23rd February 2015 -  Listening to Jesus on the First Sunday of Lent

At the beginning of Lent we remember that although it is the Church who provides this Season for us, it is Jesus who speaks to us.

For the First Sunday of Lent this year in the few short words of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is saying something very important to us.

“The Kingdom of God is close at hand”.  Think of the old Irish saying, “The help of God is as close as the door”. God is closer to us than you could ever imagine.

God is near to us - nearer than we would ever know humanly. Recently I saw a saying of St Teresa of Avila who lived in the sixteenth century and was the real founder of the enclosed Carmelite Sisters - a mystic, a great contemplative and a Doctor of the Church. She said, “God never takes his eyes off you”. God more than a parent gazing at their child, gazes at each of us, moment by moment, with unlimited love.

Jesus continues, “Repent and believe the Good News”.

All this and much more is Good News. And ‘repent’ means change your thinking, turn right around (180 degrees as it were) and really believe this.

As we go through Lent, following a little of plan of prayer, almsgiving and penance, let us keep this great truth and Good News in mind. God sees all that is done in secret and is close with his love and strength. 


16th February 2015 - Listening to Jesus at the beginning of Lent

As we keep listening to Jesus, especially through his Word, he will not only speak to our minds but even more so to our hearts.

Jesus speaks to us also through his Church. And the Church puts before us at this time the great season of Lent.

Lent 2015 is new. It will be similar to others, but it will be different. I am in a different space this year. Circumstances in my life are somewhat different.

What is Jesus saying to me this Lent?

Take time to read, reflect on and pray about the Gospel for Ash Wednesday (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18) on prayer, fasting / penance and almsgiving.

From this listening, this prayer, write down a simple plan for Lent.


9th February 2015- Listening to Jesus

In case we need any convincing about the importance of listening to Jesus, let me quote God the Father’s words in the episode of the Transfiguration.

The Transfiguration is recounted in all the synoptic Gospels. In it God gives Peter, James and John a very special experience of Jesus’ glory as the Son of God. John’s Gospel doesn’t quote the Transfiguration because his entire Gospel is about Jesus as the Son of God.

I quote the Father’s words, “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him” (Mk 9:8).  “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him” (Mt 17:5).  “This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him” (Lk9:36)

To add to my question last week “What are the ways I know of listening to Jesus?”  I ask this week “How am I listening to Jesus?”


2nd February 2015 - Listening to Jesus

I was away for most of January on Retreat and holiday. I trust and pray that the New Year has begun well for you. I ask God’s blessing on you, your families and all your undertakings this year.

Recently I was reflecting and praying on a passage from John 4:22-30. In it some were concerned that people were leaving John and going to Jesus.

This gave John the Baptist the opportunity to repeat again, “I myself am not the Christ; I am the one who has been sent in front of him”.

John goes on to speak of Jesus as the ‘Bridegroom’ and himself as ‘a friend’ of the Bridegroom and says this, “The Bridegroom’s friend, who stands there and listens, is glad when he hears the Bridegroom’s voice”.

It made me think ‘What a wonderful attitude! Listening to the Bridegroom’s voice -  listening to Jesus - is not only important, but it also brings joy’.

So let’s spend this year listening to Jesus. We all do it in so many ways. I will offer a few things along the course of this year which I trust will help.

There is no doubt, listening to Jesus regularly will bear untold fruit. It is the occupation of not just a few weeks or even of a year, but of a lifetime.

We can begin this week by asking ourselves “What are the ways I know of listening to Jesus?”