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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Are we nearly there yet?

Lent has been a bit of a non starter this year. And so just because it is Spy Wednesday it does not mean I am ready to celebrate the Triduum.

During Lent last year the scales fell from my eyes. Giving something up was not what God demanded of me but something I could do for God. After that epiphany Lent was easier than it had been in the past.

Armed with this new found knowledge I looked forward to Lent this year. I had also decided to use Janet Morleys lovely book  The Heart’s Time during my morning prayer.

I refreshed my prayer space, new candle, pen (working), missal, book, journal and looked forward to the coming days. Praying the daily Gospel, pondering the daily poem with its reflection from the book and scribbling my insights in my journal lasted for about two and a half weeks.

They say that if you want to make God laugh tell God your plans…

I became unwell. Thinking it was just a head cold I ploughed on doing the things that had to be done and letting others go to try to carve out a little rest time. Early morning prayer became one of the things to go as I went back to bed after the morning rush rather than spend that time with the Lord. Feeling guilty I did sometimes have a look at the poem and the reflection mainly to be able to talk to one of my prayer companions who happened to be using the same book.

As the cold developed into sinusitis even antibiotics could not life the fog that filled my brain. I felt the Lord nudge and invite me through the fog of illness but I could not, was not letting Him through. He might require something of me that I was unable to give.

Instead I struggled on preparing work only to cancel the sessions at the last minute because I was too ill to do them. I read the beginning of a blog by one of favourite bloggers who said ‘I have succumbed to the fever and spent time in reflection’.

Really? WOW!

I tried not to succumb and when I did spent it giving myself a hard time for not being strong enough, being lazy, wondering if anyone would believe I was ill, really ill or if they would think I was making it up, swinging the led. How on earth could I let people down? I had to go to that meeting (I had missed the last one and used up my free pass!), I had to give that talk, it was the last in the series, I had been booked ages ago (they might not ask me back).

(But God, hey I knew He would be ok with it all, He understood. If I could give up anything it would be my time with Him.)

So when I was preparing more work, looking for a piece of music my media player played through the song I had chosen and onto another.

And before I realised I was crying. Unable to type I gave in, succumbed to the music and what it was that God had been trying to say to me.

Still it was to be a few days later before I really got it. Using the song as the prayer for the closing Liturgy of a 24 hour meeting, I asked the participants ‘What will it cost, to spend time resting with the Lord?. And again the tears, along with the scales of awareness fell from my eyes.

Rest

This Lent, through my illness, the Lord had been inviting me to rest. I did not need to fear that He would ask me to give something I could not give.

The cost? Vulnerability.  And that is difficult.

I do believe that there is a link between illness and learning. Any time my children were ill I noticed that it preceded a breakthrough, reading, swimming, riding a bike, and I feel that it will be the same with this illness too.

I believe that there is much learning to come out of this Lent. If only that I need to learn how to be vulnerable.

A future post might read, ‘I succumbed and spending the time in reflection this is what I learnt…’

Ready or not we have arrived, and I pray, we will all journey safely with the Lord through the Triduum  and into the Joy of the Resurrection.