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I wish you Blessings for a Happy New Year
Fr Tom Lavin
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Reflections taken, with permission, from Intercom Magazine
Sunday, 12th February 2017
SEEING YOUR LIFE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS
1. In this section of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus proposes standards that go beyond external ways of behaviour. He challenges our inner attitudes. When have you found that living out of inner conviction is more life-giving than keeping up appearances?
2. Jesus applies his teaching to feelings of anger and sexual desire. He suggests that if we do not keep an eye on our feelings and thoughts we will not be able to control our actions. Perhaps you have experienced the truth of this. What has helped you to integrate your feelings so that you were able to live in right relationship with yourself and others?
3. For Jesus, persons with genuine authenticity do not need to swear an oath to be convincing. Their ‘yes’ or ‘no’ suffices. Recall people who had this kind of credibility for you. When have you found that your simple, direct and honest communication had a positive persuasive force?
John Byrne osa
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has a beautiful way of explaining creation, which according to him should be understood not with the model of a craftsman, but with the creative mind and creative thinking. The Church places freedom and dignity at the heart of its message about the unrepeatable uniqueness of every person from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Human beings are not just mere individuals, but persons embodied with the gift of freedom. Life seems simpler if we blot out awareness of its mystery, but such a life is an impoverished one. Yes, there are the complexities of our human existence. There is a confusion and chaos where we cannot fully understand the meaning and events that make up our conscious experience – in relationships, in family, in faith, in prayer, in work, or whatever. But the swirls of events are the context wherein we discover a presence, a way, a possibility as cited in the last words of St Paul today, ‘for the spirit reaches the depths of everything, even the depths of God.’
Fr John Cullen
Kiltoom, Athlone, Co Roscommon
THE DEEP END
This Sunday we have a third extract from the Sermon on the Mount. It can appear at first glance to be a series of moral statements and rules from Jesus. On closer reflection we can see Jesus’ message here is the call for each of us to ‘go deeper’. The Scribes and the Pharisees followed the letter of the law but without depth. Jesus is clear that he has not come to demolish the law, rather, this whole passage is a call to a more profound reflection on our lives; not ticking boxes but moving towards a deeper change of heart in dealings with others. Jesus gives many examples of how people might do this: warning against the hypocrisy of offering gifts and rituals at the altar when we may have huge anger and resentment towards another. Is the real sacrament not in reconciling that relationship first? Which offering is more life-giving? It is not enough to ‘not murder’, but we must watch our anger which can lead to violence. Jesus is calling on people to watch their thoughts which can lead to serious actions like murder and adultery.
When we encounter Christ, the grace that this experience brings can make us aware of what is not ok in our lives. We are called to a radical conversion, a change of heart. And so we read today’s passage with our hearts, not our heads. It may help to recall a time when you felt God’s grace bringing you to a deeper realisation about your life.