Sunday 10 January

The Baptism of the Lord

Scripture

It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’(Mark 1:9-11)

Reflect

Are there times when you don’t feel so favoured by others? Perhaps you’ve been overlooked a promotion, been left out of a conversation, never received that invitation you’d expected, or felt as though your talents have been disregarded or your contribution undermined.  Today, we read about Jesus being the Beloved Son of the Father, on whom his favour rests.  And because God loves us, because he loves you, he wants us, he wants you, to be drawn into that loving relationship.  Only Jesus by rights can call God his Father but through the spirit of adoption we become Jesus’ brothers and sisters, and are drawn deeper into the divine life, knowing that we are loved and valued as children of God.

Prayer

God our Father, how beautiful that sounds, ‘God our Father.’ Help us to know that we are loved, as your children, with Jesus as our brother and Saviour.  Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Saturday 9 January

Do not be afraid!

Scripture

After the five thousand had eaten and were filled, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to Bethsaida, while he himself sent the crowd away. After saying goodbye to them he went off into the hills to pray. When evening came, the boat was far out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. He could see they were worn out with rowing, for the wind was against them; and about the fourth watch of the night he came towards them, walking on the lake. He was going to pass them by, but when they saw him walking on the lake they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they had all seen him and were terrified. But he at once spoke to them, and said, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind dropped. They were utterly and completely dumbfounded, because they had not seen what the miracle of the loaves meant; their minds were closed. (Mark 6:45-52)

Reflect

Some days we may seem to glide through life without a worry or concern. Other days, perhaps for no obvious reason, we find life a slog, a bit like wading through mud or, like the disciples in the boat, rowing against the wind. In addition to this they have recently witnessed a miracle worked by Jesus but they couldn’t work it out. Their minds were closed. Yes, sometimes, life can be confusing and our understanding of Christ can be challenged. And yet he speaks those words to us as to those first disciples, “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid!” Perhaps we need to be more attentive at times to the presence and words of Jesus, as he steps into our fears to bring us peace.

Prayer

God our loving Father, when we row against the wind, give us a vision of Jesus and open our ears to hear his words of comfort.  Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Friday 8 January

A holy exchange

Scripture

As Jesus stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length. By now it was getting very late, and his disciples came up to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place and it is getting very late. So send them away, and they can go to the farms and villages round about, to buy themselves something to eat.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ They answered, ‘Are we to go and spend two hundred denarii on bread for them to eat?’ ‘How many loaves have you?’ he asked. ‘Go and see.’ And when they had found out they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people together in groups on the green grass, and they sat down on the ground in squares of hundreds and fifties. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing; then he broke the loaves and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the people. He also shared out the two fish among them all. They all ate as much as they wanted. They collected twelve basketfuls of scraps of bread and pieces of fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men. (Mark 6:34- 44)

Reflect

Quite often people are measured by what they have or own. We, ourselves, may delight in new possessions or be envious of those who have things that we don’t or perhaps feel proud when we have something we think is better than our neighbours! And, yet, there is far more to being human than the things we possess. All of us have been given gifts to use for God. Sometimes these gifts may appear to be so small, too small, or perhaps they are overlooked and ignored. God uses the little that we have, if we offer it to him, for him to do great things – just like he does in the Eucharist. We offer to God from what he has already given us. And in that holy exchange we receive heavenly food, the body of Christ, the bread of life.

Prayer

Lord God, I offer you all that I am, and all that I have, as little as it is, knowing that you can do great things with even the smallest gift.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday 7 January, 2021

The Power of Love

He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people. His fame spread throughout Syria, and those who were suffering from diseases and painful complaints of one kind or another, the possessed, epileptics, the paralysed, were all brought to him, and he cured them. Large crowds followed him, coming from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judaea and Transjordania. (Matthew 4:17, 23-25)

Reflect

Jesus’ ministry consisted of words and deeds. He taught people and proclaimed by word and action the good news of God’s Kingdom.  At the heart of God’s Kingdom is the law of love.  The power of Jesus’ love transformed the lives of those who came to him.  All who have loved and been loved will know how love changes and transforms us.  Whilst there continues to be sickness and pain in the world, it is love that can transform a difficult situation, a painful life.  Who are we called to love today? Are we able to receive the love and care of others? How, through word and deed, can we give and receive the good news of Jesus and share his love? And will we allow God to love us, and will we love him in return?

Prayer

Loving Father, through words and actions, Jesus brought your undying love to us.  May we be transformed by his love, and so bring his transforming love to others this day.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Wednesday 6 January 2021 (Epiphany)

The Centre of Attention

And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way. (Matthew 2: 9 – 12)

Reflect

A new born baby soon makes its present felt within a family.  Someone so small, so vulnerable and fragile, so needy, can and does transform the life of a family.  The baby becomes the centre of attention, as they cry for food, disrupt our sleep, demand attention.  And so, too, for Jesus.  In the Incarnation, God participates in what it means to be human and, like any baby, demands our attention.  And yet, beyond his baby years, through childhood and adulthood, he demands our attention.  When he dies on the cross, he demands our attention.  Risen and ascended to glory, he demands our attention. Present, too, today in the lives of the poor, he demands our attention still. How attentive to Jesus are we? How can we attend to him today?

Prayer

Lord God, today as we celebrate the revelation of Jesus to the world, may we attend to him this day, bringing him our own offerings, listening to his words, serving him in our daily life and in those whom we meet.  Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

We’re back each day with a new thought for the day!