23 February 2019
Encounters of a Personal Kind
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” — Luke 24:32
Have you ever met someone you haven’t seen in a long time and can’t remember their name? You begin a conversation with them, hoping your memory will kick in before they realize you can’t remember. The conversation can be awkward. If you have encountered the person in a place far from home or out of your usual context, it can be even harder to remember.
When the two followers of Jesus were walking home to Emmaus, they were not in a place where they would usually have encountered Jesus. In fact, as they were walking, they were talking about all the events that had just happened around Jesus’ crucifixion, and they were trying to make sense of it all. Then suddenly Jesus stepped into their conversation, and “they were kept from recognizing him.” They began to tell him the events of the past few days, and they invited him to dinner as they arrived at home. That’s when everything changed.
Jesus became the host and broke bread with them. He brought back to them a memory of what he had said and taught earlier. They had a personal encounter and an “Aha!” moment in which they realized they were sitting with Jesus!
How often have we begun a conversation, only to have Jesus show up? Remember that he shows up in unexpected places. Where have you met him today? Did you recognize him and listen to his words?
Dear Jesus, help us to recognize you each day as we walk down the road with you and when we break bread together. Amen.
16 December 2018
ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS
Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to his teaching. To ‘sit at someone’s feet’ was to be the disciple or student of that person.
Here Mary takes the position of someone who is learning from Jesus: he is the teacher, she is the pupil or disciple; he is the one who knows and teaches, she is the one who wants to learn.
It is the position of humility, of acknowledging ignorance, of a heart and mind that eager to take on board all that the teacher has to say.
She listened to his teaching, she heard his word.
To those who hear his word, really hear, understand and believe, Jesus gave several promises:
- They are ‘like a wise man who built his house on the rock’, a house that survives the storms.
- They ‘have eternal life and will not be condemned?; they have ‘already crossed over from death to life.’
- They become part of his ‘flock’, and he becomes their ‘Shepherd’.
- He gives them eternal life, they will never perish, and no one can snatch them out of his hand.
These promises are not just for those who sat at his feet as Mary did, when he was here on earth in human flesh. They are for all who, like Mary, hear, understand and believe the teaching of Jesus Christ, as it is faithfully passed on by those who believe.
Through these promises God extends the offer of eternal life, of escape from his just judgement. They are promises too great and too significant to be ignored. They challenge us all to sit at the feet of Jesus, and to learn from him.
Scriptures: Luke 10:38-41; Matthew 7:24; John 5:24; 10:16,27; 17:20.
7 December 2018
3 December 2018
‘The Church wants us to understand that as our Saviour came once into the world in the flesh, so now, if we remove all barriers, he is ready to come to us again at any minute or hour, to make his home spiritually within us in all his grace’
St Charles Borromeo
2 December 2018
Unbelief is the evil that is conquered in a power encounter.
Looking at the Mass – The Liturgy of the Word
At the Mass we encounter God in many ways, through the Scriptures, the Blessed Sacrament, the priest (in persona Christi) and each other. All of these encounters should help us to know God better. We have already encountered each other by gathering together in the Church and through the early dialogues between the Priest and the people. The Liturgy of the Word is the time when we encounter God through the Sacred Scriptures. The Second Vatican Council document Dei Verbum looks at the way in which God reveals himself to the world, it is a beautiful document and as Council Documents go it is nice and short! It says of the Scriptures; ‘For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself. In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by
Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted.’ (DV11). The Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit and the authors are not like secretaries writing it down as it is told to them word for word. It is a collaboration between God and man. So, when we hear the Scriptures read, we need to be open hearted and allow the Spirit to inspire us as well. They are living documents because of God’s influence and it is why we all have different reactions to the words that we hear. So never underestimate the incredible encounter you can have with God through the scriptures, even when you have heard the reading many times before.
(Fr Neil Peoples PP, Holy Souls, Scunthorpe)
29 November 2018
28 November 2018
Whenever we encounter his love it ignites in us a responsibility to shine for Him!
ALL IT TAKES IS ONE ENCOUNTER
‘The Lord has shown us over and over again that a single encounter with Him will change everything. He has shown us this in our own lives, as well as in the Bible. There are countless stories of people who encountered Him and were left forever changed.
Our hope and prayer is that these stories wouldn’t just be stories to you, but that they would be fuel to the fire that is already within you.
Whether you are on a mountain top or in a valley, cling to the truth that what He has done He will do again. Hold these stories close and feel hope arise.’
Are you ready to accept the challenge of the gospel to root our lives more firmly in Christ?
Adoration will take place in addition to already published times, on a Saturday at 9am for one hour commencing 1 December 2019.
ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS
THE SHEPHERDS ON THE HILL
The first human encounter with Jesus occurred immediately after his birth.
It was a silent encounter: the breathless shepherds simply stood, and looked, and thought.
And their thoughts were deep and powerful, for what they saw there in that stable was just as the angel had told them it would be: a new-born baby lying in a cow’s feed box.
They had cowered in horrific fear back there on the hillside among their sheep, fearful of the heavenly messenger, fearful of the glory of God that blazed brilliantly all around them. Fearful that they might die, for no sinner can survive in the awesome presence of the God who is holy.
But the angel had said ‘Fear not!’ Amazing words, unbelievable words, until he added ‘I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’
Here in this baby, this Christ, this Anointed One, is the ultimate answer to the deepest of our human fears. Because of this child, comes liberation from that dread of death and judgement that none of our personal efforts can permanently silence.
Fear not, good news, great joy for all people: because the Saviour, long promised, long expected, has now come.
So the Shepherds ran to Bethlehem, and with the words of the angel ringing in their hearts, they stood and looked and wondered.
From deep in their hearts a well of gratitude and joy sprang up, overflowing, too great to be contained within them, so great that they had to let everybody know what they now knew: that God’s salvation, God’s deep peace, had now come.
In this baby. In this Saviour. In this Lord.
[Scripture: Luke 2:8-20]