Sunday 22nd Ordinary Time 2012 Mass and Reflections

        In advance, the Scripture readings for Sunday's Mass are here.

        Various reflections from St Louis Centre for Liturgy are here.

         Frankly, I  would need more than the proverbial month of Sunday's to write on the message in this weeks readings. They are quite a challenge for me. The mob mentality of institutional religion seems to pervade much of the news these days. 

So these are some reflections from people who have done far better than I ever could in unravelling the meanings.

         There are some excellent reflections on the Gospel here.

         Fine Reflections on the readings from Fr. John Predmore S.J. here
         which help integrate the message in the context of the times as well as today.

         and an interesting one here  from a site called Progressive Involvement.


         A few formidable phrases from the Gospel to dwell on..

So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
"Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?"

He responded,
"Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honours me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me;

in vain do they worship me,

teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition."

He summoned the crowd again and said to them,
"Hear me, all of you, and understand.

Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person;

but the things that come out from within are what defile.

Keith Haring Ten Commandments, 
Source Art in The Christian Tradition

These passages too struck me as relevant...
We don’t teach meditation to the young monks. They are not ready for it until they stop slamming doors.–Thich Nhat Hanh to Thomas Merton in 1966.
"The piercing truth of this statement struck me as a perfect way to communicate the endless disguises and devices of the false self. There is no more clever way for the false self to hide than behind the mask of spirituality.
The human ego will always try to name, categorize, fix, control, and insure all its experiences. For the ego everything is a commodity. It lives inside of self-manufactured boundaries instead of inside the boundaries of the God-self. It lives out of its own superior image instead of mirroring the image of God.
The ego is constantly searching for any solid and superior identity. A spiritual self-image gives us status, stability, and security. There is no better way to remain unconscious than to baptize and bless the forms of religion, even prayer itself, instead of surrendering to the Substance Itself.
First stop slamming doors, and then you can begin in the kindergarten of spirituality. Too many priests, bishops, and ministers are still slamming doors.
In the name of seeking God, the ego pads and protects itself from self-discovery, which is an almost perfect cover for its inherent narcissism.
I know this because I have done it all myself."–Richard Rohr, OFM
Contemplation in Action by Richard Rohr. 
Read more by Richard Rohr at the Center for Action and Contemplation.

With apologies to Henri...not just for Christian leaders, but for all Christ followers, this passage from Henri Nouwen...

"But for the future of Christian leadership it is of vital importance to reclaim the mystical aspect of theology (union with God in prayer, not just academic discipline) so that every word spoken, every word of advice given, and every strategy developed can come from a heart that knows God intimately.
I have the impression that many of the debates within the church around issues such as the papacy, the ordination of women, the marriage of priests, homosexuality, birth control, abortion, and euthanasia take place on a primarily moral level.  
On that level, different parties battle about right or wrong. But that battle is often 
removed from the experience of God's first love, which lies at the base of all human relationships.

Words like "right-wing," "reactionary," "conservative," "liberal," and "left-wing" are used to describe people's opinions, and many discussions then seem more like political battles for power than spiritual searches for truth.

Christian leaders cannot simply be persons who have well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time. 

Their leadership must be rooted in permanent, intimate relationship with the incarnate Word, Jesus, and they need to find there the source for their words, advice and guidance."

---Henri Nouwen, "In the Name of Jesus"

spirituality (Photo credit: Loulair Harton)

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