Seventh Sunday Ordinary Time 2011 Mass and Reflections

Mass readings are here along with varied commentaries.

These readings are very challenging .
The first thoughts that I have are to put my hands up and say What do I do with this ?!!

"Let no one deceive himself.
If any one among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:
God catches the wise in their own ruses,
and again:
The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are vain."


The main issues and groups of people I find it exceptionally hard to dialogue with are neo- conservative fundamentalist people in my own church.They don’t want to change; they want the world to change back to what they think it used to be. Bad news – it won’t. And it was never what they imagined it was .

I believe they are deluded. The saddest idea  that we need to have a church pre - Vatican II ; with the patriarchal structure included and all the rest they think that means, fills me with incredulous horror.
That whitewashed church never existed. The pre Vatican II church had plenty of prejudice, clerical power and decadence, elitism and even overt oppression and abuse of freedom, human rights, equality and dignity.

 We all put our pennies for the little ones in Africa to have their own Bibles and wasn’t that an incredible denial of the whole political situation on that continent in 1960?
The current church has huge problems and we all need a change of heart and mind.
There are people who turn away from some of this in utter incomprehension. There are young people who feel the church is not relevant to their lives and they aren't interested in "programmes " or new liturgies. 

They have enlightened minds on issues of gender and sexual equality and are incredulous that the church is still entrenched in archaic attitudes. and power plays.

They are more likely to be concerned with acceptance, compassion and personal engagement with their lives. 
Christ gave us a mission . – Go  and preach the good news. That’s what the church did in its first few years,  We need a fresh expression of church and we need to be the apostolic church Christ intended us to be, a place of mutual respect. 
I need to either dust my shoes and walk away from trying to engage in a sterile dialogue with people or stick in there and find a way of being without anger.

Dag Hammarkjold put it well when he spoke about motives "At least be certain in the marrow of your bones that it is not for the egotistical satisfaction of perfection, but for Him that you work, that what He has a right to demand from you takes precedence over what you have a right to demand from HIm.
He also had this to say on forgiveness :

"Forgiveness breaks the chain of causality because he who forgives you-out of love- takes upon himself the consequences of what you have done. Forgiveness, therefore always entails a sacrifice.
The price you must pay for your own liberation through another's sacrifice, is that you in turn must be willing to liberate in the same way, irrespective of the consequences to yourself."

Barbara Reid's article " Having No Enemies " in America magazine gives some valuable insight into what it means using the life of former Mexican Bishop Samuel Ruiz who was a mediator in the conflict between the Zapatista rebels and the Mexican goovernment during the 1990's and who received many death threats because of his role and she also explains what the perspective was during the time of Jesus.

In this short video, Soul of Europe Co-founder Revd Donald Reeves MBE talks clearly and engagingly about the four key elements needed for peacebuilding and reconciliation as he visits Kosovo which could so easily flare up into conflict again at any time.

Find out what the title "Shoes, Walls, Land and Tables" means !

Longterm peacebuilding is about helping former enemies to become less frightened of each other.

It's about building relationships and it's hard work, but something mainstream mediators are failing to engage with, says Donald Reeves.

The Soul of Europe was established in 2000 to help realize Nelson Mandela's words:
"You don't make peace by talking to your friends; you have to make peace with your enemies'."


The Soul of Europe works as catalysts and mediators to ensure a peaceful resolution to conflicts - particularly in the Balkans. Their website is here and you can read more about the remarkable Donald Reeves here and here 


 This great article by Thomas Merton written in 1967 is still relevant to today, particularly in the light of world events in Tunisia, Egypt and other places of conflict.



I am currently reading a powerful book called No Enemy To Conquer : Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World by Michael Henderson (2009).

 It shares the real life stories of people of diverse faiths and cultures who, despite all odds, found the courage to reconcile with their enemies. It is a humbling book because it is full of stories from people who had every reason to hate but who chose to forgive without appearing as naive doormats in the process.

Caritas Internationalis is an organisation that does amazing work all over the world .
Here are a few useful links and their role in peacebuilding here


To find me you must stop the noise:
Silence the guns and the tanks,
the shouted orders,
the shouts of defiance,
the screaming and weeping,
and listen.
My voice is very weak.
You must try to hear it.
You will have to come close
and pick away the tumbled stones.
Carefully, gently,
when you find me, lift me out,
help me to breathe;
set my broken limbs
but don't think it's enough
to give me back a fragile existence.
I need food and water,
I need a home, hope and work to do.
I need love
You must embrace me
and take me to your heart.
My name is PEACE.


 This Is How A Human Being Can Change

This is how a human being can change:
There's a worm addicted to eating grape leaves.
SUDDENLY, he wakes up...
Call it grace, whatever, 
something wakes him,
and he's no longer a worm.
He's the entire vineyard,
And the orchard too,
The fruit, the trunks, a
Growing wisdom and joy
That doesn't need to devour.
- Rumi 
from The Illuminated Rumi

I will finish with a few memorable quotations on conflct resolution and peace- making for reflection:

Never ascribe to an opponent motives meaner than your own. – John M. Barrie

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. – Ambrose Bierce

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. – Paul Boese
The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. – Niels Bohr
If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This principle is the key to effective interpersonal communication. – Stephen Covey

The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them. – Tom Crum

You can never change things by fighting the existing reality. 
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete. – Buckminister Fuller

Image on the left is the sculpture Single Form by Barabara Hepworth which is outside the United Nations Building in New York. 
Hepworth lived and worked here in St Ives Cornwall and her gallery and garden are full of other wonderful sculptures. I am very fortunate to be able to visit it several times a year.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it stands than to anything on which it is poured. – Gandhi 

Whenever two people meet there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other sees him, and each man as he really is. – William James

Above image: 
Communication The Conversation
from here

Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? – Shirdi Sai Baba

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: