We began by reflecting on the uniqueness of the human being as the only visible creature on earth able to know and love God (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church 356; cf. Gaudium et Spes 12). Human beings are not just some thing, but some one (cf. CCC 357), persons created out of love by God.
As Pope Benedict XVI said during the homily of his inaugural Mass of his pontificate: "We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary".
Sometimes, it can be hard to keep this in mind, but we each have an intrinsic dignity which comes not from what we have achieved or what we own or how we look, but because we are created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:27). As the psalmist prays to God in Psalm 139: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (Ps 139:13-14).
God loves us so much that He would not turn His back on us. As soon as we had turned away from God, He put into place His plan to save us and would not refuse us His only Son: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (Jn 3:16). Not only does God restore us to His friendship, but He elevates us through Baptism to the status of children of God, where we become 'co-heirs with Christ' (CCC 1256; Rom 8:17).
We reflected on the many God-given gifts that God has given each one of us, the gifts of Baptism, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the charisms that are given for the building up of the Body of Christ. You can listen to our reflection on gifts HERE.
Gospel - Matthew 28:16-20
On this beautiful solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, we reflect on Jesus' commandment to make disciples of all nations, to baptise and to teach. In particular, we reflected on two themes: (1) the call to be a disciple of the Lord and (2) how we can preach the Gospel.
The Carmelites have a great reflection on this week's Gospel HERE. In particular, they distinguish the difference between a disciple and a student:
"To be a disciple is not the same as being a student. A disciple is in relation to the master. A student is in relation to the teacher. The disciple lives with the master 24 hours a day; the student receives lessons from the teacher for a few hours then goes back home. The disciple presupposes a community. The student presupposes being present in a classroom for lessons. The state of discipleship in those days was marked by the expression to follow the master."
We can each ask ourselves this morning, 'Am I a disciple of the Lord? Or do I minimalise my faith to going to Mass on Sunday and saying the odd prayer? Jesus wants to share His whole life with us... will we respond to His call to discipleship?
As baptised Christians, we are all called to evangelise, to spread the Good News, in whatever situation we find ourselves. Pope Francis explains how each of us can respond to the baptismal call to preach the Gospel in Evangelii Gaudium:
Reflections on this week's Gospel:
Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
Liturgical odds and ends
Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 3; 7th week of Easter
Saints of the Week
June 2nd - St. Marcellinus and St. Peter, martyrs
June 3rd - St. Kevin
June 4th - St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, martyrs
June 5th - St. Boniface, bishop and martyr
June 6th - St. Jarlath, bishop
June 7th - St. Colman of Dromore, bishop
The Meaning of Religious Freedom
The Iona Institute and the Irish Catholic are co-hosting a talk on 'The Meaning of Religious Freedom' by Bishop Brendan Leahy (Chair: Professor Eamonn Conway) in The Strand Hotel, Limerick at 8.00pm on Tuesday, June 17th. Admission is free. If you would like to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01-6619204.