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Monday, April 21, 2014
Reflection

Easter Sunday Reflection 2014 with Fr Robin Gibbons | Easter Sunday Reflection, Fr Robin Gibbons
Easter Sunday Reflection 2014 with Fr Robin Gibbons
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!  Eastern Christians all over the world will greet each other with these words from the liturgy all through the great season of Pascha. It is an expression of joy, of deep and profound faith, going beyond intellectual and scientific proof, that nothing can ever take away their experience of the risen Christ who is with them always.  How do you experience the risen Lord? The scriptures tell us that there are so many different ways of finding him, Read More ...

Palm Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons | Palm Sunday Reflection, Fr Robin Gibbons
Palm Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
I celebrated 35 years of priesthood recently, not with any great party, but as a reflective anniversary looking back at what has been a very fulfilling ministry for me,  also a calling that I would not swap for any other. But as I grow older, a bit like Thomas Aquinas, I find that all the knowledge I have of Theology, Scripture, Liturgy, whatever, does not do justice to the heart of our faith, which is quite simply centered on the person of Jesus Christ. I continually discover that my own faith gets simpler but deeper, like you, I follow  Read More ...

Pope Francis: The Cross is not an ornament - it is the mystery of God   | Pope Francis, the Cross, Casa Santa Marta
Pope Francis: The Cross is not an ornament - it is the mystery of God
Pope Francis reflected on the relationship between Christianity and the Cross during morning Mass on Tuesday in the chapel at Santa Marta. Pope Francis said Christianity does not exist without the Cross and stressed that we are unable to free ourselves from our sins on our own. The Cross, he said, is not an ornament to place on the altar but is the mystery of God’s love who takes our sins upon himself. He then reflected on the meaning of Jesus’s warning to the Pharisees “You will die in your sin. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 6  April  2014 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -5 April  2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 6 April 2014
The death of anyone close to us is not an event that we ever wish for, except perhaps, when we pray that somebody in extreme illness is released from their suffering. Death happens and we mourn the loss of one we love. It takes time to adjust and there are, as we know, various stages of grief we go though, but if we are a person of faith, somehow we begin to understand that death is not the end, but as one of the ancient Christians described it, the long sleep until we rise with Christ. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 30 March 2014 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 30 March 2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 30 March 2014
At the centre of our Christian life stands the ever-welcoming person of Jesus. With us till the end of time, he is present to us in so many ways, in the community called Church, in each other, in scripture and sacrament, prayer and work. This is the great gift we have from God, his love and mercy freely given to us all. But the question remains who will accept this gift, where do we find the presence of Jesus for ourselves? Maybe John’s account of the man born blind can help us a little. Read More ...

Cardinal Hume's Reflection for Fourth Sunday in Lent – In search of God | Cardinal Hume, Cardinal Hume's Reflection for Fourth Sunday in Lent,  In search of God
Cardinal Hume's Reflection for Fourth Sunday in Lent – In search of God
Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “We are going to have a celebration, because this son of mine was lost and is found”. “I have long believed, and often said, that humanity is all the time in search of God, though often we do not know it. But, in so far as we are searching for truth, for goodness, for beauty, and in so far as we are in search of love, of justice, of happiness, then we are in search of God. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 March 2014   | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 March 2014 , Woman at the well
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 March 2014
When I was younger I used to wonder how my evangelical friends could say that Jesus was their friend, I never seemed to have that understanding of him as a ‘real’ presence in my life, but a wise experienced monk told me not to worry, he reminded me that Christ comes to us indifferent ways and suggested that I look for him in the Scriptures and in my ministry of celebrating the liturgy and preaching. Wise suggestions, because for me the practice of lectio divina, reading the scriptures so that they speak to the heart, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons:  16 March 2014 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons:  16 March 2014, Second Sunday in Lent Year A
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 16 March 2014
Changing seasons brings with it significant shifts of mood and outlook, who among us cannot but lift up our hearts and spirits a little at the returning sunshine and the emergence of flowers and new growth? In northern climes, the lengthening daylight hours give us more time to do things, especially outdoors, we feel perhaps as Genesis suggests, the blessing of God a little more obviously and I hope we also ask for blessing on our world and its people. But it’s still Lent and thoughts need to return to the journey we make with all other Christians Read More ...

Reflection on Evangelii Gaudium - The Joy of the Gospel | ‘Evangelii Gaudium’,  Julian Filochowski, Jesuit Missions, Georgetown, Guyana
Reflection on Evangelii Gaudium - The Joy of the Gospel
Many parishes and dioceses around the world are focusing their Lenten Study this year on Pope Francis’ exciting apostolic letter ‘Evangelii Gaudium’.   The following presentation  on the Letter,  given by Julian Filochowski of Jesuit Missions,  to a gathering in Georgetown, Guyana, earlier this year, makes a useful resource.   The full text, which was not originally intended for publication, but makes a useful resource,  follows below: Read More ...
Julian Filochowski

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 March 2014  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 March 2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 March 2014
By happy coincidence Eastern and Western Christian Churches share Lent and Holy Easter together this year. Perhaps this season should be a real time for learning a bit more about each other and to actively pray that one of the first barriers to be overcome may be finding a common date for Easter! The Eastern Churches began Lent on Monday , the West on Ash Wednesday, but together we journey with the Lord, through the fasting of our hearts and bodies, in works of prayer and love, towards that great feast of feasts. Read More ...

Cardinal Hume's Reflections for Lent | Cardinal Hume Centre, Reflections for Lent
Cardinal Hume's Reflections for Lent
The words of Cardinal Basil Hume give guidance and purpose to the Cardinal Hume Centre in Westminster. His pragmatism and prayerfulness inspire their work and his Benedictine values, are what makes the Centre such a special place. This year the centre will publishing some of Cardinal Hume's Lenten Reflections on their website and have given permission to ICN to publish/link up with them also. Ian Fairhurst from the centre writes: "We take real strength from his words 'Each person matters. No human life is ever redundant'. Read More ...

Thinking Faith: Thoughts for Ash Wednesday and resources for Lent | Philip Endean SJ, Thinking Faith, Lent,  Michael Barnes SJ , Nicholas Austin SJ
Thinking Faith: Thoughts for Ash Wednesday and resources for Lent
Thinking Faith today offers three timely reflections: On Not Giving Up Too Easily: Thoughts for Ash Wednesday; Keeping the Lenten Fast – thoughts from a dialogue with Islam; and The Virtue of Asceticism... We all choose to mark Lent in different ways and more often than not focus on abstaining from something we enjoy, but is this always good for us? Nicholas Austin SJ explores how our attempts at an ascetic way of life for 40 days each year can go wrong if our motivations are not rooted in the wisdom of the Christian tradition. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 March 2014 | Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time,    2 March 2014, Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 March 2014
If you ever wanted a clear expression of what it means to be a Christian in the world then Paul comes up trumps; he tells us that we are ‘servants of Christ 
and stewards of the mysteries of God’. What does that mean, you might ask? The servant metaphor is easy to pick up - Jesus frequently weaves that into his teaching - he came to serve others, not to be served. So for us who follow him, love and humbleness are the key to our service of our people, our world and its creatures. But what do we understand by being stewards of the mysteries of God? Read More ...

Jesuit Lenten reflections, linked to political experiences in South Africa | Jesuits, reflections for Lent, South Africa, A Revolution of the Spirit
Jesuit Lenten reflections, linked to political experiences in South Africa
The Jesuit Institute in South Africa (a Region of the British Province) has published a book of reflections that link the season of Lent with South Africans' experience of liberation and address more broadly Pope Francis' call for the Church to actively participate in political life. Last November, Pope Francis said: "Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation." This is being felt particularly keenly in South Africa which today is on the brink of its first general election since the death of Nelson Mandela Read More ...

Pope Francis sends video message to conference of Evangelical Christians | Bishop Tony Palmer, Pope Francis, video  message
Pope Francis sends video message to conference of Evangelical Christians
Pope Francis has sent a filmed message of Christian unity to a conference of Evangelical Christians. The video  begins with an introduction by Bishop Tony Palmer, a personal friend of Pope Francis, based in Texas who speaks about the tragedy in the way Christianity has becomes so divided over the years, and says:  "I have come to understand that diversity is divine; it's division that is diabolic." Pope Francis then gives a brief introduction in which he explains that he doesn't speak much English but is going to speak "heartfully". Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 February 2014
I remember a rather amusing doggerel poem based on the words of St Matthew’s Gospel for this Sunday, I’ve discovered that its attributed to Charles Baron Bowen and English Judge who died in 1894, it goes like this: “The rain it raineth on the just
 and also on the unjust fella;
 But chiefly on the just, because
 The unjust hath the just’s umbrella.” Many of us possibly feel like that when faced with the command of Jesus to ‘be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect’, to love ones enemies and pray for persecutors. Read More ...

Pope Francis: To know Jesus, we must follow Him | Pope Francis, Casa Santa Marta
Pope Francis: To know Jesus, we must follow Him
Jesus is known more by following Him than by studying Him. That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily during morning Mass yesterday at Casa Santa Marta. Every day, he explained, Christ asks “who” He is for us, but it is only possible to answer by living as disciples. It is the life of a disciple, more than a life of study, that allows a Christian to really know who Jesus is for him. A journey in the footsteps of the Master, where clear witness and even betrayals, falls and new impulses, can intersect. But it is not only an intellectual approach. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 16 January 2014   | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin GIbbons 16 January 2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 16 January 2014
One of the great liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council was the restoration of the sign of peace. I know many people objected to it and sometimes it became a testing place for who was friends with whom, but if we enter into its intrinsic meaning we realize that it calls us back to what Jesus commands us to do, reconcile with our brother and sister before we bring our offerings to the altar. Roman Catholics are asked to offer Christ’s peace before they come up to communion, Eastern Catholics, the Orthodox and many Protestant communities offer Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 9 February 2014  | Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 9 February 2014,  5th Sunday in Ordinary Time  9 February  2014
Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 9 February 2014
How communicate is changing all the time, I bet some of us now well into middle age never thought that we would be able to Skype let alone on our mobile phones. E-mails give us instant communication across the world and have long replaced many forms of letter as a means of contact. It’s good we have these wonderful developments, but we also know they come at a cost. In recent years there has a been an upsurge in serious problems connected with the mis-use of social media. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 February 2014 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 February 2014, Simeon, Rembrandt, Candlemass, Presentation
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 February 2014
Feast of the Presentation, Candlemas - 
I am glad for a number of reasons, not least,  concern for other species and their well being, that blood sacrifices are no longer part of our religious observances. That image of Mary and Joseph bringing the two turtle doves or young pigeons to the Temple, the offering of poor people, a sacrificial redemption offering to God for any first born male, does not rest easily with the gospel account of the Lord being recognised in the child Jesus, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 26 January 2014 | Sunday Reflection, Fr Robin Gibbons 26 January 2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 26 January 2014
Despite it still being the middle of British Winter those of us used to the grey dismal days may find a slight shift in the quality of the light, it’s not much and may even be fanciful imaginings, but once we move into `January’ there is a real sense that the daylight hours are lengthening, light is coming again! For us, Isaiah’s words ring true, gloom is dispelled, a yoke of heaviness is lifted from those who suffer in this season, new light is dawning. I hope you are one of those people who can link the dawn and dark to these passages of scripture, Read More ...

   An ‘A-Z’ of inter faith relations - 26 short reflections for Christians   | ‘A-Z’ of inter faith relations, Celia Blackden
An ‘A-Z’ of inter faith relations - 26 short reflections for Christians
A personal paper from Celia Blackden, Inter Faith, Churches Together in England .. A  All people are loved by God and Christ died for all. All are on what might be called the Holy Journey of life. We have confidence in God’s plan for all humanity and for creation - “Blessed are those who put their trust in God” – as Psalm 2:12 says, and we know that “All things work together for good for those who love God” (Rm 8:28). This includes us and people of other faiths. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 19 January 2014 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 19 January 2014, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 19 January 2014
One of the great things about being a member of a faith community is a shared experience that binds us together although we may not always understand it as such. Too often we concentrate on the divisions that exist between our churches listing the things that divide us, all those reasons why unity hasn’t come just yet!  Even though we may belong to different Christian families, our vocation to be Children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus , teaches us that there is also much that we share. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - Baptism of the Lord - 12 January  | Fr Robin Gibbons, Baptism of the Lord
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - Baptism of the Lord - 12 January
If you go to Ravenna, or any of our early Christian basilicas you will find a mosaic of Christ being baptized by John high in the dome of the baptistery, most often a separate building.. a powerful artistic statement about the importance of baptism. These early images can still be seen in the icons of our eastern Byzantine churches, Orthodox and Catholic. There in a landscape where the very hills seem to lift themselves up in praise like so many stone hands, the river Jordan splits the scene in two. Read More ...

Text: Jean Vanier at Heythrop College |  Jean Vanier, Michael Holman SJ, Gemma Simmonds CJ, Heythrop College
Text: Jean Vanier at Heythrop College
I want to tell you about something Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in in prison while he was waiting to be guillotined... in this article he says 'I'm not quite sure who I am. Some people say I'm great. They say nice things about me. They say I'm peaceful. And then there's me. What I feel is anguish, fear. All sorts of things. Who am I? Am I what people say who I am or am I what I feel?' Then he ends up and in a prayer to Jesus says: 'I don't quite know who i am. All I know is that I am thine.' We don't know quite who we are but we belong to Jesus. And that's the only important thing. Read More ...
Jo Siedlecka

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons:  Feast of the Epiphany  | Epiphany Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Feast of the Epiphany
Have you ever experienced a sudden flash of insight when something that has puzzled you suddenly makes sense, that ‘eureka’ moment as all the bits fall into place? That’s what epiphany means, to make everything clear! So what is being shown in this feast, the last of the twelve days of Christmas? We know Matthew’s Gospel story so well, the Magi travelling from lands afar in response to a quest for meaning and truth. It’s a story about discovery of a ‘star of wonder’ shining bright leading those wise characters to seek the one true king,  Read More ...

New Year's Day Reflection with Canon Pat Browne | Canon Pat Browne, Holy Apostles, Pimlico, New Year's Day
New Year's Day Reflection with Canon Pat Browne
Canon Pat Browne gave the following homily early this morning at the New Year's Eve Midnight Mass at Holy Apostles, Pimlico, central London. (The Mass began at the same time as the fireworks celebrations on the river Thames nearby) ..... Who do you think you are? Is the name of a popular programme on TV at the moment. To put it another way, as we begin this new year, I ask you, “Do you know who you are?” A native American warrior, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons on Feast of the Holy Family | Fr Robin Gibbons, Feast of the Holy Family
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons on Feast of the Holy Family
One of the interesting features of the family of Jesus is how it reaches into many situations of our own time. We live in an age where ( at least in the West) traditional family units have been undergoing change. One of the facts of contemporary life is the fact that many start a family and then get married, other situations such as divorce may mean that children belong to a unit where there is only one natural parent, the other, rather like Joseph takes on a new family. I am glad that the Pope is reminding us to take a more pastoral attitude to these situations. Read More ...

Text: Archbishop Nichols Midnight Mass Homily,  Westminster Cathedral | Archbishop Nichols Midnight Mass Homily 2013, Westminster Cathedral
Text: Archbishop Nichols Midnight Mass Homily, Westminster Cathedral
Our Christmas Mass celebrates a simple yet astounding event –so simply expressed yet so radical in its reach. Tonight we celebrate God coming to his people. Tonight he comes to us, in the birth of Jesus, God-with-us. We gather as a people who fret and puzzle over the reality of God, at times resisting the invitation to believe and at times protesting against it. Yet here we see the coming of God into our midst, into our history, simply to be with us, a babe, without threat or coercion, just wanting to say ‘Here I am. Come to me.’ Read More ...

Pope Francis: Urbi et Orbi Message - Christmas  Day 2013  | Pope Francis: Urbi et Orbi Message - Christmas  Day 2013
Pope Francis: Urbi et Orbi Message - Christmas Day 2013
Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, Happy Christmas! I take up the song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. It is a song which unites heaven and earth, giving praise and glory to heaven, and the promise of peace to earth and all its people. I ask everyone to share in this song: it is a song for every man or woman who keeps watch through the night, who hopes for a better world, who cares for others while humbly seeking to do his or her duty. Read More ...

Text: Pope Francis at Christmas Midnight Mass | Pope Francis at Christmas Midnight Mass
Text: Pope Francis at Christmas Midnight Mass
“In this night, as the spirit of darkness enfolds the world, there takes place anew the event which always amazes and surprises us: the people who walk see a great light.” In his homily during Christmas Midnight Mass, Pope Francis reflected on “the mystery of walking and seeing.” Walking, he said, brings to mind the whole of salvation history, beginning with Abraham, our father in faith. “From that time on, our identity as believers has been that of a people making its pilgrim way towards Read More ...

Text: Archbishop of Birmingham at Midnight Mass | Text: Archbishop of Birmingham at Midnight Mass
Text: Archbishop of Birmingham at Midnight Mass
In his Christmas homily, the Archbishop of Birmingham, Bernard Longley highlights how the coming of Christ at Christmas calls us all to step out of our comfort zones and reach out to others in need. “God’s coming into the world inspires us as Christians to reach out ourselves so that the mission of Jesus Christ becomes our mission too. We can all be people and communities who reach out to others in need. Whether that be the needs of refugees and economic migrants who “are often anxious and fearful about the future and feel they have no one to turn to.” Read More ...

Christmas Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons | Christmas Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
Christmas Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
I wonder if there has ever really been a peaceful Christmas? I don’t only mean one in which conflict and war do not figure, alas these things are always with us, but also our personal and communal disturbances and skirmishes at home and work . Paradoxically settings of conflict and disturbance sometimes bring out what is best in the Christmas story, as did that famous Christmas truce of the First World War, for despite our worst behaviour the capacity for generous love and reconciliation are always there. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  22 December 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  22 December 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 22 December 2013
The figure of Joseph, Son of David, the husband of Mary and guardian of Jesus hardly appears in the Gospel story, but when he does certain characteristics emerge even in the scanty references. Matthew places him in a relationship with Mary, she is betrothed to him. Finding her pregnant, Joseph doesn’t make a public issue out of it, nor does he follow the normal pattern of divorce, for some reason he takes the quiet thoughtful way, which would allow Mary some dignity and the possibility of a life. We could guess at the stigma attached to her situation  Read More ...

Reflection: How do we pass on our faith?  | Gaudete Sunday, joyful Catholics, Canon Pat Browne
Reflection: How do we pass on our faith?
Mum has just collected the kids from school and arrived home. Ben says: "Mum I'm hungry." .. “Dinner will be in an hour love. Eat a banana to keep you going”. 10 minutes later she finds him getting through a packet of biscuits which he has just rescued from the cupboard. “You're not to eat those now”. “Why not, I'm hungry”. “Cos I said so. In this house you do what you're told. You don't eat biscuits just before you're going to have your dinner. Now do as you're told or you go to bed early.  Read More ...
Canon Pat Browne

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15 December  2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15 December  2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15 December 2013
As we come to the turning of the year with our shortest day before us, many will, I am sure be feeling worn out with the year’s work, and the frantic preparations for Christmas. It’s an odd time, when darkness and coldness chill not only the body but dampen the spirit a little too. I can think of sick and housebound people who find this a very depressing part of the year, and then there is our wider world with its huge problems that we see on our televisions and hear on the news. Read More ...

ADVENT REFLECTIONS -  Week 3: Care for the environment | Advent Resources: Week Three
ADVENT REFLECTIONS - Week 3: Care for the environment
Known as Gaudete Sunday, the Latin for ‘Rejoice’, this marks the half-way point in our Advent preparation. We rejoice in joyful anticipation of the birth of our Saviour and reflect on our responsibility to care for all creation. Let the wilderness and the dry lands exult, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom, let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil, let it rejoice and sing for joy. Isaiah 35:1 Take good care of creation. St. Francis wanted that. If we don’t take care of the environment, there’s no way of getting around it. Pope Francis, 22 April 2013 Read More ...
Anne O'Connor

Archbishop Nichols gives ‘Pause for Thought’ on BBC Radio 2 | Archbishop Vincent Nichols. Pause For Thought
Archbishop Nichols gives ‘Pause for Thought’ on BBC Radio 2
Today, 10 December, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, spoke on ‘Pause for Thought’, hosted by Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2. During his reflection Archbishop Vincent reflected on the need for the ‘deeper joy’ of Christmas to be expressed in an engaging and compelling manner: “There is a deeper joy, a joy that isn’t so fleeting, that deepens with time. It's the joy of knowing that the child born in the stable is the real presence of God in our midst, the joy of knowing the single most important thing for our existence: that we are loved by God!” Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 8  December  2013 |  Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 8  December  2013, the Jesse Tree
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 8 December 2013
The Jesse tree was a much loved image in the religious art of the medieval world, we had some great examples in Britain and a few survived the destructive forces of reformation iconoclasm. The design always starts with the recumbent Jesse, out of whose body ‘a shoot springs’ and the tree grows through prophet and king until it blossoms in the Virgin Mary holding her child, the scion thrusting from his roots, just as Isaiah describes it. But Isaiah goes on to portray a world surrounding this tree,  Read More ...

ADVENT REFLECTIONS 2013 -  Week 2: A Church for the Poor | Advent Reflection week 2, Anne O'Connor
ADVENT REFLECTIONS 2013 - Week 2: A Church for the Poor
As we continue our Advent preparation Pope Francis reminds us of the poor in our midst. Are we too caught up with planning gifts and celebrations to focus on the real meaning of Christmas? How can we live more simply to allow everyone to have a fair share of the world’s resources? Francis of Assisi is the man of peace. That is how the name came into my heart. For me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation. Read More ...
Anne O'Connor

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 1 December  2013 | Robin Gibbons, First Sunday in Advent
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 1 December 2013
The long dark nights in our northern hemisphere are broken during this month of December by the glimmering of lights; there are a number of religious festivals during the month that catch the warmth, comfort and excitement of illuminating the night. We are already into the festival time of Chanukkah, the Jewish feast of Lights which began on the eve of 27 November and ends on 5 December. St Nicholas shows up with joy and gifts especially in the Netherlands on December 6 and in the darker corners of Northern Europe on her feast day December 13, Saint Lucy  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - Feast of Christ the King -  24 November  2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons, Feast of Christ the King 24 November  2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - Feast of Christ the King - 24 November 2013
That stark mocking inscription above the cross of Jesus, ‘This is the King of the Jews’, reminds us that the feast of Christ the King can never ever be about the triumphant rule of an absolute monarch over docile subjects. There is certainly no hint of that kingdom from the harsh voices taunting him on the cross, nor, let it be said in any revelation of the Risen Lord after his resurrection from the dead. What we are being led to is an understanding of the weakness of Christ who emptied himself to be with the lowest of the low and who will then in exaltation draw his friends close to him. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 17 November 2013  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 17 November 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 17 November 2013
Several years ago I had gone to visit my friend, the then Bishop of Salisbury, Dr David Stancliffe. We were meeting to discuss liturgical art, one of my specialties and wandering round that magnificent Early English Cathedral we came to the crossing and looked up at the arcading and the piers which bulge slightly. Bishop David then spoke words which have always haunted me whenever I enter a great building. "How long", he said, "do you think this Cathedral will last, because it will definitely collapse one day?".  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 November 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 November 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 November 2013
Brutality is not normally part of my weekly experiences, is it part of yours? I suppose I must consider my self blessed by the fact that I have not been imprisoned or beaten up or tortured like the story of the seven sons in the book of Maccabees, a raw and violent tale about unbelievable faith and hope in the God who not only raises us to life from death, but will redress the wrongs done to others . It comes from a period when the idea of resurrection was already present in Judaism. The sons are true martyrs, witnesses to the truth of the Torah, faithful unto death.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  3 November  2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  3 November  2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 3 November 2013
Have you ever suffered from the ‘unjustly dealt with syndrome’? I expect you have, we all have and it rankles, annoys makes us feel really cross that people do not understand or listen to our point of view. It happens all the time, it happened to Zacchaeus when people moaned and gossiped about Jesus going to stay at his house. Heaven knows what the gossips said, we aren’t told, but we do know Zacchaeus was having none of it. Luke says that he ‘stood’ his ground. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  27 October 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 27 October 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 27 October 2013
As the British summer time ends and we yet again change time the season seems to take on a slight tinge of melancholy. There are beautiful sunny days and wonderful experiences of frost touched trees and fields ahead but the falling leaves and the irascible weather with its gusts of rainy wind does make one think about life in a different way. Perhaps that’s a good thing; we need the changes. as the proverb says: 'there is a season for everything’. The great spiritual teachers knew this, and in guiding people on their search for God, help us discover that one of the keys  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 20 October 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 20 October 2013, Faith Matters
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 20 October 2013
Paul reminds us that Scripture is the primary ingredient for our life in and with God, not only is it ‘the wisdom that leads to salvation’- but it continually teaches us how to discover Christ and his kingdom. We are also reminded of the task we are given, to hand on its teaching to others (that’s the real meaning of tradition) by living and proclaiming through our lives the command of love. Scripture is one of the foundation stones of faith. But that doesn’t mean all scriptural texts hold equal weight. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 13 October 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 13 October 2013, 28th Sunday of the Year c
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 13 October 2013
Do you ever think that you are ungrateful? No? I certainly don’t as a rule, but the stories of Naaman the leper with Elisha and Jesus with the ten lepers have made me look again at the way I say thanks. I made myself revisit the way I acknowledge the gifts God has put in my way this past week. The story of Naaman is quite clear, after finding himself made clean in the Jordan he goes to Elisha, thanking God for the healing he has received but wanting to give thanks to Elisha as a well. The Prophet wants no thanks, after all what he is doing is no more than he has been called to, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  6 October 2013  | Sunday Reflection, Fr Robin Gibbons -  6 October 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 6 October 2013
Maybe I am getting old but tend to think that some of the behavioural problems we discover in our own society stems from the gap between our identity as members of a community and our understanding of our role as individuals, what we think we should be and who we actually are. Andy Warhol’s visionary statement about everyone having their 15 minutes of fame does seem to affect a lot of people who think that they are in a real sense ‘special ’. Celebrity culture doesn’t help either; we are lulled into a false sense of the ease of achieving fame and wealth. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 29 September 2013  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 29 September 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 29 September 2013
When I was younger the phrase ’in the bosom of Abraham’ used to amuse but perplex me, it conjured up all kinds of images, but what exactly did it mean? Well I know now, it’s a phrase that means Lazarus (in this instance) is reclining at table next to Abraham as the guest of honour at the feast of heaven, a picture that conjures up John reclining next to Jesus at the last supper. He is with the blessed whilst his old neighbour lies in torment, hungry and thirsty in Hades. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 22 September 2013 | Sunday Reflection, Fr Robin Gibbons, 22 September 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 22 September 2013
It is extraordinary how images from scripture can suddenly start haunting you. I find that because of my long monastic soaking in lectio divina’, letting the Word speak to ones heart and soul. In the passage from Luke about the unjust steward, I began to see that his behaviour was not the essential focus of my reflection, rather it was the attitude of his master. For me and I hope you, Jesus points out yet again that nothing is ever black and white in human life, positive things can emerge from bad situations, nothing in the end is ever lost. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15 September 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15 September 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15 September 2013
I doubt if there are any of us who do not know the parable of the Prodigal Son, or merciful Father if we want to really focus in on the real action! But before this particular story Luke places two small but intense images of loss and gain. The first is the good shepherd seeking for his lost sheep, the second is a poor woman anxiously searching for her lost drachma, one tenth of her total monetary possession. Both stories tie up very neatly with the story of the two sons and their father, they are in a real sense stories of loss and gain. Read More ...

Reflection on Feast of the Holy Cross with Fr Robin Gibbons | Feast of the Holy Cross, Fr Robin Gibbons
Reflection on Feast of the Holy Cross with Fr Robin Gibbons
We ought to make more of this great feast for it is observed by both eastern and western Christian churches. It is called by various names, the Exaltation of the Cross, the Triumph of the Cross, Holy Cross Day and in the Greek tradition, the Raising Aloft of the Precious and Life Giving Cross. The antiquity of the festival is indisputable for it commemorates two events in the first millennium of the Christian Church. The first marks the consecration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335 which took place on two days,  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 8 September 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 8 September 2013, Hagia Sophia
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 8 September 2013
The great Church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, once Constantinople, is one of the wonders of the ancient world and still a sacred place for Eastern Christianity. Repaired many times, first a church, later a mosque and now a museum, it faces an uncertain future in today’s Turkey. Nevertheless its Christian ancestry cannot be hidden, holiness pervades the place. The great mosaics of the past still gaze on the travelling pilgrim, their Byzantine power still able to convey the sense of a divine world mixed in with our own. But it is the name that captures my imagination, Holy Wisdom, that attribute of God given to human beings so that they  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 1 September 2013
A favourite quote from scripture is the lovely phrase from the Prophet Micah, ‘what does the Lord ask of you ?… to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God’. Justice and love we can easily equate ourselves with, but humility? The call to humility weaves itself into our readings this week, it is seen as a prerequisite for knowing and understanding God. Somehow the image of us walking with God implies a relationship in which we have a degree of self insight and realism about ourselves. We accept our human limitations but also understand that God knows and loves us for that! Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 25 August 2013 | SUnday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 31 August 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 25 August 2013
Sometimes the imagery we find in scripture really touches us. Despite our very technological age some like the shepherd image still retains its fascination. On the other hand there as are some very difficult ones which do not sit well with contemporary societies. Patriarchal imagery that leaves out women does not harmonise with our concept of human life, nor does the punishing vengeful angry God help us understand the message of reconciliation and forgiveness let alone love. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 18 August 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 18 August 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 18 August 2013
I often spend time at Christ Church Cathedral Oxford, though it is our smallest medieval cathedral it has a tremendous sense of history and like most of our Anglican Cathedrals it continues on with the ‘sacrifice of praise each day, Matins and Evensong are sung or said and there is daily Eucharist celebrated. Around it are monuments to people of the past, one poignant cavalier tomb defiantly names Charles I as blessed martyr. The Becket window with its glorious medieval stained glass has still got the medieval figures of Blaise, Cuthbert Martin, Christ in Glory and the martyrdom of Becket  Read More ...

Reflection for Feast of the Assumption with Fr Robin Gibbons | Reflection,  Feast of the Assumption, Fr Robin Gibbons
Reflection for Feast of the Assumption with Fr Robin Gibbons
The Assumption (or for Eastern Catholics the Dormition) of the Virgin Mary takes place this Thursday, 15 August. There is still some wonderful iconography of the Assumption of our Lady in medieval English Churches for not every single piece of art was destroyed during the Reformation and Commonwealth period. Some of the most exquisite images remain almost as fresh as the day they were finely painted in the many manuscripts we still have in our great libraries. Other statues or fragments of medieval glass remain as testament to careful  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 11 August 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 11 August 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 11 August 2013
I don’t know about you, but I often get called to explain what I understand by faith. ‘What’s your faith about?’ is one of the most frequent questions. Being a priest and a theologian I ought to have an answer ready, rather like GK Chesterton’s famous Fr Brown, who in gentle but serious tones always managed to pull out from somewhere a quote or example that came straight from St Thomas to explain the workings of God in human affairs. But I am neither GK Chesterton nor Fr Brown, for I sometimes find it difficult to express in simple terms what my own faith is about.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 4 August 2013 | Sunday Reflection, Fr Robin Gibbons,  4 August 2013, Little Prince, Antoine de St-Exupery,
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 4 August 2013
‘All is vanity’ says the Preacher. Those words have figured in so many old sermons and prayer books about the spiritual life . ’Look for the things in heaven' says St Paul in his letter to the Colossians, ‘not on the things of earth!’. Frankly I disagree with that perception, because they start with a negative premise, that somehow this earth isn’t the ‘real thing’. Well maybe earth isn’t the New Jerusalem or the Heavenly City, but as Jesus says so often, the Kingdom of God is to be found in and on it! Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28 July 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28 July 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28 July 2013
The whole business of Sodom and Gomorrah gets a bit out of hand from time to time. Ignorant people suggest that the sins of the people were forbidden homosexual practices. However a clearer re-reading of the text knocks that old canard on the head! Whatever went on it was certainly more to do with total inhospitality, a lack of basic respect leading to a repulsive attack on strangers. I wonder why people who use this and other passages in the Old and New Testaments won’t or don’t put it into context. Maybe it’s too easy to attack what we don’t like or understand  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 20-21 July 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 20-21 July 2013, 16th Sunday of the Year C
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 20-21 July 2013
I have never thought that Jesus was either telling off Martha or making an unfair comparison of her with Mary. That goes right against the grain of what we know was his deep friendship with them and their much loved brother Lazarus. When I was a Benedictine novice that Gospel was still being used to explain the primacy of the contemplative life over the active, the wisdom of life’s experience has made me question that image as well. What seems to be taking place is an expression of care for Martha, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 14 July 2013 | Robin Gibbons, Good Samaritan
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 14 July 2013
As with many of the parables of Jesus, the story of the good Samaritan has a clear story line that anybody can pick up, a traveler, robbed, wounded and possibly left to die by the wayside is seen by several people two of who are Jewish religious figures, they pass on by. A Samaritan, one outside the faith of Israel looks after him, takes him to an inn not only paying for board; lodging and care but promises to return to see the man on his way back. So far it is quite clear what Jesus is doing, answering a particular question  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 7 July 2013  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 7 July 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 7 July 2013
The Lord sends out seventy two people, thirty six pairs, to prepare others to receive him when he came afterwards. In his name they were commissioned to behave in a simple and itinerant manner, travel lightly, bless people with peace, cure the sick, exorcise those possessed and proclaim that the Kingdom of God is near. In this image we can see the pastoral technique of the later Church, catechizing in stages, much as we do when we prepare and instruct others who are journeying to faith and then the practical side of faith, loving service of others in caring,  Read More ...

Sunday Reflections with Fr Robin Gibbons - 30 June 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 30 June 2013
Sunday Reflections with Fr Robin Gibbons - 30 June 2013
Shortly after I made my first vows as a Benedictine, I can remember one of the older monks quoting the phrase used by Jesus, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God’. He was referring to the journey of religious life and fidelity to that monastic life. As my own ecclesial journey has certainly been adventurous, ending up as a priest in one of the Eastern Catholic Churches, I don’t quite accept the inference that vocation or calling in the lord's field means that we can’t change our furrow, in fact as any farmer would tell you,  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 June 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 June 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 June 2013
When I teach students Christology, I remind them at the beginning of the course, that what we are about to study are the many different historical ways people have tried to answer the question put by Jesus to his disciples: ‘who do you say I am?’. But its more than a historical question, we have to answer it too. The word Christ means the anointed one, the messiah and we are called Christians because we believe his is the Messiah, the son of God, the Word incarnate in human life yet risen in glory! How then do we find him to answer that question put to us?  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 16 June 2013  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 16 June 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 16 June 2013
The Gospel never makes for easy reading or listening and it can be downright uncomfortable at times. It challenges us at every level to start living out the truth of the Kingdom and to make our own the great commandment to love in all its aspects, especially the Beatitudes. That means that each one of us, if we decide to take that step of actively following Jesus, will meet in our lives the challenges that come from this radical discipleship where we will be at odds with much of prevailing culture, yes even culture that has been accepted in the Church. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 June 2013 | Sunday Reflection, Fr Robin Gibbons, 9 June 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 June 2013
The first reading and gospel talk about the return to life of a widow’s son through God’s response to heartfelt prayer. We can read into this a number of things, the plight of the widow and orphan as marginalized people, but nevertheless the little ones so beloved of God, ignored by normal society it is only through recourse to God and those who are God’s disciples that provides the answer to what might have been a calamity, death and poverty. Then there is the deep reminder to the rest of us that it is in God’s gracious love we find our answers, it is the prayer of the psalmist, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 June 2013 - Corpus Christi  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 June 2013 - Corpus Christi
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 June 2013 - Corpus Christi
One of the hallmarks of my own early upbringing as a northern English Catholic was the vibrant history, told to us of the recusant Catholic community who (to misquote a famous hymn) 'braved dungeon, fire and sword' to uphold the Catholic faith and a particular focus on the celebration of the Mass. At the heart of this ancestral faith community was a deep devotion to the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic elements, what we know and call the ‘Blessed Sacrament’. This is one of the more ancient Roman Catholic traditions, the Eucharistic elements  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 26 May 2013 | Trinity Sunday,Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 26 May 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 26 May 2013
How do you see God? How do you try to express what God is and means to you? It is difficult isn’t it? The writer of Proverbs grapples with the dilemma of trying to express the inexpressible, suggesting that humans can connect and know the Divine One through the route of wonder and worship which leads us to open the depths of our hearts and imaginations. We learn a deeper more subtle way to know and understand God. We know so little of what God is, men and women though the ages have sought that understanding, have embarked on the task of discovering God,  Read More ...

Pentecost Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 19 May 2013 | Fr Robin Gibbons is an Eastern Rite Chaplain for the Melkite Greek Catholics in Britain.
Pentecost Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 19 May 2013
In one of his sermons Oscar Romero reminded people that God exists outside the Church, it may seem obvious to us, but a lot of people seem to think that the workings of the Holy Spirit are only to be found in liturgy, sacramental celebrations and the structures we call our church institutions. There is also a tendency to imagine that Pentecost is the first manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Both these misconceptions are to be firmly resisted. Looking back into the Hebrew Bible we see evidence of the Spirit of God at work powerfully, gently, lovingly as well as forcefully transforming  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 12 May 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 12 May 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 12 May 2013
There is a nice phrase that somehow captures one part of the Ascension, that is ‘the leave taking of the Lord’, I know it comes from Eastern Christianity and I’ve heard it used to express the feast day itself, for me it conjures up several layers of meaning, leaving as in going away, departing; saying good bye but only for a while rather like the French say au revoir - until we meet again and taking leave in the sense of having a break! Now I know that in some ways the theological implications of these three ways Read More ...

Reflections on Feast of the Ascension | Thinking Faith, Feast of the Ascension,Philip Endean SJ,Jack Mahoney, Damian Howard SJ
Reflections on Feast of the Ascension
The Feast of the Ascension strikes many Christians as the poor relative of the two rather bigger celebrations which top and tail the long and joyful season of Eastertide: Easter itself, and Pentecost. But Damian Howard SJ, writing in Thinking Faith, ascribes to this feast the utmost significance. What are we to make of the story of Jesus being taken up into a cloud, an episode that not only sounds like mythology but also violates our modern sense of space? In between our celebrations of the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter and of the gift of the Spirit to His disciples, the ‘birthday of the Church’  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 May 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 May 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 May 2013
I wonder if we really understand just how momentous were the events mentioned in the reading from the book of Acts? To us, hundreds of years removed from the events the dietary laws of Judaism and the issue of circumcision seems very remote and even rather arcane. Has it anything to do with us we can ask? Well yes it has and it does! This meeting in Jerusalem was one of the most significant milestones in Christian history, it changed the course of the early community and put them on a path of freedom from servitude to the old law. It was also a huge pastoral response  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28 April 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28 April 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28 April 2013
In a week in which two Orthodox bishops were kidnapped in Syria and the plight of people in the Middle East gets worse, our minds perhaps turn to our brothers and sisters in the faith who suffer so much. Perhaps we can hold fast to the words from the book of the Apocalypse and pray that they may come to fulfillment; ‘…his name is God-with-them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death…..the world of the past has gone.’ That hope is ever present in our faith journey, it is a constant refrain in the liturgies of both east and west  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 21 April 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 21 April 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 21 April 2013
Who are those sheep that Jesus refers to as belonging to him in John’s Gospel? The inference gleaned is that they are those people who have listened to his voice, entered into some relationship with him because he ‘knows them’ and as marks of that connection they are’ his’ disciples, following him! This passage has a lovely feel to it because it strikes hard at some of our modern anxieties, unlike the uncertainty offered by our world, the anxious search for meaning in life, the yearning to belong and the constant seeking after truth, Jesus simply tells us we can expect  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbon - 14 April 2013  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbon - 14 April 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbon - 14 April 2013
It took me a long time to work out just what obedience might mean, as a child and a Catholic one at that I was used to hearing that we should obey the commandments and also those who were our superiors. Later as a monk I put up with the concept of obedience that suggested somebody else might often know better that I did what was necessary and right for me, the tradition of the Abbot in the Benedictine tradition hinges on obedience and the Abbot’s discernment for one’s journey. But it was no good for me, a rebellious spirit couldn’t quite fathom things like Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 7 April 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 7 April 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 7 April 2013
The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square is a wonderful resource, for those of us who are Christians. The galleries contain fantastic examples of art from important periods (early mediaval to the 20th century) which testify to the continual vibrancy of our faith and the wonderful way in which each age accepts and understands Jesus. I would encourage anybody to go if they have the chance. The development of Christian art, like that of the Liturgies of the Church ( both east and west) is very much a process of adaptation and inculturation,  Read More ...

Pope’ Francis’ Easter Vigil Homily | Pope’ Francis’ Easter Vigil Homily
Pope’ Francis’ Easter Vigil Homily
... Jesus no longer belongs to the past, but lives in the present and is projected towards the future; he is the everlasting 'today' of God. This is how the newness of God appears to the women, the disciples and all of us: as victory over sin, evil and death, over everything that crushes life and makes it seem less human. And this is a message meant for me and for you, dear sister, dear brother. How often does Love have to tell us: Why do you look for the living among the dead? Our daily problems and worries can wrap us up in ourselves, in sadness and bitterness... and that is where death is.  Read More ...

Easter Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons | Easter Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
Easter Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
In the Eastern Church the position of Mary of Magdala has never been associated with the penitent woman or Mary of Bethany but always understood as a virtuous woman, the first witness to the resurrection, the myrrh-bearer going to anoint Jesus in his tomb, who is equal to the apostles. In fact in the Latin Church in the 10th century she was also referred to as apostolarum apostala, apostle to the apostles, for as we see in John’s account of the resurrection it is Mary who confirms the faith of Peter and John, enabling them to discover what she has witnessed, that the Lord is risen! Read More ...

Reflection on Holy Saturday with Fr Robin Gibbons - 30 March 2013 | Fr Robin Gibbons, Holy Saturday, descent into hell
Reflection on Holy Saturday with Fr Robin Gibbons - 30 March 2013
I’ve often meditated on that phrase in the Apostles Creed: ‘ he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead’. Whether you translate that as ‘descended to the dead’ or retain the starker version of hell (infernos) the inference is clear for the first part of Holy Saturday. The death of Christ was real, neither a mirage nor some cover up. There is finality about his death on the cross with the hurried ad hoc burial that followed. My own meditations have taken me into some curious places,  Read More ...

Holy Thursday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28 March 2013
Holy Thursday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28 March 2013
It is interesting that of all the direct gospel commands of the Lord, the one found in John’s Gospel about the foot washing is more ignored than not by many of our Churches, and yet John records Jesus as saying, ‘you should wash each others feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you’. It is an insistent command. The act of footwashing seems to me to be intimately connected with the Eucharist itself, for it comes after the last supper and focuses our attention, not on the gift of the Lord’s Eucharistic presence to come, Read More ...

Palm Sunday: a day of two crowds | Fr Daniel Sandham, St John the Evangelist Anglican Church,  Brownswood, Palm Sunday procession
Palm Sunday: a day of two crowds
Today is a day of two crowds.
 
Firstly there is the crowd of ‘Hosanna’, the crowd we represent here in this liturgy of palms and procession. This is the crowd which claims Jesus as king, as Messiah, as the one who comes in the name of the Lord. This is the crowd which, with palms in their hands, welcomes Jesus into his city. 
Then there is another crowd. Later on in today’s liturgy we hear the Passion narrative. And, in this narrative, we encounter a very different crowd. This crowd is a crowd which shouts ‘Crucify’, which convicts an innocent man, Read More ...

Palm Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 March 2013 | Palm Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 March 2013
Palm Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 March 2013
What a curious mixture the Mass liturgy of Palm Sunday is! The introductory reminder that Lent is over and Holy Week upon us, the processional entry, symbolising Christ’s own entrance into Jerusalem has an aspect of expectant joy, the Gospel showing us the joyful attitude of the disciples proclaiming blessings on the King. Yet the rest of the liturgy shifts the mood to focus on humility and preparation for that last supper, his last journey, his passion and death. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Sunday 17 March 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Sunday 17 March 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Sunday 17 March 2013
The poignancy of the story of the woman brought before Jesus and condemned for committing adultery lies not only in the fact that he would not condemn her but forgave her sin, but that in mercy he also allowed those who had possibly perjured themselves and therefore faced a similar fate to the woman, to have that moment of grace. This moment, where they recognized their own sinfulness, compounded by their intolerance and hypocrisy, is as much a part of the story as the central figure of Jesus and the woman.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 March 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 March 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 March 2013
Shame and guilt can be devastating for all of us whether deserved or not, the effects can last for years and in some cases a lifetime, but normally we have to deal with the situation and in simple terms learn to live and cope with it! At some point though we all need that sense of release, that somehow we have been forgiven. I thought about that release when reading through today’s extract from the book of Joshua, what struck me was the way in which God’s forgiveness, the lifting of shame, can be a totally positive experience a new start, a way  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 3 March 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 3 March 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 3 March 2013
Despite the rather grim tone of Paul’s warnings to the Corinthians not to fall into sin ….or else, we should also note how the deeper refrain of compassion beats strongly in the first reading and the gospel. In the account of the burning bush we meet one of the most significant hierophanies in scripture, God heralded by the fire in the midst of the bush, Moses realising that this was indeed holy ground, so holy he had to take off his shoes and veil his face from the presence, but instead of chastisement for sins and a reckoning of faults, God gives two significant gifts to Israel through Moses,  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 24 February 2013 | Fr Robin Gibbons, Second Sunday in Lent
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 24 February 2013
One of the greatest feasts of the Eastern Christian calendar is that of the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, for it is linked with part of their spiritual tradition of the indwelling light of God in us. Somehow the image of the Transfiguration, Jesus in the midst of Moses and Elijah, bathed in brilliant white light, standing at the top of the mountain, whilst the three apostles lie sleeping below is perhaps one of the most powerful images in iconography. The scene invites us to reflect, to stop still and in silence, not word, soak up that light  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - First Sunday of Lent - 17 February 2013   | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - First Sunday of Lent - 17 February 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - First Sunday of Lent - 17 February 2013
What do we make of the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness? Anybody who has spent time in a desert environment will realize that these encounters are not simply hallucinations or the workings out of some psycho-drama in the mind, in religious tradition the desert is a place of meeting, where stripped of almost everything we begin to discover the power of the spiritual world in both negative and positive aspects. Faced with hunger Jesus is tempted to do something different - alter the landscape of the desert to create what he needs, stone to bread, but he refuses this offer Read More ...

Ash Wednesday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons | Ash Wednesday with Fr Robbin Gibbons
Ash Wednesday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
The opening words of the second reading from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, ‘We are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us’ have a prophetic ring this Lent. Pope Benedicts resignation somehow touches those words and makes them a message of hope, humility and, as always with this Pope, teaching. For Catholics this Lent will be a unique spiritual journey, not only because of the liturgical year and the traditions of Lent, but because Pope Benedict’s resignation is one of his gifts to the Church and something we all need to reflect upon.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 February  2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Ribbons - 10 January 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 February 2013
We forget sometimes how ancient parts of our liturgical tradition can be, rooted as it is deep in Judaism amongst other sources. Isaiah’s vision of the Lord is accompanied by a chant we use at Mass, the ‘ Holy, holy,holy ‘, that is tradition! That great encounter with the presence of the Most High, the mystery of the Lord filling the Temple can only evoke a response of praise and wonder but also of deep humility when Isaiah realizes that even a sinner can have access to God and receive forgiveness in that moment of acceptance. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 3 February 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 3 February 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 3 February 2013
There seems to be some shifting in public perceptions of religion and not in a negative way, recent news articles on the new Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Justin Welby, suggest that he is not the epitaph on a dying Anglicanism but represents a new challenge to the established order of things and seem sympathetic to the Christian tradition in these islands. The same goes for the Catholic community as for all Christians. Despite all the negativity about religion, we stand at a crossroads where many of the States hegemonies cannot longer hold and where, as of old,  Read More ...

Ron Rolheiser, OMI reflects on the beauty of light and morality | Ron Rolheiser OMI
Ron Rolheiser, OMI reflects on the beauty of light and morality
.... God is light! Scripture tells us that. That's more than metaphor. God is the author of all that is, physical and spiritual, and in the refraction of light we get to see a little bit of what God looks like on the inside. In a rainbow we get to see, physically see, something of God. Small wonder a rainbow can take your breath away. Of course God isn't physical, but God is the ground of all being, the physical no less than the spiritual, and in the refraction of light we get to see something of the beauty of God. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 27 January 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 27 January 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 27 January 2013
Ezra the priest reads the Law to the assembly of Israel in this Sundays first reading from Nehemiah, an action supported by others who helped the people to understand and accept the gift that the Law of God was for them and to place the reading of the law in the context of worship and praise, for as Ezra said, ‘the joy of the Lord is your stronghold’. This act, a covenant between God and the people continues on in the Assembly of the Church for worship, for each Sunday we listen to the New Law of Christ, Read More ...
Fr Robin Gibbons

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 20 January 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 20 January 2013, Wedding at Cana
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 20 January 2013
I want to encourage all who wonder about Jesus to think of him as someone who loved life, loved people and excused many of our foibles. The Gospel this Sunday places him right at the heart of a very human party, a wedding at Cana. We all know about weddings, the joys, the hopes, the heartfelt promises, but also the very real encounter of human beings in their rawness. Weddings bring out the best, but also the worst in our nature. I dare you to think of any wedding you have attended Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  13 January 2013 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  13 January 2013 - Baptism of the Lord
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 13 January 2013
The Baptism of the Lord - I don’t suppose any of us take water for granted, if we do then we must have lived an extremely sheltered life in recent months, rain and floods following on from shortage and restrictions has been the pattern which many of us are all too familiar with and it’s miserable for many living near rivers or on flood plains. Those two extremes, too much or too little characterise so much of our world.  Read More ...

Are you a robot when it comes to your faith? | Fr Stephen Wang, robot, The Creed
Are you a robot when it comes to your faith?
Fr Stephen Wang writes on his blog: Are you a robot when it comes to reciting the Creed each Sunday? Do you hear what you are saying? Do you understand what you are hearing? Do you believe what you understand? Do you live what you believe? Do you share with others why you are living the way you do? This wonderful video was used on a retreat I went to over the New Year, and it's been going around Facebook since then. Here it is, in case you haven't seen it yet: Read More ...

Sunday Reflection: Fr Robin Gibbons on Feast of the Epiphany | Sunday Reflection: Fr Robin Gibbons on Feast of the Epiphany
Sunday Reflection: Fr Robin Gibbons on Feast of the Epiphany
In recent years the way we use our Christmas break has changed significantly, a lot of people now tend to take off either before or after New Year and travel to foreign lands. Some seek the ice and snow for skiing and winter sports, others journey south to warmer climes where the sunshine drives out the grey sky and damp cold. Of course the vast majority of us stay put and all of us return to work, hopefully restored a little, but even so we begin to cast our thoughts and minds to future breaks. I think it’s very natural, winter around this time of year can be very depressing once festivities are over, we all need something  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 30 December 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 30 December 2012,
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 30 December 2012
Holy Family Sunday. The concept of happy families is one which permeates our romantic notions of culture, I’m not sure what it really means, is there ever a perfect family? I doubt it and even the Holy Family doesn’t give us quite the model we expect, for a start the description is certainly of an oddly matched couple, Joseph who is described as being a just man, but very troubled about Mary’s pregnancy, having to be prompted into careful action by the messengers of God, the angels coming in dreams. Read More ...

Bishop Kieran Conry: Pastoral Letter on Feast of the Holy Family | Bishop Kieran Conry, Feast of the Holy Family, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton
Bishop Kieran Conry: Pastoral Letter on Feast of the Holy Family
Bishop Kieran Conry of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton has issued the following pastoral letter for the weekend following Christmas for the Feast of the Holy Family.... A family in one of our parishes in Surrey had two girls from Africa staying with them recently, and the mother was telling me about some of the questions that arose as they had to begin to get used to another culture. One evening she prepared a meal and sat the two girls down with her own two daughters. Read More ...

Text: Archbishop Vincent Nichols' Midnight Mass homily | Text: Archbishop Vincent Nichols' Midnight Mass homily
Text: Archbishop Vincent Nichols' Midnight Mass homily
"There is a most unpromising introduction to the proclamation of the birth of Christ, as we have heard it this night, in the Gospel of St Luke. A census of all the people had been ordered. Now censuses are never popular, especially not this one, imposed by an occupying force, a deeply hated form of government. Censuses are instruments of control. Once the information has been gathered then unwanted consequences follow: an increase in taxation or a wider conscription into the army, for example.  Read More ...

Christmas Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons | Christmas Reflection, Fr Robin Giubbons
Christmas Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
The story of the Nativity of Jesus as told to us through the Gospel writers, is a tale of little loves in a darkened world, loves that light up a flame that never dies even in the worst of times. I don’t know about you but every Christmas as an adult has been a bitter sweet experience, there is joy and anticipation, excitement and discovery, that childlike expression of wonder. And yet there is also the painful expression of human suffering of the lost and lonely, the unwanted ones of brokenness that hurts and separation that cannot yet be bridged.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 December 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 December 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 23 December 2012
The fun some people have had with the Mayan calendar predictions of a great catastrophe on December 21st caught imaginations, I’m not sure how many people took the threat seriously but it did spark interest in how an ancient civilization saw the passage of time and its meaning. Perhaps because we are largely conditioned to a daily timetable prolonged by artificial light and a 24 hour clock. The yearly rhythm in our country is not based on the agricultural cycle of nature, but seems conditioned to several festivals around which a great deal of retail therapy occurs, so we get out of touch  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Joe Ryan - 16 December 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Joe Ryan 16 December 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Joe Ryan - 16 December 2012
It is no wonder this Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called ‘Gaudete Sunday’ – that is ‘REJOICING’ Sunday. Read through or listen to the readings carefully. How many references are there to ‘joy’, ‘happy’, ‘dance’ and ‘rejoice’? Yes, we are to called to rejoice because the Lord is near. We all need the power of God that carries us through difficult times and the support of others which helps us face the reality of our own weakness and limitations. On Friday there was the terrible shooting at the school in America Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 December 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 December 2012,(Advent 2 Year C)
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 December 2012
At some point in our journey of faith we have to get to grips with scripture, not as a set of writings, not even as a guide for life but as an encounter with the Word that is God. This Sunday, the first reading from Baruch and the Gospel account from Luke about John the Baptist have at their heart a call by the word of God, for both emphasize the aspect of that call, in Baruch the children of Jerusalem are called to rejoicing and to remember that they are being led by the light of God’s glory to journey to a new Jerusalem, accompanied by mercy and justice as their companions. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 December 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 December 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 December 2012
During the week we spend a lot of time waiting for things. Particularly at this time of year people who commute know the utter frustration of delays and cancellation to our transport often due to adverse weather, whilst those who drive cars find a new spiritual challenge to the virtue of patience in long queues caused by road works, accidents or the sheer volume of traffic. But there are many different types of waiting and not of all of them are negatively stressful, there’s the anticipation of something exciting or good, such as a new baby, holiday, birthday or anniversary, of journeys to meet people we love or waiting for them to come to us. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 25 November 2012 | Father Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 25 November 2012
If you live in Britain then you live in a kingdom, and the signs are discreet, but they are everywhere. The sign is a crown. It is there on the mailboxes and postage stamps. It is to be found in the courts of justice and on the uniforms of the armed services. There is a crowned head on the coins and notes that we carry in our purses and wallets. To a casual observer it might speak of hierarchy, with the ruler at the top. Actually, the role of the monarch is to represent justice, integrity and fairness. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 18 November 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 18 November 2012
As the Church year draws to a close we find the readings often turn to sombre warnings. This language, with its bold images, can be rather alarming, especially when it refers to the end times. Often it seems to fit our world. Look around you and what do you see? Corruption in high places. Economic collapse. Rockets flying over the Holy Land. It’s tempting to think that this all fits the pattern of predictions about the end times, but the truth is that every age has its stresses and strains. Moreover, when we are tempted to read into our times the prophecies about the end, we ought to repeat to ourselves the words we hear Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 11 November 2012
With today’s gospel (Mark 12.38-44) there is the option of omitting the first paragraph, and you can see why. This paragraph makes clergy embarrassed, because it might apply to them, with its description of self-important religious functionaries wearing special robes. Well, it does apply to them – but it applies to lawyers also, because the scribes mentioned by Jesus also functioned as lawyers and judges. They adjudicated disputes and applied the law. In fact, these words of Jesus could even apply to administrators, because the scribes had a great deal of influence in how the community conducted its affairs.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 4 November 2012 | Sundary Reflection with Fr Terry - 4 November 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 4 November 2012
There are many today who are suspicious of exclusive claims in religion. Our critics say that to believe that we have the truth is dangerous. It may make us intolerant. Everybody, they say, should be respected, with their different understandings. Well, yes; but do the critics set about it the right way? This Sunday’s readings make us think about this because they shimmer with passionate commitment. In our first reading Moses is addressing the people before the entry into the Promised Land.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard -  28 October 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard -  28 October 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 28 October 2012
Most parishes have a few parishioners who are blind or deaf to some degree. I sometimes wonder how they feel about biblical references to such handicaps. Blindness is often used in scripture as an image for those who refuse to believe. Similarly, those who will not listen to the message of God are said to be deaf. And as for Jesus' injunction that if our eye offends us, we should pluck it out - well, that might sound rather different to those who have serious eye problems. Campaigners for the disabled have made us rightly aware of how our attitudes towards the disabled can be imprisoning for them. So today  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard: 21 October 2012  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard: 21 October 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard: 21 October 2012
If you have ever met an English person who believes in reincarnation, then you have probably met a bore or a fantasist. It is strange how people who believe in reincarnation almost always believe that they were something great in their past life. They were at the court of Marie Antoinette or commanders in Pharoah’s army. They were never medieval peasants walking behind a horse-drawn plough, or servants emptying bed-pans in a Victorian country house. It says to me that this desire to be someone special is deep-rooted in us.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard: 14 October 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard: 14 October 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard: 14 October 2012
Sometimes scripture should trouble us. Sometimes it should cut across our normal way of thinking and bring us up short. The Bible would have no weight if it simply confirmed every opinion of our opinionated minds. Today’s gospel is a case in point. In the shorter version (Mark 10.17-27) a young man asks Jesus for advice. The advice is to give everything away and follow him. Indeed, the advice is quite specific: ‘Sell everything you have and give the money to the poor’ (10.21). Imagine this: a young man or a young woman about to launch on their career asks you for advice.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 7 October 2012  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 7 October 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 7 October 2012
We live in a fractured world. We are divided by language, race, class, clan, tribe, and sadly even religion. Not to mention politics and warfare. Where and how is our world to find unity, peace, reconciliation? Our readings today point us the way. Usually we link the first reading and the gospel to find the theme, but I would suggest that today we can trace a theme of unity across all three readings. The creation story that we hear today (Genesis 2.18-24) is the second of two creation stories side by side. It is what the biblical scholars call the Yahwist creation account, which means that  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard   30 September 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard   30 September 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard 30 September 2012
Since the 16th century we have been familiar with the powerful story of Dr Faust. In this legend, Faust sells his soul to the Devil in return for 24 years of life during which he will enjoy every pleasure and have all the knowledge that he wishes. And so, power and pleasure come his way, for a time. Marlowe, Goethe, Wagner, Berlioz and others have all given us versions of the Faust story. The fascination of the story is of course that it illuminates human character. It is possible to live only for yourself, banishing from the mind all accountability. You can justify everything, believing that there will never be a day of reckoning.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 23 September 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 23 September 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 23 September 2012
In some ways the Letter of St James is unusual. It mixes shrewd advice and social commentary in a way that really speaks to our times, almost as if it were written only yesterday. In today's extract from James we find an extended meditation on the power of peacemaking and the roots of aggression. About aggression, the letter of James is quite blunt: it comes from our desire to have more. And more again. There is much here for us to ponder. Western culture and Western economies are built upon this desire.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 16 September 2012 | Fr Michael Hollings, Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 16 September 2012
Today I offer something not by myself, but written by the late Fr Michael Hollings. Of today’s scriptures he wrote: "One of the main issues of the Reformation was the discussion and disagreement about the theology of justification by faith alone. St James (James 2.14-18) in our second reading today cites the case of ‘someone who has never done a single good act but claims he has faith. Will that faith save him? and after citing another instance of uselessness by refusing to help someone in need, he goes on: 'Faith is like that – if good works do not go with it, it is dead.'  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard: 9 September 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard: 9 September 2012, eugenics, abortion, Paralympics
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard: 9 September 2012
One of the signs that Nazi Germany was going down a poisonous road was the campaign to rid the country of its disabled citizens. They were deemed to be a 'drain' on resources. In addition they were considered to be of poor genetic stock, which eugenicists wanted to be neutralised. Eugenics believes that we can ‘breed’ an improved human race, rather like the breeding of cattle. And so, in the late 1930s, many of the German disabled were quietly put to death. It couldn't happen again, of course. And yet … many countries have abortion.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 2 September 2012 | Fr Terry Tastard, 2 September 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 2 September 2012
I remember the first time I went to a symphony concert. I sat expectantly and was taken aback to hear a great cacophony of noise. ‘What’s that?’ I asked my father, puzzled. ‘It’s the musicians tuning their instruments’ he told me. And of course, once that chore was over, the most beautiful music began, with ravishing harmonies. I sometimes think that spirituality is like those musicians tuning their instruments. Or at least, like the string players in the orchestra. They have to get the tension right. Too loose or too tight, the strings will not play true and will render music that is not quite right.  Read More ...

Holiday reading: How do you spell love? | Holiday Reading, Canon Pat Browne
Holiday reading: How do you spell love?
A man called Ali is in need of money and asks his boss to help him out. His boss sets him a challenge: if he can spend all night on the top of a mountain, he will receive a great reward; if he fails, he will have to work for free. The story continues: When he left the shop, Ali noticed that an icy wind was blowing. He felt afraid and decided to ask his best friend, Aydi, if he thought he was mad to accept the wager. After considering the matter for a moment, Aydi answered: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll help you.  Read More ...
Canon Pat Browne

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 5 August 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 5 August 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 5 August 2012
‘What is it that you really want? What are you really looking for in life?’ Today’s readings confront us with questions like this. You might think that we ought to know the answer to these questions. You might think that we could answer them straight away. But these questions can be strangely difficult to answer. Take the first reading from Exodus 16.2-4, 12-15. We live in an age where freedom is prized. We applaud people who seek freedom from oppression and do our best to support them.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 29  July 2012 | feeding of the five thousand, John 6.1-5, five barley loaves and two fish
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 29 July 2012
I think that there is something unsaid in today’s Gospel that we are meant to understand. In the feeding of the five thousand (John 6.1-5) we hear Andrew tell Jesus that there is a small boy with five barley loaves and two fish. But this prompts a question: ‘How did Andrew know what the boy had to offer?’ I think that the answer has to be that the boy has overheard Jesus and the disciples talking urgently with one another about how to feed the crowd. And he has stepped forward to offer through Andrew his own food for sharing. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 22 July 2012 | Sunday Reflection,   Fr Terry Tastard - 22 July 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 22 July 2012
Every society has strengths and weaknesses. Across the world, millions of people live in peasant societies. They grow their own food, they live in small communities, they probably barter rather than spend cash, of which they have little. Societies like this are closely-knit. That is their strength. However, in a peasant society, time is circular. The rhythm of the year is unchanging. Peasants do not expect things to be different for their children or their grandchildren. Life is a repetition. At the time of Jesus, the land of Palestine was in  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection: 15 July 2012
THERE IS NO SUNDAY REFLECTION TODAY AS FR TERRY TASTARD IS UNWELL. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 8 July 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 8 July 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 8 July 2012
On the first reading, Ezekiel 2.2-5, and 6: With the fall of Jerusalem in 597 BC, the Babylonians made sure that anybody from the leadership there was among those who were taken away into exile. Ezekiel, a priest, was one of those. In exile he had a strong sense of his call to prophetic speaking, that is to say, to speaking the truth as inspired by God. It was a difficult message. On the one hand he found that in exile the people of Judah were prone to lose heart and to seek comfort  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 1 July 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 1 July 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 1 July 2012
There is a mystery in death, and as we grow older we become more aware of this mystery. Death is a curtain, and behind it disappear our loved ones and our friends. It can be very hard to bear. If you have been at the bedside of a loved one who has passed away, you will have experienced the strangeness of the moment. Their body is still there, and yet, the person is not. It is as if the person you knew has gone. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 24 June 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 24 June 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 24 June 2012
In our fast-changing world, new careers, new spheres of work have emerged that now employ huge numbers of people. I suppose that if we were asked to name one area of employment that did not exist 50 years ago, most of us would plump for IT. Certainly the vast spread of digital knowledge and communication has been a massively transforming factor in the world. Yet there are other areas of work, perhaps less obvious, that scarcely existed until  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard 17 June 2012 | unday Reflection, Fr Terry Tastard, 17 June 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard 17 June 2012
There used to be a column in a London daily paper in which people asked questions and the experts answered. The questions were often about the quirkish events of life, things that were in a sense common but which baffled us. I remember one was about yawning. Why, the questioner asked, was yawning contagious? If one person in a room yawned, others would often follow. Various responses emerged over the following weeks, from psychologists, biologists, behavioural experts, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 10 June 2012  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 10 June 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 10 June 2012
In the Solemnity of Corpus Christi we celebrate the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, under the forms of bread and wine.  This means so much to us as Catholics, because it tells us that in a special way Christ is to be found among his people when they gather at the altar. The presence of someone that we know and love can make a huge difference.  We have all had that experience of arriving at a foreign airport Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 3 June 2012  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 3 June 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 3 June 2012
In its earliest centuries, as the Church sought to understand God more fully, it came to understand that God is three persons in one.  But let's remember that by 'the Church' we mean much more than an organisation or a hierarchy.  We mean a living body of people.  We mean people who prayed, people of good deeds, people who sought to bring the whole of their lives into the living stream of the sacraments, so that God could bless them and reveal himself in their lives. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 27 May 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 27 May 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 27 May 2012
One characteristic of American culture today is its love of courtroom drama.  There are whole television series that revolve around brave lawyers (perhaps assisted by indefatigable detectives) who manage to prevent a miscarriage of justice.  The courtroom scene in which the wrongdoers are routed is also a staple of American films.  The ancient world at the time of Jesus would have understood Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 20 May 2012  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 20 May 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 20 May 2012
Recently I was privileged to visit Crete, and on a brilliantly sunny day I was driven on snaking mountain roads to the north coast.  We paused on a mountainside above a coastal plain. Below us the fishing port appeared tiny in comparison with the bright sky and the sparkling sea that surrounded all.  You could just make out fields, houses Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ - 13 May 2012 | Sunday Reflection, Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ
Sunday Reflection with Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ - 13 May 2012
When I was at College, I had a friend Peter who is a good Catholic and he shared a house with a Muslim called Abdul. They were both very religious people, each in his own way but, despite their differences, they got on very well. And it wasn’t until they had been staying together about six weeks that they had a really big argument about religion. Neither of them can Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 6 May 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 6 May 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 6 May 2012
Jesus says that he is the vine, we are the branches.  It is a powerful metaphor, that is to say, it is an image that invites us to explore deeper realms of meaning. It speaks to me first of all of life.  We think of the sap, the juice of life, coursing through a vast vine, from its gnarled trunk to its new, green tendrils.  This is us.  The life within us is Christ himself.  There is no place where our life ends and his begins. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 29 April 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 29 April 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 29 April 2012
When you see a picture of Jesus the Good Shepherd it usually looks very romantic.  The reality for shepherds in his day was rather different.  Sheep are not renowned great intelligence.  They are easily frightened and confused, and flourish best when there is a guiding hand looking after them.  In talking of sheep Jesus is of course talking about us.  We can know what is good for us and Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 22 April 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 22 April 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 22 April 2012
I sometimes wonder if there is an element of playfulness in the resurrection appearances of Jesus.  Certainly there seems to be a touch of humour in the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  Trudging along they are talking earnestly to the stranger about the events that brought Jesus to death on the cross.  They then go on to tell him that some women of their
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Sunday Reflection with Fr  Terry  - 15 April 2012  | Sunday Reflection with Fr  Terry Tastard  - 15 April 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 15 April 2012
In the gospel today (John 20.19-31) we read that the doors were closed.  We have here a picture of the fledgling Church – the disciples, and possibly Mary too (see Acts 1.14).  There is a difference between a church and a sect.  A sect of a group of people who have turned away from the world and who huddle together for comfort.  At this point the disciples were Read More ...

Triduum Homilies: Canon Pat Browne at Easter Vigil | Canon Pat Browne, Holy Apostles, Pimlico, Easter Vigil
Triduum Homilies: Canon Pat Browne at Easter Vigil
“Truth! What is Truth?” Pilate asked defiantly of Jesus. How would you answer that question?  What is the Truth about you and your life?  That you are a man or a woman?  That you are Black or White?  That you Are British, Kenyan, Filipino? Read More ...

Triduum Homilies: Canon Pat Browne on Good Friday | Can Pat Browne, Holu Apoastles, Pimlico, Good Friday
Triduum Homilies: Canon Pat Browne on Good Friday
Each week during Lent I have been doing the Stations of the Cross with a different class from our school.  Let me share with you three reflections I have had from these days with the children. I look at the three stations where Mary is featured.  She meets him on the road to Calvary (4th),  she stands at the foot of the Cross as he dies (12th) , Read More ...

Triduum Homilies: Canon Pat Browne on Holy Thursday | Holy Thursday, Canon Pat Browne
Triduum Homilies: Canon Pat Browne on Holy Thursday
If you have ever had the priviledge of spending a lot of time with someone you love in the weeks and days before they died, you will know what I mean when I say, how special were the things they said and did in those final days. The Apostles were in the same situation with Jesus.  Read More ...
Canon Pat Browne

Easter Sunday reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 8 April 2012 | Easter Sunday, Fr Terry Tastard
Easter Sunday reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 8 April 2012
‘He is going before you.’  This was the angel’s message to the disciples.  Jesus was ahead of them.  When they got there, they would find that he was there already.  This message, so specific to the disciples and Galilee, speaks to us too.  God is always outstripping us.  Sometimes our life changes according to plan.  Sometimes we find ourselves elsewhere by chance.  No matter:  God is already there. Read More ...

Text: Fr Clive Lee at Ecumenical Blessing of Palms | Fr Clive Lee, Ecumenical Blessing of the Palms, Finsbury Park, Manor House
Text: Fr Clive Lee at Ecumenical Blessing of Palms
In the entrance of our Church is an icon of the triumphant entry into Jerusalem.   Jesus is on a donkey and is looking back at his disciples, perhaps to encourage them or for reassurance.  In front, the crowd seems stony faced holding the smallest of branches.  It is as if the iconographer is telling us that this fickle crowd in their hearts do not really
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Palm Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 1 April  2012 | Sebastian Faulks,Brook Green Book Festival, Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard -  Palm Sunday 25 March 2012
Palm Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 1 April 2012
This coming week is about focus.  We are not very good at it.  More than any other generation in history our attention is scattered and fragmented.  The novelist Sebastian Faulks commented on this when he spoke at the Brook Green Book Festival.  His own sons, he said, sometimes had three screens going at the same time.  I puzzled for a moment over what he meant,
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 25 March 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 25 March 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 25 March 2012
There is a scene in the courts of London with which we have become sadly familiar.  I refer to young men and women who have been convicted of looting during the riots last August.  A surprising number belonged to comfortably off families but got carried away.  The psychology of crowds can be very strong, and younger adults are particularly
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 18 March 2012
I once wrote an article for a spirituality journal about an unsettling hospital visit.  I had been counselling a seriously ill man at his request, when a white-robed party of doctors entered the room.  They made it clear that I had to terminate the conversation and go.  In the article I discussed what healing could mean, for I felt that the medical party had only one concept of healing. 
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 11 March 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 11 March 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 11 March 2012
Is it wrong to build beautiful churches?  Is it a mistake to create lovely sanctuaries for the worship of God?  Sometimes you hear this criticism, with the implication that it is a waste of money.  Yet nobody seems to find it odd that vast sums are spent on shopping malls.  Cathedrals are cheap by comparison.  And, for that matter, why do people lavish money on
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 4 March 2012  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 4 March 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 4 March 2012
What does the Transfiguration say to us today?  Traditionally it has been interpreted in terms of Jesus fulfilling the Law and the Prophets.  Hence his conversation with Moses who brought the law, and Elijah, an outstanding prophet).  Or it has been seen as a gesture by Jesus to strengthen the disciples for the coming horror of the cross.  Each of these interpretations would be valid, but
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 26 February 2012  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 26 February 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 26 February 2012
I recently read Hannah’s Child, the autobiography of  American theologian Stanley Hauerwas.  Hauerwas comes from a working-class Texan family and qualified as a bricklayer before going to university.  It is a moving book, honest about his own failings.  As he tells the story of his life he wrestles with what it means to be a Christian today.  He highlights the importance and challenge of baptism. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 19 February 2012  | man lowered down through the roof,healed by Jesus, Mk. 2.1-12
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 19 February 2012
Children love the story of the man lowered down through the roof to be healed by Jesus.  With their vivid imaginations, they imagine the scene (Mk. 2.1-12).  The dust and debris falling on the people below.  The excited and bewildered shouts of the onlookers.  The drama of the stretcher slowly being lowered.  Sweat on the faces of the men lowering it, struggling to keep the stretcher level.  Children also imagine the fury of the houseowner, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 12 February 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 12 February 2012
The best-selling author Catherine Cookson was born into great poverty in 1906.  Her family circumstances were regarded as not quite respectable.  Even in the poverty of the slums there was a hierarchy of respectability, and her family was looked on with disdain by some.  When Catherine was seven, she heard that a neighbour’s daughter was having a birthday party.  All the other girls that she knew were invited, so she thought that she was invited too. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 5 February 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 5 February 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 5 February 2012
Scripture is like a mirror held up in front of the human race.  We see ourselves depicted.  Of course, the Bible is the story of God revealing himself to us, but it is also a picture of who we are.  Sadness and joy, generosity and selfishness, anger and peace, all human emotions can be found in scripture.  Take today’s first reading from Job.  It is a chillingly accurate description of serious depression.
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The writing is on the wall - Canon Pat Browne
The writing is on the wall - Canon Pat Browne
What is a prophet? The common view is, that a prophet is someone who can foretell the future! That may be so. But a prophet is not a fortune teller. They are people who can read the signs of the times and so see what is going to happen if we pursue this line of activity or what will happen if we do not change direction. The prophet has an in-built SatNav and sees
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 29 January 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 29 January 2012, Mother Teresa
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 29 January 2012
I remember reading about a television interview with Mother Teresa of Calcutta in the United States.  The interview bowled along, and then the interviewer paused the live broadcast for a commercial break:  ‘We will continue with this interview in a minute or two, but first, listen to this message from our sponsors.’  As the commercials were shown, the studio suddenly fell silent
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 22 January 2012
My parents sometimes found it amusing, sometimes annoying, that I often had my nose in a book.  I would be lying on the floor propped up on my elbows with the book in front of me.  They would say something to me and I would not hear them, because I was so engrossed in what I was reading.  Today you sometimes find the same thing with young people who have their ears plugged into their iPhone or MP3 player Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 15 January 2012  | Fr Terry Tastard, 15 January 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: 15 January 2012
The 13th century German mystic Meister Eckhart used to say:  ‘Whoever seeks God in a special way gets the way and misses God.’  This saying puzzled me.  Surely there are ways to pray, ways to grow spiritually? And surely there are paths to God that have been hewn out by others which we can learn from and follow ourselves?  Yes, of course.  But Eckhart
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: Epiphany 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard: Epiphany 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry: Epiphany 2012
The glory of the Lord is rising on you.  That is what we have just heard from the prophet Isaiah.  Can it mean us?  We doubt that we could receive such a great honour.  Yet I think of the vast multitudes of people across the earth who deep down are all the same.  People who love their families. People who struggle to make a living or shape a career.  People who yearn for
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 1 January 2012 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 1 January 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry - 1 January 2012
Not long ago we were singing one of the best-known Christmas hymns, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’.  It is a favourite at carol services.  Yet these days we may find ourselves a little uncomfortable when we come to the line, ‘Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb.’  Feminism has made us more aware of prejudices against women.  Why, we may wonder, should the infant Jesus ever abhor Mary’s
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Midnight Mass Homily - Canon Pat Browne | Canon Pat Browne, Holy Apostles in Pimlico,Christmas Eve Midnight Mass 2011
Midnight Mass Homily - Canon Pat Browne
John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown were the first people to fly in an aircraft, non-stop, across the Atlantic Ocean. They took off from Lester's field in Newfoundland - John was the pilot and Arthur was the navigator. They landed in Clifden, Ireland, 16 hours and 27 minutes later.  It was 8.20am on Sunday 15 June 1919.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - Christmas Day 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - Christmas Day 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - Christmas Day 2011
Jesus gives us thought-provoking examples when he speaks about his hidden presence in the world.  He is to be found visiting the sick and imprisoned, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked.  Being there – being present to people in need or distress – is what makes the difference.  You can see this in some of the parables too.  In the story of the Good Samaritan the priest and the Levite
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 18 December 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 18 December 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 18 December 2011
Most of us can recall a time when a simple word or choice from us would have changed the course of our life.  To have said yes or no to a marriage proposal.  To have accepted a job overseas.  To have invested in a start-up company.  To have challenged an injustice – or to have remained silent.  There are many mundane, less dramatic choices also, which create our
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Worshipping Christ eight days a week | Ian Coleman, Thinking faith, Advent
Worshipping Christ eight days a week
How do our Advent hymns and the context in which we sing them both reflect and shape the character of the season? Musician Ian Coleman urges us to read the Book of Revelation through a liturgical lens to see in it a rich description of ‘the great Cosmic liturgy’ that we try to express through our Advent hymnody, a liturgy in which Christ is always and already
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Ian Coleman

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 11 December 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 11 December 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 11 December 2011
Today's gospel has two simple sentences that we could meditate on richly.  The first one is: What have you to say about yourself? (John 1.22)  This was the question put to John the Baptist.  Sooner or later it will be addressed to us.  If you believe in Christ, then people will get to hear about it. You may let slip the fact that you go to Mass.  Or one Ash Wednesdayyou may
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 4 December 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 4 December 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 4 December 2011
Each of the gospels has its own characteristics.  For this new liturgical year we focus particularly on the gospel according to Mark, which is written in a deliberately brisk and straightforward style.  You can see this in the very opening words: 'The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.'  A direct, no-nonsense launch
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 27 November 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 27 November 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 27 November 2011
Jim Wallis of the Sojourners Community in Washington DC used to relate a story about one of their soup kitchen helpers.  The homeless, the mentally ill, the addicted, would be lining up outside, waiting to shuffle through and get their food.  Before the doors opened the helpers would join hands and pray spontaneously.   One of the women in the team would often pray along these lines:  ‘Jesus, help us to treat you good, because we know you’ll be coming through in the line.’
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 20 November 2011 - Anna Pavlova and Freud  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 20 November 2011, Anna Pavlova, Freud
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 20 November 2011 - Anna Pavlova and Freud
Recently I took a funeral at Golders Green Crematorium.  I was most impressed with the place.  A huge cloister, an Italianate chapel, 12 acres of gardens.  There is also a mausoleum like a vast hall, with niches containing the ashes of perhaps well over a thousand people.  At one end of the mausoleum is an urn containing the ashes of Sigmund Freud.  His ashes are in an ancient Roman urn from his own collection.  At the other end of the mausoleum can be found a shelf with a stone urn containing the ashes of the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 13 November 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 13 November 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 13 November 2011
It is amazing how many parables of Jesus deal with money.  There is the woman who loses a precious coin and turns the house upside down until she finds it.  There is the Prodigal Son, who demands his inheritance even before his father has died and squanders it.  There is the parable of the steward who is forgiven a huge debt by the king and then goes out and puts the squeeze on someone who owes him money.  Even the parable of the
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 6 November 2011  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 6 November 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 6 November 2011
We live in an age of knowledge. Already there is a vast amount of knowledge in our world almost instantly available through the internet.  You can research the history of the Crusades on Wikipedia.  News pours in from every corner of the world, constantly updated.  Sitting here in London we can read the daily newspapers of New York, Sydney or Nairobi.  You can check the stock market.  You can ask engineers via a blog to help you work out a stress equation.  You can even get the computer to translate into English a
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard -  30 October 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 30 October 2011
There is a crisis of authority in our world today.  Institutions which once commanded respect are no longer treated as the foundations of our society.  Politicians are widely regarded as being on the make.  Journalists are seen as intrusive and insensitive.  The failings of the Church have led to a tremendous loss of respect in the eyes of the public, and to the charge of hypocrisy. The police were derided for their behaviour in the recent riots.  Doctors and nurses certainly have our respect, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 23 October 2011  | 1 Thess. 1.9, Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 23 October 2011
In today's second reading St Paul rejoices over how the people of Salonika, when they were converted, 'broke with idolatry … and became servants of the real, living God' (1 Thess. 1.9).  Idolatry is a word with a decidedly antiquated ring to it.  We do not have to worry about that sort of thing in our own age or in our own lives.  Or do we? If we think of idolatry as bowing to statues and calling them gods, then of course not. 
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 16 October 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 16 October 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 16 October 2011
The state of the world is rarely a matter for peace of mind.  Advances in one area seem to bring setbacks in another.  In the Middle East, for example, the Arab Spring has given voice to people calling for democracy and freedom.  Yet one result seems to have been renewed persecution of the Christian minority, as witnessed by the recent appalling scenes in Cairo.  There is an uncertainty about our times, a sense of grappling with new issues, of asking questions without answers.  We wonder where it will all end, and we feel uneasy. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 9 October 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 9 October 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 9 October 2011
A wedding is a most sociable occasion.  Everybody puts on their glad rags. There is an atmosphere of anticipation as they look forward to the moving moments of the ceremony, the reception with the glass that cheers, the joshing and joking of the toasts, and the dancing.  A wedding, as we hear in today’s parable, is one of the images that Jesus gives us of the kingdom of God.  This tells us that the kingdom is something that we share with others, it draws us into a deeper communal life.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 2 October 2011   | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 2 October 2011
Sometimes people have something valuable and do not realise it.  Only when they lost it, do they realise what they had.  It is one of the most chastening experiences in life.  Bereavement can be like that.  There is someone you loved, and who was always there, and now is gone.  There are things you would have wanted to say, wanted to do, but it is too late.  The same applies to all lost relationships, even friendship.  Quite simply, there are people we take for granted.  This sense of losing what we had taken for
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 25 September 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 25 September 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 25 September 2011
The hymn ‘In bread we bring you Lord’ by Kevin Nichols has two lines that always speak to me: The chances we have missed, the graces we resist, Lord, in thy Eucharist, take and redeem. It sometimes seems to me that to be human is to be half-hearted.  We want God, but not too much God. We want faith, but not to the extent of our faith inconveniencing us.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 18 September 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 18 September 2011
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 18 September 2011
Is God ever far away?  I ask that question because the first reading (Isa. 55.6-9) encourages us to seek God while he is near.  But God is always near.  The French theologian and mystic Teilhard de Chardin muses that God is as close as the next word on our lips, the next stroke of the worker’s pick-axe, the next stitch from the sewer’s needle.  We have only to turn to God and God is there.  Yet sometimes God can seem far away.  Read More ...

New York: Catholic Worker, Deacon Tom Cornell reflects on 9/11 | Deacon Tom Cornell, Catholic Worker, Saint Mary's Church, Marlboro, New York, 9/11
New York: Catholic Worker, Deacon Tom Cornell reflects on 9/11
..It was unimaginable yet we saw it with our own eyes.  My fellow Catholic Workers in New York City went to our roof only a mile and a half north of the World Trade Center when the first plane struck.  Most of us saw it on TV, over and over and over again.  They came down, the Twin Towers, they just came down, in smoke and ash and flame, and nearly three thousand souls.  It was unimaginable, unforgettable, horrible.   We all felt it, an insult to our nation, to our pride, as it was meant to be.  Can we forgive such a
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 11 September 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 11 September 2011
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 11 September 2011
Forgiveness is something that all of us have to deal with from time to time in our own lives.  There are times when we need forgiveness for ourselves:  we seek that word from others whom we have wronged, or we come to God and ask that he alone who can forgive sins will do so.  Then there are times when we are the ones who can extend forgiveness to others, a forgiveness that sometimes comes readily, sometimes is a struggle. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 4 September 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 4 September 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 4 September 2011
In the aftermath of the recent urban riots there was an anguished debate in Britain, asking questions that we are nowhere near resolving.  Much of the national self-questioning revolved around questions of values.  What are our national values?  How are these reflected in community life, in family life?  Do we in fact have any values in common across our diverse nation?
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 28 August 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 28 August 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 28 August 2011
Don't you think that Jesus' response to Peter is rather harsh?  Peter loves Jesus and cannot bear to hear Jesus predict a terrible end for himself.  Peter wants Jesus to find another path, rather than the one of suffering, so Peter's intervention is entirely one of good will.  To this gesture of love, Jesus replies by rebuking Peter, calling him a Satan, no less.  How would you feel if someone called you a Satan? Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 21 August 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 21 August 2011
 The gospel today (Matt. 16.13-20) was a hinge moment in the history of the world.  Jesus has been teaching and healing.  He has done this in the company of a small select group, the disciples.  They saw the private Christ as well as the public Christ.  If they understood something of who he was, then he was getting through.  If, on the other hand, they remained in the dark, then Jesus would have wondered if the good news Read More ...

Canon Pat Browne: Homily on Feast of the Assumption and the riots | Canon Pat Browne,Feast of the Assumption,riots
Canon Pat Browne: Homily on Feast of the Assumption and the riots
I got a text this week a few days after the riots began.  It said: 'Tottenham has signed a new Italian Striker – Grabatelli!'  Grab-a-telly? Humour is one of the ways we deal with tragedy.  And tragedy it was! What happened within the last week in our city and in our country?
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 14 August 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 14 August 2011
When we consider the Assumption of Mary, it is important that we go beyond a surface understanding.  For example, the heaven into which Jesus ascended, and into which Mary was assumed, is not a region in the skies, but a new level of existence.  It is no less than the fulfillment of our human nature. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 7 August 2011  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 7 August 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 7 August 2011
The Bible opens with chaotic waters.  We read that 'darkness was on the face of the waters' - the Bible wants us to visualise the earth in its early days as a howling, churning mass of waters.  But this is not all:  'The Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.'  The Spirit brought order.  The waters know their place and are tamed.  Creation begins.  Life begins to climb the evolutionary ladder. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 31 July 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 31 July 2011
The news of John the Baptist’s death came as a shock to Jesus and his little band of disciples.  They must have been shaken.  If it happened to John, then clearly it could happen to them too.  The first response of Jesus is to take time away from the crowds so that they could think and pray.  It would be a time when they could seek God’s will afresh and strengthen one another also.  But it was not to be. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Paul O'Reilly - 24 July 2011 | Year A: 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Fr Paul O'Reilly
Sunday Reflection with Fr Paul O'Reilly - 24 July 2011
Do you believe in love at first sight? I had a friend when I was at college. And, one evening, we went out to dinner with a group of other people. At the dinner he met a young lady and they seemed to get on very well together. And, as we walked home, he told me that he had fallen in love with her. This was the woman for him, there would be no other. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ - 17 July 2011  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ - 17 July 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ - 17 July 2011
“Where does the darnel come from?” Every time I read this Gospel, I think of a friend called Tom. I don’t mind calling his name because you will never meet him. He spent five years in religious life. And at the end of that time he was asked to leave because he was an alcoholic – he was seriously addicted to alcohol and there was no way that, with that problem, he could go on and become a priest. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 10 July 2011 | Fr Terry Tastard, 10 July 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 10 July 2011
I was watching a documentary about life in Israel.  We were shown a woman giving birth in a delivery suite.  You didn’t need to speak any Ivrit (modern Hebrew) to understand what the staff were saying to her:  It was a case of ‘Push!  Push!’.  The process of giving birth may be natural – but it often requires our best efforts, our full co-operation.  We need to remember this when we hear the readings today. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 3 July 2011  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 3 July 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 3 July 2011
When we have a wedding in church, the whole neighbourhood seems to cheer up.  Office workers lean out of their windows to catch a glimpse of the bride.  As the bells ring and the couple come out, passers-by often pause for a look.  Drivers of cars going past sometimes toot their horns in approval and encouragement.  Everybody looks happy.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 26 June 2011 |  Ai Weiwei, Fr Terry Tastard, Sunday Reflection
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 26 June 2011
Oppressive governments go to great lengths to suppress ideas.  Who would have thought that the Chinese government would feel threatened by an artist?  But Ai Weiwei has just been released after three months imprisonment for speaking frankly about his own country.  He believes that a steep price has been paid for China’s frantic economic growth.  Its people, he said, ‘walk like ghosts on the ever-widening streets, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Ron Rolheiser - 17 June 2011 | Fr Ron Rolheiser
Sunday Reflection with Fr Ron Rolheiser - 17 June 2011
The Richness of the Mystery of God: GK Chesterton once said that one of the reasons he believed in Christianity was because of its belief in the Trinity.  If Christianity had been made up by a human person, it would not have at its very centre a concept that is impossible to grasp or explain: the idea that God exists as one but within three persons. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Bishop Dominic Kimengich - 12 June 2011 | Bishop Dominic Kimengich,St Paul’s Missionary Community, New Ways, Turkana
Sunday Reflection with Bishop Dominic Kimengich - 12 June 2011
COME HOLY SPIRIT, FILL THE HEARTS OF THE FAITHFUL ENKINDLE THEM WITH THE FIRE OF YOUR LOVE.  SEND FORTH THY SPIRIT AND THOU SHALL RENEW THE FACE OF THE EARTH... In the Diocese of Lodwar in Kenya, where I was appointed Bishop three months ago, we are faced daily with the problems that are associated with Africa.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 5 June 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 5 June 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 5 June 2011
When we think about the meaning of the Ascension of Our Lord, we have to do a big shift in our thinking.  The natural temptation is to think of it as a departure.  But that is precisely what it is not.  Instead, we have to think of it in terms of presence.  It means Christ present and living among his people, the same Christ who is in eternity. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 29th May 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 29th May 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 29th May 2011
Would you like an advocate?  In today’s gospel (John 14.15-21) Jesus promises an advocate to his followers.   The word advocate today has legal connotations, but it is also used for those who speak up for others.  We speak of advocacy as helping those who cannot speak for themselves.  Most of us have had a feeling of inarticulacy at some time or another.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 22 May 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 22 May 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 22 May 2011
Among the most memorable words of Jesus are the ones we hear today where he says:  ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ (John 14.6). The Way to follow Jesus is to be on a journey.  You cannot be a Christian and expect to stay as you are.  You have to expect that over a period of time your outlook will change your and your priorities will be challenged. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 15 May 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 15 May 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 15 May 2011
On this Sunday the Catholic Church often turns its thoughts to vocations.  All of us have a vocation.  We are called to holiness.  This is our commissioning through our baptism.  Now, I sometimes think that I have only to use the word ‘holiness’ for people to run a mile.  Holiness is associated either with ‘holier than thou' on the one hand, or with impossibly high standards of conduct on the other.  Well, let’s think about it from another angle.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 8 May 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 8 May 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 8 May 2011
The disciples were going over and over again in their mind what had happened.  They had seen Jesus crucified and his body taken down from the cross and entombed.  All their hopes had been shattered.  As for this report they had heard, saying that his body was no longer there, they did not know what to make of it.  Let’s face it, they were so like us.  We are worried because life does not work out like we expect. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 1 May 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 1 May 2011
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 1 May 2011
In the resurrection appearances of Jesus there was a movement in and a movement out.  Take the gospel today (John 20.1-31).  The movement inwards is Christ himself.  He comes into a locked room.  He comes, we are meant to understand, into their hearts as well, for we read that the disciples were filled with joy when they realised that he was among them.  It makes me wonder whether our hearts are not sometimes locked rooms.
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Voices of the Passion    | Passion,Thinking Faith,Peter Edmonds SJ, St Matthew
Voices of the Passion
How can we hear something new in the Passion narratives of the gospels each time we listen to them? Perhaps there are voices in these accounts of Jesus’s trial and crucifixion which we have not really heard before, or words to which we have never listened attentively. Writing for Thinking Faith, scripture scholar, Peter Edmonds SJ chooses three voices from the Passion narrative of St Matthew
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Easter Triduum homilies -  Canon Pat Browne  | Canon Pat Browne,Holy Apostles, Pimlico,Maundy Thursday homily
Easter Triduum homilies - Canon Pat Browne
The livery companies that meet for grand ceremonial  dinners in the city of London – there are 108 of them, like the worshipful company of Drapers, Vintners, Skinners, - these livery companies – many of them have  a tradition of sharing a Loving Cup.  The Ceremony of the Loving Cup,  is said to date back to Saxon times before the Norman Conquest of 1066. To read the homilies given by Canon Pat Browne at Holy Apostles, Pimlico, throughout the Triduum, see: Read More ...

Easter Reflection  with Fr Terry Tastard  | Fr Terry Tastard, Easter
Easter Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard
This Easter and every Easter, all over the country people will be receiving the eucharist for the first time.  For some, this communion follows upon their baptism as adults, others have been received into the Church.  This communion now made possible is a beautiful occasion for them and it is a beautiful occasion for us. One of the ancient Fathers of the Church, St Ignatius of Antioch, had a most unusual way Read More ...

Palm Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 17 April 2011 | Fr Terry Tastard
Palm Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 17 April 2011
There is a strange arc on Palm Sunday.  We begin with the crowds acclaiming Jesus as the long-awaited one who comes in the name of the Lord.  The title with which they acclaim him, ‘Son of David’, is a messianic title.  As he enters Jerusalem there is an air of excitement and anticipation.  Son of David implies a new kingdom, a new glorious chapter in the history of the people of God.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 3 April 2011
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 3 April 2011
Old ways are comforting.  They help us make sense of our world.  They give us structures that we can live by.  But old ways of thinking can be traps as well.  Sometimes we need to break out of old ways and realize that God is ahead of us and calling us into a new understanding.  We need to remember this when we read the story of the healing of the man born blind (John 9.1-41) because it can seem at first as if attitudes to his blindness are little short of cruel.  H Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 27 March 2011  | Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 27 March 2011
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 27 March 2011
The gospel reading today from John 4.5-42 is like a painting.  You can visualize the scene easily.  It is a hot day.  In the middle of the day a woman comes to the well to draw water for her family to be able to drink and wash.  It is outside the town.  Hardly a dog stirs in the heat.  Normally there might be gossip and companionship at the well, but she comes in the full heat of the day when few people are likely to be there.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 20 March 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 20 March 2011
Eternity is usually hidden from us.  But imagine if the curtain were drawn back and we glimpsed eternity, what would our reaction be?  I would guess that we would feel a real mixture of emotions:  fear, awe, wonder, joy.  In the Transfiguration (Matthew 17.1-9) the three disciples with Jesus show all these emotions, because, when the light starts shining from his face, it is clear to them that the veil has been lifted and they are standing before eternity. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 13 March 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 13 March 2011
We are not the innocent people that we would like to be.  Innocent in the sense, that is, of being pure in our intentions.  If we were always motivated by what is best and by what is good, then we could be said to be innocent.  But we are surrounded by a sea of temptations.  The temptation to take a bribe.  The temptation to falsify exam or test results.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 6 March 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 6 March 2011
There used to be an English religion called gardenolatry.  You still come across it occasionally.  You know, people who say, ‘I don’t need to go to church.  I can pray to God in my garden.’  I have my doubts as to whether people who say this actually do pray.  Perhaps they do. But of course it misses the point.  We go to church not only to pray to God but also to receive the sacraments and to be strengthened by the presence of others.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 27 February 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 27 February 2011
Worry is natural to the human condition.  Parents worry about their children.  Workers worry about their jobs.  We all worry about money. Many people are worried by their health.  Then there is the broader scene to worry about:  the turmoil of the world, the state of the economy, the endemic violence that we see nightly on the news.  In short, sometimes we seem born to worry.  So when Jesus advises us not to worry (Matt. 6.24-34) it can seem a little daunting. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 20 February 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 20 February 2011
Today’s gospel (Mt 5.38-48) is a passage that is thoroughly counter-intuitive, that is to say, it goes against our instincts.  It flies in the face of what we would normally consider to be common sense.  Offer no resistance to the wicked man, says Jesus.  Turn the other cheek.  Give more than you are due to give.  And then – the most difficult of all perhaps – love your enemy. 
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 13 February 2011  | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 13 February 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 13 February 2011
Just about the first thing that medical students learn is the bone structure of the body.  Hence those marvellous pictures we have all seen of skeletons in the flats of medical students.  Indeed, students of a certain era used to learn a kind of chant in which the articulations of the various bones was reeled out.  It seems a logical place to start.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 6 February 2011 | Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 6 February 2011
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 6 February 2011
Salt is a marvellous ingredient, when judiciously used.  It seems to bring out the best in all the other flavours.  We have all had the experience of tasting a stew or a soup without salt and finding it bland.  A touch of salt and hey presto!  Everything else in the mix can be tasted as well.  So when Jesus uses the image of salt to describe Christians, it could be seen as an enabling role. 
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 30 January 2011
Bible scholars draw parallels between Jesus on the hillside near Lake Galilee, and Moses a thousand years before him on Mt Sinai.  Moses gives the people the Law, summarised by the Ten Commandments.  Jesus gives his people the Sermon on the Mount, summarised by the Beatitudes.  This is not the only parallel between Jesus and the history of the ancient People of God.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 23 January 2011
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 23 January 2011
Jesus showed cool, calm, courage.  Our gospel today (Matt. 4.12-23) opens with the news that John the Baptist has been arrested.  A moment, you might think, for Jesus to keep his head down, in case the nervous authorities arrest him too.  But no:  this is the very moment that Jesus chooses to launch his public ministry.  Jesus makes Capernaum his headquarters and goes around ‘the whole of Galilee’, teaching in the synagogues, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 16 January 2011 | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 16 January 2011
If you listen to the critics of religion you would think that having faith is something for the simple-minded.  In fact, much of life in general depends upon a walking in faith.  We launch on careers without any guarantee of success.  People fall in love and hope that their love will be met with love.  They have children, which must be among the biggest blank cheques of all.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 9 January 2011 | Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 9 January 2011
On the 7th July 1939 the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer boarded a liner in New York that would carry him back to Germany and almost certain death at the hands of Hitler.  He did not have to return to Germany.  He had arrived in the United States only a month previously, a refugee from the Nazis.  As a leading Lutheran pastor he had been striving to persuade the Protestant churches to oppose Hitler.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 19 December 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 19 December 2010
The message that rings through the scriptures this weekend is Emmanuel, ‘God-with-us’.  I wonder what it means to say ‘God is with us?’  Does it mean that God blesses everything that we do?  Surely not, because there must be times when our human ways are contrary to the will of God.  No, to speak of God being with us is to speak of a constant source of love, forgiveness and renewal.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 12 December 2010
When entering a country you first have to clear passport control, then pick up your luggage and walk through customs.  On the other side, as you emerge, there is a sea of people waiting for their loved ones.  They are straining to scrutinize every passenger who comes out.  Sometimes their faces light up as they recognize the person they are waiting for.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 6 December 2010 | Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 6 December 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 6 December 2010
Almost everything about John the Baptist in today’s gospel (Matthew 3.1-12) emphasises his separation from the world.  He does not wear ordinary clothes, preferring a rough coat spun out of camel-hair.  Nor does he eat ordinary food.  He prefers food that grows wild, as it were, such as locusts and wild honey.  This is not someone who walked the ordinary paths of life with ordinary people.  Rather, we are to see him as extraordinary. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ - 28 November 2010
When I was about twelve, I went to a military pageant. This was a show put on by the local regiment of the Army called the “Blues and Royals”. And it was a very special display because it was being attended by the Queen. And so the entire regiment had been got up to stand on parade in order to welcome Her Magesty. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 21 November 2010 | Father Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 21 November 2010
They say that a fish rots from the head downwards, and this metaphor is often used to describe corruption in society around us today.  We feel that if our leaders are people of integrity, then others in the country will be inspired or encouraged to play their part in a spirit of responsibility and fairness.  The same would apply of course to large business enterprises:
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 13 November 2010  | Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard 13 November 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 13 November 2010
Harold Macmillan, the former prime minister, was once asked by a journalist what the most difficult aspect of his job was.  ‘Events, dear boy, events’ he replied.   We live in an unpredictable world.  It is true for us personally, and it is even truer for ourselves as a nation, and, for that matter, truer still when it comes to international affairs.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 7 November 2010 | Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 7 November 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 7 November 2010
In the month of November Catholics traditionally remember their departed loved ones, a season of remembrance that opens with All Souls on 2nd November.  Then, on Remembrance Sunday, we remember with much of the Western world the harrowing loss of life in war, in particular the members of our armed forces and civilian victims of bombing.
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All Saints Day 2010 Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard
All Saints Day 2010 Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard
We call them cat’s eyes.  You know, those luminous markings along the middle of a road that light up when your car’s headlights shine on them.  They are such a reassuring sight when you are driving along an unlit road late at night.  They guide you around the curves, keep you from going off the edge and separate the lanes of traffic safely. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Paul O'Reilly SJ - 24 October 2010 | Sunday Reflection with Father Paul O'Reilly SJ - 24 October 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Paul O'Reilly SJ - 24 October 2010
Every generation has its publicans… and its Pharisees. And have you ever wondered how it is that somebody in Jesus’ time ended up becoming a publican, when it was obviously so much better to become a Pharisee? Well, I think I now know. A little while ago, I went to a “medieval banquet”. It was in Docklands, just beside the Tower of London. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 17 October 2010  | Father Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 17 October 2010
I am always a bit disconcerted when God is dragged into war.  It seems that for centuries people have been justifying war by saying that God is on their side.  I believe that in the last war, the belt of a German soldier carried the words on the buckle Gott mit uns – God with us.  Bearing this in mind, I read Exodus 17.8-13 with mixed feelings.  Moses with his arms being held up so that he can continue interceding for his people is a beautiful image of prayer.  At the same time, it is intercession for a military victory Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 10 October 2010
Our truncated first reading (2 Kings 5.14-17) robs us of most of the story of Naaman.  A powerful, high-placed Syrian, he contracted leprosy and was distraught to discover this.  To find healing he had to discover humility twice over.  First, a chattering Hebrew slave girl in his wife’s apartment tells her about Elisha’s wonder-working powers.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 3 October 2010 | Fr Terry Tastard, Holy Trinity Church
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 3 October 2010
When the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17.5) they speak for us all.  Everybody feels that they do not have enough faith.  I have great sympathy with the father of the epileptic child who, asked by Jesus if he believed in him, cried out:  ‘I do believe.  Help me to overcome my unbelief’ (Mark 9.24).  We are people of faith, but often we are also people of questioning, of doubts and uncertainties.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 27 September 2010 | Lazarus, the rich man and Dives
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 27 September 2010
The parable that we hear in the gospel today is sometimes called the story of Dives and Lazarus, although Dives is simply the Latin for ‘a rich man’. It is about an indifferent rich man and the suffering person at his gate. In the medieval period when they heard about sores they thought of lepers, and Lazarus was associated with leprosy. Read More ...

  Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 17 September 2010  | Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 17 September 2010
What is known as the Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16) is really the parable of the manager who cooked the books.  As such it has always seemed puzzling.  Surely Jesus is not approving embezzlement?  We need to remember, of course, that Jesus admired initiative.  Remember this and the message is really quite simple.
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  Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 12 September 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 12 September 2010
The golden calf (Exodus 32,7-11, 13-14) is not only a story about an ancient past, it is a story about us all.  Imagine, if you will, this lovingly-created idol, glistening in the torch light of the Israelites.  It was made at a time of fear, when they felt lost and directionless on their long journey through the desert.  Outwardly, our age seems so confident. 
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 5 September 2010
Today’s difficult gospel, with its language of hating, seems so untypical of Jesus.  What does he mean?  It is one thing to admit candidly that you are a sinner.  It something else again to hate your family and yourself.  Today, with our knowledge of psychology, we are rightly cautious about such hatred, which can result in depression, a sense of worthlessness, insecurity and even self-harm.  So what could Jesus mean?
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 8 August 2010
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 8 August 2010
Faith.  The very word has a kind of religious sound to it.  Something which belongs to the world of devotion and not to the world of hard facts.  But actually, faith is something shared by many people both inside and outside the Church.  Without faith, life as we know it would be almost impossible. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 2 August 2010
The Texan millionaire had been very specific about his funeral service.  He had asked that he be buried at the wheel in his favourite pink Cadillac convertible, wearing his Stetson hat and a cigar in his mouth.  They did just that.  An enormous hole was dug and a crane lowered the convertible into the hole with the Texan at the wheel just as he had stipulated.  One of the grave diggers leaned on his shovel and looked down at the car and its deceased owner.  He whistled in amazement.  ‘Man’ he said, ‘I call that living.’ Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 25 July 2010 | Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 25 July 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 25 July 2010
It’s an odd picture of God if we think of him as someone who has to be persuaded, rather like the wheedling tactics of Abraham in our first reading (Genesis 18.20-22).  This picture of God as open to bargaining seems rather odd to us.  Surely, we think, God saw through Abraham?  Well, yes.  That is part of the meaning of the passage.  It is laced with humour.  We are meant to understand that all the time Abraham was trying his salami tactics, God saw through him.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 18 July 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 18 July 2010
Hospitality is one of the great gifts of humankind. To be able to welcome others into our homes, to share in conviviality - these things speak volumes about what it means to be human. In the ancient world, hospitality was especially important. Your family and your clan owed you nurture and protection. Beyond that, you were at the mercy of others, and to venture beyond your social network meant a great deal of trust - and vulnerability. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 11 July 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 11 July 2010
When God wanted to reveal himself to the world, he began by calling a particular people to be those who would be the first to receive his revelation.  This Chosen People, the Jews, were led from slavery and given the Law, the Torah, as a standard to live by.  This underlies our first reading from Deuteronomy, in which Moses reminds the people that the Law should be in their hearts and on their lips (30.14). Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 4 July 2010 | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 4 July 2010
The gospel today (Luke 10.1-9) is full of details which tell us much about how Jesus saw his ministry.  The same details are important for us and the church today.  Note first of all that he sends his disciples out in pairs.  All of us need support, companionship, encouragement.  Moreover, two minds conferring and consulting can usually see more clearly and decide more effectively than one. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 27 June 2010 | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 27 June 2010
There are all kinds of expressions that we use to indicate a fundamental and irrevocable choice.  We say of people that they burned their bridges (or their boats).  They nailed their colours to the mast, or crossed the Rubicon. These and other expressions tell us that there are times in life when there will be no going back.  There are times when life will ask of us a resolute commitment, even if it combines both courage and fear. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 20 June 2010 | Father Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 20 June 2010
Jesus asks his disciples Who do the crowds say I am?  (Luke 9.18).  After the feeding of the five thousand his name must have been on everybody’s lips.  His preaching and teaching were making an impact.  It is a hinge moment.  Jesus prays deeply as he seeks to know the Father’s will.  Soon, he will take the inner group of disciples up the mount of transfiguration for a time of more intense prayer.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 13 June 2010
We take part in a lifetime struggle to find a balance between law and grace.  Without law our lives would be shapeless.  Unless there were regulations there would be utter selfishness.  But if we live by the law alone then we become lifeless, unimaginative, hidebound.  For a fulfilled life we also need God’s gift of grace.  Grace inspires us to live generously and creatively and above all lovingly.  I think of it as being like the strings on a musical instrument like a violin. Read More ...

  Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 6 June 2010  | Fr Terry Tastard, Corpus Christi
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 6 June 2010
The feast of Corpus Christi combines two elements:  thanksgiving for the Eucharist itself, and also for the real presence of Christ among us made possible through the Eucharist.  I suppose to outsiders the care and attention that Catholics give to the Mass must sometimes seem extraordinary.  But it doing so we are being completely faithful to Jesus himself.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 30 May 2010 | Fr Terry Tastard, Trinity
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 30 May 2010
I know the leader of a company with offices in a dozen different countries.  They work together very effectively.  I once asked him how they managed to co-ordinate their work so effectively.  "It’s easy" he said.  "Every week we have a teleconference.  We can see and speak to each other.  Because everybody knows what everybody else is thinking we come to a common mind and put into action what we have decided."
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  Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 23 May 2010 | Fr Terry Tastard, Spirit, Rahner
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 23 May 2010
We use the words spirit, spiritual, Spirit so easily and frequently.  But what could they mean?  What is this thing that we call the spirit?  The German theologian Karl Rahner once set out to trace where we can find evidence of the spirit.  His answer:  it is all around us.  But some of his examples might surprise you.  One of them, believe it or not, is boredom.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 16 May 2010 | Sunday Reflection, Father Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 16 May 2010
Some countries have wonderful citizenship ceremonies when their new citizens are sworn in.  I have always been impressed by pictures I have seen of these ceremonies in the USA.  One of the remarkable features is the cross-section of people who become new Americans:  some young, some old, people from many races and backgrounds.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 9 May 2010 | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 9 May 2010
Most of the time we would like more peace.  Yet we live in a world of tension.  Even the closest of families sometimes have to deal with eruptions of anger.  The most loving spouses can be at loggerheads.  Friends and neighbours can fall out.  On a larger scale we know of conflict and war in the world.  In the Church itself we find disagreements which can be painful at times, and the media love to portray us as divided between conservative and liberal.  Does this mean that we are on the wrong track?
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 2 May 2010
Because the gospel today (John 13.31-35)  is about love, and is very short, we might not notice something about it that is rather odd.  Jesus speaks movingly about love.  He places love as central commandment that should characterise the lives of his followers.  Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 25 April 2010 | Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 25 April 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 25 April 2010
Every so often you read some account of Christianity by an author who claims that the Church got everything wrong.  The story will go something like this:  Jesus was a good man who preached a simple message of God’s love.  But somehow the Church grew into a great big institution and it lost sight of the real message of Jesus.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 18 April 2010 | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 18 April 2010
The gospel we hear today, (John 21.1-14), is a beautifully crafted story. There is definitely an element of humour here. In the half-light of dawn, a figure stands on the beach. We know it is Jesus, but the disciples cannot yet see him clearly. He teases them a little: "Have you caught anything, friends?" Wearily, they say No. He suggests trying something different.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 11 April 2010
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 11 April 2010
The little band of disciples met in an upper room in Jerusalem.  We read that the doors were locked for fear of the Jews.  But they were Jews themselves, so we ought to read this as fear of public opinion, and also fear of the unknown.  Jesus had died on the cross.  They were trying to digest the news brought by Mary Magdalene, Read More ...

Easter Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard  | Fr Terry Tastard
Easter Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard
When that stone was rolled in front of the tomb of Jesus, it must have seemed as if it was slamming shut on everything Jesus and the disciples had hoped for.  It must have seemed, for example, as if it brought to a close his project of renewing the People of God.  We think of the twelve disciples as representing the twelve tribes of Israel, and as the forerunners of a whole new expansion of the People of God.
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Good Friday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard  | Fr Terry Tastard
Good Friday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard
In the first few centuries of the Church, as thinkers were trying to understand the meaning of the cross, often they summed up their conclusions in one short phrase:  ‘The uncrucified is the unhealed.’  They linked Christ on the cross to the healing of humankind.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard -  28 March   | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 28 March
We have several expressions in English to describe the point where things start to accelerate and there is no looking back.  You burn your bridges, or you cross the Rubicon, for example.  Palm Sunday always seems to me to recall one of those moments.  Jesus enters Jerusalem to public acclaim.  This, he must surely know, will trigger decisive action against him and the disciples.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 21 March   | Fr Terry Tastard, Ronald Knox
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 21 March
There are many subtleties in the story of the woman caught in adultery, and they are important. There is also one big, clear message: the compassion of Jesus. The compassion he shows is in contrast to the harshness of the way the woman is treated. We read that they made her stand there 'in full view of everybody'. Jesus will have no part in this public humiliation. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 14 March 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 14 March 2010
Did you ever own a kaleidoscope as a child?  If you did then you will know the wonder and pleasure that this simple toy can bring.  You look through the lens and you find a bright multi-coloured pattern in which the elements have arranged themselves.  You turn the kaleidoscope slightly, look again, and behold, Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 7 March  2010
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 7 March 2010
Recently I was watching a film about the life of Jesus with some parishioners.  The temptations were done particularly cleverly.  The tempter appeared to Jesus with the suggestion, ‘Turn these stones into bread.’  But that was not all the tempter said.  He went on to depict all the starving people the world.  Imagine, he said to Jesus, imagine what you could do to feed these if you follow my instructions.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 28 February 2010  | Fr Terry Tastard, Sunday Reflection
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 28 February 2010
The reading from Genesis (15.5-12, 17-18) is ancient and mysterious. It describes some ritual that took place at the dawn of human memory, perhaps three thousand years or more ago. Its original meaning is far from certain, but two things seem clear: it is about the gift of children, and the gift of land.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 21 February 2010 | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 21 February 2010
In the gospel today (Luke 4.1-13) Jesus confronts temptation.  One comment theme running through these temptations is that they are short cuts.  First Jesus is tempted to use divine power to feed himself rather than go hungry.  But he is here among us as one of us. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 14 February 2010 | Sunday Reflection, Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 14 February 2010
When Biblical scholars look at the Beatitudes (Luke 6.17, 20-26) they are struck by the similarity between Jesus and Moses. Moses assembled the Hebrew people and delivered the Law, summarised in what we now call the Ten Commandments. This became a way of life for the people.  Jesus, too summons his flock around them, not twelve tribes this time but twelve Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 7 February 2010
What would it be like to have an overwhelming experience of the presence  of God?  Most Christians must have wondered about this.  There are times when we long for God to show himself, for a dramatic revelation which would convince others and for that matter convince ourselves.  Life, we think, would be so much easier.  But would it?
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 31 January 2010
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 31 January 2010
A certain amount of scepticism in life is a good thing.  It allows us to test claims and to sift the true from the false.  It prevents us from being deceived and manipulated.  But of course, as with everything else, you can have too much of a good thing. 
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 24 January 2010    | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 24 January 2010
In our first reading (Nehemiah 8) what we see is nothing less than a ceremony of national repentance.  The Hebrew people have gone through the terrible experience of the fall of Jerusalem and exile to Babylon.  Now, around the year 538 BC  they are back in the Holy Land, where they are literally and figuratively picking up the pieces. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 17 January 2010
 One thing common found in many cultures across the world is an esteem for wine. Wine is used for celebration.  Wine also makes an ordinary meal into something special.  As the psalmist exclaims to God, ‘You made wine to gladden the heart’ (Ps. 104.15). Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 10 January 2010
The newspapers this week carried a photograph of Korean children doing physical exercises in the snow.  They were shirtless, despite the freezing cold.  The caption said that their parents paid for them to do this course in order to give them mental and physical stamina.  I can’t see it catching on in suburban London.
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Father Terry Tastard - Feast of the Epiphany
The gospel about the coming of the wise men tells us that after they had paid homage to the infant Christ, they returned to their own country by a different way (Matthew 2.1-12).  As we all know, they did this to avoid Herod's duplicity and paranoia. Read More ...

Christmas meditation with Father Terry Tastard | Fr Terry Tastard, Christmas meditation
Christmas meditation with Father Terry Tastard
 Of all the literature about Christmas, perhaps the best-loved is Charles Dickens’s  A Christmas Carol.  The story moves forward through the encounter of Scrooge with three ghosts:  The Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.  As he journeys through time, Scrooge’s legendary meanness is challenged, and he undergoes a profound change of heart. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 20 December  2009   | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 20 December 2009
In the final trimester of a woman's pregnancy, the life quickens within her. The baby kicks and makes its presence felt in many ways.  Some mothers will tell you that near the time of birth, their baby seems to respond to external sounds.  So it makes perfect sense to read in the gospel today that the infant John Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 13 December 2009
 We read in the gospel today that ‘a feeling of expectancy had grown among the people’ (Luke 3.15).  It was a time when they were wondering whether the Messiah might have already come, whether he was hidden in their midst and was about to make himself known. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 6 December 2009
In the reading today from the gospel of St Luke (3.1-6), the writer is very keen to give us the place and time of his narrative.  The events he tells us about are carefully located, especially through a stream of names. It was during their time that John the Baptist received his vocation to prepare for the coming of the Messiah.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 28 November 2009
What do stockbrokers and fortune-tellers have in common?  The answer, of course, is that they both try to predict the future.
Stockbrokers, financial analysts and many economists all try to discern the future development of commerce, trade and industry.  Yet these professionals still get taken by surprise.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 22 November  2009   | Fr Terry Tastard, Ronald Knox and English Catholicism
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 22 November 2009
If you live in Britain then you live in a kingdom, and the signs are discreet, but they are everywhere.  The sign is a crown.  It is there on the mailboxes and postage stamps.  It is to be found in the courts of justice and on the uniforms of the armed services.  There is a crowned head on the coins and notes that we carry in our purses and wallets.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 15 November 2009
I open my paper this morning and find an advert for another disaster film.  It is called 2012 and the advert seems to show skyscrapers toppling into an earthquake chasm.  Every few years seems to bring a new film, with the world ending by nuclear holocaust, or ice and snow, or earthquake, or some other terrible cataclysmic event.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 8 November  2009   | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 8 November 2009
With today’s Gospel (Mark 12.38-44) there is the option of omitting the first paragraph, and you can see why.  This paragraph makes clergy embarrassed, because it might apply to them, with its description of self-important religious functionaries wearing special robes.  Well, it does apply to them – but it applies to lawyers also, because the scribes mentioned by Jesus also functioned as lawyers and judges. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 8 November 2009
With today’s Gospel (Matt. 12.38-44) there is the option of omitting the first paragraph, and you can see why.  This paragraph makes clergy embarrassed, because it might apply to them, with its description of self-important religious functionaries wearing special robes.  Well, it does apply to them – but it applies to lawyers also, because the scribes mentioned by Jesus also functioned as lawyers and judges. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 1 November 2009
I doubt if life has ever been lived as publicly as it is today.  Anybody famous or  well-known has their life tracked in the media.  More than that, there is a cult of celebrity in which people are famous for  -  well, for what exactly, beyond a talent for self-publicity? 
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 25 October 2009
Most parishes have a few parishioners who are blind or deaf to some degree.  I sometimes wonder how they feel about biblical references to such handicaps.  Blindness is often used in scripture as an image for those who refuse to believe.  Similarly, those who will not listen to the message of God are said to be deaf.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 18 October 2009   | Fr Terry Tastard
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 18 October 2009
Isn't it funny how when we think about researching our family trees, there's often the sneaking hope that we will discover  we are descended from  royalty, a famous writer perhaps or a notorious pirate. We don't picture our ancestors as simple peasants walking behind a horse-drawn plough, or servants emptying bed-pans in a Victorian country house. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 11 October 2009 | Fr Terry Tastard. Sunday Reflection
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 11 October 2009
There is something enormously moving about the young man who runs up to Jesus (Mk 10.17-30).  In fact, let’s begin with that fact:  he runs to seize this chance of meeting Christ.  This is someone who is genuinely eager to learn.  Second, this is a seeker:  What must I do?  he asks.  You can almost sense the energy in him.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 4 October 2009
The readings this weekend are both challenging and beautiful at the same time, and it is important that we hold them together.  In Genesis 2.18-24 we get one of the creation stories.  The man beholds the woman and exclaims that she is bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh.  The point of the story is not so much to explain how the two genders came to be. Read More ...

Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 27 September  2009
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 27 September 2009
Since the 16th century we have been familiar with the powerful story of Dr Faustus.  In this legend, Faust sells his soul to the Devil in return for 24 years of life during which he will enjoy every pleasure and have all the knowledge that he wishes.  Marlowe, Read More ...

SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 21  September 2009  | Fr Terry Tastard, Sunday Reflection
SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 21 September 2009
The twentieth century is now behind us.  What horrors it contained.  The First World War.  The Second World War.  The Holocaust.  Apartheid.  The Siege of Sarajevo.  The Rwanda massacres.  It was a century of progress and also of callous inhumanity.  We tend to focus on the good and on the progress.  The horror side of it is too ghastly to contemplate.  But I have been made to think again by the readings for this weekend and by the parish book club. Read More ...

SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 13 September 2009  | Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Fr Terry Tastard
SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 13 September 2009
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor who died at the hands of the Nazis in 1945.  He had been involved in a plot to kill Hitler.  Before then, he had been part of a movement which sought to protect the Protestant Church from coming under the control of the state.  He had to live with suspicion, hardship and criticism. Read More ...

SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 6 September  2009   | Fr Terry Tastard, Sunday Reflection
SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 6 September 2009
One of the signs that Nazi Germany was going down a poisonous road was the campaign to rid the country of its disabled citizens.  They were deemed to be a 'drain' on resources.  In addition they were considered to be of poor genetic stock, which eugenicists wanted to be neutralised. Read More ...

26th July - Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard
 This week we had the funeral of a well-known and respected member of the congregation who hailed from Dominica in the Caribbean.  He had been a founder member of the Dominican Association in London.  The Association was contacted from Dominica and its help was sought for a handicapped boy.
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19 July 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
I remember seeing on TV a true story from World War II that moved me deeply.  In 1940 a German soldier stationed in Normandy had fallen in love with a local French girl.  He loved her dearly, and always behaved honourably towards her.
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Sunday 12 July - Fr Terry Tastard
No one likes to be vulnerable.  We have erected careful systems to make sure that we are not vulnerable.  As individuals, we take out insurance policies.  As nations, we devise social security schemes.  Or to give a different type of example, we invest in security systems for our homes and offices; Read More ...

5 July 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
On the second reading:  2 Corinthians 12.7-10  There are two spiritual conditions which make it very difficult for the grace of God to help us.  One is self-pity.  The other is self-sufficiency.  Self-pity (which is different from real suffering) blows everything out of proportion, Read More ...

28 June 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
Peter was an impulsive man.  We know this well.  This was the man who, when Jesus was being arrested, began swinging his sword around and cut off someone's ear.  He would believe that he could walk on the sea like Jesus and then panic and sin Read More ...

21 June 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
 Two of the readings today tell us how God limited the power of the sea (Job 38.1& 8-11;  Mk 4.35-41).  In ancient times mankind knew how powerful - and how unpredictable - the sea could be.  The sea gives us life, and encourages travel and transport.  But it is also a potential source of great destruction.
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14 June 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
In the Solemnity of Corpus Christi we celebrate the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, under the forms of bread and wine.  This means so much to us as Catholics, because it tells us that in a special way Christ is to be found among his people when they gather at the altar. Read More ...

7 June 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
In its earliest centuries, as the Church sought to understand God more fully, it came to understand that God is three persons in one.  But let's remember that by 'the Church' we mean much more than an organisation or a hierarchy.  We mean a living body of people.  Read More ...

31 May 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
 Increasingly these days I seem to meet people who tell me that they are spiritual, but not very religious.  What do they mean?  I take it that by ‘spiritual’ they mean that they have ideals that  Read More ...

24  May 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard | Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, Fr Terry Tastard
24 May 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
It is interesting how the ordinary English that we use, speaks the language of ascension. If we find ourselves encouraged by the words of another person, we might say that we have been uplifted. If we are going through a difficult patch we try to rise above our troubles,  Read More ...

17 May 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
The word love resounds through the gospel today (John 15.9-17). And with it, Jesus focuses on a form of love that is often underestimated and not taken seriously enough: friendship. In John 15.15, we find Jesus saying to the disciples that from now on he will call them friends. They are his friends. And, since we are the disciples of Jesus today, we are his friends too. He is our divine Friend.  Read More ...

10 May 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard writes:
In this ecological age there is something about the image of the vine (John 15.1-8) that speaks powerfully to us. We are the branches, splaying out from the main trunk. But the same sap courses through the whole of the vine, bringing life and nourishment wherever it goes.  Read More ...

3 May 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
In today's Gospel reading (John 10.11-18) Jesus speaks of himself as the Good Shepherd.  How appropriate, then, that the Church invites us today to think about vocation.  Everybody is called to Christian living. Read More ...

26 April 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
Bono, the well known singer from U2, has written about easter in the New York Times. I found his meditation thought- provoking. Read More ...

19 April 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
In the gospel today (John 20.19-31) we read that the doors were closed. We have here a picture of the fledgling Church the disciples, and possibly Mary too (see Acts 1.14).  Read More ...

Fr Terry writes on the Triduum
In Christian tradition a mystery is something which we cannot fully comprehend. But we must not stop there. Read More ...

Fr Terry writes on the Triduum
In Christian tradition a mystery is something which we cannot fully comprehend. But we must not stop there. Read More ...

29 March 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard:
In two of today's readings you will find a theme of loneliness. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us of the lonely suffering of Jesus, Read More ...

22 March 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard:
I once wrote an article for a spirituality journal about an unsettling hospital visit.  Read More ...

15 March 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard:
Is it wrong to build beautiful churches? Is it a mistake to create lovely sanctuaries for the worship of God?  Read More ...

15 March 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard:
Is it wrong to build beautiful churches? Is it a mistake to create lovely sanctuaries for the worship of God?  Read More ...

8 March 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard:
Eastern Orthodox icon-painting has aroused a lot of interest in the West recently.  Read More ...

1 March 2009 Fr Terry Tastard:
Christy Nolan died in Ireland last week aged 43. He was born with severe cerebral palsy. Read More ...

22 February 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard
The story of the paralytic lowered through the roof always fascinates children.  Read More ...

15 February 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard:
The best-selling author Catherine Cookson was born into great poverty in 1906. Read More ...

8 February 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard:
What is a balanced life? All of us feel that we could do with a life that is more in balance.  Read More ...

1 February 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard:
I remember reading about a television interview with Mother Teresa of Calcutta in the United States.  Read More ...

25 January 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard:
My parents sometimes found it amusing, sometimes annoying, that I often had my nose in a book.  Read More ...

11 January 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard:
There is something enormously moving about the picture of Jesus going down into the waters of the Jordan. Read More ...

Christmas Eve 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
Underneath the crisis of our times there lurks a spiritual crisis. Read More ...

14 December 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard:
Today's gospel has two simple sentences that we could meditate on richly. Read More ...

7 December 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
Each of the gospels has its own characteristics. For this new liturgical year we focus particularly on the gospel according to Mark,  Read More ...

30 November 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard:
Each Advent we place ourselves in the position of people who are waiting for the coming of the Lord.  Read More ...

16 November 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
It is amazing how many parables of Jesus deal with money. There is the woman who loses a precious coin and turns the house  Read More ...

9 November 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
Theologians have a nice phrase they used for describing how God has come into history. They call it the scandal of particularity. Read More ...

2 November 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
Apparently Dorothy Day once said that she did not want people to call her a saint, because she did not want to be dismissed so easily. Read More ...

26 October 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
In today's second reading, St Paul rejoices over how the people of Salonika, when they were converted, 'broke with idolatry and became servants of the real, Read More ...

19 October 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
The state of the world rarely brings peace of mind. In our own times we find  Read More ...

12 October 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
Are the rich more virtuous than the poor?  Is poverty something to be ashamed of?  Our initial reaction is to say No to both those questions.
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5 October 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
Sometimes people have something valuable and do not realise it. Read More ...

28 September 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
As part of the process of becoming a priest, I had to answer the question: Do you believe that it is God's will that you become a priest? I found it a very difficult question to answer.  Read More ...

14 September 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
The mystery of suffering in our world is one that we all have to grapple with. It is linked with our sense of justice and fairness. Read More ...

7 September 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
'Give us true freedom'. That is what we ask God in today's opening prayer. What is true freedom? We can think of it as freedom from and freedom for. Read More ...

31 August 2008 - Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ
31 August 2008 Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ, writes: "Get Behind me Satan." Read More ...
Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ