12th June 2016: 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
I may be biased, but my mother was one of the most welcoming people I knew. She had a gift of making you feel appreciated and loved. I’m proud to say that I haven’t yet met anyone who left her presence without feeling renewed and encouraged.
As I read today’s Gospel I thought about people like Mum and how they make a big difference to the lives of others. The fact that today we are listening to the story of a woman who welcomed Jesus with such lavish affection is proof that he valued people like her very, very highly. She made a difference to his life. He welcomed her gestures too. Jesus responded to appreciation and love. He was renewed and encouraged by it. Actually, we could say that the notion of a loving welcome is at the heart of the Gospel. A loving heart and a welcoming heart are identical twins.
Sadly, Simon hadn’t grasped this. He didn’t really know his guest all that well and maybe his life had seldom been brightened by even minor displays of affection. Simon is a reminder to us that within our own hearts there are spaces and places that need to get to know Jesus better. I like to think that when Jesus met him subsequently, things were very, very different. Sr. Kathryn Williams pddm
1st November 2015, All Saints, Year B
Your Finest Moment
Can you recall doing something so noble that even you were surprised? It may not have been something really big – it may have been something quite small, but whatever it was, when you look back on it you feel a deep-down goodness. Jesus knew all about the value of these moments and the way in which they help us to stand full-stature. His life was full of them.
In today’s Gospel Matthew outlines some key ways in which our lives will overflow with such moments. He gives us a blue print of the sort of attitudes that we need to acquire so as to become saints – in fact, this is our real calling! Jesus is persistent about these attitudes - he lived them fully at each and every moment of his life. When we try to live them, we get glimpses of our own deep down goodness and nobility. Seeking to live the spirit of the beatitudes is the shortcut to sanctity … and it takes a lifetime!
However, we don’t do it alone. Jesus is there to encourage us, to walk with us and evn to carry us when the going gets difficult. He loves us so much - in the manner of lovers, he wants to be our first and last love. He doesn’t desire we live on this earth forever … He wants us to be with him until death (his and ours) – and well beyond. Jesus, in the manner of real lovers links himself so closely to each of us that we could say he bears our unique fingerprints - our DNA is a perfect match!
P.S. It’s OK to expect a reward that far surpasses the feeling of deep-down goodness. Later on in his Gospel Matthew spells out quite clearly what’s in store for those who bear, recognise and love Jesus’ fingerprints. Kathryn Williams pddm
Pope Francis invites us to renew our vocation and let ourselves be marked with joy and passion, since the culmination of love "is a journey, which grows, grows, and grows."