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The tiny mustard seed PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 17 June 2018: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower

Mustard plant...Mark begins his ‘day of parables’ with three ‘seed’ parables. The familiar parable of the sower is not included in today’s passage; it gives us the parable of the seed that grows mysteriously to produce a full harvest, and the parable of the mustard seed, the smallest seed familiar to Palestinian farmers, which can produce a bush ten or twelve feet high. The most striking feature of these parables is the contrast between the tiny seed and what it goes on to produce. The ‘Kingdom’ Jesus announces is not a worldly triumph (something we need constantly to be reminded of); of its nature it has beginnings which are unimpressive and obscure by human standards. But in the end it initiates the realisation of the final achievement of God. Reference to the sickle and harvest echoes what the prophets had said about the End-time...

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series

 
The source of forgiveness PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 10 June 2018: Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

It is the end of Satan

Jesus preaches...A crowd so large has gathered that Jesus and his disciples are not even able to eat their bread. His family comes to take him away because they think he is beside himself. And the scribes think he is possessed by the devil. Jesus points out to them the absurdity of their thinking that he uses the devil to cast out demons. In fact, it is Jesus who ties up the strong man, Beelzebub, and overcomes him.

He concludes with a brief saying about the forgiveness of sins. All sin can be forgiven except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It’s not known exactly what he means by this. It could be that the only sin that can’t be forgiven is the one that cuts you off from the source of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit...

Read more at Sunday Connection, Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry | Image courtesy of Hermanoleon Clipart

Men’s Health Week: 11 - 17 June

We normally think of health as a physical thing. If we are healthy, we can run, jump and play vigorous games. If we are unhealthy, our headache, bronchial complaint, cancer or auto-immune disease stops us from being physically active.

Today, however, we increasingly recognise what has always been evident to older cultures: the subtle connections between physical, mental and spiritual health. Health has many dimensions, and men’s health in particular. The expectations placed on men in their relationships with one another and with women, in work and in play and in inner and outer conversations are as important to their health as are temperature, muscle tone, good bronchial systems, and so on.

The recent focus on the harm done by domestic violence and the acknowledgment that men are overwhelmingly responsible for perpetrating it have led many people to take this broader approach to men’s health. It is now common to identify a toxic male culture as one in which young men prize hardness and inarticulate strength, and see women as compliant sexual objects to which they are entitled.

Many young men look to violent pornography for reliable models of how to relate to women. This view of masculinity is destructive both for young men themselves, for the people with whom they form close relationships and for the society of which they are part. It expresses itself in domestic violence, self-harm, substance abuse and risk taking behaviour that puts others also at risk.

For the health of society it is vitally important for young men to recognise what it means to be a male adult, as well as what is involved in building healthy relationships with women, with other men and with the world around them. For this they need good example and people who will mentor them. Men who are disadvantaged by growing up in dysfunctional and violent families, in poverty or without significant male adults in their lives may need programs that help them to build good relationships and to express their anger in sociable ways.

The Men’s Program of Jesuit Social Services recognises this need and how complex is the network of relationships that shape young men’s identity as males. It sets out to help young men to build good relationships, particularly with women, which will flow into living generous, happy and respectful lives. This work is vital for the future of Australian society.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ

 
Christ's presence among us PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 03 June 2018: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

This is my body. This is my blood

I am the bread of lifeWe are in the afterglow of our Easter celebration. Last week we reflected upon the divine life of the Trinity, shared with us through the Saviour's Paschal Mystery. This year's Corpus Christi liturgy calls us to a deeper understanding of the Eucharist – the enduring presence in our midst of the Paschal Mystery in its entirety, the very ‘foundation and centre’ of the Church's life, as Vatican II reminds us. Today's readings take up the theme of Mark's gospel, ‘the blood of the covenant poured out’ for the whole human family.

To grasp what these readings have to say to us, we must take account of the profound symbolism blood had for old Israel – not a symbol of violence, but the sacred embodiment of life. As Moses ratified the old covenant with Yahweh, therefore, the blood – sprinkled on the altar (representing God) and on the people – expressed the life-giving union with God that was to become the very destiny of Israel. In his Eucharistic words, Jesus deliberately gives a new meaning to this old theme, repeating the words of Moses, ‘This is the blood of the covenant’, and adding a reference to the Servant Song of Is 53 – his blood will be a source of life for the whole world (‘for many’ is a Semitic expression used by the Isaian text, meaning ‘for all’).

For many people, the blood of Calvary has been associated almost exclusively with Christ's horrendous suffering. While not denying that awareness of the Saviour's passion is essential to Christian faith, the message of the Scriptures invites us to enlarge our perspective...

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series | Image courtesy of Hermanoleon Clipart

 
One God in three Persons PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 27 May 2018: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Father, Son and Holy SpiritGlory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

...Today, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. This feast invites us to consider what we believe about God, who has revealed himself to us in the Trinity, one God in three Persons.The Gospel for this Solemnity is taken from the Gospel of Matthew. In its conclusion, Matthew’s Gospel quickly moves from the disciples’ discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb and Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to the commission that Jesus gives to his disciples in today’s Gospel.

The final commission, as this part of Matthew’s Gospel is sometimes called, is given on the mountaintop. Throughout Scripture, many of the most important events happen on a mountaintop, and Matthew used this motif often. Peter, James, and John saw Jesus transfigured on the mountaintop, and Jesus taught the crowds from the mountaintop in the Sermon on the Mount.

...Jesus commissions his disciples to baptize in the name of the Trinity; this is one of the clearest attestations for Baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity found in Scripture. Other New Testament references to Baptism describe it as being celebrated in the name of Jesus...

Read more at Sunday Connection, Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry | Image courtesy of Hermanoleon Clipart

 
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