deepest meaning of history and the deepest meaning of humanity.” That’s why, in a moment in time, this eternal Christ mystery came as a person that you and I call Jesus. This is the deepest, the biggest and vast meaning of the feast of Christ the King of the Universe.

(Richard Rohr. Adapted)

Reflection on 33rd Sunday 18th November

Find eternity in each moment

The words in today’s gospel are not meant to be ominous or scary. Jesus is not talking about the end of the world but about the end of all worlds. Everything passes. Nothing lasts forever. Our great hope is that there will be something that we can grasp onto, something that’s eternal, something that’s God. We want the absoluteness, the eternity of God. We live in a world of passing things, where everything changes, nothing remains the same. The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself! That’s a hard lesson to learn. This is not meant as a threat. This is meant so that we grab onto this day, we grab onto this life and we appreciate that it is all gift and while we breathe it in we enjoy it and know that it is another moment of God. To be present to this moment and to live it fully is the only way to experience eternal life. The people who take this moment seriously take every moment seriously, and they already experience heaven. Heaven is whenever we taste life to its fullness, when we enjoy the moment, when we know that it is a gift from God and it will not last. And yet that very ‘will not last’ is an invitation to go deeper into the moment and touch upon that which lasts forever. That’s the paradox; that’s the mystery; that’s what our rational minds cannot understand and yet that’s what the saints have always come to teach us. If what we do doesn’t lead us into an eternal now, an eternal moment, an always true moment, an always loved moment, then we have not lived the moment at all.

Richard Rohr (Adapted)

There are moments when time stands still and we wish the moment would never end. In that moment we are in the flow, the wonder, and the unity of life – and it tastes good. Daniel O’Leary says that in these moments we touch eternity and because of that they do live forever.

Reflection on 32nd Sunday 11th November

Remembrance

Today is Remembrance Sunday, a day to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom.

During November, the final month of the liturgical year, the Church invites us to remember those who have nurtured us in body and spirit, our loved ones who have gone before us, our teachers and guides who have encouraged us and enabled us to be where we are today.

The vibrant display of Autumn leaves remind us that our reflections on death are tinged with mixed emotions: love, gratitude, joy, sadness, fear, the pain of loss, a feeling of emptiness, a sense of hope. “The Autumn leaves are subtle reminders that we are asked to let go of many things throughout our lives. Every time we surrender something, we connect with our death, with the ultimate moment of letting go. Autumn is an opportunity to reflect on and claim that reality. Autumn is a necessary transition between Summer’s fruitfulness and Spring’s new life. No new growth will come unless Autumn agrees to let go of what has been. The same is true of our lives.

Let the Autumn tree symbolise yourself; for each part of the tree reflect on the following questions:

The roots: Who and what has given you nourishment and vitality in your life? Who and what ‘roots’ you in your time of significant change?

The trunk: What are your strengths? What events have channelled new life in you?

The leaves: What is dying in your life now? What do you feel called to let go of?

The bark: Who or what protects you, comforts you?

The terminal buds on the ends of the branches: What is your hope?”

Joyce Rupp: May I have this Dance?

Inevitably the letting-go process is accompanied by what we would describe as the painful experience of emptiness, a vacuum. “There is no such thing, either in the world or in the heart, as a literal vacancy, as a vacuum. And whatever space is really left by death, by renunciation, by parting, by apparent emptiness, there is God.”

Karl Rahner

Once again we thank Cathy York for this apt reflection.

Speakers Corner:- Bishop Paul Swarbrick

BISHOP PAUL SWARBRICK

This is the first of our Speakers Corner events. We are delighted to invite you to an informal audience with Bishop Paul Swarbrick, who will share the story of his journey so far. Entry free but donations welcome.

7pm Fri 30th November 2018

Order free tickets by clicking here.

OR ring Reception 01772 717122

OR contact Mary & Chris Cullen

Mob:- 07846 493933 or click here to email them.

Here is a link to the poster if you wish to help publicise the event

Continuing our Journey into John’s Gospel

Advance notice of a two day course on John’s Gospel led by Donna Worthington.

Day 1:  Monday 1st April 2019  10-4pm:  Why was Jesus put to death? We will explore the religious, political, theological background of the Passion Narratives.

Day 2:  Monday 8th April 2019  10-4pm: At the foot of the cross with John – We will explore The Beloved Disciple’s way of ‘seeing’ that liberates.

Cost £20 x 2 = £40

Bookings open now.  See the calendar for details on how to book.

Reflection on 31st Sunday 4th November

Love yourself

“Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” Do we really love ourselves? Do we have a list of all that we think is wrong with us … how we look, how we behave? Do we continually compare ourselves with others… their talents, their possessions? Do we identify ourselves with what we have and what we do? Is this who we really are? Are we afraid to experience the wonder of who we are in God? Are we afraid to believe in our own greatness? Are we afraid of the unknown? Or perhaps it is more true to ask if we are afraid of losing the known.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson. Her words were quoted by President Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inauguration address.

We are being called to recognise and respond to God’s loving presence in ourselves and in every single person we meet, irrespective of how they behave. And that is true even when the person acts in ways totally contrary to God’s way. In fact, it is precisely then that the God in me has to reach out and affirm God in the other… our neighbour.

Various sources

Speakers Corner

BISHOP PAUL SWARBRICK

This is the first of our Speakers Corner events. We are delighted to invite you to an informal audience with Bishop Paul Swarbrick, who will share the story of his journey so far. Entry free but donations welcome .

7pm Fri 30th November 2018

Order free tickets by clicking here.

OR ring Reception 01772 717122

OR contact Mary & Chris Cullen

Mob:- 07846 493933 or click here to email them.

Here is a link to the poster if you wish to help publicise the event

10th December. John Battle comes to speak at the Preston Centre

The Jesuits and Xaverians in Preston are hosting an evening talk by John Battle who is Chair of the Leeds Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission.  The talk will be introduced by Bishop Paul Swarbrick and followed by a group discussion, questions and answers.

The title of the talk is taken from a line in Pope Benedict’s First Encyclical “Deus Caritas Est”.  John believes that we need to do things, to change things for the better and that requires that we get organised.  Referencing the relationship between prayer and action, he will draw analogies from the ruins of Kirkstall, a Cistercian Abbey near Leeds and Armley Remand Prison following Thomas Merton’s theme of the relationship between contemplation and action.

John was was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Leeds West from 1987 to 2010.

The Justice and Peace Commission seeks to identify and raise awareness of injustices and their root causes, whether they occur locally, nationally or internationally. The Commission does this in order to foster and encourage social change for a better world

As Christians we believe in the dignity of human beings and the rights of people to live in peace. We take action on the most pressing issues facing our communities, such as Climate Change, Poverty and racism.

The event is free but we will take bookings through Eventbrite so as to control numbers.  If you are unable or unwilling to tangle with Eventbrite then we can do that for you.  Let us know by signing the sheet on the reception desk or using the enquiry form here.