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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Dear Parishioners Today’s Gospel teaches us about perseverance in prayer.  What a lesson to learn! No matter how far we go in prayer and faith we will always need to pray for our own needs and those of others.  The more we pray the more we align ourselves with God and His will.  Persistence in prayer leads us to obtaining our deepest desire.    Our deepest desire is the treasure that awaits us.  It is nothing other than God himself.  So why must we wait? A Carthusian Monk wrote: “Why does God, who is love, keep us waiting? Because He is love, and seeks love. Love that does not know how to wait is not love. To love is to give ourselves. Not only for a fraction of a lifetime, nor with a part of its strength: love is, and seeks, the total gift of self.” Let’s break this quote down into three parts: waiting, lifetime, and total gift. Further quotes are from this same Carthusian, Dom Augustin Guillerand.  1. Waiting. We wait for the things and the people we love.  The more we esteem something, the more we will wait, the more we will persevere. How could it be any other way? “It is a law that real treasures are deeply buried and carefully hidden; that serious acquisitions call for proportionate efforts”. Would the Olympic champion be happier just because he is handed the gold medal or because he has worked hard for it?  Would the Grandmother be prouder of her family because everything came easy or because she has patiently loved and sacrificed for her loved ones?  2. Lifetime. We have ups and down, delays, long stretches that seem like lost time or that we are going backward in our life journey and in our relationship to God.  Do not be discouraged! The time is now: “Delays in union are not time lost; far from it, God sees very far ahead; he makes wonderful use of what we call evil –of our wanderings, our hesitations and detours, although he does not love them or want them. It is at these moments, above all, that we need confidence and perseverance.” 3. Total gift.  God is love and the nature of love is to give and God, being infinite, gives totally. What God desires for us is that we to learn how to give in the same way. This is what we are made for and this is what will make us completely fulfilled.  We must wait but we can take steps every day. Prayer teaches us to ask for what we need, ask for the needs of others and to give the best of ourselves. At the end of the gospel today Jesus asks “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?“  Faith and prayer go together, you cannot separate the two. Never give up on prayer and never give up on your faith in God. He is always with you and in you, let us turn to Him in confidence and prayer. Father Philip

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Dear Parishioners Today’s Gospel is important for our parish.  Ten lepers are healed. Leprosy kills the nerves and causes the flesh to die or rot. The lepers come to Jesus and they have to remain at a distance and cry out to Him in hope.  They ask for mercy, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”  Their sickness prevents them from approaching Jesus, but it is by the power of Jesus’ word in conjunction with their faith that they are healed. The first reading also speaks of a leper who is healed; this time it is through the prophet Elisha and being washed seven times in the River Jordan.  The second reading explains, “if we have died with him we shall also live with him.” All three passages evoke a fundamental truth: we carry death within us and we are looking to be healed. If we are to find this healing, we have to: 1.     Believe or trust in God: It is God alone who can heal our hearts. We all too often look to human techniques or ways that we can be fixed. Instead, we must begin by trusting completely in Him.  Note that Jesus looked at the lepers. He also looks at you. God’s actions are always personal.  He only asks that you trust Him completely. 2.     Put His commands into action: If you trust, then you will do what He commands you to do.  Obedience is trust or faith put into action.  An obedient heart is absolutely necessary for healing.  Note that in the Gospel, the lepers are not healed until they start walking towards the priests. They had to commit to being obedient. 3.     Return to give Him thanks: Only a thankful heart can really be filled with joy. We can only really give thanks if we can see that the Lord has done great things for us.  When we realise all that He has done it is only right to give thanks. Moving from faith to obedience and obedience to thanks, this passage shows key steps in our spiritual growth.  Perhaps this week one way we can be healed is through the grace of confession, and when walking out of the confessional may our hearts rejoice and give thanks, for the Lord has done great things for us. Fr. Michael Thérèse