We can never hope fully to understand God: especially God's generosity. We are very good at working out who is deserving of good fortune and who is not - unfortunately for us, Gods gifts go to those God chooses, not those we choose. An example is forgiveness: those who have done the most wrong are those who receive the greatest forgiveness when they turn to God - perhaps at times we begrudge this gift. Todays lesson is simply this: God's ways are not our ways, God's thought are not our thoughts.
October's magazine is available for download below.
Let begin by debunking a myth that seems to do the rounds especially when someone dies. People do not become angels when they die! People are not suddenly given wings and float around clouds playing harps!
So what are angels?
An angel is a pure spirit created by God. The Old Testament theology included the belief in angels: the name applied to certain spiritual beings or intelligences of heavenly residence, employed by God as the ministers of His will.
The English word "angel" comes from the Greek angelos, which means 'messenger'. In the Old Testament, with two exceptions, the Hebrew word for "angel" is malak, also meaning 'messenger'. The prophet Malachi took his name from this word. He was himself a messenger, and he prophesied about the coming of "the messenger of the covenant", Jesus Christ.
Suprisingly we know quite a lot about angels, some even have names. Like the ones we celebrate today.
Michael – “who is like God” - the great Warrior angel who we hear about in the book of the Revelation.
Raphael – the healer – who we find about in the lovely book of Tobit.
Gabriel – the one who brings the message of the Coming of the Messiah to Mary.
We are also told that it is the Angels who worship God continually before his face. We have a foretaste of this in our own worship at Mass – If you want to find a biblical picture of the Mass – read the book of Revelation.
Jesus tells a dramatic story in the Gospel, to make a very important point: the desperate need in our world for forgiveness and reconciliation. How many chances do we give each other? As many as seven? How often do we shut doors on people, even family and friends, saying “That’s it; you’ve just gone too far this time: never again”? When Jesus says that we must forgive ‘seventy-seven’ times, he implies that we never stop forgiving, whatever happens. He doesn’t just say this, however: even when they do the worst thing that could be done to him, nailing him to a cross, Jesus puts these words into practice: “Father, forgive them...” As his disciples, we must do likewise.
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Nativity of Mary, or the Birth of the Virgin Mary, refers to a Christian feast day celebrating the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The modern canon of scripture does not record Mary's birth. The earliest known account of Mary's birth is found in the Protoevangelium of James (5:2), an apocryphal text from the late second century, with her parents known as Saint Anne and Saint Joachim.
In the case of saints, the Church commemorates their date of death, with Saint John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary as the few whose birth dates are commemorated. The reason for this is found in the singular mission each had in salvation history, but traditionally also because these alone (besides the prophet Jeremiah, Jer 1:5) were holy in their very birth (for Mary, see Immaculate Conception; John was sanctified in Saint Elizabeth's womb according to the traditional interpretation of Lk 1:15).
A quick glance at last week’s Gospel reveals the interesting development of the story: last week, we heard Peter proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah, and being given authority as a result. This week, Peter gets it wrong: he is rebuked by the Lord because he does not understand who the Messiah is. The Messiah is the one who will give everything for his people - even his own life. To be a follower of Jesus demands an understanding and acceptance of this fact, and a willingness to take up the cross as Jesus did. Our introduction to this is the prophet Jeremiah - also persecuted for doing and saying what was right. Have a look at the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, where this twinning of Jeremiah and prophecy of persecution also appears.
ALL SAINTS CHURCH
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