Tag Archives: love

One Body

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Over the last two weeks we have been reflecting on the feast of Corpus Christi (The Body of Christ) and a focus on the theme of division. In the Gospel account we hear of how Jesus was accused of having an “unclean spirit in him”. At the time of Jesus’ life there was a belief that physical suffering was due to sin or wrong-doing and often in the healing miracles of Jesus we hear about him saying “your sins have been forgiven”. But what does this mean today?

Jesus challenges us to show healing in our relationships and with God. We are called to help people become “whole again”. It may recognise that we have spiritual, physical and psychological needs and aspects to our personality, happiness and welfare. This is most highlighted to me when we think of the importance of us understanding and supporting those who face issues of mental illness, mental health and well-being.

On another level we sometimes face division in the world and feel overwhelmed by it but in reality we may need to look closer to home. We can find opportunities to heal our relationships personally and professionally even when it is challenging to do so. Taking the first step to mend a broken relationship is challenging but worth the risk and that first step.

If we are to be “one body” as a school, or Christian community, we need to invest time in ensuring we find ways to be people of faith. Living out faith in a meaningful way makes sense of Jesus’ challenge for us to live out faith in action.

So let us this week make a renewed promise to do this and accept the challenge to be the “body of Christ” in the world today and also create faith, justice and peace. A few questions worth considering…

  1. How can we offer love and forgiveness to those around us?
  2. What can we do to build unity and understanding in our relationships?
  3. How can we put Jesus at the centre of our lives and community?

I hope in the week ahead you get the opportunity to bring Christ back to the centre of our lives and also feel whole again.

God Bless.

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A challenge to love

 

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Last week the theme of the week was “fruitfulness” in which we were challenged to remember to bind ourselves to our faith and do good work – ironically I didn’t manage to write a reflection so wasn’t very fruitful in that department so will try and incorporate the reflections this week instead.

Sometimes we may feel it is really challenging to love as a friend, parent, husband or wife. It is not the media image of “Valentines love” or a goodnight scene from the Waltons in family life but actually rolling our sleeves up and getting our hands dirty. Loving is most challenging when we have to do difficult things, when we have to forgive or do really difficult things.

The message in the Gospel this week is really simple – “Love one another as I have loved you”. Jesus teaches and shows us what this really means in His words and his actions. You can see this in His teaching, healing and ultimately His sacrifice for us on the cross.

What can we do to live this out?

  • Show patience, love and forgiveness to those we meet.
  • Never give up on someone who needs your love and support.
  • Look for good in those around us rather than pointing out faults.
  • Try and be an example of love in the world in our personal lives or professionally

So in the week ahead when we are challenged by something or given an opportunity simply look to love someone as God loves us – if we can do this imagine how much better and “fruitful” life can be.

God bless.

Ready for a journey?

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Last week we started the journey towards Easter in the season of Lent. It seems like just yesterday we were taking down the Christmas decorations and yet we now have to get ready for getting ready for Easter. It is an opportunity to do three key things;

  • Fasting – an opportunity to put others first and give up some of the luxuries in our lives. This may give us a chance to recognise how truly “blessed” we are by the basic things we have in our lives – food on our plates and a roof over our heads.
  • Almsgiving – making a sacrifice to give something to those less fortunate than we are. This could be close to our homes or supporting international charities.
  • Prayer – finding time to invest in our relationship with God. At times it is challenging to find time to pray or even finding the space to just stop and listen to God’s call and message for us.

A practical way to do this is to commit to 40 Acts.

This is a brilliant way to find practical ways to live our lives to benefit others, taking the challenge to live with generosity towards others. By doing these simple acts I believe not only do we “live more simply” but also will become happier and more fulfilled ourselves.

If we can live in happiness and harmony with others we are truly becoming God’s presence in the world. This is how we can become more Christ-like and bring life and hope into the world.

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Last week we were in the USA and later in New York as we heard about the tragic loss of young lives in Florida. We also heard today of a young student locally who was tragically killed in an car accident on a railway track. In these times of darkness, globally or in our own lives, we need to seek out God in some way. People can feel abandoned and without faith – yet when we walk alongside people we can help to carry their cross with them and truly become disciples.

So this Lent – let us live generously with faith, hope and love. Will you take the journey?

Prepare the way… are you ready?

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Mark 1:1-8

We are challenged this week to think where to find Jesus. There may well be three opportunities we can think of…

  • In the past – 2,017 years, 11 months and 2 weeks ago (roughly)!! The image of the Son of God born in the humble surroundings of the manger and recreated in thousands of primary school nativity plays in the coming week.
  • In the future – when the Kingdom of Heaven is completed here on Earth. This is when the Kingdom of God is lived out in the world.
  • In the present – in the form of those in need in society and the most vulnerable who Jesus served in His life. We are challenged to find opportunities to bring light and hope to the world we live in and serve those most vulnerable, suffering or rejected.

Advent is a journey and time to get ready to prepare ourselves to meet Jesus. It is an opportunity to put our lives in order to do this. This is why this week we have the opportunity to think about reconciliation. In the sacrament of reconciliation we always have a path back to God by seeking forgiveness, the first step in recognising where we have gone wrong. We need to make peace with one another and with God if we are to truly open our hearts to Jesus this Christmas.

John the Baptist called people to turn away from sin and be prepared for the Lord. We can do this by choosing to turn away from the things that hold us back and looking to focus on how we can live our lives making a more positive contribution to the world that we live in.

A few questions for the week ahead…

  • Where are we proudest of the difference we are making? Hopefully part of this is in life at St Paul’s.
  • Which areas hold me back from making a positive contribution? Maybe when we are tired or don’t step back to take the long view.
  • What can I do to take the first steps back to God this Advent and Christmas?
  • Which of my relationships would benefit form reconciliation and healing? What would be the first move in making this happen?

One of the most heartening things as Christians is that God always offers fresh starts however tough things have got. We can all be reassured by this unconditional love and this truly can become the heart of our loving relationships – when we recognise this we can believe we are truly blessed.

God bless.

 

 

We are one body…

It seems like we are living in a divided and troubled world.

We have shared a minutes silence more often in the last 4 weeks than I remember in twenty years of being a teacher. We have witnessed the horrific Grenfell Tower fire with such tragic loss of life and continued extremism and terrorist attacks, the latest at Finsbury Park Mosque.

This is combined with a country divided by the election, the start of Brexit negotiations and a Government formed on a deal with a small group of politicians never before at the heart of the political system. I was proud to see the alternative speech written by a fellow Headteacher, John Tomsett, in the days following the election. Well worth a read – if only politicians could show brave leadership and integrity at the times it is most needed.

In all of this unease and confusion we need to strive to find Christ among us. We can see this in the goodness of human action in responding to challenge and tragedy. God is good and God is love. This is what we need to see shining through even in the darkest times.

The Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ, marks how we invite Jesus into our lives in the sacrament of the Eucharist or Communion. He is truly present in this moment. It also prompts me to consider how we can be “in communion with one another”.

So perhaps we can do a few small things this week;

  • Look to find the goodness in humanity
  • Be able to offer light and hope in some small way to others we encounter each day
  • Stop for a minute to give thanks to God for all we are blessed with – our safety, our homes, our food, our faith…

I hope and pray that we can all be part of one body, one community to enrich the gift of life that God gave us all.

God bless.

Be the change you wish to see in the world…

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We need to “be the change we wish to see in the world”. This week after the horrific scenes in Manchester we need to have a shared commitment to live with love, compassion and forgiveness. If people look to drive us apart, accentuate our differences and conflict we have a chance to move closer together instead.

As we celebrate today the Feast of the Ascension we remember Jesus is not leaving us alone but saying, “I will always be with you” and reassuring us that the Holy Spirit, the power of God in the world, will always be with us.

In times of tragedy or suffering we need to trust in God to heal the hurt, division and distrust.

We pray today for our leaders to use love as the most powerful weapon to destroy hate and terror.

We pray for all the innocent victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester and their families. May God comfort them in their suffering and angush.

We pray for those vulnerable in society to being led towards violence and hatred in the world. May God give them strength to listen to His voice within them to do good and reject evil.

We pray that we can live our lives full of faith, hope and love.

God bless.

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I am proud to be Catholic and proud of the example of Pope Francis #thisismypope. This week he spoke these words in Mass to all of us.

“You can have defects, be anxious and live irritated sometimes, but do not forget that your life is the biggest company in the world.

Only you can prevent her from going into decline.
There are many who appreciate you, admire you and love you.

I would like you to remember that to be happy, is not to have a sky without storms, road without accidents, works without fatigue, relationships without disappointments.

To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the box of fear, love in disagreements.

Being happy is not only valuing the smile, but also reflecting on sadness.
It is not just to commemorate success, but to learn lessons in failures.
It is not just to have joy with applause, but to have joy in anonymity.

To be happy is to recognize that life is worth living, despite all the challenges, misunderstandings, and periods of crisis.

Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but a conquest for those who know how to travel within their own being.

To be happy is to stop being a victim of problems and become an actor in one’s own history.
It is to cross deserts out of itself, but to be able to find an oasis in the recesses of our soul.
It is to thank God every morning for the miracle of life.

Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings.
It is knowing how to talk about yourself.
It is courage to hear a “no”.
It is safe to receive criticism, even if it is unfair.
It is to kiss the children, to pamper parents, to have poetic moments with friends, even if they hurt us.

To be happy is to let the free, happy and simple creature live within each one of us.
It is to have maturity to say ‘I was wrong’.
It is to have the audacity to say *forgive me*.
It is to have sensitivity to express *’I need you’*.
It is to be able to say * ‘I love you’ *.

May your life become a garden of opportunity to be happy …
May you be joyous in your spring.
In your winter you are friend of wisdom.
And when you get in the way, start all over again.
Then you will be more passionate about life.
And you will discover that to be happy is not to have a perfect life.
But use tears to water the tolerance.
Use the losses to refine the patience.
Use flaws to sculpt serenity.
Use pain lapping pleasure.
Use obstacles to open the windows of intelligence.
Never give up ….
Never give up on the people you love.
Never give up being happy, because life is a must-see! “

Pope Francis

Learning to love and forgive

Forgive.pngIn one of the recent Gospel readings this week we hear of the account of how a crowd had gathered to condemn a woman accused of adultery. The crowd were demanding “instant justice” and were planning to stone her. Jesus challenged whoever was without sin to cast the first stone. Slowly one by one the crowd dispersed and the stones dropped to the ground. He gently offered his forgiveness and told her to turn away from the areas of her life that led her in the wrong direction.

This is a great message for us. Put simply we need to learn to love and forgive.

A few questions for the week ahead…

  • What can you do to use the power of forgiveness to rebuild relationships?
  • How can we stop ourselves from being too quick to judge?
  • What is it we can ask God (or others…) to forgive us of?

If we can take this small step, to drop the stone, say sorry or move on in our lives surely it can be good for us all too.

Have a happy and liberating journey this week as we prepare for the celebration of Holy Week.

God bless.

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