9 Apr 2011

10th April 2011 - 5th Sunday of Lent, Year A

On this weeks show we have our regular prayer space, Fr Michael gives us a summary about his talk on Prayer, a reflection of this Sunday's gospel, some local notices and Saints of the Week

Do we really pray?

Fr Michael Liston gives us a summary of a talk he gave to Our Lady's Pastoral area a few weeks back which was based on a challenging question "Do I really pray?" The talk was one of the series of Lenten talks being presented by the Pastoral Area.

He noted that prayer is an ongoing occurrence in daily life, happening all the time, where despite everything, as a community we still pray for each other. Prayer can take many forms including petitions, praise and thanksgiving. The challenge is a bit like walking a knife edge, bearing in mind Jesus' parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector  (Lk18: 9-14) which reminds us that we can never be sure are we really praying?

Of course the model for prayer is the "Our Father" and are we praying for God's kingdom or our own desires, our own "kingdom". Are we acknowledging God as God or are we putting other things ahead of us? Are we entering into moving from being fearful slaves to being confident children and being able to truly pray "Our Father". Are we able to accept our weakness and being confident in the gift of God to us?

A young man came in one day and told his parents he was not going to go to Mass anymore. His father didn't react or respond but started talking out loud about their lives noting how they had a nice home, how they all had good health, how well his older sons and daughters were doing well in school and jobs, how they all had employment. He kept going and talking about the good things in life. He then he stopped, turned to his son and said, "When we haven't anything to thank God for, then we will stop going to Mass".

A gentle reminder to savour the goodness in our lives and to keep our hearts open. But it is also a reminder that we have to be gently aware of those hearts which are being borne down by the cross's that they are carrying. We are asked to remember that where we see suffering to be aware that we are on holy ground as God is there is the midst of that suffering.

Gospel - John 11:1-45

The raising of Lazarus from the dead is this weeks gospel. This miracle is only recounted in the gospel of John where we encounter the human love of Jesus for this family of Mary, Martha and Lazarus and how they held an open house for him near Jerusalem. We encounter questions being posed as to why Jesus didn't turn up "on time" to help as when Jesus heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was for two days. Sometimes do we feel that God "delays" in coming to us, yet aware that the Lord is always present and beside us.

At the same time we see how in a very human interaction at a time of stress we have almost a harsh encounter between Martha and Jesus, where each almost gets up set but then we have another divine manifestation almost where Jesus asks for a confession of faith from Martha. Again almost harsh sounding but reminds us do we have faith in the midst of this suffering, that the glory of God will be shown.

"Go in and unbind him" is a call to each of us and poses the question "do we help others by helping to unbind them from the shackles that they are in? Or do we put further restrictions and chains on our brothers and sisters? Do we really understand and participate in the command at the end of Mass where we are told "Go, the Mass is finished, you are sent to love and serve the Lord". Have we lost the urgency of what is in effect a command that we reach out into our society and community?

On the blog this week we have another reflection about this weeks gospel by Noirin Lynch called "Lord the one you love is sick".

Other reflections on this weeks gospel available from Word on Fire, Godzdogz, the Deacon's Bench.

Saints of the Week

April 11th - St Stanislaus of Cracow, Poland (Bishop, Martyr)
April 12th - St Teresa of the Andes (OCD)
April 13th - St Martin I (Pope, Martyr)
April 14th - St Benedict Joseph Labre
April 15th - St Ruadhan of Lothra
April 16th - St Bernadette Soubirous (Visionary of Lourdes)

Thanks for listening!
Sacred Space 102fm Team

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