Sunday, 18 February 2018

First Sunday of Lent - 2018

                                        Revisit First Sundays of Lent

First Sunday Lent 2017

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First Sunday Lent 2016

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First Sunday Lent 2015

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Thursday, 15 February 2018

Lent 2018 - Resources

Voices Bookshelf

 Index Page
Suggested Reading for Lent

     i.   Special Index Page contains a listing of previous blog entries for Lent. Browse Here . . . 
    ii.    Guide To Praying on a Passage of Scripture. Browse Here . . . 
  iii.   Lenten Resources from the Ignatius Web Site. Browse Here . . .  
  iv.   Bible Concordance, handy look-up of books and texts in the bible. Browse Here . . . 
   v.    Word on Fire, connect with Bishop Barron's web site. Browse Here . . .
  vi.  The Salt & Light web site. Browse Here . . .
vii.   The WORD Among Us web site. Browse Here . . .


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Lent 2018

Lent, An Invitation to Join Him

 I like to think of Lent as beginning with an invitation from the Lord to join him on "His" journey into the wilderness. Thinking of it in this way indicates that the agenda for Lent will be the Lord's and not ours. If we accept, then we should begin by asking the Lord what we will need to bring with us.

The wilderness is to be a place of prayer. Here is a list that very well my be the same list the Lord gives to you.
  • The first thing you must bring is a generous portion of your time. You cannot be in two places at the same time. Notice that the wilderness is an empty place, without the distractions of the secular world surrounding you. Try to find such a place in your day where you can be alone - only you and the Lord. Arranging a time and place is most important.
  • Remember, the Lord has invited you to come and be with him. Be assured, he will be there. You might offer a prayerful word of thanks for such an unimaginable privilege.
  • Next you will need a way to listen to the Lord's voice. Our world is a stadium full of people, all speaking at the same time - can any sense be made of it. The scriptures, especially the gospels reduces the voices down to one, the Lord's. It takes some practice on your part, what with the ringing in your ears from that stadium we live in. "Speak Lord, I am listening".
  • You too can speak. The Lord wants you to understand, but we are a little slow and our thinking has been shaped by that world we have just left, or misshapen by it. Your seeking understanding becomes your prayer. "How can this be Lord?" "Yes Lord, with you all things are possible".
  • Takes notes as they say. When you go back to that stadium of confusing voices, you will need a good way to remember what the Lord has taught you.
  • It will need perseverance, it is a desert after all. Do not give up.


Sunday, 11 February 2018

Sixth Sunday

Today, the World Day of the Sick, highlights the healing ministry of the Church. It reminds us that service to the sick and suffering cannot be neglected. It recognizes the great efforts of doctors, nurses, healthcare institutions and pastoral care givers to restore health to those afflicted with illness and disease.

Appropriately, today’s gospel gives us account of Jesus healing the man of his leprosy. Leprosy, or Hansen's disease as it is also known, still exists today. It’s a bacterial decease affecting the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain, thus loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries or infection. Today it is curable by medication.

In the ancient world leprosy was grouped in with other visible skin conditions and was most feared and dreaded. People with these conditions were forced to live apart from the general population, they must keep their distance while warning that they were leprous. Chapter 14: in the book of Leviticus gives details on how leprous people were controlled and the complicated rituals they had to follow to be allowed to re-enter the population, should their skin condition clear up.

That is why Jesus instructs the man he has just healed, to go to the priests. It is interesting to note that Jesus also instructs him not to tell anyone how he came to be healed. Why? Physical healing was not the reason why the Father sent his Son into the world. The deadly condition Jesus came to heal was much deeper – it was the condition of death itself, and not physical death but eternal death, the death of sin. Euphoria over physical healing would cause people to see only that, and so fail to hear the deeper message of the gospel, which is exactly what started to happen.

We read: - “… the man went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly but stayed out in the country; (and even then) people came to Jesus from every quarter.” It is interesting in or world today to listen to those who deny God, use the argument of healing to make their case. They say that it is medical science that cures leprosy not religion. Then they go on to argue that if there is a God why does he let leprosy exist at all – the classic “problem of evil”. They fail to understand that Jesus has come from the Father to enable all of us to become healers, by turning our hearts from hatred to compassion and love.

The man with leprosy came to Jesus begging him, and kneeling said to Jesus, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” What the atheist fails to recognise is that it was in the countries imbued with the gospel of compassion and love, in Christian societies, that the sciences of healing medicine were discovered, fostered, and developed. Where the gospel of love shaped man’s thinking, the work of caregiving and healing flourished.

Just imagine what good would be ours today if the energy and efforts spent on god-less war and hate hand been spent on finding healing, not on making war. Today’s World Day of the Sick reminds us of this dimension of our Christian faith, to be healers as Jesus was also a healer.


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