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A baptism of repentance PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 13 January 2019: The Baptism of the Lord

When Jesus had been baptised and had been praying, the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit came upon him

The Baptism of the Lord.  Image of pixabay.com...After his baptism by John in the Jordan, Jesus emerged from obscurity and began his public ministry. Recalling the humility of the Baptiser – who declared himself unworthy to perform even the slave’s act of loosening the straps of the messiah’s sandals – Luke underlines how amazing is the event that is to take place, as Jesus submits himself to John’s baptism of repentance. ‘I baptize with water’, John declares, ‘He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire’ - Luke’s narrative of the first Pentecost is clearly foreshadowed.

Believers of every generation have been puzzled by this unexpected turn of events. Seeking the reason why, takes us to the heart of God’s plan of salvation. This plan, in the words of the Greek Fathers of the early Church, is an expression of the divine ‘condescension’ – God would open the way to eternal life for a lost world, not by a remote divine edict, but in a way that gives expression to the mystery of God’s active love for the human family...

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 
The search for Jesus PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 06 January 2019: The Epiphany of the Lord

The Magi visit the Holy Family.  Image courtesy of pixabay.comWe have come from the East to worship the king

...We know little about the Magi. They come from the East and journey to Bethlehem, following an astrological sign, so we believe them to be astrologers. We assume that there were three Magi based upon the naming of their three gifts. The Gospel does not say how many Magi paid homage to Jesus. In Matthew’s Gospel, they represent the Gentiles’ search for a saviour. Because the Magi represent the entire world, they also represent our search for Jesus...

Read more at Sunday Connection, Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 
A child of Israel PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 30 December 2018: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

The Holy Family.  Image courtesy of pixabay.comHis parents found him in the temple, sitting among the learned men, listening to them

...Mary, Joseph, and Jesus are presented in this Gospel as a faithful Jewish family. They are participating in the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, an event shared each year with family and friends. When Jesus is found, Luke describes him as seated in the Temple in the midst of the Jewish teachers. Although he is young, Jesus seems not to need teaching about his Jewish tradition. In his dialogue with these learned teachers, Jesus astounds them with his insight and understanding. Jesus is a child of Israel. His Father is God...

Read more at Sunday Connection, Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 
Christ the Saviour is born! PDF Print E-mail

Tuesday 25 December 2018: Christmas Day

Triumph through vulnerability

The Nativity.  Image courtesy of pixabay.comThe Gospel stories of Christmas speak of God’s love invested in a defenceless new born baby. Through him come salvation, joy and promise of peace for people of good will. This message is always at odds with the news headlines at any Christmastime. These are always full of war, tyranny and the doings of people of bad will.

For many Christians the gentle images of the first coming of Christ in Bethlehem have often clashed with the images of the second coming of Christ at the end of time. The strange beasts of the Book of Revelation joined in cosmic battle before God’s ultimate triumph can inspire terror and foreboding that overwhelm the fresh promise of Christ’s birth.

The Irish writer W.B Yeats wrote a poem, The Second Coming, at the end of the First World War with its massive slaughter and social change, and at the beginning of Civil War in Ireland. It evokes fear of the loss of any sense of stability and decency. It still speaks powerfully today in the threat we see to democratic institutions and to peaceful relationships between nations.

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Yeats expresses his fear for the future through the symbolism of the Book of Revelation. He portrays his age, not as a Second Coming, but as a Second Birth, as full of menace and chaos as Christ’s birth was full of reassurance and humanity: and what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

In Christian faith neither the domestication of the Christmas stories nor the terrors inspired by the images of the Book of Revelation catch the seriousness of Christmas nor the hope expressed in Christ’s Second Coming. The Christmas stories tell of the hardships of travel forced by the Roman authorities in order to collect taxes, of homelessness, and of flight from a murderous tyrant. They remind us that the life promised us will come through Christ’s later execution. In Christ God is with us for the long haul, and life comes through death.

For the early Christians, too, Christ’s Second Coming of Christ was a source of hope in their reality of persecution and expulsion from their Jewish communities. Christ’s second coming speaks about hanging in and trusting that God will triumph in our lives through vulnerability.

The baby in the stable became the man on the cross and the Christ who will come again. The birth, death, Resurrection and second coming of Christ all speak of God’s great love for us. For us at Jesuit Communications, who come from many religious and other traditions, our work and our relationships are based in love. Nothing else will keep us hanging in through times that are always testing.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

The Richmond Catholic Parish pray that you and your family have a Happy and Holy Christmas and New Year.

 
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