The Holy Spirit has been the guiding light of the Church from the beginning, Pope Francis said in his homily this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, but he said, from the beginning there has always been resistance to 'surprises of the Spirit'. The Holy Father was reflecting on the reading from Acts of the Apostles which describe the division and resistance within the early Church in Jerusalem. It's the Spirit who, from the very beginning, gives strength to the apostles to proclaim the Gospel and it's the Spirit who
I read on one of those church blogs a recent comment about those of us priests trained in the 70's who had deviated from the faith because we had adopted worldly positions. It was unclear just what these worldly positions were, but the inference was obvious (the blogger was a younger priest), we (because I was trained then and ordained in 1979 we are yesterday's message). I don't normally spend much time looking at this stuff, its simply opinion, but it's amazing just how many people think they have a divine right on their
I can remember several years ago discussions which suggested that St George was not a suitable patron saint, most of the comments were directed at the mythology of George slaying the dragon and the apparent lack of historical evidence for his life, not helped by a confusion of identity with another George. But times are a changing and it seems St George, like a few other ancient saints, have plenty to share with us. We do know a bit about him, born around 280 probably in Lydda modern day Syria/Palestine, into a Christian family.
A Christian is a person of hope, who knows and witnesses that Jesus lives, that he is among us, that he prays to the Father for each of us and that he will come again. This is how Pope Francis summed up the relationship between every Christian and the Risen Jesus, during Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, Friday 22 April. Reflecting on the day's readings, the Pope focussed on three key words for Christian life: message, intercession and hope.
Two of our present major Church leaders, Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis, have repeatedly drawn attention to the plight of our small blue planet, the only common home we have. In his Encyclical Laudato Si, the Pope mentions the clear and continual commitment the Patriarch has to the problems of our 'Mother, the Earth', in recent years he has tirelessly worked to draw attention to the problems facing all of us, yet at the same time look to the roots of such problems to see how we can best change for the better,
The parallel between the history of the people of Israel and that of the individual Christian was the theme of Pope Francis homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. Along the path of life we never walk alone, and in order to remember that God is beside us, he helps us understand that salvation is not a momentary event but a history that unfolds day by day, amid successes and failures, until the final encounter. The day's reading from The Acts of the Apostles (13:13-25) regarding the first preaching
Those who harden their hearts and refuse to be drawn towards Christ are like orphans, without a father, Pope Francis said during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. The Holy Father began his reflection by recalling the question that the sceptical Jews kept asking Jesus every time he performed a miracle, preached in the temple or pointed the way to the Father: "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
The image of Jesus the Good Shepherd was the focus of Pope Francis' homily during Mass at Santa Marta on Monday morning (18 April). Commenting on the Gospel of John (10:1-10), the Pontiff highlighted three realities on which he chose "to reflect: the door, the path, and the voice. First the door. The Gospel passage presents Jesus' words: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber."
The Christian family of God did not come into being peacefully, like every human life its beginning was that mixture of joy, surprise, anxiety and hardship, its growth characterized by periods of hostility and persecution as well as growth. This is no surprise to any of us, for in calling us to 'follow him' the Lord Jesus never gave us any assurances of peaceful existence, only that he would always be with us and that in the end, to use Julian of Norwich's consoling phrase; 'All shall be well'. I've taken great comfort from Julian's words, she herself
During morning Mass today at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the account of the conversion of Saul, in the Acts of the Apostles (9:1-20) and the importance of docility to the action of the Holy Spirit. Yesterday the liturgy highlighted how both the Apostle Philip and the queen's minister had their hearts open to the voice of the Spirit. Today brought "the story of a man who lets God change his heart: the transformation from a closed, hard, misguided heart to a man with a heart docile to the Holy Spirit."
One must be docile to the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said on Thursday, during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Pope Francis warned against those who resist the Spirit with "so-called fidelity to the law" and invited the faithful to pray for the grace of the docility to the Spirit. Philip evangelized the Ethiopian, a senior official of Queen Candace. Pope Francis was inspired by this fascinating account in the Acts of the Apostles, in the first reading, focusing his attention on the docility to the Holy Spirit.
It's been good for me this Easter to have entered into the celebrations feeling empty, why? Well I suppose like many people I begin to ask questions about the structures of faith that we all seem to accept as simply being there. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a crisis of my faith but something I believe we have to take on board if we are serious about discipleship and of our need for Christ.
A man returned to his car in the parking lot of a supermarket, to discover that the side had been badly dented by some other car. Naturally, he was very upset. He was somewhat relieved, however, to see that there was a note under one of the wipers. At least, whoever was responsible had owned up, and there was a chance that the other person's insurance would take care of the damage. He opened the piece of paper, and it read:
Pope Francis presided over Mass in St Peter's Square today, Divine Mercy Sunday, and encouraged the faithful to be "apostles of mercy" toward those in need."We are all called to become living writers of the Gospel, heralds of the Good News to all men and women today," the Pope told the crowds during his homily. "We do this by practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are the hallmarks of the Christian life.
Like you, I am one of those mentioned in the Gospel of John in the account of Thomas and the Risen Christ. On seeing Jesus, 'Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." Time and time again I am wrestle with this statement. I continually ask myself, have I too seen the Risen Lord?
On Good Friday our Melkite service was filmed for Tele-Lumiere, a Lebanese TV company to be broadcast to Iraqi and Syrian Christians suffering terrible happenings and atrocities, many unable to actively worship, many displaced form their home communities. I had to send a message in English to them and whilst doing so realised the tremendous Christian family we belong to. No matter where we are in the world, people, groups, big communities, parishes are praying and actively working to reach out to those in need.
A few weeks ago I went to see the film The Room. It is about a man kidnapping a young woman and keeping her in his garden shed for seven years. He never let her out of there. He visited the shed often with food and the things she needed for day to day living - and then to have his way with her. After some time she had a baby. She brought the boy up in that shed - they called the shed The ROOM - and she taught him to read and write. She told him about the things that were outside the room but so as not to disturb him
Nothing sums up better the hospitality of God than the Last Supper - His unconditional welcome to all of us. Years ago a friend invited me home to his parents' house. On the way up to the front door, I didn't know it, but I stepped in something. I innocently entered the house and took some steps across the carpeted hallway where his mother was waiting to greet me, a beaming smile on her face. Suddenly everything changed. She spotted what I had carried in on my shoes and the marks on the carpet and she went into one.
Last night Pope Francis presided over the Stations of the Cross in the Coliseum. During his prayer at the end of the service, the Holy Father made a strong statement lamenting those Christians killed for their faith by "barbarous blades amid cowardly silence, as well as the fact the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas had become "insatiable cemeteries," blaming "our indifferent and anaesthetised conscience."
The Passion of Christ is a disturbing story, full of violence, lies, cries, manipulation of power, pain, and, indeed, the dead of the innocent Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be King and God. Sadly, our world is also like that, full of disturbing stories where violence is chief, where lies abound, where the powerful keep playing power-games at the cost of the rest, and where many innocent persons cry out because they are hurt, wounded, abandoned, or being killed. When we witness these events, or when we are part of them, we cannot
The fuss over Pope Francis decision to allow women to have their feet washed during the Eucharist today is incomprehensible to many people, especially if , like me, you work and live in an ecumenical setting where women and men share ministry together. I worry about the tendency to misogynistic takes on the historical reality of Jesus foot washing as though it was part of some ordination rite, excluding women, which it plainly isn't. Why do I think that? Well perhaps all those who get worked up might like to look at other references to foot
On Maundy Thursday I had my feet washed as part of the ceremony of the Mass of the day. I have frequently had my feet washed before. It is a humbling experience. The priest kneeling in front of me, washing, then kissing my foot. I know that at the time of Christ it was customary to wash the feet of a visitor as they arrived after a dusty journey. A servant or a slave or a woman washed the feet of the guest. The custom recognised the discomfort of feet dusty and sore from walking or travelling over unpaved roads,
"On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realized the new wonder; but even they hardly realized that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but of the dawn." (GK Chesterton; The Everlasting Man)
Archbishop Oscar Romero was beatified as a martyr killed out of hatred of the faith on May 23rd 2015 in a magnificent ceremony in San Salvador. Pope Francis undoubtedly admires Romero and there are echoes of Romero's homilies in Evangelii Gaudium and in many of Francis' speeches and sermons. In 2013 Francis ordered the roadblock to Romero's beatification to be removed once and for all. We therefore have today a new icon for this pontificate, alongside Francis of Assisi. Unsurprisingly, March 24th, the anniversary of his killing,
That image of Jesus riding into Jerusalem, on a colt, surrounded by adoring crowds is a poignant one, for underneath the triumphant shouts of "hosanna' is the brooding sense that all this excitement and joy is going to end in sorrow and death! On the donkey sits the lonely figure of Jesus, who has just wept for Jerusalem and its people and now seems detached, lost in his own thoughts, aware that now the hour of his test is at hand! The Gospels of that entry into Jerusalem give us a number of clear pointers to the fact that now Jesus is revealed as the true