The Trappist monks take the vow of daily conversion when they are formally professed. Conversion is the theme of today’s Gospel. It is the way to turn around and face God. In other words; to face the truth about ourselves. The one who “went home again at rights with God” was the sinner who called out to God from his heart “Lord be merciful to me a sinner.”
Obviously, this requires humility. To be “down to earth” in our relationship with God and others. The spiritual masters say that “pride is the root of all evil.” It is the vice that is completely opposite to the virtue of humility.
It is good to sometimes take a break and reflect upon my relationship with God. To stand still and look back over my day and review how did I love today? Was I preoccupied with myself? Did I do good? It is essential also to examine my conscience.
When was the last time I said “I am sorry?” When was the last time I acknowledged my sins? Practised the sacrament of reconciliation; to take the opportunity to confess my sins and make amends? Do I identify with the tax collector in today’s Gospel and recognise the same desire to seek mercy? Forgiveness brings peace. Peace brings harmony. Harmony brings joy. Conversion is when I turn around and see my true self, loved and forgiven. May we pray to practise this Christian virtue each and every day.
God love you
Welcome to all our St Mary MacKillop School families. Students from the Wood Sporting House will be ministering at Mass this Sunday
Jesus tells his apostles “pray always without becoming weary.” Perseverance really does work. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Why pray? Jesus tells in John’s Gospel “Ask and it will be given you....If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.” When we pray something does happen. We change. We focus more on God than our problems. It helps us to not be self-reliant but to depend upon God. God becomes the centre of our life.
As we heard last week, gratitude is the first step of prayer. It means we face reality as it is and God provides us the courage and grace to live amidst difficult and tough times. Prayer gives meaning to suffering. When you pray for someone else, intercessory prayer, it is a powerful force that transmits grace and love. It really works. This is the way Our Lord prayed.
It is essential that we recognise the necessity for us to be humble and ask, to seek help. This shows we trust God and that we are prepared to wait. Patience and perseverance are the essence of true prayer. Too many people give up early.
Let us remember the prayer of St Teresa
Let nothing disturb you Let nothing frighten you All things are passing God alone is changeless Patience attains all things Who has God wants nothing God alone suffices.
The Lord always hears the prayer of a contrite, humble heart. He never forsakes us.
God love you,
When I was a missionary in Guayaquil, Ecuador, I would work once a week amongst the people who suffered from Hansen ’s disease (Leprosy).
This infectious disease is found in the tropics amongst the very poor who usually manifest severe malnutrition. It is treatable today and yet we still find people suffering from Hansen’s in areas of the world where poverty is at first stage level. This stage is where no sanitation, poor water supply and malnutrition are rife.
The disease can leave people disfigured. The disfiguring skin sores, lumps or bumps (multibacillary leprosy) can be very distressing for these people.
It was always very sad to see young, beautiful women and men hiding away from family and friends because of their disfigurement.
Gaining the confidence of these people who suffer such shame and pain is the first step to recovery.
Like Jesus in the Gospel of today, we are called to be people of mercy and love. To bring confidence and respect to those who suffer other forms of isolation and rejection due to mental illness, physical disability and old age.
Our call is to go out and begin the contact that will bring those who feel abandoned to realise they are not alone and are welcomed to be part of our community.
The marginalised are very special to Christ.
God love you
A Prayer for Stronger Communities, Safer Children
Gracious God, you said "Let the children come to me". The hurt felt by those wounded by abuse weighs heavily upon us. Trust has been eroded when institutions failed to appropriately respond to their needs. Lord, we as your Church stand in need of your healing and help.
We ask you, God, to strengthen and guide all in our Catholic communities. Grant us wisdom in our time to make decisions that protect children and the vulnerable. May our families and communities, through love, generosity, commitment and patience, build stronger communities safe for children. Let your grace and love fall gently upon our children giving them the inner strength, peace and resilience they will need for their life’s journey. We ask you, God, to help our Catholic communities to be resolute in building a community where
our children flourish and are safe.