Thank you

  • by Anthony Wood
  • 08 Sep, 2017

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary;  Mi 5:1-4; Matthew 1:18-23

Jesus is the first-born among the brothers – the Son, whose birth God saw from the beginning of time. Similarly, He saw the birth of each of us. We are written into God's plan - those, who were before us, and those, who will come after us.

All these people God embraces with love, giving His Son for their salvation. The love of God for man does not know time, and has no limit.

If here and now, I respond to that love, I allow God to work in my life so as to prepare me for service for His glory.

We thank you today Mary, because you responded with "yes" to God's love and gave us Jesus.

We thank you Joseph, because you accepted the will of God and took care of Mary.

We thank you Jesus, because you chose the road that led to the cross and saved me.

Today's reflection

by Anthony Wood 19 Oct, 2017
' Alas for you lawyers who have taken away the key of knowledge! You have not gone in yourselves, and have prevented others going in who wanted to.'

Exactly. Not making use of it, they jealously guarded the key, preventing others entering. What can this mean?

When it comes to the lawyers, it is sure that they have misinterpreted the Scriptures to the point of attending to the insignificant details of the law. Not only did they overlook its spirit, but that may be the Messiah is more important than the law, who turns their conceptions upside down.

And when it comes to us? Well what . . . There are among us those, who in their interpretation of Christianity put forward one matter and ignore others to form a caricature of the true Gospel. O "forget" that the ruler is be the servant. Likewise the family ruler. Does running rampant in your own environment and covering yourself in the will of the "ruler" of God bring anyone to the Gospel? No, rather they are offended. And then surprised that people reject Jesus . . . not noticing that they stands in the road to Jesus, that they themselves prevent an encounter with Him . . .

Alas, you lawyers . . .

by Anthony Wood 18 Oct, 2017

Sometimes we have the impression that being faithful to God protects us – that being in grace we will not ne entangles in evil, prayer enables us to emerge from temptation victorious. And perhaps we right. However, our lives are often not quite that simple, we don't know everything about ourselves . . . In today's reading we find a description of the advice given to disciples, as Jesus he "sent them out ahead of him, in pairs". I am always struck by that number - "in pairs" because though we may see ourselves as too weak, we have another beside us. We accompany each other on the road – we are more in need of each other than we are of a purse, haversack or sandals. Our hands can do more, our voices about the Kingdom are powerful.

And – when we are together - even wolves do not frighten us.

by Anthony Wood 17 Oct, 2017
 "Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. Fools!"

Exactly! Those Pharisees were foolish. They were so entranced by what was external that they stopped paying attention to the inside. How could they be led into such a state?

Hmmm . . . . . The usual way. After all, closer at home we can see that pharisaic care for appearance. In this: what people look like and what they say. And where is the truth? For myself, do I slip into my own opinion of whether they are making a proper and good impression? The truth often recedes into the background. As long as on the outside everything looks OK.


Help us, O Lord, to see the truth. Of myself and of others. Especially for those who I am inclined to regard as far from perfect. It is entirely possible that inside they are purer than I think by looking at their external appearance . . . Help us, O Lord, to see the truth.

by Anthony Wood 14 Oct, 2017

I return to my house - these words are spoken by the evil spirit, and he thinks of the man who first got rid of him but did no fill the space within his soul with God, he left it empty. Satan always, as an attentive listener to the Gospel, turn everything upside down, makes God someone evil, makes a person the wrongdoer, and it's not true. The truth is what Jesus proclaims - a message of love, mercy and joy. An evil spirit, even when it quotes the Gospel, does what is against the Gospel. This is why we cling to Jesus Christ the comforter and defender.

In the name of Jesus Christ, evil spirits of resignation, lethargy, doubt and hardness of heart, depart and do not return.

by Anthony Wood 14 Oct, 2017

" It is useless to serve God; what is the good of keeping his commands or of walking mournfully before the Lord of Hosts? Now we have reached the point when we call the arrogant blessed; yes, they prosper, these evil-doers; they try God's patience and yet go free."

It is useless to serve God - say the Israelites. It's not worth repenting. Rain of gold does not fall from heaven. Blessed are those who live contrary to God. They are happy! This is an experience that we also don't want to have . . .

How many times does it turns out that the best way is to live dishonestly. They have everything. Not just money. But also success and human respect. And whoever strives to live honestly, is awkward. They lose . . . 

You say harsh things about me, - says the Lord . Indeed, what sort of argument is this? Are you with me, because you count on profit? For protection? You try to bribe me with your repentance to support you in your plans? Is this love or bargaining?

I do not bargain with you. Are you trying to bribe me?

For the day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble . . . But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.

Do not be afraid. You will not be lost. You will gain more than you would expect. But I want your love and trust.

I cannot be bribed.

by Anthony Wood 11 Oct, 2017

If were to look for one word which distinguishes Christians from followers of other religions, it probably be the word Father directed toward God. It turns out God is not Lord, ruler, governor, creator, the one who set all things in motion, He is someone more, someone much closer. He is the Father, who - as is the definition of paternity - loves, nourishes and forgives. Jesus says: Father, may your name be held holy. In one sentence these two words meet. Father and name. As though the most beautiful, deepest revelation of Jesus was precisely this ancient, maybe first word of the world - father. May every one of us in our lives keep His name sanctified, so that we can always say to Him: Father, or even more beautifully: Abba, dad, and then we will be very blessed.

Lord, You want us to call God our Father, so that we may desire what He wants for us, and with the trust of a child present our needs to Him. Master, teach us to pray this prayer through which we discover that God is the merciful Father. Our Father, . . . .

by Anthony Wood 10 Oct, 2017
Sinful Nineveh, who Jonah himself thought unworthy of forgiveness, together with two sisters: Mary and Martha in the home of a friend of Jesus. Two very different life situations . . . but something connects them. Listening.

Here the people of Nineveh heard the prophet Jonah and repented, and God did allow the destruction of the city. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to listen to Him. Martha asked a question and this, from what we know of her, shows that she heard and took to her heart the answer.

His word is what you need. His word is what is enough. Wherever you are or have been, close or distant, in some trap, or maybe running, in a hurry . . . . It has the power to transform life. Has the power to free.

Don't lose His word. Wherever you are or have been . . . don't miss it. And don't convince yourself that you are not worthy, too far away, for the action of God . . . .

few [things] are needed, indeed only one.

by Anthony Wood 09 Oct, 2017
Am I my brother's keeper? This question of Cain has not ceased to be a valid one. It has been repeated by people for thousands of years. Am I my brother's keepers? Should he not take care of himself? Or other people? Aren't there dedicated services for this? Why don't they do anything? Why were colleagues, friends, neighbours, family blind . . . . why doesn't he have anyone? Maybe he deserves it? And perhaps he's a really bad guy? Maybe he could hurt me . . . ?

A thousand questions, which only pretend to be real questions. It's not about the answer, but the justification of their own inaction. That it's not only that I don't love, but that I don't want to. Love, after all, costs . . .

Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigand's hands? - asked Jesus. Go, and do the same yourself - he added, hearing the answer.

To be someone's neighbour is to establish a relationship. Every person who stands before makes me his neighbour, and I his.

Someone once said that the Decalogue was not written on tablets, but on the faces of people before me. Maybe that's why it's easier to look at tablets and ask about terms and conditions than at the face. Then it is no longer possible to follow an academic argument.

by Anthony Wood 07 Oct, 2017

. . . these joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers   - the Church is a community of prayers. The model Mary, who through her life fulfilled the will of God. Our heavenly Mother is invoked in prayer as the Queen of the Holy Rosary. Thanks to it - and to her - we are "led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love." (RVM 1) St. Louis de Montfort says "Whoever is cast in it, and allows himself to be moulded, receives all the features of Jesus Christ, true God".

Whenever we recite the Rosary, we invite Mary into our lives. The Rosary to reflect in our hearts the things that God has done and continues to do for us in history and people's hearts. Just as the psalms cannot be separated from the history of Israel, so the Rosary cannot be separated from the history of salvation in Jesus Christ. God willed us to receive all this this through Mary.

In the true Rosary beats the life Mary and the life of Jesus her Son. Pope Paul VI consistently avoided the use of the traditional phrase "recite the Rosary", using instead the phrase "meditate and reflect on the Rosary". And that is what the Rosary is about. Calling us to prayer, the Queen of the Holy Rosary invites us to her life and to the life of her Son.

by Anthony Wood 09 Sep, 2017

God wants us to approach the Sabbath as a blessing, and not a burden. That's the point of today's gospel. However, in our day and age we're more likely to take a lax approach to the Sabbath, as opposed to a strict one. Specifically, while we may keep the Sabbath as a day of rest, we're tempted to neglect the fact that, first and foremost, it is the Lord's day. Jesus' words at the end of today's gospel speak directly to our generation: "The Son of Man is master of the sabbath."

Perhaps the bottom line for us is this: When it comes to the Sabbath, God wants it to be restful, not rigid, but above all: sacred.

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