Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost – 12th August 2018

In the first reading today we have the beginning of God’s response to Job:

From the heart of the tempest, the Lord gave Job his answer…’Who put the sea behind closed doors?… come thus far and no further …I marked the bounds it was not to cross.’

In scripture, the stormy sea is often used a as symbol of chaos and the power of evil. We read today’s Gospel in light of this. It is not simply a story about a storm at sea,. It represents Jesus as the one who has conquered the power and the force of evil. This was an important story for the early church struggling against powerful opposition. The image of a small boat battling against a heavy sea and a violent storm fitted the early Church well.

The imagery will always be apt. Job’s questions, the struggle with pain and suffering, the ‘Whys?’ we never answer, the strength of the influences that work against decency and goodness – in all this we need the assurance of God’s presence and God’s pledge that goodness and right will win in the end.

God is With Us
Reflections for Sundays
Michael Morwood MSC

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost – 5th August 2018

This is what the kingdom of God is like………

Gospel

The literal meaning of ‘kingdom’ is ‘rule’. Jesus is trying to describe what the rule of God is like. Clearly, he does not describe this in terms of rules and laws.

Rather, he uses stories to describe God’s extraordinary love and mercy. Using that as a basis, Jesus then calls on his hearers to love and forgive as graciously as God loves and forgives. Then, and only then, will God’s ‘rule’ be evident among us.

Today’s Gospel highlights that God’s rule is already active among us, even when it does not seem evident….night and day…sprouting and growing like the seed that is planted in the field. It might be like a very small seed, but the possibilities are great.

God is With Us
Reflections for Sundays
Michael Morwood MSC

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost – 29th July 2018

Jesus went home with his disciples, and such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.

Gospel

So often people seem to imagine Jesus as someone who breezed through life, unruffled, knowing everything, and not at all like us because, well, he was God! And in that attitude of mind the truth of the /incarnation gets lost, that he was human like us.

There are times, then, when it is helpful to stop and consider seriously the words of the Gospels which speak of Jesus’ human condition.

In today’s Gospel it is not so much the tiredness and the hunger that draw our attention. It is more that fact that own relatives thought he was a madman and wanted to lock him away.

How do you imagine he felt when his relatives made their intentions clear?

God is With Us
Reflections for Sundays
Michael Morwood MSC

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost – 22nd July 2018

I am the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt.
Responsorial Psalm

The Hebrew people knew exactly what they meant by being ‘saved’ – it was the passing from slavery into freedom.

We tend to think of salvation in terms of ‘getting to heaven’. It can be helpful to us to think of the reality of salvation in terms of our lived experience. We would then reflect on ways we have experienced, with God’s help, transition from lack of freedoms to freedom, negative attitudes to positives ones, disunity to unity, selfishness to sharing, isolation to community, disbelief to belief etc.

When we reflect in this fashion we become aware of God’s work of salvation as personal and on-going. We can then personally relate with the words of today’s response psalm,

I freed you should from the burden….
You called in distress and I saved you.

God is With Us
Reflections for Sundays
Michael Morwood MSC

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost – 15th July 2018

All my being, bless God’s holy name.

We acknowledge fairly readily that we as human beings are unique on this planet of ours. We have intelligence and free will. We can love.

We are creatures before the Creator, and in the immensity and vastness of creation we are unique in that we can consciously give God praise for it all.

We can praise God in a way that the material world, with all its grandeur and beauty, cannot. For we can praise with hearts and minds, with words and with songs.

We can adore God with praise that all the multi million types of plant life cannot express for all their wonder and diversity.

We can praise God in a way the animals can only suggest with their movements.

In us the material, the plant, and the animal world find expression: we can bless and praise Good, conscious of what we are doing. We can pray this prayer on behalf of our planet.

God is With Us
Reflections for Sundays
Michael Morwood MSC

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost – 8th July 2018

No need to recall the past; no need to think about what was done before.
See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light, can you not see it?

We should not take these words about recalling the past literally. We must keep recalling the ways God has been revealed to us in the past and the ways our Church tradition has been shaped.

There is a strong reminder here, though, that our God is always creative. We should not let our respect for the past put limits on God’s activity among us today. In other words we need to resist the attitude and the inner voice that says: ‘This is
new. This cannot be from God.’

‘Can you not see it?’ asks the reading. Can we not see God creating new deeds in our midst?

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost – 1st July 2018

Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. Gospel

Every human being has a need to be touched. Jesus touched the leper. He had no need to do so to heal him. By touching him, Jesus broke the law demanding separation (cf the first reading), and so made himself an outcast, having to stay ‘outside in places where nobody lived.’

Jesus often touched people. He understood that touch has its own power to communicate, and that some people need touch for reassurance of acceptance. Jesus put his fingers into the ears of a deaf man and touched his tongue with spittle (Mark 7:34). He took a blind man by the hand and put spittle on his eyes (Mark 8:32). People brought children ‘for him to touch them.’ (Mark 10:13)

Like others, Jesus himself appreciated being touched. In chapter 7 of Luke we have the story that gave scandal: Jesus allowed himself to be touched and anointed by a woman who was a known sinner.