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Reflection Of The Week

3rd Sunday of Advent
“Let the wilderness and the dry-land exult,
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
Let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
Let it rejoice and sing for joy”
- Isaiah 35:1-6, 10

Reflection

Association of Catholic Priests, Ireland


How might these Readings apply today?
Rejoice

“Be strong and do not fear! Here is your God.” Today is called Rejoicing Sunday. Today the candle on the Advent Wreath is pink, not purple as on the other three Sundays of Advent. It is meant to express our joy at the nearness of Christ’s birthday.

Some people seem to be happy by nature; others mournful by nature. Here is the story of a priest who always preached mournful sermons. He was asked by his parish priest to preach about St. Joseph instead, as he was a cheerful man. The following Sunday the priest spoke about Joseph who happened to be a carpenter and as a result spent a lot of his time making coffins and here we go again with sad, sad tales.

Here are three impressions about happiness. First, that happiness is right here and now.. We convince ourselves that life will be better when we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids are not old enough and we will be more content when they are. After that we are frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together. The truth is there is no better time to be happy than right now.

Second, ‘If you are happy, let your face know.’ Maybe we could begin to be more joyful by taking a peek in the mirror and asking ourselves: does my face look like the face of someone who has heard the good news of the Gospel, namely that I am loved unconditionally by God?

Third, joy will come to us if we set about actively trying to create it for others. If I go about my life demanding that others carry me rather than seeking to carry them; feeding off others rather than feeding them; demanding that others meet my needs rather than trying to meet theirs, joy will never find me no matter how hard I party or try to crank up good cheer.

Reflection
(Homily for the Feast of Christ The King, 23/24 November 2019)

The King who Weeps


I’m writing this three days before the Feast of Christ the King: and the Gospel set for today is Luke 19:41-44 “As Jesus drew near to Jerusalem and came in sight of the city he shed tears over it.”  I think he still weeps over it.

 

And the tears of Jesus are joined with the tears of many who weep for a Holy Land that knows neither peace nor justice.

 

An image of tears made more poignant this week by President Trump overturning International Law and recognizing Jewish settlements, established by force, in the occupied Palestinian Territories. Settlements declared illegal under International Law, settlements creating Jewish outposts on the land of indigenous Palestinians - their homes, farms and businesses first being destroyed by the Jewish settlers. Jewish settlements that will ensure that the ever increasing land grab will deny the Palestinians a viable state.

 

President Trump justifies this overturning of International Law by saying it is simply recognising the local reality and that it will lead to peace between Israel and Palestine. Since when do we declare evil and unjust acts against people legal, simply because it is a current reality? And how does injustice and dispossession ever bring true peace?

 

Trump’s actions have made me ponder why Western nations (like the USA and Australia), that boast of their democracy and their freedom, seem ever ready to condemn injustice, and any breach in International Law, by some nations but not others, especially Israel - a State we must never criticize.

 

I once thought it was all about salving the West’s conscience over the evil of the holocaust. I now wonder if it is because the State of Israel, and its increasing expansion into Palestine, has been at the cost of the dispossession, persecution and injustice meted out to the indigenous Palestinians - a story to close for comfort for the USA, built on the dispossession of the native Indians, and Australia, built on the dispossession of our indigenous Aboriginals. 

 

The Feast of Christ the King is a reminder to us that true kingship is found not on a throne but on one’s knees, weeping with the victims of man’s inhumanity to man – with the crucified ones - and having the courage to go all the way to the Cross for believing that integrity, peace, justice, mercy and compassion, are worth dying for - and are the only true signs of leadership. Only when we have the courage to speak truth to power, weep with the victim and act in conscience for what is right, good, noble and just will we, together with Christ, build up the kingdom of God.

                                                                                                   Fr. Bill

 

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