19th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A: cycle 1


 

Today, the Church calls us to pay attention to two ways by which Jesus displays his love for us. The First Reading shows the gentle and welcoming quality of God. Moses went out of his cave to welcome and encounter God only when he heard the gentle breeze. The Gospel reminds us of another aspect of God’s caring love through his Son Jesus Christ.  In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus comes inside the storm to save his disciples. Jesus rides the storm to deliver his disciples. Jesus could have immediately calmed the storm. He did not. His first attention is his disciples. He wants to ensure that his disciples have the faith to ride the storm as well. What a loving God we worship. Jesus will leave no stones unturned in his efforts at delivering us from evil through his love for humanity. His infinite love and compassion for us, pushes him to even enter and ride the storms of our lives just to get to our hearts!

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Year A: Cycle 1


 

The Power of Jesus’ Love for us

Today, Jesus the Good Shepherd cares for the sheep by filling our hearts with his gift of fortitude. It is because of his infinite love for humanity that Jesus strengthens our inner-self. He wants us to be matured and responsible in our loving relationship with him and others. Jesus gives us two principal images of the Kingdom of God. On one hand, we are presented with a kingdom founded upon pearls and treasures; on the other hand, he speaks of the suffering image of ‘fire’. This should not surprise us, because the tension between good and bad is part of our very existence. Jesus’ loving presence in the world, frees and liberates us from hell. Hell is the final home for evil and all its counterparts. It is because of God’s love for humanity and the world, that hell is created. If not, the world would never be free of evil pain and sufferings. There will come a time when humanity and the world will be finally purified of all evil, sufferings injustice…Amen, Alleluia! This evil will end up in hell. Jesus has chosen us to live for him in his abundant and infinite love. In addition, Matthew 16: 18 tells us, ” And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We have been graced and purified by his blood of endless love and compassion. Why would any human created in God’s image and likeness, baptized in Jesus Christ, reject Jesus’ everlasting love, and prefer to return to hell at the final judgement?

” The Cry of the Rivers” by ex-soldier Mark Jacobs Mohawk Youth from Kahnawake in homage to the Pope’s encyclical “Laudato Si”


 

 

This symbolises the cry of mother earth; the cry of humanity – all taken to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha patron Saint of the environment. May we be divinely inspired to care for Mother Earth.

Living out My Baptism


 

As Christians, we must be willing to experience inconveniences for our Catholic Faith. Faith in Jesus is not only about receiving Jesus’ divine graces through the Holy church; or only about feeling good…smile ! Faith is also concerned with the struggles which we face daily. For example, our faith should lead us to these spiritual exercises at least once a month, outside of the Eucharistic Celebration of the Mass.

– making a group to pray the Rosary in church
– making a group to pray the Stations of the Cross and not wait only at the Lenten Season
– forming a legionary group
– forming the Sacred Heart Society
– reviving past societies – Holy Name, Saint John the Baptist, Social League, etc.
– prayer group
– Spending quality time reading the Word of God in the Bible
– experiencing Jesus’ love in the Sacrament of Confession
– regularly celebrating the Eucharist
– a new society/fraternity of the Catholic Church in today’s world (Post modern World)

We should not simply accept the situation as it is today (now). Even if we do not feel like participating or doing these spiritual exercises, we are called to make the effort. While our feelings and emotions are part of the Christian life, yet the gift of faith is more than our feelings. If we were to depend only on our feelings, then we would not even go to Church to meet Jesus, because sometimes we do not feel like going to church….. We are called to bear these little sacrifices of our time, in following Jesus in the Holy Catholic Church. It is critical to move beyound the “instant gratification” of our modern times – I want it now; I need it now and with no sacrifice, or inconvenience or pain, or sweat. Today, no one wants to accept challenges that allows them to grow inwardly. I still believe in the old maxim – ” no pain no gain.” The Holy Spirit is as present in the Church today, as the first day of Pentecost

Who is responsible?


In this refection, I would like to focus on the relationship between the concept of leadership and the responsibility of those to whom this concept is exercised. The goal here is to begin a process of reflection whereby we can become more aware of our responsibility to each other and to our world. These thoughts are very simple and it is in no way comparable to the distinguished and relevant thoughts of the men and women who have already enlightened our minds and actions in this regard.

This ‘overwhelming’ faith and responsibility that humanity places on the shoulders of its leaders, a confidence that seems to abdicate our own responsibility as individuals to find amicable solutions to conflicts, calls for reflection. It is as if we have surrendered our own ability to solve issues and have given that authority to our leaders. We then expect our leaders to perform what seems to be, a kind of ‘magic,’ in solving the issues that confront us. When we do this, we seemingly put them on a pedestal that makes them super humans. Leaders come from the human “stalk.” They are humans like you and me. They come from families. However, should leaders be satisfied in reflecting the value systems already engrained in his or her society or should they attempt to transcend these acceptable norms to bring a new and more enlightened value system? The rules, laws, policies and programmes administered by any concept of leadership should not diminish the rights and responsibilities of its members as individuals, families or groups to nation building. On the contrary, it should be a complement and a catalyst in helping those entrusted to their care to critically analyse issues and to be able to manifest these analysed ideas into concrete realities for the common good. Pope Benedict XVI in his Encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” or “Charity in Truth” writes, “Besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of “all of us”, made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society. It is a good that is sought not for its own sake, but for the people who belong to the social community and who can only really and effectively pursue their good within it. To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity. ”

I do not have the answer but I believe a possible solution to some of the major problems we face today may be found within the sphere of dialogue, mutual trust and forgiveness. Will we ever be able to sit, face each other, forgive and move on? Is that asking too much from us who form the human stalk on this earth? Sometimes we tend to forget that we are the only known ‘rational species of life’ living in this universe up to today. This implies differences and opposing views coupled with their consequences. However, it also requires from us the exercising of our ability to solve issues without resorting to violence, i.e. in an amicable manner. This capacity is inherent in every human person. It is just not developed. The human person, fundamentally good, is constantly faced with evil, and sometimes in his weakness succumbs to it. Since we did not create humanity, then the Creator has imbedded deep within every one of his creatures the ability to overcome negativity. This capacity is more fundamental to us than the reverse. Had we not this capacity, there would not have been a human being present today. The fact that we live on this earth with all our problems is itself a testimony to our ability to overcome the “badness” in us. This is a testimony to the fact that we have chosen life and not death. To ignore this is to dwell persistently in our inability to effectively address the problems that threaten us as humans in our world. Am I too naive to believe that in putting our point of emphasis in the areas of commonality and approaching our differences in a spirit of mutual respect and dialogue, the possibility for a more peaceful world would dawn on us today? Is it an opportune time to be more oriented towards serving each other, a service that is directed to the dignity of every human person? Can our differences lead us to a greater appreciation of the diversity expressed in the human world and the need for a greater fostering of dialogue, where mutual trust becomes foundational? Does forgiveness have any place in our pluralised and secularised world where so quickly our once held “common grounds” become obsolete and thus the return of the cliché “more questions than answers?”

In the final analysis, our common goal should not be about self-justification. It is not about who is right and who is wrong. The essential guiding principle for today and the future should revolve around what is important for the human as individuals, families, countries, and the world (not necessarily in this order). When will we open our eyes to see that the ultimate process to effectively beginning to solve our issues, should not “overwhelmingly” lie in the hands of our leaders, neither should it remain with those who take justice in their own hands. Rather, a consolidated programme based on dialogue, mutual trust and forgiveness should guide our actions of every individual. Coupled with this we should also add the return to basic human values of concern, caring and the respect for every individual despite his/her race, colour, creed, or sex. The basic responsibility for the world lies with every human being and not with those whom we seemingly ‘set apart’, to solve the problems to which we all have created or contributed in some way or another. Leader plays an indispensible role, but one that is understood as “being intrinsic” to humanity’s aspirations. One of the basic functions of the leader is to create an environment in which the members can be cared for; a caring that allows each to thrive, grow and to become not a superhuman but a just simply human. As a leader, I am not able to solve it all, and thus I refrain from giving such impressions. If I do the latter, I would tend to hinder the blossoming of future leaders in the home, groups, countries and the world. The challenge for all leaders is to create this formational environment.
As we continue to strive to “create” responsible men and women to lead, guide, and mould and shape us may we continue to consider the importance of every individual, an importance that needs to be felt and experienced. It is my hope that every individual will find his/her place in this world, a place that allows him/her to make a humble and valid contribution to the work of Justice and peace. I think it is an opportune time to thank all our leaders – those alive and those who have passed – for working with us in fostering programmes based on justice, peace, and responsibility.

In conclusion, I am tempted to as ask how does this reflection apply to us as Caribbean people, whose ancestors have laid the foundation for our independent states today? With the rise of secularisation, where we find it increasingly difficult to find a common ground from which we can all evolve, the need for dialogue, trust and forgiveness is even more apparent. My desire is that everyone who reads this reflection will see the task of the continued creation of our world not so much as the responsibility of his/her neighbour, but rather the responsibility of each of us, beginning with me. May we not ignore the power of ‘praying with the scriptures’ as a guide in this process. Through this meditation, we are able to enter into an experience that allows us to see, judge and act, an action that is not isolated, but one that resonates within the concepts of justice, peace and responsibility for the common good of humanity. May God bless us all in our efforts at moulding and nurturing our leaders.

Just Write


Take a breath and release,
This everlasting infinite ride of a chance,
That glides though the isles of man,
Into the infinite abyss where he is sole,
In there take a peak,
And smile at thine own,
For I am born,
Not limited by this flesh of human stalk,
In which my dwelling dines,
But together with thine Eternal smile,
We wander and embrace,
All that this world of beauty,
Could ever in its majesty send,
In that one moment,
That graced my tender heart,
To this caressed and blissful sight,
I have arrived.

The encounter


To think that my flesh and blood is already in heaven,
What a thought,
That to my being eludes,
No other explanation renders me more satisfying,
Than that of my humanity.
It is graced, blessed, honored, and digified,
By him whose death on the cross did not see the face of curruption.
To prove an empty grave,
But what physical proof is this?
Compared to the jewel of that faith,
That beyond any shatttered doubt,
Keeps me running the race.
All because of the Saviour,
Whose ascenion into eternity,
Did not leave behind a speck of that physique,
So as I trod through lifes endless wanders,
That all too soon descend in the bowels of this classic,
My eyes are fixed to that Which I believe.
As I walk to the finish line,
To await this crowning,
Which has become that of mine.

Just Rite (inspired by Gary McDonald’s "Time can forge our hatred"’.)


Lay Not Thine Hand On The Lad
Image via Wikipedia

The shadows of yonder that befalls my blunder,
With no more a mask I wonder,
Has not this day descend to the brave under,
Where the thoughts no longer me plunder.

But of truth I behold that nothing renders,
That from within seeks not this wander,
From this that was,
To the bosom of thine own is.

And so in life’s oblivious moments,
This cradle of truth doth seek to be,
In that might of lightning slumber,
As thine eyes to me beseech such another,

For in life’s glide so gently that ride,
Where footprints have all but inhibit this slide,
I have dawned to break this impending pride,
That renders this soul to be at peace.

And so gently I ride…