Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gaudate Dominum

Gaudate Sunday

Strengthen all weary hands, steady all trembling knees and say to all faint hearts, ‘Courage! Do not be afraid. ‘Look, your God is coming...

Isaiah's great proclamation and prophesy of joy heralding the return of the Messiah reaches a crescendo. We, the Church of the 21st century, join in with our Alleluia, alleluia!  

Gaudate Sunday, Rejoicing Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent is upon us. It's as though the Church recognises the need to release our pent up joy lest we explode. Jesus is coming! Then "the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, then the lame shall leap like a deer and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy" Is.35:5,6.

Today is the day for joy to reign. May I be a harbinger of joy to all I meet this glorious day.

Maranatha!, Come Lord Jesus come!
Saint Francis, pray for me.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Trust and Obey

‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary is visited by the Angel Gabriel and her role in God's plan to save all of creation is revealed to her. She is afraid and mystified yet in the end she trusts and says yes.

This feast day has a special meaning for me, primarily because it reminds me of my wedding day. We were married in the Church of the the Immaculate Conception. As a then non-Catholic, the church's puzzelling name represented the whole strangeness of the Catholic Church, boardering on weird.

Mary's immaculate conception spent a number of years on my "Catholic Shelf" as something strange but something that must be fundamentally true. It's now an article of faith I happily accept. It makes sense of Mary's fiat, her yes.

Which gets back to me, here, today. The expression "trust and obey" must have its source here. The carnal desire in me to know everything before I commit held me back nine years before I entered the Church. It wasn't until I understood that my puny brain can never know the full mystery of God that I stepped into that mystery and fell in love with it. The peace found in the mystery of God is maybe what Mary found after her yes.

This peace is available for me today.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


Happy are all who long for the coming of the Lord.
(Psalm response, Saturday of the 1st week of Advent)

This season of Advent brings with it its own joy. Like the building joy of a pregnant mother waiting for her baby to be born. Mary, pregnant, riding on a donkey, continues to be my Advent focus.  My spiritual metronome is the clip-clop of a plodding donkey, slow and steady. It counters beautifully the frenetic building pressure of a world screeching, "only three weeks 'till Xmas!".

The longing of Advent is for something much bigger. It's a longing for the return of Jesus. As Saint  Paul writes, "creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed... We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." Rms. 8:19,22.

So today I join with all creation in my longing which, in turn, brings with it great joy.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus come.
Saint Joseph, pray for me.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Listen and Do

‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock.'

Jesus is closing his great sermon on the mount. He underscores that what he has just taught is not just for hearing and being entertained. It's for doing.

When rain comes down, floods rise and gales blow they affect all people, good and bad alike. The difference is in the foundation. Is it rock or sand? The foolish who built on sand are swept away, the wise who built on rock are left standing.

So how do I ensure I have built on rock? According to Jesus, listening to his words, the Word of God, and then acting on them. Listening happens at Mass and in my daily prayer time. Acting happens the moment I walk out from Mass or stand up from my prayer.

This morning I have listened. Now comes the time to act...

Lord Jesus, listening to you is easy. It's the acting that I find difficult. Lord, help me a doer of your word today.
Saint Joseph, please pray for me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Call on the Name

...all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask his help, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Paul writes to the Church in Rome of the justification and salvation of Jew and Greek alike by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He underscores the power that comes with a simple but unshakable faith and trust in Jesus.

Last weekend eight men drowned in a boating tragedy when their boat flipped while attempting a bar crossing in mountainous seas. I'm sure that at least one of them would have called on the name of the Lord while he was drowning. Yet, he drowned. To the world he appears unsaved. But there's something bigger that is called apon when someone calls to the Lord for help. Something eternal that tells us this isn't all there is.

Jesus came from that eternal place, entering the world as a tiny baby. He will return again to take us back there.  There is a home that my death on earth is going to release me into. This is what the expectancy of Advent is all about. This is the source of my Advent joy today.

Lord Jesus, Thank you for the promise of saving me for heaven. With your help, I will get there.
Saint James, pray for me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Advent Joy

“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

The seventy-two have returned from their very first mission trip reporting, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus is filled with joy and proclaims a blessing over the disciples.

What did the disciples see? What did they hear that exulted them so highly? They saw and heard Jesus. This is my longing  this Advent, to see and hear Jesus. This is the source of my expectancy, the source of my growing joy. This is for what I'm preparing the way. Today, this Advent joy is mine.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus come!
Saint Joseph pray for me.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Stay Awake!

...that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times...

Jesus is in Jerusalem nearing his passion and death. His teaching becomes more focused on the end of time, warning his disciples and giving them hope.

On that final day when Jesus returns and all are judged, everyone will see Jesus, both believers and non-believers alike. All will cry out, some with horror and some with joy. My response to this is the call of Advent. Stay awake, be ready, prepare the way for the King is coming soon.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus come!
Little Flower, pray for me.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Stand Up

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” LK.21:28

Jesus is drawing near to his passion and death at Jerusalem. He instructs his disciples not about the coming end of his time on earth but about the coming end of all time. For believers, it will be a time to stand up and welcome.

The Temple at Jerusalem was an awe-inspiring structure. To think of its destruction would have been abhorrent for any Jew. Yet Jesus clearly prophesies that very thing to emphasis the catastrophic signs that will accompany the end of time; "On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity". But for believers this will be a time of great joy. Why? Because our redemption draw near.

Hell may clamor for our attention but we always have our eye focused on heaven. That is our destination. Everything else is just reconstituted dust. Today my eye is refocused on the glory Jesus promises me as I stumble along following him.

Lord Jesus, I know not the hour or the day. It may be today that you come. So, I stand up and lift my head, for you, my redemption, draw near.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Faithful in the Small

“Sir, your one pound has brought in ten.” “Well done, my good servant!” he replied “Since you have proved yourself faithful in a very small thing, you shall have the government of ten cities.”

Jesus is approaching Jerusalem with a large crowd following. He tells the parable of the talents. The parable demonstrates accountability at the end of time.

Faithfulness is a virtue that affects all areas of life, large and small. I remember the photo of president Richard Nixon, just after his impeachment, with the caption underneath, "Would you buy a used car off this man?".  Small thing, large thing.

How am I with the small things? The small things done out of general view often give a clearer indication of my state of faithfulness. Practicing faithfulness in small things establishes habits that will naturally flow over into the large things. Today I choose to be faithful in the small things.

Lord Jesus, your faithfulness is all-pervasive. Help me become a "good servant" by my faithfulness in all things.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Welcome Joyfully

When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully.

The wealthy and corrupt tax collector Zacchaeus has climbed a tree to see Jesus. Surprising everyone, including Zacchaeus, Jesus stops beneath the very spot where he is hiding and invites himself into Zacchaeus' home.  Zacchaeus immediately and joyfully welcomes Jesus into his home.

This is one of my favorite Gospel stories. The high drama of the scene is compelling. The dramatic conversion of Zacchaeus and the apparent joy of Jesus in receiving this "son of Abraham" draws me into the story. I am Zacchaeus, I am the lost one being sought out and saved by Jesus.

This is a story of conversion, repentance, restitution and joy. It is my story.

Lord Jesus, thank you for seeking out and saving what was lost. I welcome you joyfully into my home today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Left Behind

I tell you, on that night two will be in one bed: one will be taken, the other left;

Jesus is telling his disciples what to expect at the end of time. Some will be called, some will be left behind.

In today's climate of forced inclusivity its counter-cultural to suggest that not everyone is going to get to heaven. The more acceptable view is that there will be no final judgement, that everyone is going to be bathed in God's all-inclusive love as they receive baskets of fluffy kittens while strolling blissfully through the Pearly Gates.

What a shame Jesus doesn't agree.

In Luke's Gospel Jesus starkly describes the suddenness of the last day where, as in Noah and Lot's day, many will be destroyed.

Saint John the Apostle presents the same truth; "only those who keep to what he taught can have the Father and the Son with them" 2 Jn.1:9. Some will. Some won't. There will be, dare I say it, discrimination in the best sense of the word.

Where do I fit? I remember hearing a wise old man say, "Good people don't necessarily get to heaven, only forgiven people do". I need to keep a short account with God. It's time for confession.

Jesus, thank you for showing the way back home. Lord I again confess my brokenness and need of your saving, healing power. That I won't be left behind...

Saint John Vianney, please pray for me.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

That They May Be One

I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while wearing these chains: I mean Onesimus. 
Philemon 10

Paul, near the end of his ministry and a prisoner in chains, sends an escaped slave Onesimus, now a convert, back to his former master, also a believer. 

This is high drama that throws together three of the most unlikely men; a prisoner, a slave and rich man. What is it they each have in common? Jesus. It's Jesus who unifies these most disparate of men for the good of each of them. Onesimus is freed from being a runaway slave for the rest of his life. Philemon grows in grace through the opportunity to show mercy. Paul has the untold joy of seeing the love of Christ restore former enemies. 

Jesus prayed his most heartfelt prayer for unity during his passion. " that they may be one as we are one" Jn.17:22I. Unity among believers is of the utmost importance to Jesus. Is it for me?  Today I can be more merciful, more grace-filled, working for unity and not division.

Lord Jesus, you are the source of completeness for us all. Help me today be a unifier and not a polariser with those I meet. That we may be one.
Saint Paul, please pray for me.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Jesus is instructing his disciple on the signs of the end times. The imperative is to be ready as we don't know when the day will be that is our judgement day.

Mum has died. For the last four weeks she knew she was dieing, she knew her judgement day was fast approaching. This was a particular grace that was given to her that is not given to most people. It gave her time to prepare. It gave her time to make her profession of faith. It gave her time to be baptised.

I may not have that period of grace. As it stands, I do not know the hour that the Lord is coming. Today I live my day as though it is my last.

Lord Jesus, strengthen me to be a faithful servant so you may find me employed at the task you have given me on that final day.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mountaintop Experience

And a voice came from the cloud saying, ‘This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.’ And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.

Jesus has taken Peter, John and James up the holy mountain. Jesus is transfigured into a glorious, blinding light as he converses with Elijah and Moses. Peter blurts out that he wants to stay on the mountain top in the state of glory. God the Father speaks from a cloud in response, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”

I've had mountaintop experiences, one of them actually on top of mount Tongariro. It was a beautiful clear sunny morning and I and my tramping friends were looking out over the central North Island with Lake Taupo in the distance. The morning view was spectacular. It was before I was a believer, yet I had a sense that a creative hand was responsible for the stunning beauty we were witnessing. I wanted to stay there, in the glory.

But the call of life brought us down off the mountaintop. I didn't have then what I have now, knowledge of the Son of God and his words to listen to. The mountaintop glory is now always available to me. How? By contemplating Jesus and listening to him.

Lord Jesus, you call me back to that mountaintop glory every time I listen to you. I place my trust in you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Take Courage Dear Heart

When the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’

There is a storm on the lake and Jesus is walking on water towards his disciples. They believe he is a ghost and are terrified.  Jesus calls out and assures them, "It is I! Do not be afraid".

There is a scene in C S Lewis' book Voyage of the Dawntreader that draws straight from this Bible passage. The children are battling their worst nightmares while sailing past Shadow Island. Lucy, is alone in the crows nest and succumbing to terror when a seagull flies out from the gloom and cries out, "Take courage dear heart!".  Lucy immediately knows it is Aslan and her courage returns.

It's in times of trouble and affliction that Jesus is closest. As terror grows his courage within me grows stronger. It's a law of his love.

"Take courage dear heart".

Thank you Jesus for being always present in my fears. I place my trust in you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Welcome to da Family

And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.’

Jesus is teaching inside when a concerned family delegation, including his mother Mary, arrive outside. On being told, Jesus uses the moment to define who his family really is.

Were Jesus' family there to tell him dinner was ready? I don't think so. It was becoming more obvious that Jesus was making dangerous enemies. They would be wanting to tell him to calm down, stop making so many waves. And fair enough. A family does have speaking rights.

But Jesus Jesus shows no sign of slowing down. He pushes his agenda forward by gently pushing his family back. In so doing, he redefines his family. It includes everyone who does the will of God. That's good news for me as it opens the possibility of me becoming a member of Jesus' family. The membership fee? Doing the will of God.

Jesus, thank you for extending an invitation for me to join your family. Help know God's will and then have the courage to do it.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

It's Simple

Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.

Jesus has just denounced the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. He then praises God for revealing great mysteries to the simple.

The message of God is always simple. It's just that I can complicate it unnecessarily. I'm scheduled to lead children's liturgy this Sunday and I'm looking forward to it. In preparing the gospel message for children I simplify it and in so doing, I come to understand it. This process works every time.

Thank you Father for your simple but powerful message of love and life. Help me be like a child in my understanding, so that it may be truly revealed to me and through me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Sparrow

Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.

Jesus is instructing the Twelve prior to their first missions trip. After outlining the perils of their mission, he addresses a very human condition. Fear. The antidote to fear is knowing that our Father in Heaven knows us intimately.

There're times when I feel very small and insignificant, like a sparrow. Jesus refers to the commonness of the sparrow by inferring that is a false world-view. The sparrow is so precious to God that not one, from all the multitude, falls without him knowing. Today,, when I see a sparrow, and I will see many, I will be reminded that I am under God's loving gaze and are so very precious to him.

Thank you Father for your great love for me, despite my smallness. Help me be a channel of your love today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Know God Know Peace

And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’

Jesus is travelling through the towns and cities teaching and healing. He attracts huge crowds and is moved by pity for them. His strategy is to engage his disciples to pray for workers who will minister to the harassed and dejected people.

Harassed and dejected. That describes so many people I meet today.  Our modern times have meant to release people to more leisure time but has done just the opposite. Why? Because more of the world means less of God. As the bumper sticker says, "Know God know peace. No God, no peace".

I can be just as susceptible to this seduction of the world. The antidote? Prayer.

Lord Jesus, you are the source of my peace. Help me build the discipline of daily prayer, that I may know your peace and your joy.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Bearer of Life

When Jesus reached the official’s house and saw the flute-players, with the crowd making a commotion he said, ‘Get out of here; the little girl is not dead, she is asleep.’ And they laughed at him.

A father pleads for Jesus to give life to his dead daughter. Jesus immediately responds. At the man's house are a crowd making a noise over the child's death. Jesus rebukes them and drives them out as they scoff at him. Once the harbingers of death are removed, Jesus brings life back to the little girl by his touch.

The commotion of the crowd over the girl's death seems like a celebration cacophony. They turn vicious and mock Jesus when he speaks against the victory of death. They are agents of the devil that have to be expelled by Jesus before he brings life back to the little girl.

There can be a lot of noise celebrating the works of the devil. My job, as a follower of he who brings life and life in its fullness, is to tell the noise-makers to shut up in Jesus' name. Then I ask Jesus to bring in his fullness of life.

Lord Jesus, you are the source of abundant life. Make me a bearer of that life into my day today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Fresh Skins

Nor do people put new wine into old wine skins; if they do, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are lost. No; they put new wine into fresh skins and both are preserved.’
Mt. 9:17

John the Baptist's disciples question Jesus on his new way of doing things. Jesus uses the analogy of new cloth and fresh wine skins. The new has to be treated differently or what they contain is lost.

There is talk again of our parish being relocated to co-site with a local Catholic boy's high school. This has come up time and again over the years but has been scuttled by a reluctance in the parish to move. The new cloth would mean a new cloak, the new wine skin a fresh wine. All very scary.

Jesus is always new, always fresh, never old or worn out. I think a change is coming for our parish and we are not to be an impediment. Wise and discerning yes, ensuring that we are hearing God rightly, but not clinging onto the old as a child clings to a comfort rug.

Lord Jesus, you are always fresh and new. Help me to be fresh and new in my walk with you, always following you in the new paths you forge.
Saint Matthew, pray for us.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Say the Word

The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured.

A Roman Centurion pleads with Jesus to heal his servant back at his home. Jesus offers to come but the Centurion, being a man of and under authority himself, asks that Jesus just speak his healing word. The Centurion's act of humility Jesus exalts as a great act of faith.

I repeat the Centurion's words at every Mass, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you under my roof, but just say the word and my soul shall be healed". I emulate the great act of faith that Jesus set as an example. The sickness I am begging Jesus to heal is the inherent sickness of my soul.

This reminds me of the great truth that good people won't get to heaven. Only forgiven people will. I need that constant reminder during Mass that my soul is in need of healing and that Jesus is the only one who can heal and forgive.

Thank you Jesus that your constant offer of forgiveness is forever before me to accept. I am not worthy to have you under my roof, but say the word and my soul shall be healed.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, May 2, 2016

No Secrets

But I have told you all this, so that when the time for it comes you may remember that I told you.’

Jesus is about to enter his passion and death. He is giving his final instruction to his disciples. He promises the Holy Spirit to strengthen them in the times of persecution that are to come. He is revealing everything to them so there will be no surprises.

In his final hours Jesus speaks very plainly to the disciples. There are no parables here. Jesus wanted everything to be known. This revelation is available to me today. No secrets. No surprises. The same promise of the Holy Spirit is also mine today. Like the disciples, I am informed and equipped, today.

Thank-you Jesus for informing and equipping me today. Come Holy Spirit, be my advocate today I pray. 
Little Flower please pray for me.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Know Jesus, Know God

‘If you know me, you know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.’

Jesus has just washed the disciples feet at the Last Supper and is now giving them his final instruction. He wants them to be fully aware that to known him means to know the Father.

Father, Son, Holy Spirit, the three-in-one mystery of the person of God. For me, sometimes God the Father drifts off into that stern old man up in the clouds and the Holy Spirit morphs back into the dove with the olive branch in its beak.  Jesus reflects the Father and gifts the Holy Spirit. He is the key to experiencing the three person-hoods of God.

As the bumper sticker eloquently says; Know Jesus, know God. No Jesus, no God. Jesus, come into my life today.

Jesus, you are God. Help me know you and see you today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

True Bread

'I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.’

People are clamoring after Jesus following his miraculous feeding of the five thousand. Jesus knows their motive; 'You are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Jn.6:26' Jesus then leads into his discourse on what the true bread is that he provides, his very flesh.

I can't read John, chapter 6 without being so grateful I have the Eucharist available to me, just twenty minutes walk down the road from where I live. The Bread of Life is available to me even today, at our local cathedral.

Jesus' listeners could not accept what he was saying and left still hungry. I do accept Jesus meant what he said and according to him, eternal life is mine. Oh wonderful gift, I long for you. I need to go to Mass today.

Thank you Jesus for the most precious gift you have given me, your very flesh and blood. You give yourself completely so I may live eternally.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life: the anger of God stays on him.’ 

John the Baptist is speaking to his disciples about Jesus, having just said that He, Jesus, must become greater while he, John, becomes lesser. He then says belief in Jesus is the only way to eternal life. To underscore this, John adds that refusal to believe in Jesus is a death.

Belief. Defined as:  Confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof. My faith waxes and wanes but eventually comes down to this. Belief in the unseen. Jesus said to Thomas in today's Gospel Acclamation, "You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me; happy are those who have not seen me, but still believe!"  This belief is crucial as it leads to life, real life, not just the froth and bubble of the day but full, heart throbbing, joy filling eternal happiness.

This is the life giving joy of Easter that still throbs through my veins in this second week of Eastertide.  Oh wondrous mystery and gift of belief, I embrace you today.

Jesus, I believe in you. Your fullness of life and Easter joy is mine to share today.
Saint Peter, please pray for me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Light

"And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed; but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’

Jesus has been sought out by Nicodemus. Jesus uses earthly things to explain heavenly things to Nicodemus. Jesus speaks of himself as light that has come into the world but that people prefer darkness. This must have resonated with Nicodemus who sought Jesus at night for fear of the Jews.

Recently our neighbour's house was broken into and robbed while they were away. This happened at night, in darkness. I was reminded of the above words of Jesus, 'everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed;'.  The "everybody" referred to here includes me when I do wrong. Whenever I do wrong I'm fully aware of my actions and I don't want them exposed.

The antidote for this malady? Light! The light that comes from Jesus overcomes the deepest darkness. What wonderful news. I need to do some "Son" bathing and expose myself to the Light of Christ... daily.

Thank you Jesus for being the light that overcomes my darkness. Let your light shine in me today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’

The two who met Jesus on the road to Emaus have just told of their fantastic encounter to the others when Jesus himself appears among them. His first word is "Shalom", peace be with you.

The very first act of the risen Jesus is to bring his followers peace. His first words each time he appears to them is always "Peace be with you". What a great Easter salutation that pre-empts even the joy of Easter.

Today I can be a man of peace to those I meet, starting with myself.

Lord Jesus, I claim your peace this morning so I may pass it on to a world that is lacking the true peace that only you can give.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bucket to Brazier

They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

Two downcast disciples are on their way home to Emmaus following Jesus' death. They are joined by Jesus on the road but do not recognise him at first. Jesus hears the disciples woes and then explains the meaning of the prophets in reference to his suffering, death and resurrection in glory. The disciples hearts are transformed from buckets of gloom to braziers of flaming hope.

This is a magnificent Easter story. It encapsulates in a few versus the before-during-after process of an authentic encounter with the risen Jesus. Jesus meets them in the midst of the dust of their despondency and leaves them with hearts aflame with hope and love. Then, the first thing they did following this encounter was to rush back and share the good news with their brothers.

Oh Easter joy, fill me so that my heart burns with an un-containable love that has to be shared.

Risen Lord Jesus, you are the source of my hope and joy. Make me an contagious Easter person that I may share this joy today.
Saint Cleopas, please pray for me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Plan for your Children

The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.

Peter the sand pile has just been transformed into the Peter the Rock by the Holy Spirit. He gives his first public exhortation and three thousand are added to their number. The plan for receiving salvation is simple; repent and be baptised. The result? You and your children will be saved.

This Easter Sunday grandchild number six was baptised. I was struck how the promise Peter made, quoted above, was being enacted before my eyes. My children and my children's children have been baptised, qualifying them for salvation. The only thing left for my three week old grandson to do is to repent. This he will do on reaching the age of reason.

My job and the job of the Church is to ensure he is raised in an atmosphere of faith so, when he is old enough, he knows how to repent.

Repentance and baptism.What a wonderful plan.

Lord Jesus, help me be a witness to my children to encourage their faith in you. Thank you for your wonderful plan of salvation.
Saint Peter, pray for us.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


So he spoke this parable to them: ‘A man had two sons...."

Jesus is addressing the Pharisees and the scribes who are complaining that he is seeking the company of sinners. He tells them three parables, of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. The three parables each highlight a virtue that the scribes and Pharisees lack... Joy!

The joy of recovering the lost sheep made the abandoning the ninety-nine worth the risk. The joy of recovering the lost coin made the expense of spending many times its value to celebrate, worth it. The joy of the dead, lost son coming back home made sense of the father's blind extravagance in celebrating his return.

If I don't have joy in my life something is seriously missing in my Christian walk. Joy can't be forced, it is always spontaneous. It comes from a heart that is focused on others and their well-being. Today may I be a person focused on others and a person of joy.

Jesus, you role model what it is to be truly joyful as you came to seek the lost, you came to seek me. Help me be a person of joy today.
Little Flower please pray for me.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Come See

Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting by the customs house, and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything he got up and followed him. In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others.

Jesus calls Levi from out from the very midst of his sinfulness, extortion of unjust taxes. Levi's response is immediate. He turns his back on his sin and follows Jesus. To celebrate his new life, Levi hosts a party honoring Jesus and who does he invite? His immediate friends who are engaged in the same sinful actions.

This story telling of the the call of Matthew always resonates with me. Maybe it's because my son is named after the apostle and our parish is named Saint Matthew's. But it evokes even more. I identify with Matthew the sinner and his conversion. I guess the event reminds me that Jesus specifically came for people like me and that conversion is always, always, always possible. No one is a lost cause.

Matthew's response is challenging. He called those immediately around him to come and meet the one who was the source of his new life.  I can do the same, today.

Thank you Lord for this new day in which to introduce people to you.
Little Flower please pray for me.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Jesus... Quiet... Rest

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

The twelve Apostles have just returned from their first mission trip and report to Jesus the great successes they had experienced. Jesus notes their physical exhaustion and offers an antidote: himself, quiet and rest.

If a word was used to describe 21st century first-world life, it would frenetic. I find it harder and harder to relax. Even when waking in bed in the morning my first thoughts tend to be, "what should I be doing today". I've just watched our neighbour pull out of her driveway and drive off. As her car accelerated away she was still doing up her seat belt. It's as if she needed to be doing two things at once to keep up with her day.

This hectic, feverish life-pace is like a vortex sucking forever further in on itself. The antidote? Jesus... quiet... rest.

Thank you Lord for this quiet time with you this morning. Help me carry this peace into my day.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


David said to Saul, ‘Let no-one lose heart on his account; your servant will go and fight the Philistine.’ But Saul answered David, ‘You cannot go and fight the Philistine; you are only a boy and he has been a warrior from his youth.’
  ‘The Lord who rescued me from the claws of lion and bear’ David said ‘will rescue me from the power of this Philistine.’ Then Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you!’
1 Samuel 17:32-33,37

The Philistine Army is drawn against the Israelites in battle and their champion, the giant Goliath, has struck fear into King Saul and his army. The youth David looking not on the might of Goliath but on the might of his God, confronts Goliath and kills him.

I was watching the Hunger Games movie last night (sixteen year old daughter is my excuse). President Snow said something not original but profound. “The only thing stronger than fear is hope”. Everyone has a Goliath to confront at some time. Something strikes fear into our hearts, causing us to lose sight of God, to lose hope. 

David’s hope was stronger than his fear. He was fearful, as shown by him stockpiling five stones to confront Goliath, not just one. However, his hope in God was stronger than his fear and this gave room for God to move powerfully. With David’s hope in God, one stone was enough.
Today, every day, is an opportunity to excise my hope in God, no matter what Goliath may come.

Praise to you my Lord Jesus Christ. I place my trust in you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Stand Up

The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Take no notice of his appearance or his height for I have rejected him; God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.’

Samuel has been sent by God to Jessie's house to select a replacement for King Saul. Jessie has no shortage of fine-looking, strong sons but God rejects them all, selecting the insignificant boy David who is out tending the sheep. As fine a boy as David is, it's his heart that impresses God.

David grows up to be a great and courageous king, yet it is probably his fall for which he is most remembered. This "man after God's own heart" commits adultery with Bathsheba and then plans the murder of her husband Uriah to attempt a cover up.

This story gives me great hope. It means that God, who knows the darkest corners of my heart, still calls me and anoints me. None of my sins are a surprise to him, yet he still pours his love down over me. Today I live out my day as an anointed Son of God. I can "stand up and lift my head" as his chosen one.

Father in Heaven, you know my heart, both its radiance and its darkness. Yet you still love me. Help me see myself rightly today, as you see me, a chosen and loved son.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, January 15, 2016

A True Friend

...they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was; and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic lay. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’

A huge crowd in and around the house in which Jesus is preaching stops four men caring a paralytic on a stretcher, but not for long. Climbing on to the roof, they tear a hole in it and lower their friend down in front of Jesus. Seeing the faith of the for men, Jesus forgives the man's sins and then heals him of his paralysis.

Jesus is moved by the faith of the four friends, not the faith of the paralytic. Intersession is powerful in moving God's hand. My prayers for family and friends, even for strangers, can release God's healing power in their lives. More importantly, it can lead to their sins being forgiven. The healing of the body is of benefit in this world only. Healing of the soul is for eternity. My true act of friendship is to intercede to God on their behalf.

Lord Jesus, I place down before you my wife and five children. Heal them in body, mind and spirit I pray, that you may be adored and glorified.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


‘This is a lonely place and it is getting very late, So send them away, and they can go to the farms and villages round about, to buy themselves something to eat.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’

Jesus steps ashore to be greeted by a large crowd. He sees the crowd as sheep with no shepherd and is moved by pity for them. After teaching them at some length, the disciples want to send the crowd away to fend for themselves. Jesus says no, the disciples are to meet their needs. The disciples puny contribution of five loaves and two fish are miraculously multiplied by Jesus to feed five thousand.

This event was big news in its time and is still big news now. Jesus' miracle needed something to work on or nothing was going to happen. Zero times one hundred is still zero. But five times one hundred leaps up to five hundred! A contribution needs to be made for Jesus to work on.

No matter how big the problem (five thousand mouths to feed) I am to make my contribution in faith, no matter how small. Jesus will then do the rest.

Lord Jesus, you invite me to be part of every day miracles by doing my bit. Help me to be an optimist, trusting that you will honor my puny efforts, that you will multiply my loaves and fishes.
Little Flower, please pray for me.