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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Dear Parishioners, I have chosen three passages from this Sunday’s readings to show how we take up where we left off last Sunday. Do you remember last Sunday’s Gospel? In its conclusion the crowd was saying: “He has done all things well. He has made the deaf hear and the dumb speak“. Today we read in the first reading from Isaiah: “The Lord has opened my ear.” In the Gospel Jesus says: ” ‘But you, who do you say I am?‘ ” and Peter responds “You are the Christ”. Without an open ear there is no way Peter would know what to say to the Lord. The “open ear” is in reference to our openness to receive not only Christ’s words but to be receptive to the experience the Lord is providing us. He is present in our midst. Peter was learning not only from listening to words but through the experience of livingwith Jesus and observing him act every day. The “open ear” speaks to the ability to allow these realities to impact us in the way God intends them to. A good question might be: ‘What have we heard and seen from the Lord lately?’ We could also point out something else. The meaning of the Lord’s question to Peter is not only to be found in his hope to hear a right answer, let’s say. Not at all, but the very fact that Jesus would ask this question is very meaningful. He wants Peter to speak! He wants us all to speak! He so desires that you discover that you were meant to speak and to confess the Word of God! It is truly your dignity to do so and Jesus will not rest until you do! The Word wants to be spoken through you! In the Tradition of the Church we speak of Martyrs, but also of Confessors of the Faith. To stand and confess Jesus Christ is without a doubt the very meaning of our lives! Can you think of all the ways, in your day to day life, the Lord expects you to confess who Jesus is? That brings us to the third passage of today’s liturgy, taken from the second reading: “Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him?” The question here is not about “doing charity” to others. It’s about the consistency of your claim! ‘Do you claim to have Faith? Show me, then’… says St James. Charity is at the very “heart” of Faith! Without the heart you are dead… There is a lot here for us to think about! God calls you, you listen. He asks you, you speak. In love, you act. In other words, how could there be a vocation without a mission? Fr Sean Mary  

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Dear Parishioners Last week we heard these words from the letter of St James: “Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls”. In today’s Gospel the crowd says “He has done all things well (…) he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak“. I believe these two statements go hand in hand. The only reason the Father gives us His Word is so that it may penetrate our lives reaching as far deep as it can, into the recesses of our hearts… In a sense this very Word brings to light the “depth” that is in us. It helps us become aware of ourselves. God communicates His Word only because He communicates Himself, and He intends to communicate Himself fully. He is not scared of becoming a Gift! “If you knew the Gift of God ” He says to the Samaritan woman in chapter 4 of Saint John’s Gospel. To become a Gift one must accept a certain vulnerability, one must be willing to take the risk, to take the initiative, to engage and to place oneself in the hands of someone else, since you cannot force a gift upon someone! All these things the Lord Jesus has done, and continues to do for us. Unfortunately, we are very able to misuse his Gift; we can take advantage of Him and abuse His Gift, at any time. When we do receive the gift of His Word we become witnesses of His desire to make us able to hear and to speak. To hear Him is to become the place where He dwells. To hear Him is to have Faith and welcome His loving presence. To speak is to grow in maturity, to have something to share with others, to increase in confidence and trust. To speak is to take our position in the group, to find our place among our brothers and sisters. It also means an increase in responsibility and is often accompanied by a sense of mission. The Church is only well when both hearing and speaking are truly happening for each one of us. Try to think about how well you are at both hearing and speaking the Word and pray the Lord lead all of us to discover the blessing of our Vocation and of our Mission! Fr Sean Mary