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’?

Children
‘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)

Family
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?

Prayer
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.
Amen

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.

https://rebekahokeeffe.wordpress.com/2020/02/11/examination-of-conscience-for-teenagers/

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?
Children
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?
Family
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?
Prayer
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.
Amen.

 

 

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   

  light

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 – 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.

 Namaste

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.
Amen.

 

 

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/

Prayer

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?

Children

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?

Family

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.

Amen

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

20+C+M+B+20

normal_Set_Of_Silver_Three_Kings_-_29_99_tch038_2_

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.
Prayer
Emmanuel
God-with-us
God-within-us
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.
Amen