On this very special weekend in the Church's year I would like to offer this Sunday's online Mass for my parents, Mary and Michael, who have been joining us in recent weeks. I t has been a real blessing to see them both on screen. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will be present to them both - and to all our parents - and that they will know our appreciation and gratitude for the life they have given us. Come Holy Spirit, fill their hearts and set them alight with the fire of your love ... As lockdown begins to ease in Switzerland, the phrase 'return to normal' is everywhere. Some have been referring to the 'new normal.' It's as if we all know deep down that we cannot just go back to the way things were. This last few months has brought immense suffering to many. I always wondered what it must have felt like to live after the two world wars. People must surely have felt that they had to make the suffering of so many count for something. The 'will' of humanity was that war must never happen again. Yet between then and now, countless millions have continued to die violently in war across the globe. We continue to live in a world where self interest reigns, money is God, a third of the world's population lives in poverty, the media is controlled by the few (67% of the printed media in Australia, for example, is controlled by Rupert Murdoch. In the United States, Fox News continues to spew out lies and promote hatred and division on a daily basis), refugees flee from violence and oppression. Recently the President of the United States proclaimed with regard to another group of human beings, "I'll bomb the shit out of them!" Really?! I remember when the internet began. It was so slow. If you wanted to go to a site you had to wait forever as your computer made all sorts of weird and wonderful noises and eventually the site would appear on screen. The techno people found ways to speed it up. It was all about getting speedy access to what you wanted to see or hear. Now, without most people even noticing, it has slowed down again. This week I wanted to check what was happening with lockdown and the future of football. First - do you accept cookies? Click here if you want to read on. Buy these Nike running shoes. Football has began behind closed doors in Germany. Get this insurance, it's better than the one you already have. Last week the Bundesliga began again. This is the best car on the market .... I switched off. I am not going to accept this any more. Would any of you sitting down to enjoy a movie or your favourite programme put up with a stranger coming into your living room every five minutes during it and asking you to buy a pizza? But that's what is effectively happening to us today and most people just accept it. I don't want to return to this 'normal.' And neither do you. It's a choice. More than ever WE need to be the 'light of the world.' This is achievable. With the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. I watched passers by this week as I sat outside my favourite café, now reopened. Parents with young children. Parents with faces revealing that they were deep in thought, preoccupation with worry, with things to do, places to go. Yet their children were somewhere else completely. They were HERE, in the 'now', noticing everything around them as they walked, skipped or jumped along. Every now and again they'd stop and stare at something which took their interest. They acknowledge the presence of so many things that as adults we have grown to ignore. Jesus said that it is to such as these that his kingdom belongs. We must become like these children. In John's gospel, right at the first Sunday of lockdown, Jesus declared that God is Spirit. How can we EXPERIENCE God if we ignore our spiritual selves? Take five minutes each day to just stop. Close your eyes. Be still. Pay attention to what is going on within you. There's a whole world going on in there which most people are ignoring as they jump from one of life's problems to the next in an endless cycle of stress. Be still and know that I am God. Pay a bit of attention to 'within', and 'without' will come alive, as it does for the child so naturally. Years ago when I first started seminary, I found this new version of the Glory Be prayer which we all use from time to time. I suggested that we begin to use it in the Office which we all had to say together three times a day. The new prayer went: Glory be to God, our Creator, and to his Son, Jesus the Christ, and to the Spirit who dwells in our hearts. At the very next Church Dogma class, the professor came in and stated categorically that we would not be using this new prayer because it "denied the pre-eminence of Christ." It was kicked into touch. This day, 36 years after that class, I continue to make 'theological inexactitudes'. But I also continue to know that the Holy Spirit has no other dwelling place than in the hearts of us all. Find it and your life will transform. Steve
Instead of the Pray with Us Zoom session this evening, we will join the Holy Father today, Saturday, 30 May at the Shrine of the World at 5:30pm Rome time: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-05/pope-to-pray-the-rosary-along-with-shrines-of-world-covid19.html
Sunday's 10.30am Zoom Mass with Fr Steve : https://zoom.us/j/828192758
Melchior's Sunday 6pm guided meditation (Trust Your Body): https://youtu.be/yLa1ZL196xE
Pope Francis Laudato si' year special prayerPope Francis urges everyone to take part in the just-opened Laudato si’ year, and releases a special prayer to accompany the celebration.
Loving God, Creator of Heaven, Earth, and all therein contained. Open our minds and touch our hearts, so that we can be part of Creation, your gift. Be present to those in need in these difficult times, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Help us to show creative solidarity as we confront the consequences of the global pandemic. Make us courageous in embracing the changes required to seek the common good. Now more than ever, may we all feel interconnected and interdependent. Enable us to succeed in listening and responding to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. May their current sufferings become the birth-pangs of a more fraternal and sustainable world. We pray through Christ our Lord, under the loving gaze of Mary Help of Christians, Amen. Fr Denis McBride C.Ss.R.Click here to LISTEN NOWIn response to this difficult time of lockdown and isolation, Redemptorist Publications is delighted to offer yet another free spiritual resource. Here you can find a 46 minute presentation in which Fr Denis McBride C.Ss.R. reflects on the Passion of Christ, in front of a live audience at Hawkstone Hall. This lecture, number 12 out of 36 available, was inspired by Fr Denis' own book, Jesus & the Gospels: a reflection on the key moments of the Jesus story as the four evangelists present them. It is an excellent workbook for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of the person of Jesus and the writing of the Gospels.
Prayers for the Pandemic: for those who miss going to church God of the last supper, who knew real presence: a beloved one reclining into you, holding dusty feet as you poured water over them, the tug at the hem of your garment, touch us now, unable to receive your risen body in church, unable to gather as your body; touch us with your word, handed on from your mouth, from memory, written down, broken and shared over centuries from the pulpit, the kitchen table; touch us with the glimpses we can see of spring, of our vulnerable brothers and sisters, of your presence within.