Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Catholic Reflections 691 : Twenty-fifth Sunday of the Year B - Sunday, 23 September 2018

Homily Twenty-fifth Sunday of the Year B  - Sunday, 23 September 2018

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Wisdom 2:12. 17-20Psalm: Ps 53:3-6. 8. “The Lord upholds my life.
Second Reading: James 3:16 - 4:3
Gospel Acclamation: cf 2 Thessalonians 2:14
Gospel: Mark 9:30-37
Second Reading: James 3:16 - 4:3Gospel Acclamation: cf 2 Thessalonians 2:14Gospel: Mark 9:30-37Second Reading: James 3:16 - 4:3Gospel Acclamation: cf 2 Thessalonians 2:14Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twenty-fifth Sunday of the Year B  - Sunday, 23 September 2018 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/25b-23rd-sept-2018-faith-hope-and-love-ep-115  (EPISODE: 115)
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This weekend Our Lord teaches us a most important lesson. He reminds us that following him is the path of unselfish service. Love and sacrifice….  Our Lord also shows us that God’s idea of greatness is very different from the ideas of the world…  
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I love the system of continuous readings that the Catholic Church and many other denominations have developed. The Lectionary cycle…. I think that it is a true genius that allows the Bible to come alive in our yearly journey…. The readings this weekend are challenging, but I love that too…. It would be easier for us to pick the readings we like…. To pick the texts that most speak to us and expound on them…. But perhaps if I were to do that, I would be sorely tempted to pass over those texts that challenge me, that move me out of my comfort zone… that are inviting me to be a disciple in the building up of Christ’s Kingdom and not my watered-down vision of what I think the Kingdom of God should be…. Through our journey through the continuous cycle of readings… we don’t choose the text…. It chooses us… and it reads our lives and God transforms them, reshaping us in God’s image, not in our own….

Scenes like this weekend’s gospel can be very sobering and they can give the impression that the disciples never fully understood the Lord’s teaching. But we have to keep in mind that the gospels largely are a sneak peek into the formation and training that the disciples were getting from Jesus during his earthly ministry.  Later, after Jesus’ death and resurrection and ascension, and after the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the disciples were transformed and enlightened.  They finally understood the message and teaching of Jesus. No longer were they wrangling and jockeying for the best places of honour, no longer were they squabbling over who was the greatest or what part of the work Jesus left for us to complete was their part, and which was the most lucrative part of the ministry.

We are very fortunate that the gospels are not merely the END result of all Jesus’ teachings, with all the rough bits polished off. We are very blessed that the gospels show us the journey of understanding and learning and change of vision that the disciples had to go through before they fully comprehended the message of Jesus. If we only got the final results, we would not have understood the journey of discovery and conversion that we too must undergo. We must let go of our old ways of thinking and embrace the new ways of the gospel.  The old ways were of self-advantage, self-focus and ‘what can I get out of this for myself’  and the new ways of the gospel are self-sacrificing service and consideration for others, a mindset that puts oneself last and servant of all.

The first reading reminds us of something we have to be very wary of. When we become aware of some challenging aspects of our own weaknesses and selfishness, it is sorely tempting to want to ‘shoot the messenger.”  This is what happened in the Old Testament days, and it is alive and well today too:  The prophets pointed out the ways the people were not living up to God’s ways and what did the people do?  in the main, they didn’t start working on their areas of weakness and their blind-spots, but rather typically they started trying to discredit the prophets and ignore and ridicule the message and in many occasions, they killed the prophets rather than deal with the actual problem – their wrongful ways and attitudes.

Do we ever see that tendency in ourselves in one way or another…    we become aware of a weakness or an area in our lives or areas for growth or change in our personalities (ones that need work and improvement), but instead of humbly beginning the work of asking God to change these aspects and asking for God’s grace to remove these barriers and wrongdoings, we just fob off the message or blame the messenger.  This would have to be one of THE most unhelpful and dangerous behaviours around.  In a way, it is a self-defensive mechanism, (designed to protect us), but it ends up keeping us stuck in bad ways and repeated mistakes. It is not being honest and open with ourselves and it is not admitting our utter dependence on God’s mercy, love and grace to slowly but surely change us to be more like the disciples he calls us to be. God loves us despite our sinfulness, but God doesn’t want us to stay stuck in the mud either! God is offering us the grace to rise above our weaknesses if we let him address our sinfulness – if we bravely and honestly face the truth of them!
St James spells it out in the second reading:
“Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom … from above is essentially about working for peace, and shows itself in kindness, consideration of others, compassion, and results in good actions.  If we are on the right track, partiality or hypocrisy and endless wrangling and fights and disruptions would not be present.  ….. holiness..  in God’s eyes is being a Peacemakers, not a stirrer or an agitator for one’s own desires and ambitions. (James 3:16 - 4:3). 
 
He says it really clearly:  We wouldn’t have jealousy or wrangling if people had a self-sacrificing, serving, considerate approach to others, above themselves.  Jesus is the perfect example of this self-sacrificing approach. He could have claimed all authority and all privilege but instead emptied himself completely for others.   It is starkly and shockingly challenging.  Will we follow in the master’s footsteps or try to go in circles in our own?

 
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References:
Fr Paul W. Kelly


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Archive of homilies and reflections:  http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au
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“Faith, Hope and Love,  A time of Christian worship and reflection”  - Led by Rev Paul W. Kelly
Texts used in this programme are for the purposes of worship and prayer for listeners wherever you are.
Prayers and chants are taken from the English Translation of the Roman Missal, edition three, © 2010, The International commission on English in the liturgy.
Scriptures are from the New Revised Standard Version: © 1989,  by the national council of Churches of Christ, USA. , //adaptations to conform with Catholic liturgical norms, © 2009, by the same.
 [{selected psalms } - ***Psalm verses are (also) taken from “The Psalms: A New Translation” ©1963, The Grail (England), published by Collins.. **]

Prayers of the Faithful are adapted from Robert Borg’s 1993 book “ Together we pray”. Published in Sydney Australia By  E.J. Dwyer. (out of print).

{ “Mass In Honour of St. Ralph Sherwin” -published 2011,  Composed and Sung by Jeffrey M. Ostrowski 
Featuring the….Gloria, The Creed, The Kyrie, The Mass parts, [[           - Psalms:  
http://www.ccwatershed.org/chabanel/  ]]] ] COPYRIGHT @ 2018 CORPUS CHRISTI WATERSHED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  www.ccwatershed.org/vatican/Ralph_Sherwin_Videos/  

“Faith, Hope and Love” theme Hymn:   Words, based on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, set to original music © 1996 by Paul W. Kelly.

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May God bless and keep you.


Twenty-fifth Sunday of the Year B
(
Sunday, 23 September 2018)

(EPISODE: 115 )

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (or/ The Lord be with You)
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Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,* through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.
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Memorial Acclamation

Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.

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Sundays Ordinary VIII

Euch prayer III

Communion side.  pwk: 
LH
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Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.

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