• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 28 February 2020 09:34

A season for recognising God in our neighbour

 

By Father Michael Knight SVD

Fr Michael Knight SVD 150The Gospel speaks of: Replacing an old heart with a new heart; And a grain of wheat that has to first die.

These are ways of speaking of a dying to oneself so that a new person and way of life comes about.

I would like to share a story about a certain lady to illustrate this Gospel truth.

There was once a lady, called Cathy, who was very devote in her practice of the faith. One evening during her prayer time God communicated to her that he would visit her the next day.

She was very glad to receive this message. The next morning she woke up bright and early to get the house in order, to receive her expected visitor.

Helping hands 450 PixabaySo as she was putting on the kettle in the kitchen, the doorbell rang.

Cathy then said to herself: “Great!  this is it” !  …..  However when she opened the door it wasn’t God but rather the neighbour from across the street who asked her if she could help her with a bowl of rice, as she had just heard that  two friends were to visit her from inter-state and she didn’t have time to go to the shops. Cathy was a bit disappointed but invited the neighbour inside while she fetched the rice for her. The neighbour left very happy.

Then Cathy went back to the kitchen. After about 30 minutes the phone rang. Cathy rushed excitedly to the phone but it was her cousin. The cousin explained that she had just received some difficult news in that one of her grandchildren, who was living overseas, had been involved in an car accident. She asked if she come around to Cathy’s house as she didn’t want to be alone at this time. Cathy wanted to explain that she was expecting an important visitor but in the end she told her cousin that she was most welcome to come around. The cousin and her had coffee together and talked about the distressing news of the accident. Eventually the cousin left and returned to her home much more at peace.

Then Cathy was wondering about God’s promise that he would visit her that day. It didn’t seem to be happening !!

Finally she went outside to the front of her house and looked up and down the street….

A car pulled up at the kerb and a man got out and came towards her. He asked for directions to get to a certain shop in the neighbourhood. Cathy gave him directions and sent him on his way.

That evening Cathy was very disturbed as it seemed that God had changed his mind about visiting her. She went to bed that night feeling quite disappointed and disturbed.

However after she fell asleep she had a dream in which God appeared to her and she asked God why he had not visited her after all.

God then told Cathy that he had in fact visited her three times that day and each time she, Cathy, had treated him very well. Cathy was so very surprised and pleased !! She was reborn with a new heart that could now see God in those who are in need.

What Cathy experienced is also possible on a parish level as the following story suggests to us.

There was once a parish which had been very lively in the not too distant past but then seemed to have fallen on hard times. People would come around and talk of how the current life seemed to have drained away. It was disturbing!!

Finally the parish priest decided to consult with a holy man in an attempt to find out what could be done. In due course he arrived at the monastery and sought an interview with this monk. After listening carefully to all that the parish priest had to share the monk told him that the problem within the parish was basically one of ignorance. The parish priest looked very perplexed so the holy man went on to explain that, in fact, one of the parishioners had a special and totally unique gift  for the parish but this gift had not been recognised. The parish priest was intrigued and travelled back home to see what could be done.

Soon after his arrival he called a meeting of all the parishioners and told them what the holy man had shared. He said, “One of you has a special gift for the parish so we need to look out for this and recognise it”.

Thereafter all the parishioners started looking more deeply at one another and asking themselves, “Who has this special gift?” Is it Mary or Susan? Could it be Jack or Thomas? Perhaps it is Margaret or James? And so this process went on, and as they were never sure who it might be, all the parishioners started treating each other with more respect and affection. People now bonded together instead of just walking past each other on the way into or out of the church building. The result was that life returned in a big way to this parish community.

The call to be born again during Lent is all about our willingness and openness to recognise the goodness, the giftedness, the God and Jesus presence in the minds and hearts of our neighbour.

During Lent then we are all called to die to our old selves so that a new self and a new community can be born.