Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square on Sunday to pray the Angelus with Pope Francis. Before the prayers, the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel reading of the day, from the Gospel of St Luke, in which Jesus dines as the guest of a leading Pharisee, and teaches a hard truth about pride and the Kingdom of God and issues a challenge to all present to focus their thoughts and order their actions to the promise of the Resurrection. As often happens, Jesus taught the Gospel lesson through parables,
Time and time again the teachings of Jesus challenge me deeply! One of the interesting things about our life lived in God's companionship is how often it happens, that when we think we have got to the right place, feel as though something has at last been achieved, another new lesson from life comes along and we learn again! I know that we can half understand that life isn't perfect and half know that whatever we might do is never going to be fully complete, but it can be rather annoying at times!
When I was a child the word discipline was often used both is a constructive and punitive manner. I can still hear somebody saying to me, 'what you need is a bit of discipline!' When I became a novice with the Benedictines the phrase 'follow the discipline of the Rule ' was a common utterance by my novice -master. Strangely I don't remember thinking this odd, it was part and parcel of an older European generation that had known the privation and hardship of two wars and had been forged by adversity. It's unfashionable now to talk about
The General Audience with the Holy Father was held in the air conditioned Paul VI Hall on Wednesday. Pope Francis reflected on the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, from the Gospel of St Matthew. Jesus' compassion for the people who follow after Him is not a vague sentiment," the Pope said. Jesus "loves us so much, and wants to be close to us." Jesus' concern for the crowd is the impetus for the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Jesus, though, does not act alone, but wishes to involve His disciples in the miracle.
The Church doesn't need bureaucrats, she needs impassioned missionaries with fire in their hearts, Pope Francis told pilgrims in St Peter's Square during the Angelus on Sunday. He warned that without this fire, the Church risked becoming a cold or merely lukewarm Church, made up of cold and lukewarm Christians, and urged his listeners to reflect on their own attitudes. Quoting from Jesus' words where he said: "I have come to bring fire to the earth and how I wish it were blazing already!"
About two months ago I attended a meeting in the Diocese of East Anglia about the phenomenon of human slavery in the area around Peterborough, Wisbech and Boston. I was horrified by what I heard. Two young police officers working in the area - one from Lithuania and the other originally from Slovakia - spoke movingly about how unscrupulous recruiters often travel to Lithuania, Slovakia and Albania and entice many hundreds of young men and women with all kinds of false promises
For several weeks I've been busy on my Oxford University Department's Summer Schools. We've just finished the last, the Theology School, which runs for two weeks and is held at Christ Church. It's a wonderful occasion, hard work for the students in their seminars, but equally hard for the team that supports them. I work as Pastoral Director with the Academic Director, my friend, colleague and fellow canon, Angela Tilby. It's a great atmosphere with people from different countries and Christian backgrounds,
Action-packed summer adventures are all the rage, but there's a lot to be said for a 'less is more' approach to holidays, says Sister Teresa White in the online Jesuit journal Thinking Faith. A clear diary can be an opportunity to see and hear what we overlook or ignore in our everyday lives - there's no such thing as wasted time if that time leads us closer to God. It is only when we are not being practical and concentrate on useless things that we move out and find the world is opening out. (Ernesto Cardenal)
There is a wonderful phrase in the letter to the Hebrews; 'Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen. (Heb: 11.1). The author of this letter uses this phrase as an example of a type of faith, in this case Abraham, which does not demand evidence or proof of the existence of God, but instead builds on a deeper, inner, relationship of trust that Abraham has discovered with God. This intimacy produces for those who open themselves to Gods presence, the gift of hope, so that hope becomes one of the all-encompassing aspects of our
My wish is to live in a universe where the turtle always wins, not only in the story but in reality. "The turtle once challenged a rabbit to have a race with him as he used to make fun of his slowness. The rabbit accepted the challenge. The race started, the rabbit ran very fast. The turtle took its time and was left far behind. The rabbit stopped to take rest under a tree. He fell asleep. The turtle passed him and reached the winning post. The rabbit woke up and ran as fast as he could but couldn't win as the turtle had already reached the finish line first."
Fr David Stewart SJ writes: This month, Pope Francis has asked us to join him in a prayer for, and about, sports - that sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world. Do we ever think about sports as a topic for our prayer? Maybe, only when our favourite team is about to participate in a big match or prestigious tournament! Maybe the only time we ever might link our prayer and whatever sport we follow, or play, is at that moment, and it's commonplace to spot a player
As I get older I have noticed a change in me that I hadn't thought possible at one point in my life. Maybe my mother's death has helped me to move because it's a gradual stripping away, inside myself, of deep attachment to those small articles and treasures of life that make up our store of memories, hopes and enjoyments. It's been a strange experience. I still love and appreciate my icons and other artifacts and I've no intention of getting rid of them, but I'm now more aware that they are only for my use for a time. Why? Well because like the rich
Here in the UK we have had a real week of summer, but also one charged with uncertainty and change from the media obsession with Brexit to the drama in Turkey, the dope scandal engulfing Russian athletes, the aftermath of Nice in France. Hidden below the radar are other things, the dreadful bombings and destruction of Aleppo, the plight of migrant peoples, the destruction of animal species and environment by us humans, or the deep dark unknown stories of countries like North Korea. These are what we might call the 'dark side' of
Pope Francis reflected on the importance of hospitality during his Angelus address to pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday. Receiving a guest into our home doesn't require so much, he said, but one thing is necessary, to listen to guests, so that they feel truly among family. Commenting on the day's Gospel which recounts the story of Mary and Martha receiving Jesus in their home, the Holy Father said: "In busying herself and doing things, Martha runs the risk of forgetting the presence of her guest, who in this case is Jesus."
My friends often tease me by saying that I only work in term time and on Sundays so I've plenty of holidays. That's not even partially true, in the months of July and August I teach and direct some of my Department's Oxford University Summer Schools. All great fun as well as enormously hard work! It's a wonderful experience meeting and connecting with so many people from all over the world. Besides the excitement of learning, people forge good friendships and this, I think, is one of the most important parts of what we do!
At the Angelus on Sunday, with pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on the parable of the Good Samaritan. This parable, the Pope said, "indicates a style of life, in which the centre of gravity is not ourselves, but others." Like the doctor of the law in the day's Gospel, we might ask ourselves, "Who is my neighbour? Is it my friends, my parents, my fellow countrymen, my co-religionists?" Jesus does not answer the question directly, but instead tells of the Good Samaritan, a man who did not observe the true religion,
As somebody who is part of ordained ministry, I have to continually remind myself that whatever I may think, no matter how hard I may convince myself otherwise, I and others like me are symbols of authority, power and a dose of privilege. That's why parables like the one about the Good Samaritan are necessary reading and reflection for ministry, there we see in the action of the Levite, no doubt convinced that he is following the law of non pollution and perhaps avoiding a trap by robbers, a shadowy reflection of ourselves. I know that as a priest there will
After a tumultuous week in UK politics one could be forgiven for wanting to seek some solace and reassurance in the scriptures, but I'm afraid what we get in Luke's account of the sending of disciples ( Lk 10: 1-20)is yet more uncertainty. Jesus does not give any ready made answers, nor does he seek to comfort those he sends, instead he reminds us all that ministry and mission as disciples will not be plain sailing: 'Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.' The mission is clear; we are to proclaim the God's Kingdom! Some may accept
The two minutes silence held at 7.28 on Friday July 1 2016, led up to 7.30, zero hour, the time when the battle of the Somme began. This was an offensive against the German Army led by British and French troops; it lasted until the 18th November 1916 and took place on the banks and upper reaches of the River Somme. It was arguably the one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the First World War. More than a million men were killed or wounded. On the first day the official statistics show the appalling carnage,
Today the Lord invites us to make a serious examination of conscience, Pope Francis said on Thursday during a special Jubilee audience at St Peter's Square. It's one thing to talk mercy but quite another to live it, he said. Mercy is not an abstraction or a lifestyle and, paraphrasing the words of St James the Apostle, mercy without works is dead in itself. Pope Francis reflected on the text of Matthew 25:31 as he spoke about acts of mercy toward others. What makes mercy come alive is its dynamism to meet the spiritual and material needs of others, he said.
Special prayers were said for the victims, loved ones, and families of the 12 June Orlando massacre, at the evening Mass at Farm Street in Mayfair on Sunday - marking the end of Pride weekend. Music was provided by the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir. There was an exhibition of photographs of the 49 young people who lost their lives. (See the full list of names in the ICN Prayer Request section). Father Tony Nye SJ gave the following homily, reflecting on the day's readings:
In his homily during Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul today in St Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis focused on the themes of "closing" and "opening" in the lives of the two patrons of Rome. The Church must avoid the risk of closing in on itself out of persecution and fear, the Pope said. At the same time, she must be able to see "the small openings through which God can work." Prayer, he said, "enables grace to open a way out from closure to openness, from fear to courage, from sadness to joy. And we can add: from division to unity."
Given that those of us in the UK have been part of a seismic shift in the political direction of our country, how do these words of Jesus, quoted by Luke, seem to you? Jesus said: "No one who sets a hand to the plough
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God." I guess some of you reading this will feel that the earth you know and understand has shifted its axis, some will be fearful, some resentful, others hopeful, the uncertain waters ahead cannot be fathomed as of yet!
During his weekly General Audience on a very hot and sunny Wednesday, attended by thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel story of the leper who was healed by Jesus as a sign of God's mercy and forgiveness. As Jesus reached out and touched the unclean man, he said, so we must never be afraid to reach out and touch the poor and those most in need. At the same time, he said, the Lord invites each of us to feel our own need and to ask for his healing touch.
Before judging others we should look at ourselves in the mirror, Pope Francis said in his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. In his last Mass with a homily there ahead of the summer break, the Holy Father pointed out that what distinguishes God's judgment from ours is not "omnipotence" but "mercy. Judgment belongs to God alone, so if we do not want to be judged, we should not judge others says Pope Francis. Reflecting on the day's Gospel, the Pope said "all of us want the Lord to look upon us with kindness" on Judgment Day and that