Category Archives: Sunday Homily – Archive

Fifteenth Sunday Year A – 12th July 2020

Like many folk, I am find that I head off to sleep quicker and easier if my prelude to sleep takes the form of a wee bit of bed time reading. It might only be a couple of minutes, of  course. As often as not I find myself more than half asleep even with the book still in my hand. The difficulty with that type of reading is that it is so easy to lose track of what the book is saying. I find myself having to battle to try and focus more and more on what is really being said. Of course, tiredness and keeping focus really don’t go together.  When tiredness takes over, really the signal has been given. There is only one solution  – put down the book and give way to sleep.

Today we enter into a series of Matthew’s gospel parables. As we know the parable was a frequently used technique of Jesus in teaching and in challenging people.

I wonder how the disciples coped with the demands Jesus put on them by his frequent use of parables? There are some parables that demand a serious focussing in order to discern the one overriding message. But equally, there are many that invite the listener to enter into the reality of the story in many different ways. There is not just one message with most parables; there are several or indeed many.

In the case of today’s “parable of the sower” that is certainly the case. The hearer and the reader must be able to discover the many layers of meaning and engagement called for from this parable.  It may often designated as “the parable of the sower” but surely it is equally appropriate to entitle it as the “parable of the soil” given that things seem to hinge on the different conditions of the earth in order to produce the crop or to make that more difficult. 

We can try to interpret it at a safe distance from ourselves by seeing it as being a parable about the world, more precisely about the fact that so many situations in the world make the sowing of the seed of God’s word difficult if not downright impossible. But the parable, as a device which provokes and confronts, does not allow the hearer to remain at a safe and uninvolved distance. They must be seen as being personally involved and confronted by the message or messages of the parable. Perhaps this is a line of reflection which we can do well to follow. The parable invites us to see the different areas and aspects of our own lives. To see where the edges of the path are – those places in our lives that are distant from the gospel message . To look to the rocky aspects are – to reflect on our failures to take the gospel seriously – to the places where our choice of life style can end up with the choking of the gospel of Jesus by other pursuits in life which run counter to the gospel.

Of course, this parable is part of the good news and we should be able to see it as such and reflect on it in that vein also. The seed that falls in the rich soil represents surely God’s plan for us, a plan which is also to met with our response since God makes that response possible in his gifts to us.

As we reflect on the Gospel we are invited, as always, to do that with the help of the Old Testament and our first reading. This surely helps us to deepen our understanding of the parable’s meaning for us and to see that it is nothing less than a gift from God

Isaiah uses the image of rain and snow to describe the watering of the earth and growth of the seed for the sower. The parallel is also provided between that and the continual activity which is present through the seed of the Word of God, a word which continually carries out God’s will and which succeeds in its true purpose.

This invites us to give thanks for the continual saving and life giving activity of the one who is eternal sower of the seed of the Kingdom.  He sows that seed in us so that we too may be part of that great harvest of His. A harvest, that is, of goodness, love and truth.

12th July 2020.

14th Sunday Year A: 5th July 2020

I left school way back in June 1971. It still surprises me if I remind myself that I did not begin parish life in Holy Cross Parish until  December 1982. So, between 1971 and the end of 1982 I was a student. Yes, for eleven and a half years! A mighty long time even if it did not seem so as it was happening. I was ordained, however, in June 1979 and continued with studies for another three years and more.

 Given that over nine of those years were spent in Rome then there was a lot to be very thankful for in terms of life experience. I would hasten to add that, spending this amount of time as a student, was not my idea! We did what we did and where we did it because we were told to do so. It was the Archbishop who decided where you were going, what you were studying, when you would be ordained and, ultimately, how you would be deployed as a priest.

One of the inevitable consequences of being a student for that time, of course, is the fact that you end up with an awful lot of books – far too many to sit on your bookshelves in later life. Like any other former student, some of these were vital at the time in order to help pass exams but now are gathering dust. There are of course others which I still refer to regularly over forty years on.

Those who were our lecturers were, for the most part, members of         the Society of Jesus –  Jesuits – at the Gregorian University. For my last couple of years, our lecturers were the Benedictines at the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Liturgy at the monastery of Sant’Anselmo on the Aventine Hill.   While it would be natural for them to be experts in their fields, there was another aspect to their lives which I found, and still find, to be most impressive.

          Both groups of religious had, of course, taken on vows of poverty and so they operated really without any salary other than pocket money. Their lifestyle was simple and straightforward. They had very little in terms of personal property.  For instance, they did not have a car. In Rome, of course, that was no bad thing!

Sometimes we would have cause to ask to talk through some aspect of their course or discuss an essay or something similar. Occasionally the setting for this would be their room which was nearly always a simple bedsit within the university buildings. Their religious community of course was also a part of the setup. I’m sure that it was not totally free of tensions or the presence of personal ambition and rivalry but to me they also represented a very powerful statement of the gospel in action.

          They were people of intelligence and no little learning. Their lives were dedicated to their study and their teaching. At the same time, however, that was not the end of the matter. It was not a goal in itself. They powerfully presented to me the aspect of childlike trust which is called for by Jesus in today’s gospel. “I bless you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.”

Their lives had a simplicity about them and certainly, on the outward side, displayed a real freedom from the material aspects of life.

So while we had much to learn from them on the academic side of things we also had the opportunity to take in another important lesson from them through their witness of life.

          It surely is obvious that the church is never exempt from study and learning. There must constantly be, in the community of faith, the search to go further, to understand more. The present coronavirus crisis has brought us to spell out even more clearly just how important is education, the vary basis of economic life is to be found in prioritising school life for our children.

The Church also needs to have education and learning as a vital part of the basis of the life of faith. To suggest any different approach is naïve and mistaken.  But again, this is never to be an end in itself. The more we discover and understand about God, the more we realise  that our knowledge is limited and partial. The more we discover about God,  the more we do not know. As we are called to continue down this path, we are invited to truly see ourselves as God’s little ones, God’s children, God’s beloved ones.  The ones who trust the Lord when he says to us today “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.”

Fr. Peter
14th Sunday A
5th July 2020.  

Feast of Saints Peter and Paul : 28th June 2020.

In these days where there is little to report about in terms of live sport here in Scotland, the sports programme “pundits”, especially on the radio, resort to some standard “time filling” tactics. They can while away an hour or two simply by putting together a team of the best players over a long period of time. Then they justify their choice, player by player, throughout the team – in terms of what they would consider to be the best Scotland team ever or the best World 11 or the best to don the green and white or blue and white.

There’s only so much that I can take of this before it becomes a bit on the boring side and my interest wanes. Anyway, needs must. I don’t envy the task of those who put together the sports programmes in time of pandemic.

It occurred to me today that this is not something that we would ever attempt to do in relation to the Church and to compiling, in  spiritual fantasy fashion, the best college of apostles ever, taking into account all the saints down through the ages. Imagine Augustine and Thomas Aquinas teaming up, or Catherine of Siena and Francis working together, or Patrick and Anthony of Padua alongside one another?

We don’t do this in the case of the apostles since the Church has always had a great reverence and respect for these founding fathers in the Body of Christ.

That is, of course, in spite of the fact that the list of the apostles brings us to a collection of individuals who, for the most part, we really know nothing about. Bartholomew, James the less, Thaddeus and company are not the best known in terms of the details of their lives and works.  Ironically, the ones we do know better are notable in terms of their weakness and human frailty, in the case of Peter – or in terms of suspicion at their background and past history, in the case of Paul.

At the heart of who they are, we do not so much uncover personal and individual greatness. What we see is the guiding power of the Lord given to those first apostles and continuing as Paul sets out on his mission.

The choice of the apostles, the preeminent position of Peter and the appointment of the great apostle Paul to the gentiles are surely witness to the power of God’s grace. That grace is seen from the very outset of Peter’s vocation when Jesus says to the fisherman in his boat – Do not be afraid, from now on it is men you will catch That grace is reinforced on those many occasions when Peter gets it wrong, when he falls and falls again, when Peter denies his Lord. God’s grace in Christ Jesus is more than enough.

That grace is seen when Saul becomes Paul, when he falls from his horse to the ground on the road to Damascus. God’s grace brings Paul to walk in a new light and to give thanks continually for the grace of God at work in him. To journey to the different Churches and to write to them, inspired again in his writing by the grace of God.

There is something essential, however, about the way in which this grace is conferred. The infant Church must have know Peter well and known about his impetuosity and his frequent lapses. They knew of it but it doesn’t seem to have been a barrier to the trust which they place in this first shepherd. Surely that is a sign of the presence of God’s grace living in that early Church and reflecting the grace of God in the pattern of its life and relationships.

Again, surely that grace is seen in the openness of the early church to accepting Paul in spite of who he was and what he had done. Would it not have been easier to maintain suspicion about this converted Pharisee and reject him from having any role in the sharing of the gospel. Sorry, Saul, but we can’t take the risk! Again, cynicism and suspicion is         overcome by acceptance and ultimately welcome. God’s grace triumphs again in the life of the community.

As we honour these two great apostolic figures, Peter and Paul, let us be aware that the continuing presence of the grace of God, channelled and lived by the community of faith today is no less vital that it was in the day of the apostles. We must try to be a people free from cynicism and judgement, open to continually seeing God at work before us. It’s a great encouragement for us then to imitate them in accepting in our lives the transforming grace of God, in seeing this as one of the truest hallmarks of the Church and of continually be able to rejoice at seeing God’s grace and goodness at work in each other – and even, truly and humbly, in ourselves.

Father Peter
Feast of Saint Peter and Paul
28th June 2020.

12th Sunday Year A: 21st June 2020.

“Every hair on your head has been counted”. But, I wonder, do you know what the overall number might be? In terms of providing fairly close to useless information, the average number of hairs on the average human head is evidently about 100,000. Some of us, it is fair to say, have a fair bit less than the 100,000. However, you can always console yourself if you recognise that the rest of the human body has around 4.9 million hairs, so it is not all about your head!

In these days of closed hairdressers and barbers, the worry is maybe not so much what number of hairs we have on our head, but what length our hair is or what colour is it showing.

Anyway, Jesus uses this image of the hairs on our head being counted in order to deliver a vitally important and profound truth. He uses this image to describe the infinite love of God for each one of us. 

Sometimes we can carry the image of a God who is of such greatness and power that he only really concerns himself with the big picture, with the global situation. A God who therefore cannot really spend time considering countless,  inconsequential individuals such as myself.  Jesus words give the lie to this way of thinking. Once you begin to consider what it really means for God to be infinite, it tells of a God who, precisely through his infinite nature is able to care for, love and guide everyone, individually and without exception. God’s greatness and God’s care of each of us go together in perfect and total harmony. God is infinite and therefore has an infinite level of time and space for each person on this earth.

God is so great that He scoops the oceans in the palm of His hand, and yet He is so close to us that He can number each hair on our head. Even the falling of a little sparrow will never escape His attention. Jesus encourages us that if our Father is intimately involved in the falling of one sparrow, how much more is He involved in our everyday lives!

So we are invited to be able to recognise more deeply the God who constantly wants to come into our lives.

Could this be something that we can reflect upon in these days?  How often recently have we heard that people are discovering more and more what is truly important, what really matters, what truly gives us life?

People are finding that their inner selves are being  revealed in ways that are not always forthcoming. They are finding themselves being able to decipher the truly important from the unimportant, being able to distinguish the things that matter from those that are ultimately irrelevant. Often that is taking us into the realm of relationships and to the preciousness of family life.

Look again at today’s gospel. It contains a mantra like phrase that repeats itself not only here but in so many instances throughout the gospel “Do Not Be Afraid.  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; do not be afraid because you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows –

In front of this truth of the care and love of God for each individual, we surely must reflect on the way in which we position ourselves to be able to receive the love of God.  Do we believe that we are created to be a dwelling place for God and his love? Do we welcome then the daily invitation to allow the way of God to overtake me and to bring us more and more to life in him?

 Hopefully we do and that we recognise in faith that there must be the constant activity of preparing in my life the way of God.  If that is so, it flows from that truth that the greatest value in our lives is simply to continually receive the love of God, To believe that God in His infinite care for us asks us to open our lives to his grace and his gifts. Alongside this channel of receiving, there must also be the possibility of our giving – of giving what we have received, of channelling to others what is given freely to us.  This process must be constant, fundamental to who we are and vital in relation to who we are to become.

Father Peter
Twelfth Sunday A
20th June 2020.

Reflection; Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord

In the course of Jesus’ preaching and in his teaching, there are so many aspects of living and loving and forgiving and praying that he brings before his followers. If you want to be my disciple, then these must be among the hallmarks of your life

You must by people of love and mercy; you must understand what forgiveness means for you; you must do all you can to try to ensure that your life is free of prejudice and intolerance and bigotry. You must be generous to those who need your help; you must have a special consideration for the poor.

We could very easily continue this list of prescriptions, these demands of Christian living.

          The global response of Christians in relation to these commands, down through the years and the centuries, has all too often been lacking. Sometimes this is displayed in a way of life that so easily exempts itself from really trying, or worse still, by placing a false façade on an inner life that ends up avoiding the challenge and call of the gospel in a serious way.

          It is surely good, then, in spite of individual and communitarian weaknesses, to at least be able to recognise that the Church has remained faithful continually to the Lord’s invitation and command:- Do this in memory of me.

          We have a constant pattern of two thousand of the coming together of the Body of Christ to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist. That pattern of life and worship is deserving of our reflection and our thanksgiving. We don’t do it perfectly and never will; the weakness and sinfulness of the human aspect of the Body of Christ still clings to us even in offering this most Holy mystery. However, it is still one of the most precious achievements of the life of the Church to continually celebrate Eucharist and to receive this vital nourishment for the Body of Christ every time we do so.

          The truth of the above we can readily and happily acknowledge. However, since this is so, it surely means that our present inability to gather physically together over these last thirteen weeks affects us so deeply. The Sunday assembly is something which is so deeply embedded in the spiritual psyche of the Body of Christ; something vital to the very existence of the Church.

 Therefore it means that we can come to a greater and deeper appreciation of the Eucharist even as we miss it and are unable to give our “Amen”  to the body and blood of Christ.

          It would seem that we may be coming close  to the reopening of our Churches and eventually to the possibility of celebrating Sunday Mass together. However, in the immediate time ahead, this experience we know will be very different. The limit of our gathering will mean that every Mass will, of necessity, have a lot less people present. The liturgy itself will be reduced both in terms of prayer and scripture. Even our singing will disappear, albeit temporarily. Ironically, at the same time, of course, we will require an active involvement and support by many volunteers so that we can safely begin to gather together for the Eucharist The longing that things could be as they were before has begun to give way to yet another of our current expressions “the new normal”. We may not actually care for the concrete specific differences which will make for this new normal, but they will give us hope that we can continue to move to the ritual pattern of worship which was ours immediately prior to this time of emergency and pandemic.

          “Do this in memory of me”. The Church has responded to those words in all times and situations. They have been heard by a Church in time of persecution; they have been fulfilled by the Church in situations of war and conflict. They are being heard today in the Church in another crisis time and they will be lived by the Body of Christ, nourished by and faithful to Her Lord until the end of time. 

Father Peter
Corpus Christi
14th June 2020.

Pentecost Sunday 30th May 2020

Pandemic, Test and Trace, Furloughing, Social Distancing, Lockdown, R-numbers, Modelling,  Covid 19,

We quickly develop new patterns of vocabulary and expressions to cover new situations and crises. The coronavirus pandemic is certainly no exception to this rule. Lots of the above words and phrases would simply  not be grasped or understood if we had heard them just a few months ago. One of the words which is very much to the fore in these days is “lockdown”. It’s easy enough to comprehend its meaning but maybe a lot more difficult to deal with personally, both in its imposition  and in carefully and gradually emerging from that situation.

          For us, though, the word “lockdown” can surely also be used in relation to where the first Christian communities found themselves following the death of Jesus,. They indeed had locked down together in their fear of the consequences of being discovered. They initially lacked the necessary courage and power of witness to transmit the message of new life which the Spirit of God brings. 

The feast of Pentecost binds together for us Easter Day and Pentecost Day, initially through the locked doors and the closing in of the disciples. It goes from that lockdown situation to bring before us such a profound change in all of those disciples. They are made able, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to communicate with people from “every nation under heaven”. The combining of these events shows us that it is from the whole of the Easter mystery that the Church is called into life, vitality and mission.

The language, of course, which they were called to master is the language of the Spirit. And to be fluent in that tongue is to submit your life to the way of the Spirit. This, surely is what those first disciples were able to do so that their message was able to triumph.

What they brought to the world through their deepest and innermost communication was the truth that “Jesus is Lord”, the Lord of their lives. Jesus is Lord was ultimately what their lives proclaimed. It was the sign that they had opened their lives to the power of the resurrection.

 In life, we may do a lot of talking. However, we also communicate constantly at a level which is much deeper than words. It is at this level where the truth or otherwise of our spoken words come through. While we listen to what people say to us, we know that there is more than just the verbal aspect. There is the language of the heart.  The heart reads the heart and the spirit recognizes itself wherever it sees itself as manifest.  In our relationship to God, this level should be reflective of our lives being under the influence of the Holy Spirit, as Paul puts it in our second reading. That language of the Spirit has to take full hold of our way of living, Thus charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, longsuffering, fidelity, gentleness, and chastity will be the true hallmarks of our lives.

Today is the feast of the sending of the Holy Spirit. It represents then much more than some sort of static remembrance of the third person of the Holy Trinity. It is dynamic and active. It is continuing today in the Church. It is to be lived by the Church, the Body of Christ in every time and situation. It is to be proclaimed by us even in this time of pandemic and pain.

The Spirit can never be locked down and we are never in lockdown in relation to the gifts of the Spirit given to us. They are to be seen in us, lived by us, in these days too. Let us implore our God to help us to treasure the precious gifts he has given to his children. Let us ask him to bring us to say “Jesus is Lord” in every aspect of our lives and through every situation we have to face.

Pentecost Sunday
31st May 2020.

7th Sunday of Easter, 25th May 2020

“It’s hard to know what day of the week it is”.

Whenever the normal pattern and structure of our week is changed, for whatever reason, we can be surprised at finding it more difficult to know exactly what day of the week it actually is. When the normal rhythm of weekday, work, school, early rise –  weekend leisure, Church , football, free time, disappears, then it is not automatic to retain an immediate and instinctive awareness of where we are.

If we extend this way of things over weeks and months as we just have, then it becomes even more difficult to keep things in view. As we can all bear witness, one day is so like another. Even things like traffic noise are much the same from one day to another. The birds and animals must be wondering what we are up to!

For us, alongside  the rhythm of daily life there is also the flowing of what we can describe as the Church’s “liturgical time”, the liturgical year. If we were asked to sit down and draw the circle of the Church’s year of worship then we could, I am sure, quickly put in writing the cycle of Lent – Easter – Ordinary Time – Advent – Christmas – Winter ordinary time, back to Lent. For the weekly dynamic, there is always the central and foundational place of Sunday, the Day of the Resurrection.

For us, of course, this is certainly never a mere paper exercise. Rather, it is how we are called to life and how we are gifted that life by our God. At the heart of this experience is the power of the death and resurrection, given to us initially in Baptism and then, constantly, a call to continue to share in this life through the different elements of our worship year.

We come to understand what it means for us by constantly involving and engaging ourselves in the celebration of these feasts and seasons. Little children who are at Church with their parents and brothers and sisters are opened gradually to awareness of what this is for them. In our parish, our altar servers, in their first weeks of serving, frequently ask, “what colour is it, Father” as they arrange their cords and their cinctures on their albs.. In this way they are also opened to their own understanding of the church’s year.

Since this pattern and rhythm is severely missing for us during this sad and trying time, in which our Churches remain closed, we need to take time to remind ourselves of where we are and of what aspect of the Paschal Mystery is our focus just now.

 This Sunday is the 7th of Easter, our great fifty day feast; it represents the Church between Ascension and Pentecost. The first reading for today’s Mass brings before us a particularly beautiful and powerful image of the infant Church united in prayer. Within it, I just love the way in which Mary the mother of Jesus and mother of our Church is portrayed. She is not singled out but simply mentioned as being there, as being part of this gathering of disciples united in continuous prayer. In this instance the names of the apostles are actually spelled out before Mary and the women and Jesus’ brothers.

Look to any artistic arrangement of this event and you will find that Mary has been moved, not surprisingly, to the middle of the gathering, in spiritual reverence of the one who is the Mother of God. Allow yourself to be at home in this upper room gathering and both depictions of Mary provide us with much opportunity for reflection. It speaks to us of the community after the Ascension, preparing in prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Mary who was already totally obedient to the Spirit and fully open to the call of the Spirit, prepares with the other disciples for the outpouring of the Spirit upon the Church.

It’s a scene that must also be contemporary; which must encompass our involvement, our presence, our prayer today.  As we move from Ascension to Pentecost, we must pray that the Spirit of the Lord will come down upon each one of us and upon the Church in this time of pandemic. The image of Mary joined in her prayer with the rest of those first disciples is to be for us also the image of Mary the mother of the Church, with us now, interceding for us and bringing us before her Son.

The Church can be renewed in every event and episode of her existence. These days represent for all humanity a time of real difficulty, suffering and uncertainty. They also bring before us in the community of faith an opportunity to grow in trust, faith and courage, a time witness to the Spirit through deeds of love, a time to ask the Mother of the saviour to be close to us and united to us in prayer with and for us and all humanity. A time to be opened to the transforming power of the death and resurrection, the Paschal Mystery, of Christ Jesus.

Father Peter

25th May 2020

7th Sunday of Easter

6th Sunday of Easter 17th May 2020.

Tick yes or no to let us know what you think.…………………..                                                         

We are well used to the instant checking of views and opinions which can be easily delivered through responding to a series of questions with the simple response of Yes/ No. On many issues we might have a strongly held opinion, but equally we can give an answer to matters that really are not crucial in any way for us. We can give our answer and then forget about the issue and just get on with life.

And then there is the answer where, in a sense, our response is truly sacred. When we might give yes as our answer, but the word can just as well be expressed by our “amen”. Our assent to God’s presence within us.

Our whole life’s journey can then be seen as a continual and increasing process of saying “yes”

Our second reading and gospel today merge together in pointing to the way in which we are to make our yes become clearer

The first letter of Peter calls the followers of Jesus to “always have their answer ready for people who ask for the people who ask for the reason for the hope that you all have”. The gospel in turn surely points to the reason for and the source of that hope.  It brings before us the indwelling of God in our lives.

Continually we here the expressions:-

 he is in you, he is in you

because I live and you will live

I am in my Father and you in me and I in you

The relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit brings to us also the nature of God’s relationship with us.

Unlike so many other religions, the Christian faith is the one where the one who is God continually goes in search of us, who wants to make his home in us., who requires simply our “yes” in order to live in us.

To say “yes”, of course, means to be open to God’s presence. Ultimately it means to put into practice, continually, our positive response to the words “Love one another as I have loved you.” To make God’s ways our ways.  Just receive and love.

If we have the trust and courage to accept Jesus call as the way to continually move forward in life, then surely that response  indeed brings us to be living continually as a people of hope. If God will live in us, then we can extend the ambient of our own  living in love. It means to be able to love without conditions and limits being imposed continually as to how we will be loving. It means to be open in life to the indwelling power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

There we truly discover how to live out our “yes”, our Amen to the Father who loves us, who comes to us and Who tells us that He takes delight in making his home in us.


6th Sunday of Easter 2020.  

5th Sunday of Easter, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’.

Lock down cannot last go on indefinitely. That’s for certain. In the last few days, the tension between keeping people physically safe and keeping people mentally healthy has been to the fore.

The discussion about the reopening of schools and the benefits and dangers has been widely debated. One basic truth which has become even more clearly understood and experienced is the fact that we are social beings. The Book of Genesis brings to us that fundamental truth that it is not good that man should be alone. Our schools, their classrooms, playgrounds, assembly halls and dining halls all bear united witness to the fact that we are social beings and naturally drawn to be in company with each other. It is a universal truth.

What is true of the world and all its peoples, of course, is especially true of our spiritual selves which is, for us, one of the reasons why  it is so difficult to live through these days of enforced  separation for the Body of Christ.

Our second reading today brings before us the powerful words of the writer of the First Letter of Peter:-

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation.
A people set apart to sing the praises of God,
Who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

We are to sing the praises of God constantly, not only in specific acts of worship but with our entire lives. Having said that, the greatest expression we can give to our truest identity is in gathering together as the Body of Christ on the Lord’s Day to celebrate the mystery of the death and resurrection of our Saviour.

A great witness to this was given in a Roman courthouse in Carthage at the beginning of the fourth century. Arrested during the celebration of Sunday Eucharist in a house Church, the 49 Christians of Abitene were interrogated as to their motives for gathering. The response to their interrogators question was simply, We can not live without Sundaywithout this coming together, this gathering on the Lord’s day. Sunday in this instance has a triple meaning. It refers to the day, it refers to the event, the death and resurrection of Jesus and it refers to his presence to and in the gathered assembly.

We cannot live without Sunday.

That truth holds firm also today. We can echo the testimony of these North African martyrs. We live from what we are given in the Sunday Eucharist and we truly live for the Eucharist. We are called to allow those words to take on an even deeper meaning for us in these days where gathering is temporarily not possible.

We allow the Word of God for this week to give us real nourishment.
We ask the Lord to help us to hear his words spoken to us, spoken to the Body of Christ and to be uplifted and consoled by what he says to us right now:-

“Do not let your hearts be troubled
Trust in God still and trust in me”

Those words can take us in all sorts of different directions and apply in all sorts of life situations.

Perhaps we can sit down with them today, spend time with them and let them help us to know that our Lord and God continues to be with us and to be for us, even through this time of trial, our way, our truth and our life.

5th Sunday of Easter
10th May 2020