Through Shadows and Images...

A Blog by Tom Gourlay

Month: April 2016

1 May – Sixth Sunday of Easter

Gospel Jn 15:9-17
“You did not choose me: no, I chose you”
The theme of today’s reading is one that we often reflect on – the love of God. We have recounted here before us a stunning message from Jesus to his disciples. He tells them clearly and beautifully of the love that he has for them. John, the author of this Gospel is clearly very affected by the reality of this love that he experienced directly from Christ – it is a recurring theme in his writings. Elsewhere he states explicitly that God doesn’t just have love – it is not simply one of his attributes, as though it is one among many. No, in point of fact, God actually is love. [1 Jn 4:8]
This can be a reality that is easily lost on us – in fact often the more we hear it, the less real it can seems. This image of love, detached from the reality of our lives becomes a trite, schmaltzy bit of warm-fuzzy nothingness.  But Jesus’ words here reveal the profound reality of what it means to love – words that are in fact deeply profound.
“A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.” – Here is love: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
What this looks like in our lives may be different according to our current state in life: whether we are a parent, a friend, a husband or a wife, a boyfriend or a girlfriend, a son or a daughter. The call to love is not something that is just for some people. No, it is for each and every one of us. And it is in this act of loving, in this act of spending our lives in love and service of others that we find our true self.
The words of the Second Vatican Council, so often quoted by Pope St John Paul II echo this call; ”man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” [GS, 24]

Let us turn to Christ and ask that he will provide what is lacking in our love, and for the courage to spend our lives in love and service of him and those whom he loves.

Point to Ponder
Recognise that you have been chosen first. God has chosen me, as his beloved daughter or son.
We love only because he has loved us first.

10 April – Third Sunday of Easter

“I’m going fishing.”
Despite our familiarity with tragedy, it is hard to fathom how the disciples must have felt. Their friend and leader from whom they’d been inseparable for the last three years had been executed in the most public and horrendous of ways.
Despite news of his somehow being alive again, the confusion and fear that weighed on their hearts and minds must have been phenomenal. If a tragedy such as this could befall him who had been the most upright, though perplexing of persons, what was in store for them as his followers?
“Let’s go fishing”, suggests Simon Peter – a fisherman by trade, yet no doubt one who enjoyed the pastime. In his grief what he needs is familiarity, and some kind of activity to distract him perhaps.
When we actually sit down and read the Gospels it is often surprising, scandalous even, to find such banal or commonplace statements. We expect, and oftentimes get, elevated spiritual discourse, but just as often it seems, we are treated with mundane details of the ordinary and everyday, leading us at times to ask why such details are included. And yet, it is here, in the mystery of our everyday lives that the resurrected Christ comes to meet us.
We are often waiting for a big event to break upon us and open us up the spiritual realities that we hope exist somewhere out there, and often we find ourselves seeking out such experiences – we go on retreats, or find ourselves engaging in meditation or other ‘spiritual’ practices, hoping to connect with the mystery.
It is the inclusion in the Gospels of these rather mundane events that reminds us that it is right here, in the everyday, that Christ comes to meet us.
For Simon Peter and the others, this was a real, physical experience, but it can be for us as well. God cannot be contained to those spaces where we go to try and seek Him out, but can and will be found wherever we open ourselves to receive his love.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén