Archive for October, 2008

Daily Reflection 29 October 2008: Wednesday Week 30 of the Year

October 29, 2008

Collect of the Day:

Lord, send your light to shine in our hearts.
 May we always follow the path of your commandments
 and never stray from it.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.
Amen.

The First reading Ephesians 6:1 – 9
Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord – that is your duty. The commandment that has a promise attached to it is: Honour your father and mother, and the promise is: and you will prosper and have a long life in the land. And parents, never drive your children to resentment but in bringing them up correct them and guide them as the Lord does.
Slaves, be obedient to the men who are called your masters in this world, with deep respect and sincere loyalty, as you are obedient to Christ: not only when you are under their eye, as if you had only to please men, but because you are slaves of Christ and wholeheartedly do the will of God. Work hard and willingly, but do it for the sake of the Lord and not for the sake of men. You can be sure that everyone, whether a slave or a free man, will be properly rewarded by the Lord for whatever work he has done well. And those of you who are employers, treat your slaves in the same spirit; do without threats, remembering that they and you have the same Master in heaven and he is not impressed by one person more than by another.

The Gospel Luke 13:22 – 30
Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.
‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will find yourself saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets” but he will reply, “I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men !”
‘Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.
‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’

Daily Reflection:

Today’s Gospel holds some wonderful truths, many think that they can obtain a certainty of salvation because they belong to a group or denomination that is more pure than the rest, or are in some ways the sole guardians of the truth or the ‘Mysteries of God’. But with God things are never that simple. Here we find Jesus talking to his contemporary Jews, who at that time more or less thought that they had a mortage on God’s Kingdom. It must have astounded them to hear of Gentiles taking part in it all, while they themselves maybe excluded. In fact this would prove to be a double mortification to them, being excluded themselves and seeing the desiped Gentiles included. The reversal can be complete as the passage about the first and the last clearly demonstrate. God’s ways are not human ways.

What we must remember is that it is not important as to which group we identify with or belong, rather it is how we put into pracitce the core values that we learn from the Gospels. Always remembering that Christianity is shown by our actions and is not a matter of just intellectual ascent.

Blessings

+Ian

Closing Prayer:

Grant, O Lord, that my heart may neither desire nor seek anything but what is necessary for the fulfillment of Your Holy Will. May health or sickness, riches or poverty, honors or contempt, humiliations, leave my soul in that state of perfect detachment to which I desire to attain for Your greater honor and Your greater glory. +Amen.    –St. Ignatius Loyola

 

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The Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles: Tuesday the 28th of October 2008

October 28, 2008

hp_St_Simon_Jude_06 by Photo Snapshots.

About the Saints:

Little is known of these two Apostles, whose names are always linked in the Gospel accounts, St. Simon was surnamed the Zealot for his rigid adherence to the Jewish law and to the Canaanite law. He was one of the original followers of Christ. Western tradition is that he preached in Egypt and then went to Persia with St. Jude, where both suffered martyrdom. Eastern tradition says Simon died peacefully at Edessa.

St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Saviour. St. Jude was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.

Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.

He is an author of an epistle (letter) to the Churches of the East, particularly the Jewish converts, directed against the heresies of the Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics. This Apostle is said to have suffered martyrdom along with St. Simon in Armenia, which was then subject to Persia.

St Jude is invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had done before them. Therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate cases. (The epithet is also commonly rendered as “patron saint of lost causes”.) However, there is another reckoning to this epithet. Many Christians have unfortunately reckoned him as Judas Iscariot and thus avoided veneration. Therefore he was also called the “Forgotten Saint”. Because veneration was avoided, only people in the most desperate circumstances would call upon him, and Jude, desiring to help, was willing to pray for even the most desperate or lost case. Therefore, goes the logic, Jude became the patron saint of lost causes.

Collect of the Day:

O God, by your will the blessed Apostles have led us to acknowledge your name.
By the intercession of Saint Simon and Saint Jude,
 grant that your Church may constantly grow
 as more and more nations come to believe in you.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.
Amen.

The First reading Ephesians 2:19 – 22
You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.

The Gospel Luke 6:12 – 19
Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them ‘apostles’: Simon whom he called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.
He then came down with them and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon who had come to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. People tormented by unclean spirits were also cured, and everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all.

Daily Reflection:

Reading A commentary on the gospel of John by St Cyril of Alexandria
As the father sent me, so I am sending you

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ has appointed certain men to be guides and teachers of the world and stewards of his divine mysteries. Now he bids them to shine out like lamps and to cast out their light not only over the land of the Jews but over every country under the sun and over people scattered in all directions and settled in distant lands. That man has spoken truly who said: No one takes honour upon himself, except the one who is called by God, for it was our Lord Jesus Christ who called his own disciples before all others to a most glorious apostolate. These holy men became the pillar and mainstay of the truth, and Jesus said that he was sending them just as the Father had sent him.
By these words he is making clear the dignity of the apostolate and the incomparable glory of the power given to them, but he is also, it would seem, giving them a hint about the methods they are to adopt in their apostolic mission. For if Christ thought it necessary to send out his intimate disciples in this fashion, just as the Father had sent him, then surely it was necessary that they whose mission was to be patterned on that of Jesus should see exactly why the Father had sent the Son. And so Christ interpreted the character of his mission to us in a variety of ways. Once he said: I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance. And then at another time he said: I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. For God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
Accordingly, in affirming that they are sent by him just as he was sent by the Father, Christ sums up in a few words the approach they themselves should take to their ministry. From what he said they would gather that it was their vocation to call sinners to repentance, to heal those who were sick whether in body or spirit, to seek in all their dealings never to do their own will but the will of him who sent them, and as far as possible to save the world by their teaching.
Surely it is in all these respects that we find his holy disciples striving to excel. To ascertain this is no great labour, a single reading of the Acts of the Apostles or of Saint Paul’s writings is enough.

Closing Prayer:

A Prayer to St. Jude

Most holy apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered thy beloved Master into the hands of His enemies hath caused thee to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes thee universally as the patron of hopeless cases, of things despaired of. Pray for me, who am so miserable. Make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded to thee, to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly — (Mention your request) and that I may praise God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise, O blessed Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen.

Fall Synod: A Reflection

October 20, 2008

From October the first to the fifth 2008 the Reformed Catholic Church held its Fall Synod in Columbus Ohio. It was a wonderous affair that truly was spiritually enlightening for those who made the effort to attend. An international affair there were clergy form Ireland, Africa and myself from Australia and all the clergy from across the United States. Synod was a busy time of learning and sharing, joy and pain and many wonderful opportunities for all to share in the Eucharistic Mysteries that lie at the heart of our Church.

Six new bishops (of which I was one) and one archbishop were consecrated and four men took up the challenge of the diaconate. But most of all what stood out for me and still does was watching the people of the RCC in action. Both the clergy and the laity moved with one heart and one voice, and at the core of this unity was and is ‘Servant Leadership’. This theme underscores all that the RCC does and is particularly apparent amongst its leadership, no airs and graces here rather a practical attitude of living the Gospel message and the willingness to take that message right where it is needed.

During my time in Columbus I saw archbishops, bishops, priests, religious and laity on the streets ministering to the poor, the sick, the hungry, the forgotten. In fact they would be embarrassed in me mentioning this fact for they seek no kudos for their work. But it is experiencing this practical side of ministry that heightens the whole experience of Synod and gives a true insight into the mission of the RCC worldwide. As Archbishop Zimmerman often says: “To really understand the RCC, one has to experience Synod”. And what an experience it proved to be, I invite all interested to come to the next Synod: For All are Welcome in this Place.

+Ian