On this weeks programme we reflect on Pope Francis weekly general audience. We have our regular reflection on this Sundays gospel as well as a run down on our celestial guides.
This weeks programme is available to listen to as a podcast HERE.
On next week’s show we have an excellent interview that John recorded with Fr. Chris O’Donnell, a native of county Limerick, who has met and worked with our present pope.
Every Wednesday, the Holy Father gives a catechesis, a teaching on a particular aspect of the Church’s faith. This morning we’d like to share with you the catechesis given by Pope Francis last Wednesday, September 18th:
During Wednesday's general audience, the Pope compared the Church to a mother. With thousands of people in St. Peter's Square, the Pope explained that through the 10 commandments, the Church tries to instill values in Her children, just like any mother would. He also added that the Church is always at Her children's side, vowing to pray and protect them throughout life.
The Church as mother was again the theme chosen by Francis for today's catechesis at the Wednesday general audience. “I like this image a lot, as it seems to me that it tells us not only how the Church is, but also shows us the face the Church, this Church of ours, should increasingly show”, he explained. “I like this image a lot, as it seems to me that it tells us not only how the Church is, but also shows us the face the Church, this Church of ours, should increasingly show”, he explained.
The Pope began by considering what a mother does for her children. First of all, “she teaches us how to proceed in life … she orientates us, she always tries to show us the right path in life in order to grow and become adults. And she does this with tenderness, with affection, with love, always – even when she tries to correct our path because we lose our way a little or take routes that might lead us to a fall”.
“The Church does likewise: she orientates our lives, she offers us instruction on how to walk in the right way. Think of the ten Commandments: they show us the route to follow if we are to mature, fixing certain cardinal points in our behaviour. And these are the fruits of tenderness, of the very love that God gives us. You might say to me: but these are commandments! They are a list of negatives! I would like to invite you to read them… and then think about them positively.
You will see that they concern our way of behaving towards God, towards ourselves and towards others, just as a mother teaches us how to live well. They remind us not to make material idols for ourselves, which then turn us into slaves; to remember God; to respect our parents; to be honest; to respect others …Try to see them in this way and consider them as if they were the words and teachings a mother gives us in order to take a good path through life. A mother never teaches anything that is bad, she wants only what is best for her children, and the same is true of the Church”.
Secondly, “when a child grows and becomes an adult … and assumes his responsibilities … he does what he wants, and at times, he may happen to stray away from the path. A mother always, in every situation, has the patience to continue to accompany her children. She is animated by the strength of love … and even when [her children] make mistakes, she always finds a way of understanding them … to help them. We say that a mother 'stands up and is counted' for her own children; that is, she always seeks to defend them”.
“The Church is the same: she is a merciful mother who understands, who always tries to help, to give encouragement even when her children have made mistakes or continue to do so. She never closes the doors of her house to them: she does not judge, but rather offers God's forgiveness, she offers her love to invite her children to return to the right path and even when they have fallen into the deepest abyss, the Church is not afraid to enter into their darkest night with them in order to give them hope; the Church is not afraid to enter into our night when our soul and conscience are surrounded by darkness, to give us hope! Because the Church is our mother!
”Finally, “a mother also knows how to ask, to knock on every door for her children, without calculation but with love. And I think of how mothers know, most of all, how to knock on God's door! Mothers pray a lot for their own children, especially for those … most in need, whose lives have taken dangerous or mistaken paths. … The Church does likewise: through prayer, she places the lives of all her children in the hands of the Lord. Let us trust in the strength of prayer of the Mother Church: the Lord never remains indifferent. He always knows how to astonish us when we least expect us. The Mother Church knows this!”
“So, these are the thoughts I wanted to share with you today: we see in the Church a good mother who shows us the path to walk in life, who is always patient, merciful and understanding, and knows how to place us in God's hands”.
Gospel - Luke 16:1-13
Jesus said to his disciples, 'There was a rich man and he had a steward denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, "What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer." Then the steward said to himself, "Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes."
Then he called his master's debtors one by one. To the first he said, "How much do you owe my master?" "One hundred measures of oil" was the reply. The steward said, "Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty". To another he said, "And you, sir, how much do you owe?" "One hundred measures of wheat" was the reply. The steward said, "Here, take your bond and write eighty".
'The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.'
'And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?
'No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.'
The rich man is probably an absentee landlord. The steward, therefore, had great liberty and responsibility in managing the rich man’s land. Stewardship worked on the same basis as tax collecting at the time, i.e. the landlord set a certain amount to be taken in and if the steward could get more than this, he could keep the surplus himself. We are told that the steward is reported for wasting the rich man’s property, so the rich man decides call him to account and kick him out of his position as steward. What does the steward do? He quickly assesses that he is not strong enough to dig and is too proud to beg, so he goes to the rich man’s debtors to work out a deal so that he may have friends when his present job is gone. At the time, debtors could pay in kind, i.e. in wheat or oil, so that’s the situation we find her. The dishonest steward writes off a certain percentage of what the debtors owe so that he will find favour with them. The rich man praised the dishonest steward, not for his dishonesty, but for his astuteness. Then Jesus says: ‘For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.'
So it begs the question, how astute am I in applying myself to my spiritual growth? Do I only give 35 – 40 minutes a week to God at Sunday Mass and even that is grudgingly given?
Verses 8 to 13, a collection of six sayings of Jesus, kind of like sean-fhocals, which all bring out the main theme of the parable that God must come first in our lives. We remember that this is a recurring theme in Luke’s Gospel as we have found over the last number of weeks – we must put relationships and things in their right order in relation to God and God, as the One who created us and holds us in being, comes first. Material things, like money, can be used for good, e.g. in helping the poor, in setting up scholarship schemes/trusts, in that way we can use it to “win us friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome us into the tents of eternity”. It is similar to the saying that ‘to get into heaven you need a reference from the poor’. Do I put as much time and effort and thought into pursuing spiritual treasures as I do material treasures? If only we applied ourselves as intently to spiritual gain as to material gain, into growing in our spiritual lives, in trying to become more Christ-like, in pursuing the spiritual treasures offered to us in Mass and the Sacraments.
Let us be astute. Let us set our hearts on the higher gifts.
Other reflections on this weeks gospel:
Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
Liturgical odds and ends
Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 1
Saints of the Week
Monday, September 23rd – St. Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), Priest
Tuesday, September 24th - Martyrs of Chalcedon
Wednesday, September 25th – St. Finbarr
Thursday, September 26th – St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Martyrs
Friday, September 27th – St. Vincent De Paul, Priest
Saturday, September 28th – St. Wenceslaus
Come, follow me: forthcoming Monastic Experience Weekend - Glencairn Cistercian Abbey
Are you looking for something deeper in your life? A way of life that is more God-centred? A way of greater simplicity and truthfulness? A way of life in a community of faith and prayer? Then you might like to consider and pray about attending our next Monastic Experience Weekend taking place from 25 to 27 October, 2013. This is an event for women aged 20-40 who would like to experience our Cistercian way of life at Glencairn. Monastic Experience Weekends have been held twice a year at St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn since 2001.
What happens on a Monastic Experience Weekend?:
The weekend begins on Friday evening with welcomes and introductions, supper and Vespers. Participants stay in the Abbey guesthouse and join the community for the Liturgy of the Hours in choir. Throughout the weekend our guests have the opportunity to experience something of the rhythm of liturgy, silence, meditation on scripture, monastic work and community life that together make up the essentials of a balanced monastic life. There will be input on the Cistercian life, together with personal testimonies from some of our sisters on their own monastic journey and an opportunity to meet the community. We also offer guidance on how to discern one’s own religious vocation and an opportunity to talk one-to-one with one of the sisters. The Monastic Experience Weekend ends on Sunday afternoon but participants are welcome to stay until Monday if they wish.
If you would like more information, please contact our Vocation Director Sr Sarah here at the Abbey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 087 1909 830. Alternatively, if you would like to make a visit to the Abbey at another time for personal prayer and retreat to discern your vocation please contact Sr Sarah or the Guestmistress Mother Agnes at 058 56168.