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You are welcome to use these resources in any parish newsletter distributed free of charge. These resources, along with The Deep End, may be downloaded from the Intercom pages on the Veritas website: www.veritas.ie and from www.intercommagazine.ie

Items included in the Liturgy Preparation pages may also be used (e.g. short summaries of the readings, homily thoughts, etc.) Please give credit to the author and this magazine. — Ed

 

Musings between now and the World Meeting of Families
are kindly being provided by Brenda Drumm of WMOF2018.

 

 

 

Sunday, 3 June 2018


SEEING YOUR LIFE
THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

Mark 14:12-16, 22:26

1.  The symbolic gesture of breaking and sharing bread and sharing the cup, that Jesus made at the Last Supper, symbolised the offering of himself that he would make on Calvary, giving his life for others. Sometimes we also are called to give our lives for others. We can do this grudgingly or with a generous heart. What difference has it made for you when you were able to give yourself freely?

2.  In his encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est Pope Benedict XVI wrote, ‘A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is essentially fragmented’. What has helped you to be aware of the importance of the link between the Eucharist and your lifestyle?

3.  Jesus involved his disciples both in the preparation for the Last Supper and in its celebration. Recall times when you had a heightened awareness of participation and involvement in the Mass. What helped to give you this awareness? Are there lessons from these special experiences that you can bring with you to the routine Sunday Mass?

John Byrne osa

Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

The Musings for June are all taken from Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation on the call to holiness in today’s world, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and be Glad).
Compiled by Brenda Drumm of WMOF2018.

MUSINGS

To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious. We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves. Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by labouring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain.

Gaudete et Exsultate

 

 

Sunday, 3 June 2018

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE
THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

Mark 14:12-16, 22:26

1.  The symbolic gesture of breaking and sharing bread and sharing the cup, that Jesus made at the Last Supper, symbolised the offering of himself that he would make on Calvary, giving his life for others. Sometimes we also are called to give our lives for others. We can do this grudgingly or with a generous heart. What difference has it made for you when you were able to give yourself freely?

2.  In his encyclical letter Deus Caritas Est Pope Benedict XVI wrote, ‘A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is essentially fragmented’. What has helped you to be aware of the importance of the link between the Eucharist and your lifestyle?

3.  Jesus involved his disciples both in the preparation for the Last Supper and in its celebration. Recall times when you had a heightened awareness of participation and involvement in the Mass. What helped to give you this awareness? Are there lessons from these special experiences that you can bring with you to the routine Sunday Mass?

John Byrne osa

Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

The Musings for June are all taken from Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation on the call to holiness in today’s world, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and be Glad).
Compiled by Brenda Drumm of WMOF2018.

MUSINGS

To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious. We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves. Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by labouring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain.

Gaudete et Exsultate

 

e e e

 

 

THE DEEP END: Corpus Christi

On this feast of Corpus Christi we celebrate the gift of the Eucharist. It was one of the last actions of Jesus to give us this nourishment for our life journey, to remember him and to help us to live out his teachings in our daily lives.

     As Christ’s followers we are all called to change from within so that we can be part of the building of a kingdom of love, justice and peace in this world, so that we ourselves are transformed in some way. The Eucharist, as Pope Francis says, ‘is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak’. It is a call for all of us to grow and to share with one another Christ’s message of love and peace. The Eucharist sustains us on this Christian path and brings us together as sisters and brothers travelling together on this journey of faith. We should leave this table changed by the encounter, a little lighter, a little more hopeful and joyful, a little stronger. In a movie I saw recently there was a line which said ‘the world will only change as we change’. The Eucharist invites us to this transformation. Because ‘in the Eucharist, God comes to us not from above, but from within. In the Eucharist the whole cosmos gives thanks to God… it is itself an act of cosmic love... The Eucharist joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation’ (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’).

 

Jane Mellett

mellettj@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

 

 

Sunday, 10 June 2018

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE
THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

Mark 3:20-35

1.  Looking on at what Jesus was doing, some of his family thought he was out of his mind. When you think of successful initiatives that you took in your life, were there times when people thought you were a little crazy? Perhaps some regard your interest in faith, or church, in the same way? What sustained you in those circumstances?

2.  Successful ventures can arouse jealousy as well as admiration. Jesus was often the target of the jealousy of religious leaders. They questioned his motivation. When have you seen your good efforts, or the good efforts of others, spoiled by the jealousy or hostility of some? Did it help when there were people prepared to stand together in face of the criticism?

3.  For many people their blood family provides an enduring, reliable and supportive network. Jesus had another family: those of one mind and heart with him in seeking to do God’s will. When and where have you experienced encouragement from people of shared vision and faith?

John Byrne osa

Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

MUSINGS

Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy. On the contrary, you will become what the Father had in mind when he created you, and you will be faithful to your deepest self. To depend on God sets us free from every form of enslavement and leads us to recognise our great dignity.

     Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God.

     Do not be afraid to let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Holiness does not make you less human, since it is an encounter between your weakness and the power of God’s grace. For in the words of León Bloy, when all is said and done, ‘the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint’.

Gaudete et Exsultate

 

e e e

 

THE DEEP END: ‘He has gone out of his mind’

In the gospel today we hear that Jesus made a visit home. Word about this radical teacher had gotten around and the religious leaders are not happy. In an effort to protect their son and brother, Jesus’ family try to restrain him in order to protect him. The people who have gathered try to dismiss Jesus’ teachings saying that he has ‘gone out of his mind’. The religious leaders even go so far as to say that he is possessed by a demon! Perhaps their way of explaining away someone that they could not cope with. Who in our society today is explained away? Who do we wish would stop speaking out because it makes us uncomfortable? Who do we know who is speaking the truth and yet is dismissed by those in authority? Who tries to silence others?

     One of the criticisms of Christians today is that we are not Christ-like or we are no longer challenged by the gospel message. Sometimes it is easier to ‘keep your head down’. But Jesus knows that in order to bring change, to work for God’s kingdom of love and justice and peace, this involves sticking your head above the parapet, whether that be in our communities, our families or in our church.

 

‘I began to wonder if anyone still believed Jesus meant those things he said. I thought if we just stopped and asked “what if he really meant it?” it could turn the world upside down. It is a shame Christians have become so normal.’

Shane Claiborne,

The Irresistible Revolution

 

Jane Mellett

mellettj@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

 

Sunday, 17 June 2018

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE
THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

Mark 4:26-34

1.  If you sow seeds, or watch plants grow, you have ample opportunities to pause in wonder at the whole process of growth. It takes place imperceptibly and comes to fruition in beautiful flowers, majestic trees and abundant harvests.

2.  Jesus uses this as a parable about the growth of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of right relationships with God and with one another. There too growth is slow, development is imperceptible, and then without realising it you have a mature relationship. Recall the stages of such development in your life and relationships, and give thanks.

3.  In the second parable Jesus invites us to reflect on the importance and significance of relationships in our lives as they grow and mature. This is true both of our relationship with God and with others around us. When have you found a relationship in which you could ‘make nests in its shade’?

John Byrne osa

Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

e e e

MUSINGS

Although Jesus’ words may strike us as poetic, they clearly run counter to the way things are usually done in our world. Even if we find Jesus’ message attractive, the world pushes us towards another way of living. The Beatitudes are in no way trite or undemanding, quite the opposite. We can only practise them if the Holy Spirit fills us with his power and frees us from our weakness, our selfishness, our complacency and our pride.

     Let us listen once more to Jesus, with all the love and respect that the Master deserves. Let us allow his words to unsettle us, to challenge us and to demand a real change in the way we live. Otherwise, holiness will remain no more than an empty word.

Gaudete et Exsultate

 

e e e

 

THE DEEP END: From small seeds

The parable of the mustard seed seems pretty straight forward at first glance, but as always there is more to it than first meets the eye. Jesus did not compare the Kingdom of God to a majestic tree. There is an ancient text which forbade planting mustard seeds in Palestinian gardens because the shrub takes over wherever it is planted. It is wild, gets out of control, and attracts unwanted birds. The kingdom of God grows from something small to something large, but more than that, its growth is overwhelming and it will grow even where it is not wanted. Author and activist, Shane Claiborne, compares it to kudzu, a wild vine that could blanket entire mountain areas, smother trees, even crack cement buildings.

     People of Jesus’ time may have preferred the image of the lofty ‘cedars of Lebanon’ to explain God’s kingdom, where the nations could build nests like the eagles do. Now that image may have gotten a few cheers from the crowd! Mustard plants however, only stand a few feet tall. Jesus is turning the ideals of power and triumph on their head again. The image we have here is of the birds who find a home in this little shrub which cannot be curtailed. It will grow even where it is not wanted. Watch out this week for glimpses of this ‘mustard seed’ kingdom quietly growing.

 

Jane Mellett

mellettj@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

Sunday, 24 June 2018

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE
THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

Luke 1:57-66, 80

1.  The birth of John the Baptist was an occasion of great joy for family and friends. Recall occasions when you celebrated the arrival of a baby. What thoughts and feelings did you have? Use the memory to reflect on the wonder of your own life and give thanks for it.

2.  There is often a story behind the name given to a child. What story lies behind your name? Perhaps it says something of the hopes your parents had for you, or the memories they wanted you to retain.

3.  ‘What will this child become?’ The Baptist was to become a herald pointing the way to Jesus. In our turn we are also called to point people towards a better way of life. Recall times when you were able to point somebody in a direction that helped. Give thanks for those who have done the same for you.

4.  The child grew and the hand of the Lord was with him. As you look back on your own growth and development, were there things that happened about which you now say ‘the hand of the Lord was with me there’?

John Byrne osa

Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

e e e

MUSINGS

Far from being timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, or putting on a dreary face, the saints are joyful and full of good humour. Though completely realistic, they radiate a positive and hopeful spirit. The Christian life is ‘joy in the Holy Spirit’ (Rom 14:17), for ‘the necessary result of the love of charity is joy; since every lover rejoices at being united to the beloved … the effect of charity is joy’. Having received the beautiful gift of God’s word, we embrace it ‘in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit’ (1 Th 1:6). If we allow the Lord to draw us out of our shell and change our lives, then we can do as Saint Paul tells us: ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again, rejoice!’ (Phil 4:4).

Gaudete et Exsultate

 

e e e

 

THE DEEP END: Nativity of John the Baptist

Today we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist and listen to Luke’s account of his nativity. John’s story is one of sacrifice and humility. His parents know there will be something very special about this child. The circumstances surrounding his birth already have people amazed. Jewish historians account that John was a preacher around the time of Pontius Pilate who went around calling people to renewal! He spent a lot of time in the wilderness, eating wild things and wearing sackcloth. He must have been a very interesting and attractive figure as we are told in the gospels that people flocked to the River Jordan to be baptised by him; a sign of their repentance or renewal of relationship with God. John gathered so many followers around him that he was considered a threat to Herod Antipas who feared he might begin a rebellion. John was a preacher, a prophet, a signpost pointing people in the right direction: towards Jesus of Nazareth.

     We can pray today for all those people who acted as signposts in our lives and brought us closer to God in some way, those who guided us and pointed us in the right direction when we needed it. We too are also called to be signposts for others.

 

‘Lord, we thank you for people who guided us, but did not try to possess us: parents, teachers, spiritual guides, friends. For a time we stood with them. Very simply, like John the Baptist, they said to us, “Look, there is the one you should follow,” and hearing this we followed that person.’

Michel de Verteuil

 

Jane Mellett

mellettj@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

 

THE DEEP END: Corpus Christi

On this feast of Corpus Christi we celebrate the gift of the Eucharist. It was one of the last actions of Jesus to give us this nourishment for our life journey, to remember him and to help us to live out his teachings in our daily lives.

     As Christ’s followers we are all called to change from within so that we can be part of the building of a kingdom of love, justice and peace in this world, so that we ourselves are transformed in some way. The Eucharist, as Pope Francis says, ‘is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak’. It is a call for all of us to grow and to share with one another Christ’s message of love and peace. The Eucharist sustains us on this Christian path and brings us together as sisters and brothers travelling together on this journey of faith. We should leave this table changed by the encounter, a little lighter, a little more hopeful and joyful, a little stronger. In a movie I saw recently there was a line which said ‘the world will only change as we change’. The Eucharist invites us to this transformation. Because ‘in the Eucharist, God comes to us not from above, but from within. In the Eucharist the whole cosmos gives thanks to God… it is itself an act of cosmic love... The Eucharist joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation’ (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’).

 

Jane Mellett

mellettj@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

 

 

Sunday, 10 June 2018

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE
THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

Mark 3:20-35

1.  Looking on at what Jesus was doing, some of his family thought he was out of his mind. When you think of successful initiatives that you took in your life, were there times when people thought you were a little crazy? Perhaps some regard your interest in faith, or church, in the same way? What sustained you in those circumstances?

2.  Successful ventures can arouse jealousy as well as admiration. Jesus was often the target of the jealousy of religious leaders. They questioned his motivation. When have you seen your good efforts, or the good efforts of others, spoiled by the jealousy or hostility of some? Did it help when there were people prepared to stand together in face of the criticism?

3.  For many people their blood family provides an enduring, reliable and supportive network. Jesus had another family: those of one mind and heart with him in seeking to do God’s will. When and where have you experienced encouragement from people of shared vision and faith?

John Byrne osa

Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

MUSINGS

Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy. On the contrary, you will become what the Father had in mind when he created you, and you will be faithful to your deepest self. To depend on God sets us free from every form of enslavement and leads us to recognise our great dignity.

     Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God.

     Do not be afraid to let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Holiness does not make you less human, since it is an encounter between your weakness and the power of God’s grace. For in the words of León Bloy, when all is said and done, ‘the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint’.

Gaudete et Exsultate

 

e e e

 

 

THE DEEP END: ‘He has gone out of his mind’

In the gospel today we hear that Jesus made a visit home. Word about this radical teacher had gotten around and the religious leaders are not happy. In an effort to protect their son and brother, Jesus’ family try to restrain him in order to protect him. The people who have gathered try to dismiss Jesus’ teachings saying that he has ‘gone out of his mind’. The religious leaders even go so far as to say that he is possessed by a demon! Perhaps their way of explaining away someone that they could not cope with. Who in our society today is explained away? Who do we wish would stop speaking out because it makes us uncomfortable? Who do we know who is speaking the truth and yet is dismissed by those in authority? Who tries to silence others?

     One of the criticisms of Christians today is that we are not Christ-like or we are no longer challenged by the gospel message. Sometimes it is easier to ‘keep your head down’. But Jesus knows that in order to bring change, to work for God’s kingdom of love and justice and peace, this involves sticking your head above the parapet, whether that be in our communities, our families or in our church.

 

‘I began to wonder if anyone still believed Jesus meant those things he said. I thought if we just stopped and asked “what if he really meant it?” it could turn the world upside down. It is a shame Christians have become so normal.’

Shane Claiborne,

The Irresistible Revolution

 

Jane Mellett

mellettj@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

 

Sunday, 17 June 2018

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE
THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

Mark 4:26-34

1.  If you sow seeds, or watch plants grow, you have ample opportunities to pause in wonder at the whole process of growth. It takes place imperceptibly and comes to fruition in beautiful flowers, majestic trees and abundant harvests.

2.  Jesus uses this as a parable about the growth of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of right relationships with God and with one another. There too growth is slow, development is imperceptible, and then without realising it you have a mature relationship. Recall the stages of such development in your life and relationships, and give thanks.

3.  In the second parable Jesus invites us to reflect on the importance and significance of relationships in our lives as they grow and mature. This is true both of our relationship with God and with others around us. When have you found a relationship in which you could ‘make nests in its shade’?

John Byrne osa

Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

e e e

MUSINGS

Although Jesus’ words may strike us as poetic, they clearly run counter to the way things are usually done in our world. Even if we find Jesus’ message attractive, the world pushes us towards another way of living. The Beatitudes are in no way trite or undemanding, quite the opposite. We can only practise them if the Holy Spirit fills us with his power and frees us from our weakness, our selfishness, our complacency and our pride.

     Let us listen once more to Jesus, with all the love and respect that the Master deserves. Let us allow his words to unsettle us, to challenge us and to demand a real change in the way we live. Otherwise, holiness will remain no more than an empty word.

Gaudete et Exsultate

 

e e e

 

 

THE DEEP END: From small seeds

The parable of the mustard seed seems pretty straight forward at first glance, but as always there is more to it than first meets the eye. Jesus did not compare the Kingdom of God to a majestic tree. There is an ancient text which forbade planting mustard seeds in Palestinian gardens because the shrub takes over wherever it is planted. It is wild, gets out of control, and attracts unwanted birds. The kingdom of God grows from something small to something large, but more than that, its growth is overwhelming and it will grow even where it is not wanted. Author and activist, Shane Claiborne, compares it to kudzu, a wild vine that could blanket entire mountain areas, smother trees, even crack cement buildings.

     People of Jesus’ time may have preferred the image of the lofty ‘cedars of Lebanon’ to explain God’s kingdom, where the nations could build nests like the eagles do. Now that image may have gotten a few cheers from the crowd! Mustard plants however, only stand a few feet tall. Jesus is turning the ideals of power and triumph on their head again. The image we have here is of the birds who find a home in this little shrub which cannot be curtailed. It will grow even where it is not wanted. Watch out this week for glimpses of this ‘mustard seed’ kingdom quietly growing.

 

Jane Mellett

mellettj@gmail.com

 

e e e

 

Sunday, 24 June 2018

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE
THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

Luke 1:57-66, 80

1.  The birth of John the Baptist was an occasion of great joy for family and friends. Recall occasions when you celebrated the arrival of a baby. What thoughts and feelings did you have? Use the memory to reflect on the wonder of your own life and give thanks for it.

2.  There is often a story behind the name given to a child. What story lies behind your name? Perhaps it says something of the hopes your parents had for you, or the memories they wanted you to retain.

3.  ‘What will this child become?’ The Baptist was to become a herald pointing the way to Jesus. In our turn we are also called to point people towards a better way of life. Recall times when you were able to point somebody in a direction that helped. Give thanks for those who have done the same for you.

4.  The child grew and the hand of the Lord was with him. As you look back on your own growth and development, were there things that happened about which you now say ‘the hand of the Lord was with me there’?

John Byrne osa

Email jpbyrneosa@gmail.com

e e e

MUSINGS

Far from being timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, or putting on a dreary face, the saints are joyful and full of good humour. Though completely realistic, they radiate a positive and hopeful spirit. The Christian life is ‘joy in the Holy Spirit’ (Rom 14:17), for ‘the necessary result of the love of charity is joy; since every lover rejoices at being united to the beloved … the effect of charity is joy’. Having received the beautiful gift of God’s word, we embrace it ‘in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit’ (1 Th 1:6). If we allow the Lord to draw us out of our shell and change our lives, then we can do as Saint Paul tells us: ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again, rejoice!’ (Phil 4:4).

Gaudete et Exsultate

 

e e e

 

THE DEEP END: Nativity of John the Baptist

Today we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist and listen to Luke’s account of his nativity. John’s story is one of sacrifice and humility. His parents know there will be something very special about this child. The circumstances surrounding his birth already have people amazed. Jewish historians account that John was a preacher around the time of Pontius Pilate who went around calling people to renewal! He spent a lot of time in the wilderness, eating wild things and wearing sackcloth. He must have been a very interesting and attractive figure as we are told in the gospels that people flocked to the River Jordan to be baptised by him; a sign of their repentance or renewal of relationship with God. John gathered so many followers around him that he was considered a threat to Herod Antipas who feared he might begin a rebellion. John was a preacher, a prophet, a signpost pointing people in the right direction: towards Jesus of Nazareth.

     We can pray today for all those people who acted as signposts in our lives and brought us closer to God in some way, those who guided us and pointed us in the right direction when we needed it. We too are also called to be signposts for others.

 

‘Lord, we thank you for people who guided us, but did not try to possess us: parents, teachers, spiritual guides, friends. For a time we stood with them. Very simply, like John the Baptist, they said to us, “Look, there is the one you should follow,” and hearing this we followed that person.’

Michel de Verteuil

 

Jane Mellett

mellettj@gmail.com

 

e e e

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