Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (17: 10-13) in which the disciples question Jesus saying, ‘Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?’.Lord Jesus,you came to bring me the good news of God’s deep and eternal love for me.Allow joy to transform my life, giving me the courage to place my trust in you.We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Fr Paul continues to read from the ‘Heart of the Disciple’ resource for our daily reflections which asks us to consider the following: Winston Churchill once said, people “occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” It provides food for thought. The truth of the Gospel is absolute good news; in other words, it is good news for everyone all the time. There’s not a single person in the entire existence of humanity who is worse-off because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – when understood and lived with all the compassion and mercy that it entails, and not misunderstood and misused by some for their own ends. It is objectively and universally good news, so why do we all struggle to accept it? If you were to hear that everything bad or foolish you’ve done in your own life could be healed and forgiven, and that when you die, you could enter a reality where there is no pain, no fear, no evil, and all of your true desires would be fulfilled forever, the logical emotional reaction would be profound joy. It would be the kind of reckless joy you see when someone wins the lotto. This is not the reaction many people have when they hear the Gospel. And as is seen in the Gospel, some react to such good news with fear, anger, and violence. They react with hardness of heart, which is like a type of leprosy of the soul. It alienates us from God and slowly kills us. Jesus calls us beyond that hardness of heart. Instead, he shows how to have faith and hope and how to love. Jesus teaches us to have faith. He even says insanely bold things like, ‘nothing is impossible for God’ (Luke 2:26). He shows us how to hope by telling us to ‘store up for yourselves treasures in heaven’ (Matthew 6:20), which is to say; start living in the promise of God’s kingdom now! And he teaches us to love by intentionally choosing to do good for all people always, even if it hurts. Faith, hope and love are needed as the antidote to hardness of heart. Pray the Holy Spirit pours out all the faith, hope and love imaginable and softens our stony hearts so we can rejoice because our names have been written in the book of life. For our reflection and discussion, what is it about my faith that prevents me from relating to it as ‘good news’ for everyone all the time?’ What am I focusing on instead? And today we pray: