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15th July – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

praise fathergodWhy are we Christians and living the Christian life? Well, the ultimate reason is that we have come to know and trust in the love of God who made us for himself, to share his life and eternity. The following FATHER’S LOVE LETTER is a compilation of paraphrased Bible verses from both the Old and New Testament that are presented in the form of a love letter from God to you. This simple message has been experienced by millions of people around the world.
As you read the love letter below, you can click on the links beside each line to actually read what each Bible verse says.

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you.   Psalm 139:1 

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.   Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.   Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.   Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.   Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.   Acts 17:28 

For you are my offspring.    Acts 17:28 

I knew you even before you were conceived.   Jeremiah 1:4-5 

I chose you when I planned creation.  Ephesians 1:11-12 

You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.   Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live.   Acts 17:26 

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.   Psalm 139:14 

I knit you together in your mother’s womb.   Psalm 139:13 

And brought you forth on the day you were born.   Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me.   John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love.  1 John 4:16 

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.   1 John 3:1 

Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.   1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.   Matthew 7:11 

For I am the perfect father.   Matthew 5:48 

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.   James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.   Matthew 6:31-33 

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.   Jeremiah 29:11 

Because I love you with an everlasting love.   Jeremiah 31:3 

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore.  Psalm 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.   Zephaniah 3:17 

I will never stop doing good to you.   Jeremiah 32:40 

For you are my treasured possession.  Exodus 19:5 

I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul.   Jeremiah 32:41 

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.   Jeremiah 33:3 

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.   Deuteronomy 4:29 

Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart.   Psalm 37:4 

For it is I who gave you those desires.   Philippians 2:13 

I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine.   Ephesians 3:20 

For I am your greatest encourager.   2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.   2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you.   Psalm 34:18 

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.   Isaiah 40:11 

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes.   Revelation 21:3-4 

And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.   Revelation 21:3-4 

I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus.    John 17:23 

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.    John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.   Hebrews 1:3 

He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you.    Romans 8:31 

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.    2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.    2 Corinthians 5:18-19 

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.   1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.    Romans 8:31-32 

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me.    1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you from my love again.   Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.   Luke 15:7 

I have always been Father, and will always be Father.    Ephesians 3:14-15 

My question is…Will you be my child?     John 1:12-13 

I am waiting for you.    Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad.
Almighty God

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14th July.

Greg Buergler, a SOLT lay member shares a reflection for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. He reminds us that to be good preachers of the Gospel and listeners of the Gospel, we must be humble. He encourages us to ask Our Blessed Mother to show us the way of humility this week.

13th July.

This is an editorial of the IRISH CATHOLIC (May 24th) entitled THE LONG OVERDUE DEATH OF (IRISH) CULTURAL CATHOLICISM. Rather than being attached to the Church and indeed Jesus as a sort of tribal loyalty (which doest work anymore in a secular society) we must make our own adult commitment to Jesus as Lord and Saviour of our lives. This is all the more relevant in the light of the recent Abortion referendum.

cultural catholicism acultural catholicism bcultural catholicism c

12th July.

Exit polls from the Abortion Referendum indicate that a third of YES voters identified as Catholics that practice regularly – attend Mass at least a month. This raises serious question about their understanding of conscience and its proper working. Their decision is no more reasonable in a Christian sense than those German Christians who supported the ‘Final Solution’ regarding the Jews. Here is a relevant article from the June ALIVE Newspaper. (The paragraph formatting doesn’t work as intended with this copy/paste.)

judgementConscience seems to become an issue each time politicians or journalists want Catholics to do something that is against Church teaching. “You may/must follow your conscience,” we are told. Yet there is great confusion about conscience and what it is. For some people it seems to be a “sense” telling them right from wrong, good from evil. They have “a sense” as to how they should act. For others it is a “gut feeling”, an “instinct”, or a powerful emotion guiding their decisions. All these views, however, leave people very open to emotional manipulation in an attempt to win their support for a cause. Talking about conscience as “God’s voice in our hearts” is not much help either unless it is grounded in something deeper. Conscience in fact, is not an instinct, faculty, sense, or emotion; it is more simple: a judgment about what is good or evil, what is to be done or avoided, in a given situation. To follow my conscience, then, means to do what I judge is right or good, or to avoid doing what I judge is wrong or evil. But how do I make this judgment? Firstly I need moral principles, laws that tell me, in general, how to live in a community or society, what is good and to be done or what is evil and to be avoided. Society cannot function, for example, if we cannot trust what others tell us, so a basic principle says “do not lie”. When everyone accepts the principle, “Do not kill”, all can live in peace. And when we accept that adultery is wrong couples have security in their marriages and children have security in their homes.

Reason alone.

Many of these principles we, or at least society, can work out by reason alone. But a whole society can be blind to a moral principle because its members find it a burden, as with, for example, the principle that we should worship God. For this reason God gives us his guidance, the commandments. And the moral teaching of the Church unpacks all that is contained in them. Conscience means applying the relevant principles to a given situation to judge how we should act. And then acting in keeping with that judgment. This assumes, of course, that we want to know what is good and in keeping with God’s law, and that we want to act in keeping with it.

11th July – St Benedict, patron of Europe.

Yesterday the media was awash with the good news of the boys soccer team in Thailand that had been successfully rescued from the underground cave. Naturally we all shared in the joy of their liberation. Yet is struck me that this same day some 140,000 other [unwanted] children were killed worldwide by abortion and hardly anybody noticed or cared. It is amazing how our view of reality is so influenced by what others present to us. Yet, somebody did notice – God, for whom each of these 140,000 children were just as precious as the boys in the cave or any of the rest of us for that matter.

stbenedict

Today is the feast of St Benedict (*480 +547) who was nominated by St John Paul II as a patron saint of Europe. He was the founding father of Western monasticism. What is clear about Benedict was that he lived his life completely for God. He was a living embodiment of yesterday’s Great Commandment: ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.’ As is said of him in today’s Office of Readings: “In his desire to please God alone, blessed Benedict abandoned home and patrimony and sought the religious life; he dwelt by himself, apart, in the presence of the all-seeing God of heaven. He left the world of men, knowingly ignorant of its ways, and wisely untrained in its wisdom.”

In our efforts to live out the Great Commandment, this passage of Scripture from today’s Divine Office is a commendable reflection.

“Think of God’s mercy, my brothers, and worship him, I beg you, in a way that is worthy of thinking beings, by offering your living bodies as a holy sacrifice, truly pleasing to God. Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around you, but let your behaviour change, modelled by your new mind. This is the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do.” Romans 12:1-2 (Morning Prayer).

 

10th July

Recently I visited the Letterkenny hospice. I saw this painting which caught my attention. In the midst of a winter landscape (illustrating perhaps our mortality) we see that a light has entered (illustrating perhaps the Saviour who in the words of JOHN 1 has come to dwell among us).

hospice

9th July.

jesus-giftTODAY I TRAVEL TO THE USA FOR A SOLT CHAPTER MEETING IN TEXAS. I RETURN JULY 26.

In today’s gospel (see bottom of this page) there are two healing miracles of Jesus. Those requesting the miracles were tuned into Jesus’ presence but really believed in his goodness and divine power. Two thousand years later the gift of faith allows those who possess it to similarly tune into Jesus’ presence, goodness and divine power. What is the basis of this wonderful gift? This question is answered by the following article from the National Catholic Register website. It is entitled “Why we can’t find Jesus.”

Sometimes we have trouble seeing Jesus in our lives. Maybe we are stressed out in a way that doesn’t match the peace he promised. Maybe we feel stretched thinner than the “abundant life” he promised. Maybe we feel we have sought but not found; that we have knocked, but the door has not been opened.

Today Jesus tells us why.

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to little ones,” he says.

The wise and learned don’t see him. Those who are not “little” do not see him.

Those busy succeeding on the world’s terms don’t see him.  Those who want to have everything their way don’t see him. The contentious, argumentative people who always have to be right don’t see him. Those who are always searching for the more comfortable, easy way to please themselves don’t see him.

Today’s first reading from Zechariah amplifies the point by reminding us who God is. “He shall banish the chariot,” a symbol of power. He will banish “the warrior’s bow,” a symbol of conflict. “His dominion shall be from sea to sea,” leaving no room for any other dominion — including those of us who try to dominate at work, at home, or in whatever room we happen to be in at any given moment.

Instead, he will come to us “meek and riding on an ass.”

He isn’t what we expect.

He doesn’t prove he is right. He doesn’t force himself on anyone. He doesn’t imperiously demand his way. He just quietly is who he is and invites us to follow him.

“You are not in the flesh,” says St. Paul in the second reading. “On the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.”

Those who live according to the flesh won’t follow him, because they don’t let the Spirit of God in. Those who try to impress with wealth, position or prestige, won’t follow him, because the spirit of Christ is not in them.

But he does tell us who will follow him. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest,” Jesus says. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

The tired see him.

The overworked see him.

Those looking for rest see him.

Those who have given up expecting the world to satisfy them are ready to look for him.

Only when we finally get in line with the “little ones” do we see Jesus.

Those who stare at their phone don’t see the sunset, those who stay in the office don’t feel the breeze, those who always have to prove themselves never get to know themselves, and those who look to the world’s comforts are restless forever.

The little ones have found the truth and true peace and purpose: “Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.”

Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College

and author of The Fatima Family Handbook.

Gospel                                  Matthew 9:18-26
My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved

W
hile Jesus was speaking to them, up came one of the officials, who bowed low in front of him and said, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her and her life will be saved’. Jesus rose and, with his disciples, followed him.

Then from behind him came a woman, who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years, and she touched the fringe of his cloak, for she said to herself, ‘If I can only touch his cloak I shall be well again’. Jesus turned round and saw her; and he said to her, ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health’. And from that moment the woman was well again.

When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep’. And they laughed at him. But when the people had been turned out he went inside and took the little girl by the hand; and she stood up. And the news spread all round the countryside.

The Word of the Lord.