Sunday reading

Reading for pleasure, but if I learn something along the way, that's gravy...

Gospel Story: I Am The Good Shepherd

The image of the shepherd and his sheep is part of Biblical folklore from the very first pages of Genesis.

Abel was a shepherd, as was Abraham and the other patriarchs. King David came from a pastoral background, and the best loved psalm of all is “The Lord is my shepherd”.

Jesus himself often uses the imagery of the ‘lost sheep’ and ‘sheep without a shepherd’ in the course of his public life. Read more »

9 Things You Need To Know About Divine Mercy Sunday

We're almost up to Divine Mercy Sunday. It's a recent addition to the Church's calendar, and it has links to both private revelation and the Bible.

Millions of people look forward to and are profoundly moved by this day. What is it, and why is it so important to them?

Here are 9 things you need to know. Read more »

Rome Readies For Canonizations Of John XXIII, John Paul II

The two banners of the two soon-to-be saints now hang on the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica, and the final countdown toward the highly anticipated canonizations has begun.

With just one day to go before the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, the stream of pilgrims into Rome continues.

Civil security forces are in position, city roads have been closed to traffic and the subway system will run nonstop this weekend to accommodate the influx of pilgrims. Read more »

Christ The Healer: The Cure At The Sheep Pool

On numerous occasions, Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath which provoked the anger of the Pharisees and the Scribes, the custodians of the Law.

The incident in today’s Gospel reading is another of the same.

The scene is at the Sheep Pool to the north of the city of Jerusalem. The pool was well known as a spring with medicinal waters which meant that the five porticos around it were crowded with the sick. Read more »

Church Celebrates The Annunciation Of The Lord

In Luke’s Gospel, there are two annunciations: the angel Gabriel foretells the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zachary, and announces the birth of Jesus to his mother Mary.

No Gospel scene, with the possible exception of the birth of our Lord, has inspired so many artists and poets as the Annunciation.

Luke’s verses have since become the core of the most beloved prayer in the world, ‘the Hail Mary’, which evokes this scene every time it is uttered. Read more »

Church Commemorates The Transfiguration Of Jesus

This is a most mysterious episode in the life of Jesus, and shared with just three of his closest friends, Peter, James and John.

Jesus takes these three disciples up a “high mountain”, traditionally Mount Tabor in Galilee.

Symbolically however, the ‘mountain’ is the place where one encounters God in all his majesty, as at Sinai, or the ‘sermon on the mount’. This is its significance here. Read more »

Christ The Teacher: When You Fast

Today is Ash Wednesday which begins the season of Lent, that time of the year when we open ourselves to grace, to the meaning of repentance, death and resurrection.

Lent prepares us for the gifts of the Spirit at Easter.

All religions have times for prayer and penitence, for fasting and almsgiving, and these are often conducted in public. Jesus is firmly against all such ostentatious behaviour. Read more »

Nine New Qumran Scrolls Discovered

They lay inside the desert grottoes for centuries and remained hidden for another sixty years inside what were catalogued as tefillin, the phylacteries worn by observant Jews during prayer.

This is the background to the sensational discovery of nine new Qumran scrolls.

The Dead Sea area of the Qumran is the site where hundreds of fragments of texts from the Torah and Jewish literary pieces dating back to two thousand years ago were discovered in the mid Twentieth century. Read more »

Christ The Teacher: He Who Is Not Against Us Is On Our Side

This incident in Mark’s Gospel introduces us to a tricky question: what to do when outsiders perform miracles of exorcism in Jesus’s name, and without Jesus’s permission ?

The disciples’ first reaction is: Forbid them!

The situation probably arose in the early Christian communities because sorcery was fairly common in the ancient world. Read more »

Church Celebrates The Chair Of Saint Peter In Rome

The feast of the Chair of St Peter does not commemorate the veneration of a piece of furniture but celebrates the office of pastor – the supreme pastor of the Church, the Pope in Rome.

Matthew’s Gospel describes the most complete account of Simon, son of John, receiving a mandate from Jesus to care for the community he founded.

With this command, Simon receives a new name as well - ‘Peter’ or ‘Rock’, implying that this office would be as enduring as rock, impervious to the assaults of evil. Read more »

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