In the Gospel reading this week we hear one of the most famous parables that Jesus taught – the Good Samaritan. With this familiarity we need to challenge ourselves to hear the message in a new and challenging way.
“Who is my neighbour?”
At times we are faced by things in our life where we can see someone in need – a homeless person as we walk down the street, a friend who we need to listen to or one of our family who we need to support. In the busy hustle and bustle of our lives it is sometimes simpler to ‘tactically ignore’ this or turn a blind eye.
Jesus is asked in this account “Who is my neighbour?” and challenges those listening and their prejudices about who would be the best person to help. The Samaritan, their enemy, was the one who stopped to show love and compassion not the good and the great.
“Love one another as I have loved you”
In the simplest way we are taught to be loving and compassionate and like the greatest teachers Jesus realises that He may need to recap and revisit this many times for it to sink in. So what can we do in the week ahead?
Look to be alive to those who need us to reach out to them – at home, at school or as we go about our busy days
Try to find time for those who need our attention to do what they need most – often this can simply be love and attention for those we love the most
Challenge ourselves to reach out to the ‘stranger in need’ whoever it may be – could you buy a homeless person some food or drink and spend time talking?
If we all commit to be decent neighbours and Good Samaritans to one another we can transform the world… one small step at a time.
Sometimes in life we can surround ourselves with “stuff”. Simply “stuff” that we see as essential to us. We even can convince ourselves that we need a bigger car to take all of it away with us when we go on holiday!
At times society can convince us that we will only be happier with a bigger house, newer car or more glamorous holiday. As part of being in a consumerist world we can be drawn into supporting this idea in some way.
In essence Jesus called his disciples to simply follow Him and as part of this we may need to make sacrifices. He sent them off in pairs and challenged them to travel light, only taking with them what was needed and appealing to the hospitality of those they met.
He warned them of the challenges and rejection they may face along the way but asked them to offer peace and to do God’s work. They returned rejoicing in the power and blessings that God had provided fro them to do this work.
A few thoughts for the week ahead;
How do we benefit in travelling alongside one another in the work that we are called to do?
How can we offer peace to those we meet?
How can we travel light?
What makes you rejoice and your heart sing?
I hope that you won’t be burdened by the challenges and worries of the world and we can all find the time and space to listen to God’s call for each of us. If we can do this I am sure we will be travelling lighter on life’s journey.
This week we have celebrated the feast of the two great founding Father’s of the Christian faith – St Peter and St Paul.
St Paul was transformed on the road to Damascus and dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel message of Jesus on his travels. He was unrelenting in this quest and journey and clearly was determined to ask challenging questions of the places he visited often having to escape at short notice and then resort to writing to them to give support and advice from afar!
St Peter was Simon the fisherman who simply had to respond to Jesus’s call to follow him. He shows us how even those closest to Jesus didn’t always understand or manage to be loyal when their faith was tested most. Jesus chose him to be “the rock” on which the Christian church was founded.
We often can feel that these images of the original followers of Christ are distant or irrelevant to us today but I feel we can still learn so much from.
Be willing to turn your life around and start afresh.
Be brave and look to be true to your faith even it is challenging.
Respond to Jesus’ call for you.
Reflect on who your hero is and why… look for heroes amongst us today
Nelson Mandela is my hero as he showed the power of love and forgiveness to transform hatred and division. We are called as Christians to show the power of reconciliation in our lives by learning to love and forgive one another each day, just as we ask God to forgive us.
Let us give thanks to God for our heroes and all who have been disciples in the world today.
This week we hear the Gospel account of the feeding of the 5000 and celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi. This can be seen to make a link between this miracle, the Last Supper and our call today to follow God.
In the Gospel account the young boy brings Jesus just two fish and five loaves seemingly nothing to share with the vast crowd. Jesus challenges those who have gathered to put their faith in God – to feed them spiritually and physically. God has answered their call… The account has a beautiful simplicity. People had gathered to be fed by the word of God as Jesus taught them and He called upon them to trust in Him and God’s love for them.
Later in His life, at the Passover meal that was the Last Supper, Jesus took the bread and wine saying “This is my body… This is my blood”. In this action He instituted the Eucharist that we celebrate today in the sacrament at the heart of the Mass. In presenting ourselves to receive the Eucharist we are accepting Jesus fully into our lives.
A few questions for the week ahead:
What can you do to show the faith of those gathered in the feeding of the 5000 for God to provide for us spiritually or physically?
How can we give all we have to God as the young boy gave his fish and loaves?
What can we do to accept Jesus into our lives and what difference will this make?
As we prepare to celebrate St Paul’s Day, our feast day, on Friday we ask that God will bless and inspire us to be disciples and listen for the unique call and plan there is for each and every one of us.
What is important to build a sense community is not the buildings we are on but the foundations of how we treat one another and truly create a community of faith.
In the Gospel reading from this week it talks about the Trinity and I hope we can at times capture the beauty of what the trinity means.
I believe when we think about the trinity, the three in one, we can start to understand the person of God in different ways.
Faith itself is not just about our own personal spiritual development or spiritual life. We are challenged to engage in being part of a community. This may be our school or church parish community or the contribution to our local community.
Some people thrive in the hustle and bustle of city life but at times we may feel surrounded by people but actually very lonely or may feel that they don’t belong in some way.
Next week we celebrate the feast of St Peter and St Paul which is always a highlight of our school year where we raise money, do activities and simply spend time enjoying being together. It is amazing to see the power of what we can achieve together and normally we raise £4000 on the day itself.
One of the charities we are supporting is Hands for Hope Uganda who are working with a US charity global giving to raise funds and support. This is the charity we went to support last summer. It provides food and education each day for the most vulnerable children in Kampala and really changes lives. Could you help them to do this in their challenge over the next 8 days? Please help if you can in some way – You can donate here…
So in essence let’s think about what we can do to build community.
What can you do to welcome someone and make them feel valued and part of our community?
How can we take a leap of faith and get involved with something that will engage us with those around us? Could you speak more or smile at your neighbour? Is there someone who would benefit from your help or company?
What can we do to ground ourselves in faith and look to walk alongside one another?
Thank you for making the community you belong to so special.
“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. ” Blessed John Henry Newman
Ben Page from Ipsos Mori recently did a poll and asked ‘to what extent, if at all, do you feel that today’s youth will have a better or worse life than their parents, or will it be about the same? In the Western world we didn’t fare too well when thinking about whether our children would have a better life…
This was in contrast to other areas of the world…
This itself is a dramatic change as in the past we dreamt of and pictured a better and more prosperous future for our children.
We also seemed to be surrounded by an ongoing uncertainty from Brexit to the multitude of candidates vying for position for the leadership of the Conservative party and by definition the role of Prime Minister. Perhaps it is some of this uncertainty and lack of inspiration that prompts distrust, division or people being swayed by celebrity style politics.
Put simply we need to be inspired by the spirit of London 2012. If you need 2 minutes to remember what this all felt like click on the link below!
Last week I was fortunate enough to hear Dame Katherine Grainger speak about her Olympic journey and what inspired her to achieve her dreams and potential. At the end of her talk she showed a short clip of London 2012. In a moment the audience of Headteachers were transported back to a world where we felt united and proud of what it meant to be British. It definitely feels like we need to revisit the spirit of 2012 and remember all that unites us and helps achieve amazing things, collectively and individually.
In school this week we have been marking the feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit inspired and invigorated the disciples and followers of Jesus to spread the Good News – to fulfil the potential and mission that they had been given. Sometimes in a Christian community it is worth us all remembering that God is by our sides in this journey.
If you find yourself watching the 10 o’clock news in the evening and feeling swamped by the challenges we face in the world or the state of the nation switch it off and watch the two minute clip of London 2012.
Put simply let’s be inspired and remember we can do great things when we do it together!
We currently have the opportunity this week to think about Christian unity. At the heart of it this has challenged me to think about what we are being asked to do in the way we act and treat one another.
St Paul was renowned for the vigour and dedication to how he persecuted the early Church and his conversion happened on the road to Damascus as he was enthusiastically setting off to attack the community establishing the Christian faith. He had to be transformed in his conversion and ended up spreading the message to all people with equal enthusiasm. In the this he had to do a full 180 degree change in his life.
When we think about unity in a wider sense we can see a world that feels at times very divided and narrow minded. In this country we have just had European elections during the uncertainty of Brexit and hosted a divisive visit by Trump and his entourage. These events seem to only polarise politics and divide people – but what can we do individually or collectively to make a difference?
What can you today to bring yourself closer to someone? It could be someone close to you that you’ve fallen out with…
Is there a way to do a random act of kindness to someone to encourage a bit more love and understanding?
How can we bring the world a little bit closer by showing love, understanding and patience even when we might be divided by politics, religion or different views.
Let’s all make an effort to build a bit of unity in our lives, our schools, our churches and our community – we all need it.