Weaving the Word – 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time A

Mainly just the ‘Reflection Points’ this week as I’m still pondering why commenting in any way on this passage makes me so uncomfortable when I haven’t killed nor lusted after anyone!
Perhaps it’s because I know it’s a case of there but for the grace of God?

Reflection Points
It might seem that the Commandments are out of touch with our world, a bit old fashioned or unrealistic.
How does this Gospel leave you feeling?
What is the reality of the Commandments in your life?
When does your ‘yes mean yes and your no mean no’?

‘And you have heard it said’ –
What are the things your parents or teachers tell you over and over again?                 
Why do you think that is?
(Clue: it might not be about listening)

Jesus unpacks the Commandments in today’s Gospel. How might this help you keep them?
As a family which one might you chose to work on?

Lord Jesus Christ,
These Commandments, really?
They seem impossible: never get angry; shield our eyes from each other;  stand by our word, our yes meaning yes and no meaning no!
Help us to move beyond the letter on the law, so that we might see where the breaking of Your Commandments hurt others.
Fill us with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to seek Your loving forgiveness and the strength to keep Your Commandments.


Weaving the Word – 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Yr A

Hearing the same story from different writers is always illuminating as we can see from this week’s account from John’s Gospel of the baptism of Jesus.

(try as I might I have been unable to source this picture. If you are the artist or know who the artist is please message me and I will reference them.)

Even after reading, praying and rereading this account in preparation for the entry to the parish newsletter, I was still taken aback by the first two words proclaimed by our priest:

‘Seeing Jesus…’ my concentration lost and my mind quickly jumping from thought to thought, I tried to bring myself back to the present and catch up with the words of the Gospel.

‘I did not know Him…’ whoa, what? My mind took off again – but you saw Him, He is your cousin, you leapt in the womb at the Visitation, you know He is greater than you, that He will baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire. You claim you are not worthy to carry His sandals and yet you do not know Him?

Throughout the rest of Mass these two phrases began to merge together in a way that they had not previously, despite all my working with the text during the week.

How often do I see Jesus in my day? He is there of course in every encounter, every person, every tweeter and face book poster. Yet how easy it is to forget, to my shame it is often not His presence that influences the way I respond to others.

It is easier for me to recognise Jesus in the homeless man that sits outside my local supermarket or those I say hello to on my walk to the station. It is easier to see Jesus in the charity appeals for the poor, the refugee, the sick and the prisoner.

But in all honesty, it is more difficult to remember to see Jesus in those who I know and know well and although I have no idea why it might have something to do with familiarity and sameness. Most of us are friends with those who hold similar values and ideas as ourselves. The Jesus I once saw in them has become comfortable and no longer challenges me to go deeper. Might it be that for me familiarity really has bred contempt?

John the Baptist saw Jesus but also declared ‘I do not know Him’. The more I ponder these words, the more I realise the truth of them. I too see Jesus yet do I know him? Of course one can never fully know the second person of the Trinity, the son of God fully human and fully Divine while on earth. But that must not prevent me from getting to know Him and recognise Him as our personal Lord and Saviour. He calls us into relationship, and we all know that no nourishing relationship is static.

The more I believe I know Jesus, the less I realise I know Him, and that, of course, is the reality of Mystery.

I want to rekindle my desire for the Lord, to want to know Him more. And for that I need to sharpen my focus to better see Jesus, to spend time with Scripture to better know Jesus, and pray (as I can not as I can’t) to better deepen my relationship with Jesus.


Reflection Points

Twice we hear John the Baptist say ‘I did not know Him …’
Where are you surprised by what you know and do not know about Jesus?
How does this enable you to enter more deeply into the mystery of Christ?
Where are you aware of the presence of the Spirit at work in your life this week?

For Children
What do you know about your friends?
How do you get to know them?
Do you ever think of Jesus as your friend?
How can you get to know Him better this week?

For Families
Today is Peace Sunday. Find out about
Pax Christi and see if there is any way you can become
involved in their work http://paxchristi.org.uk

Pax Christi’s Prayer for Peace Sunday
Loving God of peace,
Strengthen my determination to work
for a world of peace and justice;
My conviction that, whatever our
nationality or race, we are all global
citizens, one in Christ;
My courage to challenge the powerful
with the values of the gospel;
My commitment to find nonviolent
ways of resolving conflict—personal,
local, national and international;
My efforts to forgive injuries and to
love those I find it hard to love.



Weaving the Word. 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time A

I do love the way Jesus uses metaphor. Salt and light are ones that are particularly rich, that still speak to our modern day experiences.

I have used salt as a metaphor when explaining the Sacrament of Reconciliation to children.

I have used this Gospel to help teenagers examine their conscience before Confirmation.


And I have used salt and light creatively to highlight or underline the important points in many a sacramental preparation session.

Our understanding of the importance and value of salt and light may have changed form the time of Jesus but still hold essential lessons for how we are to be disciples.

Reflection points

Which of salt’s many properties are you being invited to use to bring forth the Kingdom?
Where are you tempted to hide the light of your faith this week?
How do your good deeds glorify God this week?
How much do you know about salt?
How many of the different uses of salt can you name?
Why do you think Jesus uses salt and light as metaphors for how we are to be His disciples?
God never forces but always invites us. Our faith involves choice, where can you choose to be salt or light to those you meet?
Together can you choose one of Isaiah’s instructions to practice being salt or light?
Lord Jesus Christ,
We pray that we remember
Each time we season our food,
Every time we turn on a light
You call us the salt of the earth
And the light of the world.
Take from us the fear that prevents us
form adding flavour to the lives of others,
or from letting our light shine in the darkness.
May the trust You place in us
to bring about the Kingdom
Forever bring glory to the Lord our God.



Examination of Conscience for Teenagers

Many years ago I prepared an examination of conscience for Confirmation Candidates based on the Gospel passage from Matthew where Jesus tells us WE are the Salt of the earth and light of the world.

After the proclamation of the Gospel, the examination was read slowly by 2 catechists leaving enough silence between each section for reflection.

Another time we asked the candidates to reflect on the elements of salt and light. After a short while we asked them to choose one of the metaphors and used the co-responding examination with each group.


YOU ARE the salt of the earth and light of the world.

Think about salt, what does it do? It makes a difference

salt piles

It seasons:

When have you failed to make a positive contribution to your worshipping community?

Your family?

Your work or school?

Your friends?


It preserves:

When have you failed to keep something fresh?

When have you allowed a relationship to go stale through inattention?

How do you keep your relationship with the Lord fresh?


It cleanses and heals:

How does the Gospel help you to live morally?

Where do you need healing, in mind – thoughts, desires, beliefs, ideals?

in body – attitude to food, self image, harmful substances,

in spirit – relationships, faith, prayer, rest.


It adds buoyancy:

How often do you allow yourself to come before the Lord and just be?

How does your behaviour keep others afloat?


It can increase thirst:

Does your behaviour invite others to ask about Jesus?


It is something of value:

Do you believe you are made in the image and likeness of God?

How does this affect your actions?

Where have you not valued yourself?

Or others?

What do you value most?

Does your focus need to change?

When have you allowed an invitation to make a difference slip through your hands?


It is a mineral:

Where have you not been respectful of the earth?

Where could you make a change to live as a good steward?


Think about light, what does it do? It enables us to see   


It illuminates:

Where do you take the Light of Christ for granted?

When are you aware of needing Light to help you?


It cannot be hidden:

What actions would you like to hide from the light?


It reveals:

How often do you ignore what Christ reveals to you?


It comforts:

Where have you not comforted those in need?


It creates a shadow:

Where are you only part of who you are called to be?

Which actions work out of your shadow side?


It is radiant:

Where do you not allow the truth to shine through?

What stops you from being truly beautiful?


It guides:

When do you cause others to stumble?

What stops you from being a guide?

Weaving the Word: The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Yr A

The baptism of the Lord celebrates a third epiphany and the end of the Christmas season. The decorations are down although the crib remains in place til Candlemas.
For me this feast brings with it space of Ordinary Time to breathe and reflect (if only for a short while) on my faith life.
I have always thought that the making of new year resolutions that encourage us to become abstemious or even give up things, an odd custom, when we are still in full party mode celebrating the Incarnation.
It seemed particularly noticeable this year with all the ‘end of a decade’ notifications on social media. I had it seems, been oblivious to this fact, let alone of the need to make extra special resolutions.

Perhaps this Feast provides a better time to grow new habits as it is through the lens of baptism that my life makes sense.

Baptism fills us with new life, not just at the time of the sacrament but everyday. Baptism is not in the past, but is actively working throughout our lives. With this new life we are called continually to a new start, to return to the Lord and live a life that reflects that we are claimed by Christ. Knowing that I belong to God, that I too am called ‘beloved’ puts the reason for new habits in to a correct perspective, one of faith. Any changes I make, need to come from the place of knowing that I am called to be fully human, ‘I have come that you might have life and have it to the full’.

If I resolve to become fit(ter) or to eat more healthily it is not because the advertising that tells me I am not perfect or I will be a happier for these resolutions tell me to be less when in reality I am called to be more, more of whom I am created to be.

If I resolve to look at my carbon footprint it is because I recognise I am connected with all of creation, that with being a Steward I have a responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle.

If I resolve to fight for justice I do so because I believe in the dignity of each and every one of us are created in the image and likeness of God.

Reflection points on the Gospel

This feast marks the end of Christmastide. What word, moment, encounter or revelation from Christmas will continue to nourish you into Ordinary Time? Through our baptism we care called, like Christ, to Servanthood. How do you respond to this invitation? How does being called ‘beloved’ by God impact on your daily life?

For Children
What might Jesus ask you to ‘allow it’ to bring you closer to the Father? Your God parents echo God’s love for you. Remember to pray and thank God for them.

For Families

How do you model Servanthood within your family? Today is Peace Sunday. How can you be agents for justice? You might get ideas here http://paxchristi.org.uk/


Lord, for all who have made resolutions, may we be filled with the courage and strength of the Holy Spirit to carry them out with the confidence that God only ever wants what is best for us. Amen

Weaving the Word: Epiphany Yr A

Epiphany! My favourite feast.

Epiphany! Still my favourite Christmastide Feast and if you are interested in why then check out my previous post

Gearing up for Epiphany

Reflection points

Where are you troubled when asked about Jesus Christ?

Where will you search diligently for Jesus this week?

How will you give Him homage this week?


Where do natural signs, stars, or nature remind you of Jesus?

Where have you been overjoyed this Christmastide? Remember to thank God for them.

What gift can you bring to the Lord?


Discuss who your ‘kings’ or ‘magi’ might be today, where are they from, what do they look like, what might they bring?

Place your kings in your Crib. Although it is 12th night you might like to keep your Crib on display until Candlemas (Feb 2nd) and continue to use it as a focus for your family prayer.

Epiphany Tradition of blessing the home

Oh God

You revealed Your Son to all people

by the shinning light of a star.

We pray that You bless this home and all who live hear with Your gracious presence.

May Your love be our inspiration,

Your wisdom our guide,

Your truth our light,

Your truth our benediction.

Through Christ our Lord.


End by marking the outside of your home with chalk to say



Weaving the Word 4th Sunday Advent A

A straight to the point post this week as ttere are only 2 days of the 4th week of Advent.

Reflection points

Today we hear of the first of Joseph’s dreams that Matthew weave’s throughout the infancy narrative. How does God speak to you?

When we are tempted to ask for a sign, what sort of sign would you be prepared to receive?
How does it change your celebration of Christmas to know you are saved from your sins?
For Children
In the passage before just before this one we hear of Jesus’ descendants.
What do you know about your family tree?
How would you describe Joseph from today’s Gospel?
What does it mean to you to know that ‘God-is-with-us’?
For Families
Advent is almost ended. How prepared are you to bring Christ to birth in your community?
The lives of Mary and Joseph are turned upside down by accepting the will of God. How does their experience chime with your’s.
Here, now, every moment of our day.
Today, tomorrow and always.
Jesus our Saviour.
Amid the noise and bustle of what Christmas has become
May we anxiously await your voice in moments of silence
Inviting us not to be afraid to bring You to birth once more.

Weaving the Word: 3rd Sunday Advent Year A

Now that the dust has settled (here in the UK at least) I find myself reflecting on Gaudete Sunday.

This week the church calls us to rejoice and to keep on keeping on.
And yet for many (me included) will be finding it difficult to accept that invitation and to ponder on the point of carrying on.

But as a follower of Christ, a lover of Jesus, a beloved of God, baptised by fire and water full of the Spirit then accept it I must. Indeed I already have.
Despite my moments of despondency I know deep down that my Hope is in the Lord and I can Rejoice in God my Saviour.

The blush of a pink rose rather than deep purple,                                                            my yes to the Gospel,                                                                                                                to the Eucharist,                                                                                                                          to being dismissed                                                                                                                      to building the Kingdom,                                                                                                            to live by Gospel values                                                                                                    leads me to seek a deeper joy and                                                                                   tells of a hope yet to come.

I will rejoice in the small acts of kindness I see                                                                  and take time to thank the Lord for them.
I will rejoice in the many ways to make a difference                                                        and find inspiration to do likewise.
I will rejoice in the love of my friends whose laughter lightens my load                      and I am strengthened to help others carry their’s.
I will rejoice in the warmth and comfort of my family                                                    and I am encouraged to extend that welcome to others.

When I rejoice in all this (and so much more) then I know that there is hope. And if we all remember to be grateful, to find inspiration, to aid others and to extend a welcome then we will show the works of the Lord and bring His hope to the world.

And if that weren’t enough the O Antiphons begin today!

Reflection Points
Where do you hear and see the work of the Lord?
In what ways do your encounters offer you a sense of healing?
What do you notice about the way Jesus answers John’s question?

For Children
John the Baptist leapt in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary went to visit her. He was Jesus’ cousin and in last week’s Gospel he baptised Him in the river Jordan.
Why do you think he told his disciples to ask Jesus if ‘He was the One?’
If you were Jesus’ messenger today what would you tell people about Him?

For Families
What one thing could you all do to make the world a better place?
Who do you identify as prophets in today’s world?
How can you encourage one another to speak truth to power?

Lord of our everlasting joy and true hope – 
Strengthen us to do Your work
Give us a heart with a joyful song
that we may rejoice in building Your Kingdom.


Are You the One?

Weaving the Word: 2nd Sunday Advent Yr A


In the need for transparency I feel I mush declare an interest.

This passage from Isaiah is is one of my favourites. In fact I would go further, I’ve never met a passage of Isaiah I didn’t like.

hope-painting-300x234 Balidon Methodist Church

Today’s passage speaks of such hope, a hope that only God can fulfil.

It paints an image that is almost impossible to imagine. Predators living peaceably with their prey led by a little child. This change will not effect just one hunter and hunted but all of nature will be at peace. The change does not always lie with the powerful predator: it is at the lamb’s invitation that the wolf becomes a guest. It is the one that has the most to lose that initiates change.



When filled with the gifts of the Spirit we too can take courageous changes. Changes that are necessary for everyone to thrive,  that leaves no one isolated, hungry, thirsty, cold  or homeless in a peaceful world. A world that when stewarded well provides more than enough for all.

Knowing that we can claim Abraham as our father is to acknowledge that we hold a place of privilege.  That privilege must not be taken for granted but used responsibly to bring about the Kingdom. A Kingdom that is full of surprises, that makes the impossible possible, where repentance is not fearful but full of joy and leads to the production of good fruit that nourishes all.


Reflection points…
How do you feel when you hear this life changing call to repentance?
What good fruit will you produce as evidence of your repentance?
What difference is being baptised with the Holy Spirit make to you?
With Children
Can you draw a picture of John the Baptist from the description in the Gospel?
What do you do to show you are sorry?
Why are we baptised with the Holy Spirit?
With Families
How are you going to use Advent to prepare for the way of the Lord?
What does this Gospel tell you about how to be sorry?
Why not accept the invitation to the Sacrament of Reconciliation by going to your parish service together and maybe celebrating afterwards?
Incarnate God
You promise 
that the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon us.
Gifts for our thoughts:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding;
Gifts for our actions:
a spirit of counsel and of strength;
Gifts for our worship:
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD;
with these gifts that blow through our lives 
May we be filled with delight 
to bring Your justice and peace to our troubled world.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.

Weaving the Word

It’s been a while, I know, but I hope I’m still welcome.

This year the Church in England and Wales have been asked to focus on the Scriptures.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has called this initiative ‘God Who Speaks’. http://www.cbcew.org.uk/

This focus has encouraged me to return once more to share my thoughts and reflections on the Sunday Gospel.

Sometimes the reflections might come in the form of questions, or ideas for action, sometimes in a story form, while others might be examples of my lived experience.

All will come with a prayer and will I hope invite us to Weave the Word in to our daily lives.

I’d love to know how you are using these reflections, especially if you are sharing them with family, groups of friends, in a parish or school setting so please drop me a comment or two and of course if you could reference me too that would be wonderful.

1st Sunday of Advent

Year A Mass Readings

Weaving the Word

How will you awaken to the season of Advent?

Where were you surprised by Christ coming to you?
What ways will you use Advent as spiritual preparation for Christmas?
For Children
In the story of Noah, what did God send as a sign of His promise?
Where can you find signs of hope in nature for which to thank Jesus?
Instead of preparing to ask for what you want, How can you use Advent to help others?
For families
Imagine the sort of world do you want Christ to return to…
How can you work towards this during Advent?
What can you do together to prepare to birth Jesus in the world?
Lord Jesus
Advent again!
As we await Your coming –
May we stay awake to the injustices that happen around us
and prepare to work for a fairer world.
May we stay awake to the many ways we steal from the beauty of creation
and prepare to care for the environment.

May we stay awake to those who break communities with violence

and prepare to bring your peace and hope to those we encounter.