Tag Archives: kingdom of God

Second Sunday of Advent (A) Prepare a way for the Lord, let Him in!

Second Sunday of Advent Year A.

Here in the words of Isaiah we find the meaning of Advent: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.

Prepare a way into your heart, a straight path into your heart, into you, so that Christmas becomes what it should be, an encounter with Jesus Christ.

It’s worth noting that John is preaching in the wilderness – we might be too!

As the Pharisees and the Sadducees approach he calls them a brood of vipers!

Vipers bite, they’re also poisonous! 

The Pharisees and the Sadducees represent every spiritually corrupt Catholic – like vipers they poison the work of God!

John asks about who warned them to flee from the retribution that is coming?

Now we need to understand retribution here because in this context the retribution of God is very different to what we understand it to be.

As the life of Jesus unfolded the retribution of God turned out to be the fact that many couldn’t receive Jesus because they were spiritually corrupt – and corruption is nothing more than placing self at the centre.

God in Jesus Christ, when he walked the earth, just passed them by, not that Jesus wanted to pass them by, but they were incapable of receiving Jesus, incapable of offering Jesus a heart that he could enter, fill … because it was already full.

So the retribution of God turns out to be a life incapable of receiving Jesus Christ.

Now there’s a very real danger that the same is happening here, Sunday after Sunday, year after year, sometimes for a whole lifetime!

That Jesus just passes us by, that there’s no way in, no room at the Inn; that on Christmas night/day Jesus won’t be born within you – me – us!

And there’s only one reason why that can happen – because we’re full of other stuff! Because we’re somewhere else!

So use Advent, prepare Him a way, empty your heart – let Him in!

Twenty First Sunday (C): Jesus was tolerant only in so far as it served Mercy!

So what have we got this weekend?

Basically we’ve got two sides – on one side there was the religious people (the Jews) and on the other, atheists, agnostics and sinners all thrown in together. Broad strokes, of course.

Into that dualism arrived Jesus Christ – no less than God Himself!

He spends his short earthly life calling both sides (not just one side) to repentance. Very interesting.

We’d expect that he’d call sinners to repentance, to change. Or would we? Is there sin anymore?

On this point – the reality of sin – Jesus never waivers. He never denies the reality of sin. On the contrary His life is an argument for the reality of sin and for ultimate justice.

Jesus wasn’t so much tolerant as merciful. Tolerance suggests almost anything is acceptable, there are few laws, almost everything can be collapsed into tolerance, almost everything is grey, there’s no black and white, nothing is definite. In broad strokes it’s the world we live in.

But Jesus didn’t bring tolerance. He brought Mercy. He was tolerant only in so far as tolerance served Mercy. That’s a totally different reality. Mercy implies that there are definite laws, an objective order. Besides, mercy is painful. Think of a husband’s, wife’s, partner’s unfaithfulness. Now think (feel) forgiving that unfaithfulness. What do you get? A kind of crucifixion for God’s sake!

But tolerance is not so painful because it doesn’t matter, nothing matters, there are no absolute laws, there is no ultimate justice, whereas Jesus says it does matter, there is ultimate justice. There’s always a price to be paid. It matters that you are saved. Me too!

Now, as Jesus calls sinners to repentance (unbelievers to belief) the religious people start to object – they start to fight with Him, they actually start to resent God – thus the first move to be last, and the last move to be first.

How dare you they say, this is not fair!

A kind of religious / spiritual pride!

Can you see where the religious people are wrong?

They are religious but their religion is about them rather than God! It’s religion without the heart of God. It’s a religion that really doesn’t understand what’s at stake. A man (or woman) can be lost! That’s what gave rise to parables like the lost sheep, the prodigal son.

Twenty Second Sunday (C): Jesus insults the guests, then the host!

Luke 14:1,7-14

Twenty Second Sunday, Year C, September 01 2013

A leading Pharisee – a person of standing in the community, in society generally – hosts a meal, inviting family and friends and among the guests is Jesus.

So here’s the scene; a host, guests and God all rubbing shoulders!

And the guests are more interested in their personal standing, in themselves, than they are in God and Gods Kingdom. There’s nothing new there – even to this day!

Their religion is about themselves rather than God and neighbour. Or perhaps their religion has had little impact on them. Their religion hasn’t converted self – which usually means self has converted, indeed, corrupted religion! Which is what we’ve got today; no, yes?

They’re full of self rather than God and neighbour.

And if something, indeed, somebody is full then you can’t get anything more in. She or he will have to be emptied before God can enter.
Really Jesus is asking; are you so poor inwardly that you must compete outwardly for position at a table, for recognition, for honour, for contentment, for meaning?

It’s the classic Jesus question: Do we find ultimate meaning in the material or the spiritual? It’s an important question – especially in a time when the material has failed and so many have lost meaning.

And given their self centredness it’s not likely they had the humility to hear Jesus call to a much deeper love, a more radical service, to forget self and put God and neighbour first.

Without that humility it’s most likely they felt insulted by Jesus.

In the end it comes down to who is dominating us, deep within?

Is it self or is it God?

Inside; who is in charge?

You’ll be much happier when God rules inside!

Divorce, Politicians, Priests, Police, Bankers and Original Sin!

Divorce: The death of pledged love, a dark, dark place to be. Because the death of pledged love involves people so personally, so deeply, it is seldom looked at without blame, without trying to blame somebody.

At the very start of life the Church invites us to Baptism following the directive of Christ. There is something truly shocking in the Rite of Baptism for infants – a prayer of exorcism! Why?

Well, because from its earliest days the Church has taught that all human nature is fallen; wounded is the actual word used in the documents. It does not mean we’re corrupt but that the human nature we receive at conception is “weakened in its powers” and “inclined to sin.” This is the Catholic doctrine of Original Sin and I believe Vatican II quite rightly observed that “what revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience.”

Again the words of Vatican II reflect human experience: “The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.”

But Catholic teaching goes further believing that through Original Sin “the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free.” This is a radical statement suggesting that humankind cannot succeed without God.

It is therefore:

A wounded nature that marries …

A wounded nature that becomes a politician …

A wounded nature that becomes a priest …

A wounded nature that joins An Garda Siochana (Police) …

A wounded nature that becomes a banker!

And this wounded nature cannot and will not be fully overcome without Gods grace. Is it any wonder we’re in the state we’re in?

That’s what the Church teaches – take it or leave it – but never be surprised by corruption; without God we can’t win!

Fourth Sunday of Lent: The Prodigal Son

If you can imagine Christ at a football match.

He’d be shouting for both teams!

He’s like that.

He wants everyone to win the prize.

Christ loves both victim and perpetrator of injustice equally, but different.

Christ’s love seeks to;
– heal every wound.
– burn out every evil.

It’s a double edged sword, cuts both ways.

Christ doesn’t want to lose a single soul, that’s how the true lover of Christ, the Christian, views the world.

We have little difficulty with Christ as long as He’s on the side of the good, but when we realize He’s equally on the other side, all-be-it differently, calling for repentance and conversion, He becomes a little more troublesome.

The good son has all the exterior signs of good religion but he hasn’t got his Father’s loving, forgiving heart.
Incidentally, isn’t the good son’s religion the kind of religion the majority of Church critics want to see? Wouldn’t he suit their agenda perfectly?

In fact, most of the commentary we hear about the Catholic Church in our day comes from the perspective of the good son who wants nothing to do with the bad son and fails absolutely to see the matter from the Fathers perspective!

Christ is on all sides, equally, but differently!