The Beatitudes must be in everyone’s top ten list of scripture texts. This reading remains a popular choice at both weddings and funerals because in very beautiful and poetic words it sums up the kind of person every Christian wants to be.
However on carefully looking at the Beatitudes we might start to think that we don’t actually want to be poor or to mourn or to be persecuted. However we would be happy enough if we were gentle, if we had a hunger and thirst for what is right, if we were merciful or if we were peacemakers.
But maybe this mix of seemingly both positive and negative qualities is a more accurate picture of our lives here on earth. What we should remember though is that in the Kingdom of God everything is turned to a good purpose even that which is outwardly negative.
Perhaps then we should therefore look on being poor in a more positive light and perhaps interpret it as living simply. Maybe mourning could be seen as the result of loving the friends we have lost very deeply and perhaps persecution as the consequence for standing up for what is right and true. Father Alex
Sunday of the Word of God
Sunday of the Word of God is celebrated today on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time. This annual celebration was announced by Pope Francis in a document entitled Aperuit Illis, published on 30 September 2019, the Feast of St Jerome. Pope Francis said, ‘The Word of God Sunday is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God’.
I believe that it is vitally important for every Catholic home to have a Bible. This may sound self-evident but it is surprising just how many homes do not have a Bible, let alone one which is actually read. At the back of our Church copies of St Matthew’s Gospel are available; please take one home and read it. In the course of this year it is St Matthew’s Gospel that we will be following in the liturgy so it is important to have a copy at home for reference. In the liturgy we have read to us only very short sections of the Gospel and so it is good for us when we go home to read the relevant passage in context so helping us to understand the text much better.
The Gospels in particular give us much fruit for meditation since they are the inspired Word of God. The Gospels then ought to be an important element of our life of prayer. Taking a passage from the Gospels and turning it over in our mind is a very good way of enriching our life of prayer. Please do make some effort this Sunday to become more familiar with sacred scripture. As St Jerome, the famous translator of the Bible, said, ‘Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.’
What Makes a Christian Home
It is a place of love, consideration and understanding.
It is a place where they pray for the homeless.
It is not a place where Father and Mother
are always away at Church meetings.
It is a place of Family fun and enjoyment.
It is a place of welcome and hospitality.
It is not just a home for the family.
It is a place where the stranger can feel at home.
It is a place where God is given thanks for all things.
It is a place where the family can bring their friends.
It is a place where parents pray for the family.
It is a place where children can learn to pray.
It is not just a clean and respectable house: it is a home.
A place where Jesus himself would feel at ease,
A place where Jesus lives,
And callers who come with doubts and fears will meet him.
They will find faith, hope and love, company and understanding.
Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan
Jesus’ public life begins with his baptism by John in the River Jordan. This gospel text is rich in meaning for us. John preaches a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As we know, when Jesus presents himself for Baptism John hesitates and tries to dissuade him. But Christ insists on being baptised. This baptism of Jesus is his formal acceptance and inauguration of his mission to bring salvation to the people.
He allows his humanity to show through and although he has not sinned himself, he permits himself to be numbered among sinners. Although he is already the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will by consenting to this baptism which will lead to his death on the cross for the remission of our sins.
From heaven the Father proclaims his entire delight in him. Although Jesus is already at one with the Spirit he comes to rest on him at the moment of his Baptism. The word Christ comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew ‘Messiah’ which means ‘anointed’. This baptism in the Jordan is also highly symbolic as the moment when, through being anointed with the Spirit, Jesus is revealed as the Messiah and the Holy One of God. It is one of the occasions when we see most clearly Christ’s divinity and humanity together. We remember that through our own baptism we are cleansed of our sins and can really believe in Christ as the Messiah who comes to save us.
Father Alex McAllister SDS