5 Mar 2011

6th March 2011 - 9th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

As we move towards the beginning of the Lenten season, on this weeks show, Fr Michael leads us in a reflection about Lent, we have our regular Prayer Space to pause and remember those who ask for and/or need our prayers, as well as our usual weekly reflection on this Sunday's gospel, up coming Saints of the Week and some local notices

Lent

Fr Michael leads us in a reflection for Lent where he reminds us that Lent is after all a preparation for Easter and the beginning of new life which requires the recognition of how death and suffering impacts on our lives. He leads us through the Lenten gospels and reminds us how Jesus has become involved in human life right down in the depths of what it means to be human in temptation, suffering and even despair. But that even where life seems to be blocked by this suffering, Jesus opens a way through to a new beginning. The Sundays of Lent are a journey through these dark situations and how there is hope even in the depths of such darkness, even in the darkness of the grave, yet Jesus and his Word can open a way to new life for us.

Our travelling though Lent needs to be seen as opening up of ourselves to this new way of living, to make ourselves available to what God is offering in this joyful season of Lent. We need to pause a moment to realise, to become aware of what it is that God is offering, a transformation time where we need to have mercy - trocaire - on and for each other.

Gospel - Matthew 7:21-27 

This weeks gospel finishes up the Sermon on the Mount. It is a gospel of Jesus saying to us that we can talk the talk about following him but now it is time to walk the walk and really live up to our baptismal calling. And the question this week again is are we truly living our Christian calling? Do people know we are Christian by our love? Do we have time - sabbath moments - both for God and our neighbours?

The gospel calls us to radical conversion in our lives, to be aware that we must not fool ourselves how well we think we "know" the Lord. Have we really made the space to get to know the Lord in an intimate way? "We are being warned against complacency and the danger of self-deception. Believing that we are on the road to salvation when we are not. The operative word here is 'to know'. Those who are rejected are told 'I do not know you'. The word 'know' has many layers of meaning and involves a close relationship, often a sexual relationship: 'and Abraham knew his wife' - meaning that he had sexual relations with her. It is an imagery that expresses God's special relationship with his people." (H/T Torch).

We are also reminded that we need to have a sure foundation in our lives. At the same time there is the recognition that we can and do make stupid mistakes and Jesus doesn't spare our blushes, he calls those who ignore the voice of God, stupid! But he is always there to help and support us in our lives no matter what. We are relying on the foundation of God's Word to guide and support us in our lives, with the Word of God being the foundation of our faith. Have we made time to explore those words, to delve down into the depths of our faith and to renew it in the hearts of each of us. We need to sit and make time for meditation on scripture so that we make ourselves available to a new way of life. 

Other reflections on this weeks gospel are available from Word on Fire, Deacon Greg, English Dominicans, SacredSpace.ie.

Saints of the Week

March 7th - Ss Perpetua and Felicity - Martyrs - a recounting of their martyrdom.
March 8th - St Senan
March 9th - Ash Wednesday
March 10th - Commemoration of St John Ogilvie SJ
March 11th - Commemoration of St Aengus
March 12th - Commemoration of St Theophanes the Chronographer

As we enter into the joyful season of Lent in preparation for Easter, tradition holds that a number of things are done to mark the fasting season so that we can more truly celebrate the joy of Easter. In some churches all statues and crucifixes will be clothed in purple (and generally at a minimum all churches will do this for Holy Week), there are no flowers on the alters and church sanctuaries are generally stripped to the essentials to remind us we are accompanying the Lord in the desert. We also have some adjustments to our liturgies with the suppression of the Gloria until the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday night and the suppression of the Alleluia until the Easter Vigil. Of course the omission of the Gloria carries with it a couple of exceptions: St Patrick's Day (March 17th), the Feast of St. Joseph (March 19th) and the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord (March 25th). However, there is no exception to the Alleluia so we have one more listen as we enter into the Lenten fast:

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