This weeks podcast is available HERE.
A Word with Fr Michael Liston - Year of Faith
Fr Michael joins us on the programme this week and leads us in a reflection on faith and what it means as we move through the Year of Faith.
He reminds us that as we travel through life, the ability to see life with a new horizon is a gift of opening the door of faith. Often faith is set out in strange language and symbols which we don't feel "qualified" to understand but faith in the gospels is something we have and we don't often know it. Gospel Faith can be our concern for each other and for people in difficult circumstances; it can be expressed in prayer, expressed in gratitude, in many different ways as different as there are people who have faith! Sometimes it comes across as an openness not to live in our own ego but rather to turn to a Higher Power for some assistance or in gratitude for the simple things in life like the changes in the weather as we move into Spring at the moment.
Faith for Christians focus' on the person of Jesus Christ who came, lived and died here on earth. The life of Jesus shows us the weakness of human life with the ultimate weakness of death and violence but Easter reminds us of the power of Resurrection! The courage to face reality can be a form of informed resurrection faith which allows us to also face the larger horizon of life and which allows us to be open to what God can do for us.
We in Ireland have a deep need for kitchen conversations where people share conversations about where we have seen and experienced the grace of God in our lives. To reassure each other in communion and community of our journey together. The Year of Faith is not just to learn formal parts about our faith but also to share our faith with each other and eventually into the wider community. Our kitchen conversations should be a sharing where the words of faith for each other reminds us in this life we are all but beggars telling beggars where we found bread.
The vulnerability of Jesus in the gospel allowing himself to be ignored completely like so many are ignored in our world should challenge but also console us. When we have time and listen to those who are ignored, when we listen to Jesus then we are moving into faith and allowing the power of faith into our need, our own poverty.
Faith calls us to an awareness of community in our home, our neighbours and the wider world which Irish people often express through support for Trocaire.
But finally faith comes down to prayer - through spending some time listening and talking to God on a one to one basis. It is essential that we listen and reflect with the words of the Gospel each Sunday.
You can listen to Fr Michaels reflection excerpted from the main programme HERE.
Gospel Reflection - Luke 4:21-30
We continue this week with Luke's gospel in chapter four where Jesus has returned to Nazareth after his baptism in the Jordan and last week he inaugurated his public ministry with a speech taken from Isaiah. This weeks gospel continues on directly and Luke shares with us the reaction of the people of Nazareth to this "local" which his one of disdain and ultimately attempted murder.
They dismiss him, "we know his father we know his mother". Because he was so familiar they thought they "knew" him and that as he was one of their own what right had he to speak to them of greater things. Of course the irony of the situation presented by Luke is that they didn't know his Father! Almost like a symbol for the people of Israel who thought they knew the will of God in observing the Laws and the Prophets. But Jesus reminds them that you cannot define God and God's relationship only by laws and rules.
He begins to challenge the communities expectation of the Messiah as being only for the Jewish people. He challenges the role of Israel in the world as not being a closed off community but rather a group within a group, a nation of "priests" set aside by the Lord to offer praise to him on behalf of the world not just themselves.
The gospel this week challenges us to the fact there can be no elites in the christian community; there is no one who can stand up and say you are not loved by God. It is a gospel of hope, as no matter how outcast a person may feel there is still the hope of the love of God. Are we following the example of the Master, a Christ of the welcomes, a God of love who opened his arms on the cross to embrace the whole world? It is a reminder to us that the Incarnation sanctified the whole world and that we should have a reverence for each other like we would have for the Blessed Sacrament; a silence to listen to each other with a respect, a love, that with the help of Holy Spirit will allow us to rise to the challenge to begin the listening to each other and the grace of God rising in each of us.
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of summoning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark determination
and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and the future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces,
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.
Other reflections on this weeks gospel:
Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
Liturgical odds and ends
Divine Office - Week 4
Saints of the Week
February 4th - St John de Britto or St Veronica
February 5th - St Agatha of Sicily (virgin, martyr)
February 6th - The Martyrs of Nagasaki
February 7th - Pope St Pius IX or St Mel (bishop, patron of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise)
February 8th - St Josephine Bakhita of Sudan
February 9th - St Ronan of Lismore or St Miguel del Faerro