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View from up a tree

We often see children sitting on a parent’s shoulder so that they can get a better view of what is going on, or even a view at all, because in a crowd the only thing in their line of sight may be the backs of the people in front of them

Increasingly, we also see young women sitting on the shoulders of their companions at rock concerts and there are other situations in which it is an advantageous place to perch.








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Religion is not just about me

In his parable presented in the gospel reading of today’s Mass, Jesus sets out to shake the complacency of the people who think that following the rules is all they have to do in order to be his faithful follower, or lead a good life.

He points out to them that simply following the rules, even to the letter of the minutest directive, does not mean much except in the context of the manner in which they think and act towards others.








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Act of goodness is act of happiness

For Jesus, faith was and is, primarily, the trust we put in God’s love for us and a measure of how willing we are to serve others.

Today, as the worldwide Church marks Mission Sunday, this is truly an appropriate theme for people
to reflect upon, as it asks the question of how strongly we believe that
God will act in history and how determinedly we are convinced
that God will take care of us,
forgive us, heal us and protect us from evil.








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A little faith suffices

 In the reading from the gospel that we hear in today’s Mass we hear a heartfelt plea from the apostles to Jesus. “Increase our faith!” they beg.

Jesus, as is often his way, responds with a story. He speaks about the mustard tree, whose sprawling branches and great height grow out of the tiniest of all seeds.








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It is not all for me!

The well known saying, “Money is the root of all evil,” is the main theme that runs through the gospel reading this week. Yes, money is something that is part of everyone’s life and, whether rich or poor, it has its influence.








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Returning home

After a few weeks listening to some hard lessons from Jesus, we get inspiring images of God the Father.

First there is a response to the criticism of the scribes and Pharisees over Jesus’ relationship with public sinners and the outcasts, and his acceptance of them shown by eating with them.








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Dropping everything

Another week and we get another hard word from Jesus. This one is quite blunt and to the point. However, if we become fixated on the saying and don’t do some reflection, we probably will not be disciples of Jesus.

His disciples need to be able to renounce worldly goods, bonds of affection and even give their lives. It is at our own regret we ignore this wisdom and fail to recognise that Jesus must be preferred to everything.








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True lay leadership

T

his is a story about a young man, who was especially remembered at the World Youth Day in Paris over a decade ago.

Frederic Ozanam was born in Milan and raised in France. As a teenager, he experienced a crisis of faith. But helped by his teachers, Ozanam emerged from the struggle stronger in faith and with a deep charity towards unbelievers and doubters.








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Communities are built on trust

The vision of a disciple must be the vision of God. As disciples, we must look around us with wide-angled lenses so that we are able to recognise that God offers the grace of salvation to every living creature.

The passages we listen to at Mass from both Isaiah and Luke are astounding in their inclusivity.








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Shoe leather evangelisation

As disciples, we make commitments to values and principles that are not always cherished by other people or by wider society.

We can be misunderstood for our beliefs, even ridiculed. But in addition, our lives may be a reproach to those who do not share our aspirations. There may be times when we must stand in opposition to others.