In this reflection on the Gospel for the third week of Lent, Fr Kieran considers the text of St Matthew’s Gospel and the story about the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Mt 20:17-28). Their mother (we don’t know her name) makes a request of Jesus, that her sons be allowed to sit on his right and on his left. While this request upset the other apostles, Jesus reminded them (us!) what the true request must be, viz. to serve and not to be served.
Reflections from Fr Kieran
Lent – a time of personal retreat
As we commence the season of Lent, Fr Kieran encourages us to see this as a time of personal and communal retreat. A good outcome in most situations usually depends on good preparation and so it is with Lent and with our preparation for Easter. This time of retreat allows us to reflect on that ever-present gap between our present imperfect situation and the place God is calling us to be.
Living in God’s creation – without risk?
In his latest reflection, Kieran explores the story of creation, especially the second chapter of Genesis that focuses almost totally on the creation of humanity, with Adam first, then followed by animals and then finally by Eve, whereas the first chapter places the creation of humanity in a list of other creatures, which appear to dwarf the human with their great variety and colour, even though the first humans are said to be made in the image and likeness of God! So if, as we hear frequently in the first chapter the phrase “And God saw that it was good”, implying a sense of order and harmony, we may legitimately ask, in the context of contemporary news, “Where do earthquakes come from?” In the mixed blessing that is human freedom, God places risk at the heart of his creation. Living is a risky business! We live in God’s creation where risk is not necessarily a bad thing. It keeps us on our toes, keeps us humble and ultimately demands trust in God’s providence, even when terrible earthquakes happen.
On being salt of the earth; light to the world
On the fifth Sunday of Year A, Kieran connects last Sunday’s Gospel, the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1-12), with this week’s Gospel (Mt 5:13-16), which opens with Jesus telling his disciples that they, “are the salt of the earth.” As Kieran points out, Jesus did not say that they “must become” but that they are! What an amazing message to hear – a compliment for sure, and in his homily, Kieran points out that this is “the natural state of the baptised person.” Affirming and all as this is, and as we read the words of Jesus more deeply, isn’t it really about how we are, or are meant to be, as a community? We aren’t meant to act alone; one example is that The Franciscans base their apostolate on life in fraternity. They go out as brothers to the world, not as loners! So maybe Kieran is challenging us to truly live up to that affirmation that we are the salt of the earth, light to the world.
Homily for 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Christian Ethics and the Beatitudes
In Fr Kieran’s homily for the fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, he looks at the Sermon on the Mount, the eight beatitudes or blessings. We might benefit from a short introduction to the Catholic tradition of reflection on what it means to live a good life as a follower of Jesus. In other words, a peek at moral theology down through the years!
“Who do people say that I am?” – a model for all priests?
In these days, we listen at Mass to the words from the Letter to the Hebrews and in this, we hear of the idea of Christ as the High Priest, dying on the Cross. It takes time for the early Christians to think of Our Lord as a priest. When Jesus asks, “Who do people say I am?” the answer centres on his being like a prophet, not a priest. Fr Kieran ponders on the significance of this image in the Church of today.
A new wineskin; treasuring the old and embracing new possibilities
In Fr Kieran’s reflection this week, he considers the call from the words of Jesus in the Gospel, that what we need is “new wine in new wineskins” (Mk 2:22). The “wine” referred to is clearly the message of Jesus and it needs to find a home in hearts that are “soft and flexible to accommodate the explosive nature of the gospel teaching.”
Flourishing prayerfully … but not feverishly!
Fr Kieran reflects on the message in St Mark’s Gospel (Mk 1:29-39), the Gospel of the day this past Wednesday. healing the mother-in-law of Peter who was suffering from a fever. Kieran explores this idea of fever and feverish activity, especially the reality of living these busy lives of ours “feverishly” but taking the lesson from Jesus of being confident, self-assured and calm, “all of this due to the time he takes early in the morning to pray to his Father.”
Our resolutions … or God’s plan?
Fr Kieran considers the practice of New Year resolutions, but who is in control?
Annunciation and response
Fr Kieran reflects on the readings of this fourth week of Advent, beginning with the Angel coming to St Joseph in a dream, then the Angel’s announcement to Zechariah about the conception of the prophet John, and finally, the Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary, announcing that she was to be the mother of God.