Behold

Behold the Lamb of God,

Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.

Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.StJohnTheBaptist

These are the words which always strike me the most at mass. Perhaps it’s that after my mind heads off on some long tangent during the Eucharistic prayer (which I tell myself off for it during the Our Father!), I am finally jolted back into recollection. Perhaps it is the forcefulness of the imperative ‘Behold’. I may be corrected, but I think ‘Behold’ is the only time, aside from the ‘Go forth’ at the end, that you are told to do something in mass. But perhaps there is a deeper reason – Jesus did say

and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. (Jn 12:32)

I wanted to know a little more about these words I say and hear so often. What is Jesus saying to me, and what is it that I am speaking back to him?

The words of the Priest are the words of St John the Baptist at the start of the Gospel of John (Jn 1:29). The Baptist points out Jesus, he bears witness to him – here, finally is the one who John was sent to herald, the one who will deal definitively with our sin and brokenness. The next day he repeats himself, this time to his disciples:

“Behold the Lamb of God.”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day (Jn 1:37-39)

The invitation ‘Behold’ is not meant to leave us staring at the host. It is an invitation to follow Jesus, to have him dwell and remain with us. It is inviting us to ‘communion’ – not just to receive the sacramental presence of Jesus, but to have him dwell in our lives, and even to enter into the ‘communion’ of heaven:

Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9)

The wedding banquet is laid out, and we are invited. But we are not just to be guests. We are the Bride. We are on our knees, but it is Christ who is proposing.

It’s at this point, faced with the truth of who is in front of us and the enormity of what we are invited to, that a moment of panic sets in. Originally we did dwell with God in the garden. Our dignity as humans is that we are made to be a dwelling place for God – by God’s gift were meant to be his temple and his Bride. But now, faced with the truth of Love and Holiness, we know the truth about ourselves. We are hardly wearing white. Our house is not in order. We have traded in our dignity, we have cheated on our lover, we are not worthy to live this marriage. We are reminded of another ‘Behold’, the ‘Ecce Homo’ of Pilate – “Behold the man” who is scourged and crowned with thorns. Our courage to look falters. We feel like saying with St Peter, when after a miraculous catch of fish he perceived a little who he was dealing with:

Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord (Luke 5:8)

But the liturgy does not leave us there! It puts on our lips the faith of the Centurion, of which Christ says:

Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith (Mt 8:10)

We acknowledge the truth about ourselves, but also our firm faith in Jesus to enter into us as we are, and to heal us, to heal our soul. It is a faith that takes courage, because it involves tearing the bandages from our wounds and taking away our crutches so that Jesus may find us as we are. Not to leave us as we are, mind you, but so that we, the Church, the Bride, may be presented to Christ in splendour

without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that (we) may be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)

It is this faith that gives us the courage to go to communion, to keep confessing our sins and to try and bring God’s love into our day to day life. Or more precisely, it is the love of Christ that gives us courage, for he, fully knowing what he is getting himself into, still wants to wed our souls.

Today’s Psalm

Psalm 85
The Lord speaks peace to his people.

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
  a voice that speaks of peace.
His help is near for those who fear him
  and his glory will dwell in our land.

The Lord speaks peace to his people.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;
  justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
  and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord speaks peace to his people.

The Lord will make us prosper
  and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
  and peace shall follow his steps.

The Lord speaks peace to his people.
Reading the daily Mass readings is a great way to pray. I like to choose a line from the Psalm and repeat it prayerfully as often as I remember to during the day!
Dailyreadings
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God’s Great Mercy

At the moment I am reading the Old Testament of the Bible, because although I know praying-the-biblesome of the most popular stories I had never actually read through a lot of what was there. I’ll admit, it can be a bit of a grind at times when half the page is names of who was whose son, but there is so much good stuff in there and it has really been giving me a broader view and deeper understanding of the events of the New Testament.

The other night I read a passage that really hit me and I wanted to share this with you all today. You can read it here, but basically there is a man who was gathering firewood on the Sabbath, breaking the commandment that God had given to “Observe the Sabbath and keep it Holy“. The people weren’t sure what to do about this but the Lord told them that he must be stoned to death, so that is what the people did. Seems a bit harsh at first, right? He was just picking up some wood, surely they shouldn’t have killed him? But if we look at the context this is a guy who has been freed from slavery by God, seen many miracles and signs and knows just how powerful God is. Then God has given the Israelites a bunch of pretty important laws and made it clear that they needed to be followed, yet after all this the man decides he will go and disobey the Lord when everyone else is resting. He breaks one of God’s big rules just for a pile of sticks and is punished for this.

So what does it mean for us?

We live in a time after Jesus has come and paid the ultimate price for all of our sins. God loved us so much that he could not bear to spend an eternity without us due to our stupid choices, and in His great Mercy sent his only son to die on a cross so that we might live. In the Old Testament we see God’s people without this gift, they are cared for by God and he is hugely active in their society but because of the entrance of sin into the world they still disobey Him. There were a multitude of different animal sacrifices and offerings for different situations to seek God’s forgiveness, and yet through Jesus we are now able to approach God in our sinfulness for the forgiveness that has already been won for us through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

This passage, for me, really brought home the significance of our sin. We disobey God, who has done so many great things and always works for our good.Our sin pulls us away from God, the most important thing in our lives, and so we should always strive to obey and follow Him yet we all fail and fall into sin. We deserve punishment for this and yet we find that in His Mercy, this punishment has been taken from us and already carried out through Jesus’s death on the cross. How great is that?! How awesome is our God, full of Mercy and completely in love with us.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” -1 Peter 1:3

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Feast of St Luke – and his love for Mary

And the angel said to her,Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. – Luke 1:31-32

Today is the Feast Day of the St Luke the Evangelist. He is accredited for many things… from being a doctor, to writing the first Icon of Mary and Jesus… but the most important thing he ever did was to record (inspired and helped by the Holy Spirit) the life of Jesus and the Acts of the Apostles, which later became recognized as part of the Canon of scripture (the Word of God). In his Gospel he focuses in a special way on the beginning of Jesus life… from the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel, the birth of Jesus, the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth and the presentation in the temple. It is important that we ponder these mysteries, because apart from John’s Gospel, they give us the greatest insight into the role of Mary as Mother, for Jesus and then for us to understand her as our Mother.

Here are three icons of St Luke that show him as Evangelist, Doctor and Iconographer

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Since Luke tells us in the beginning of his Gospel that he heard the good news of Jesus from the eyewitnesses, we can be quite sure that he never met Jesus. He also tells us a lot about Mary and the early life of Jesus, which would indicate that he either talked with Mary or St John. It is much more likely that he met St John, who lived with Mary after Jesus death and came to know the secrets of Jesus’s infancy. We can ask St Luke (and especially St John) to help reveal to us the mysteries that they received from Mary… so that we can better understand her role as Mother.

St Luke’s Gospel is often seen as the Gospel for the poor, where Jesus has a great love and concern for the poor. It is not surprising then that he also tells us so much about Mary, who was the poorest of all creatures… the one who depended on God the most, who received everything the Father gave to her because she remained so poor and thirsty. It is in St Lukes Gospel that Simeon reveals to Mary that a sword will pierce her soul… like the piercing that Jesus receives on the cross…

He has also given us three very important canticles in the Divine office… which priests religious and laity pray daily… The Benedictus, The Magnificat and the Nunc Dimmitis.

Let us thank St Luke for his work and ponder the great mysteries that God has given to us through him…

Restless Press – the new face of Catholics in New Zealand

Today, rather than posting some of my own thoughts or reflections, I want to share a brilliant new website called Restless Press, http://www.restlesspress.net. It’s brand-spanking new (only launched on October 1st!) and is already filled with great content. I’m going to share some of it here.

Restless Press aims to be a magazine style site, with great content from contributors around Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific who are passionate about what they write and talk about.
Besides evangelisation, one of our goals is to develop and gain exposure for new Catholic media ‘down under’. Restless Press aims to increase the quality and voice of Catholic content creators.

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Beating ‘Beauty’ to Be Beautiful
Sophie had been struggling with an eating disorder, and summer coming brought up raw emotions. She writes of the way God is helping her realise true beauty.

Finding a Full Carriage: Founding Faith Filled Fashion
This post comes from Therese Joyce, founder of the fashion label Songs of Solomon. Therese writes for us of the path God led her on to Songs of Solomon.

Small Moments for Me in Motherhood
Adele reflects on the importance of small moments for yourself, amongst the chaos that can be mothering small children.

The Challenge of Faith in the Face of ISIS
Lucy explores what Catholic Social Teaching says about the challenges of terrorism and what is going on in Iraq and Syria.

God bless,
lukechapter12

What’s the goss???

Gossip

*gos-sip
1. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.
2. A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.
3. Trivial, chatty talk or writing.

People say money is the root of all evil. I dear to say that in my eyes gossip is.
It turns friend against friend, loved one against love one, it creates and even further seperation between enemies.
In other words it casts out all love, and all opportunity for love, as love is willing the good of another- gossip is the polar opposite.

It penetrates every pocket of society, businesses, schools, universities, homes…. Seminarys, monistrys, parishes- no one is immune.

Matthew 12:36
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

Ephesians 4:29
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

It’s tempting to get involved. Curiosity killed the cat, it also dragged many souls away from heaven.
We pray everyday ‘lead us not into temptation’ so be alert, when you hear a convo or your own voice heading towards the goss then steer in another direction.
Shock your mates! When they say ‘OH MY GOSH GUESS WHAT…. ‘insert name here’….DID!!!’ just say ‘no thank you.’
Simple as.
Say no to gossip.
Spread love not rumours.

James 1:26
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

Gossip is a sly one-BE ON YOUR GUARD!

bless The Lord oh my soul

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After some holiday reading?

Have a read of Scott Hahn’s “Reasons to Believe”

It’s really comprehensive. Scott Hahn wrote it as a resource to help people to evangelize. When I read it, it turned out that I was evangelized myself! READ IT! SO WORTH IT!

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