Tag Archives: reconciliation

Reconciliation… the long walk home

How can we live out forgiveness today?

So how is Lent going for you so far? Has it been a journey of change or challenged you to think in new ways or find time for one another or a space for prayer and God in your life?

Already I have to seek forgiveness as last week I failed in finding the time to write a short reflection on transformation following us marking the Transfiguration. Jesus was revealed as the longed for Messiah – a link to the past and a glimpse of the future.

Mary is called to serve God in an amazing way

This week we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation where Mary showed the purest discipleship and faith in simply saying yes to God’s call and plan for her. However daunting or challenging this would be she trusted God’s plan for her. At times people believe that Catholics are worshipping Mary as a god. In essence the reality is that we are asking Mary to pray, or intercede, on our behalf.

In the psalm this week we hear “Hear I am, Lord! I come to do your will.” What will this mean for you each day? Mary’s response was “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me.” This continued from the moment she heard of God’s call for her to standing at the foot of the cross in Jesus’ suffering and death.

St Paul’s teaching on love

Jesus’ teaching can be summarised with two words – love and forgiveness. If we want to be closer to God we need to show this love and forgiveness each day as friends, teachers or parents. In doing this we can live a life of faith and grow closer to one another and God. As we learn in the parable of the Lost Son the first step on the long walk home is simply to say sorry, to recognise how we can be more loving and more forgiving.

So what can you do this week?

  • How can we say “YES” to faith in our lives?
  • What can we do to be more loving and forgiving to one another?
  • How can we ask for forgiveness from one another and God?
  • Can you go to reconciliation as a sacrament to show this commitment and “walk lighter” experiencing God’s love and forgiveness?

God bless.

Advertisements

Prepare the way… are you ready?

3269_1600x1200.jpg

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.

 

 

Forgiveness and humility

forgiveness.jpg

Due to the pace of school life at the start of the school year I have only managed to write a short reflection on our themes each fortnight rather than once a week… I’m sorry I haven’t kept up with it so far – maybe a little ironic when reflecting on forgiveness.

forgiveness-400px.png

What stands out to me is that in reality all of us fall short at times… personally, in our jobs, in our relationships and also in our time for God. We can either give up on any area of these aspects or our lives or can dust ourselves down each day and seek to ask each other, and God, for forgiveness in the areas where we could have done better.

Equally we need to learn how to love and forgive one another. We sometimes see so many images of hatred, division and conflict. The images of conflict from the tragic events in Charlottesville really shocked and saddened me this summer. Perhaps it was the echoes which were more reminiscent of images buried deep in history of the 1960s or divisions of South Africa and apartheid.

https---blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com-uploads-card-image-562394-3d0a6db5-d0e6-4bff-a60d-3c9aa5693517.jpg

What was clear for the world to see was the level of hatred and the fact that there was a lack of leadership in the response. Through apathy we condone this division and hatred. We have a duty in leading, and educating, to challenge and engage people to live a life that builds unity not division.

61-SZPEgf7L._SY679_.jpg

Nelson Mandela, a hero of mine, had every reason to hate and resent those who imprisoned him and robbed him of the best years of his life yet instead he made a choice to help it form him into the leader that he became of the “rainbow nation”.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAI4AAAAJGZiZjVkNGFiLWFmYWQtNDg2Yy1iODU5LTVlYjFhMDhmZjg2ZQ.png

We can only meet hatred with love if we are to transform the world and we must have a belief in humanity to achieve this.

After the tragic events in Barcelona we saw how this can be lived out in the power of love and forgiveness. Even in the depths of a mourning family Javier Martinez found the humility and integrity to take the darkest time in grieving for the loss of his 3 year old son and transform it into a symbol of light and hope.

Ultimately this is the same message that Jesus gave. He led with humility and offered love and forgiveness in all He said and did in His life. If we can live this out in some small way each day we are truly making the world a better place, one small step at a time.

A few thoughts for the week ahead…

  • What can we do to ask for or offer forgiveness in our relationships with one another and with God?
  • How can we be liberated by offering forgiveness to others?
  • What can we do to act with humility and how can we be inspired by the example of Jesus?

I hope you all have a really good week and have the opportunity to love, live and forgive in whatever we face each day.

God bless.

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.

527614-forgiveness-thinkstock-121016.jpg

A challenge not to judge…

judge-not.jpg

There is something very natural and human for us to look to judge others… maybe it is a simplistic way for us to feel better, briefly, about ourselves. We can feel that we in a small way are more worthy than those we have judged or that we have made better choices than them. This may be a flawed approach to build ourselves up by putting others down.

In the Gospel account this week we hear of Jesus’ defence of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus had come to the Temple and was challenged to pass judgement on her and publicly condemn her. Instead of doing this He challenged them to look inside their hearts to see if they were without sin. Anyone without sin should throw the first stone of condemnation. Slowly one by one the stones were dropped as the crowd disappeared… Jesus went on to show compassion, love and forgiveness saying “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?… Neither do I condemn you… go away and do not sin any more.” In this He forgave unconditionally but challenged her to make a real change in her life.

This has a very real message for us in our relationships and the world we live in today. We need to resist the temptation to judge or condemn others. A key aspect of this is to ensure that we can see beyond the human failings that we all have and listen to God’s call for us to turn away from sin or selfishness in our lives.

If we can do this maybe we can look to heal broken relationships and build our happiness based on how well we live our lives rather than looking to compare ourselves to others. Our theme of the week of “Fresh Start” leads us to recognise that this new beginning is offered by God and we can do the same to those we meet in our lives each and every day.

 

 

Time to come home…

the-long-road-home.jpgThis week our theme is about reconciliation and is based in the beautiful account of the parable of the Prodigal or Lost Son. What can we take from this during this season of Lent?

The parable has a real resonance as an account rich in its humanity… all of us at times can be lost in our lives, whether for a short moment or a whole chapter of life. We can find ourselves at a distance from those we love most, our faith or from God in some way. The story narrates to us the very normal and human tendency to be tempted to make decisions based on our love of a very short term pleasure or hedonistic motivation.

What would these be for you?

  • A temptation to want more in our lives?
  • The lure of money or possessions?
  • The temptation to try and do things to be popular rather than do what’s right?
  • The attraction of power and status?

All of us could, to a greater our lesser extent, see how we have been drawn, like moths to the lights, by one or more of these things. We have an opportunity to make a change or choice to do the right thing and the parable of the Prodigal Son challenges us to do just this.

How can we do this?

  • We can look to heal broken relationships one small step at a time. Sometimes making the first move is all it will take (even if we think we were in the right!)
  • We can aim to “live simply” in some way – could we give some of our possessions, great or small to others?
  • We can look to stick to what is right, however challenging or unpopular this may be. This may be simply being true to your faith or core beliefs when being challenged.
  • We can empower others and take a deep rooted joy in being them take the lead or credit for something we have been a part of.

Even in writing these suggestions I find a smile on my face and can feel how worthwhile some of these small steps may be. As we hear in the parable even if we are at life’s lowest ebb if we stop to think and listen we can hear God’s call for us. God, like the father, will be longing and waiting for us to set off on that journey. The journey back to his loving arms… May be time to get packing!

prodigal-son-.jpeg