18th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

In this Sunday’s Gospel there is a small phrase with, may I suggest, huge meaning.

The Gospel (John 6: 24 – 35), speaks of the crowd, “got into the boats and found him on the other side.”

I think I can safely say that the phrase is indicative of a journey from one side of the lake to the other. And maybe that motif is being asked of each of us, namely ‘to cross over’ to find him on the other side.

When we consider the First Reading for this Sunday (Ex. 16: 2 – 4, 12 – 15), this is precisely the situation of the Israelites. They have ‘crossed over’ the Red Sea and are in the desert, wandering and complaining, wanting to return to Egypt!

The motif of crossing over and entering the wilderness has been described by the author Joseph Campbell as The Hero’s Journey.

In his study of different cultures, Campbell found an amazingly similar motif played out in the culture’s foundational story, and while details altered (for example the threshold might be a river, a sea, a forest, a mountain range) the fundamentals were unerringly similar.

Continue reading “18th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B”

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Jimmy and Joe were the best of friends.

They first met when they started school together and now, after four years, were still happy in each other’s company.

Most lunchtime they would sit together and eat their sandwiches before heading off to join the other boys in the playground.

One lunchtime as Jimmy say down next to Joe, he noticed that Joe looked a little glum.

“What is the matter?” Jimmy asked.

“I left my lunch at home!” said Joe.

“That is ok, you can have one of mine,” said Jimmy, as he took his sandwiches out of the paper bag and laid them on the seat between them.

Continue reading “17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B”

16th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

“Come away to a quiet place” (Mk. 6: 31 )

For many, our lives are often like an over-packed suitcase.

It seems like we are always busy, always over-pressured, always one phone call, one text message, one email, one visit, and one task behind.

We are forever anxious about what we have still left undone, about whom we have disappointed, about unmet expectations.

At times we can feel as if we are on a treadmill from which we would want to step off.

And within all that busyness, pressure, noise, and tiredness there is, in us, an urge, a desire for solitude.

We long for some quiet, restful place where all the pressure and noise will stop, and we can sit and simply rest.

That is a healthy yearning.

It is our soul speaking.

Like our body, our soul too keeps trying to tell us what it needs. The soul needs solitude.

But solitude is not easy to find. Why?

Continue reading “16th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B”

15th Sundary Ordinary Time Year B

The small town of Lytton, British Columbia, Canada was in World News broadcasts this last week.

The town, with a population of no more than 250, recorded Canada’s highest ever temperature, and then within 24 hours of this recording the town was engulfed in a wildfire and destroyed.

The town’s residents had no more than a fifteen-minute warning to leave their homes.

With such little notice, what would you take from your home?

The response of each of us will no doubt be very personal, and, more than likely very different.

Spend a moment and consider what you would take, and what you would leave behind?

I, personally, had a somewhat similar situation as a result of the 7.1 earthquake which hit the city of Christchurch on the 4th September, 2010.

The home I was living in was a 100-year-old two-story brick structure, and after the assessment was deemed unsafe to be lived in.

As a consequence, I, and those I lived with were told to leave the residence.

What does one pack, and what does one leave behind?

What are essential to who I am as a person?

Continue reading “15th Sundary Ordinary Time Year B”