19 Feb 2011

20th February 2011 - 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

On this weeks show, Fr Micheal returns from pilgrimage to Lourdes and gives us a reflection about his time there. We also have our usual reflection on the Sunday gospel and a run down of our Saints of the Week.

Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Fr Micheal gives us a reflection around his recent visit to Lourdes in the south of France for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11th.

He reminds us of the faith and simpleness of Bernadette's family life and especially through out her own life. He focuses on the joy experienced by her even in the sickness, hardship and poverty of the times.

He also reminds us of the Grotto's dotted around our countryside many of them erected after the Marian year in 1954 which are beautiful though often ignored Prayer Spaces that remind us of Our Mother's love for all of us. Many of the grotto's use the traditional imagery of Our Lady of Lourdes or that of the Immaculate Conception but are without a statue of Bernadette. Those without Bernadette are a special reminder for us to follow the example of Bernadette to join in the pray of the Madonna to her Son.

Gospel - Mt 5:38-48

A very timely and challenging gospel is presented to us this week with Jesus over asking us to overturn the natural human instinct of wanting to get even with those that wrong us but he calls us to Divine perfection;

"offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well........love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike...."
As Jesus continued his Sermon on the Mount, he cited the earliest known code of law --an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. The law was known as the "Lex Talionis," which may be described as the law of "tit for tat." Its aim was the limitation of vengeance -- the punishment must fit the crime. Jesus abolished the old law and introduced a new law of love and non-retaliation. It was no virtue to love only those who love you; nonbelievers could do as much. A disciple was to go an "extra mile" in response to another person's needs, even at one's own expense, and to give generously without expecting repayment. Jesus asked his disciples to imitate the perfect love of God who gave gifts of sun and rain to the just and unjust alike. He emphasized that no limits could be placed on Christian forgiveness. They must never seek retaliation for any insult no matter how hostile. Injured parties might have to force themselves to love their enemies, but the Lord would show them the way. The Christian must strive to love even those who persecuted them (Mt 5:11). On the cross, Jesus gave us the supreme example of enemy love when he asked God to forgive those who were putting him to death (Lk 23:34) (H/T to Kays Commentaries on the Gospels).

Our gospel reflection connected with our up coming General Election, in that its not all about Money and Power but about stepping out and going the extra Mile for the Good of all. Fr Micheal especially asked us to listen the response to the psalm - The Lord is Compassion and Love.

Other reflections on this weeks gospel available from Word on Fire, English Dominicans , Australian homilies, Fr Philip Neiri Powell OP, "God's ridiculous demands" and the Preaching Life

Saints of the Week

February 21st - St Peter Damian
February 22nd - Feast of the Chair of St Peter
February 23rd - St Polycarp
February 24th - St Ethelbert of Kent
February 25th - St Walburga
February 26th - St Paula Montal

As always thanks for listening
John, Fr Micheal, Lorraine, Shane and Michael

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