Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    Faith Matters - The Word

    Article by Mr Brendan Nicholls

    Faith Matters – The Word

    As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic we are surrounded by anxiety and fear. The panic in our communities may seem overwhelming at times. The spread of this ‘new’ illness, the 24 hour reporting and the rapidly evolving response from our nation’s leaders stirs anxiety and deep concern about how communities, families and individuals should respond. It is very easy to be drawn away from a state of contentment and trust, to one of uncertainty. It may prove profitable during these times to remember that we are “in the world, not of the world” and that the promises made to us are true and recorded for us in the Bible.

    You may wish to read the following as text or under the model of lectio divina or in a more natural manner you may simply read and reflect upon the prompts. Regardless of the method you choose I hope these promises are helpful to you and your loved ones at this time.

    The Word 

    In the John’s Gospel we are reminded that Jesus is the Word (Logos) that has existed from the beginning and will eternally. 

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.  – John 1:1-5

    Reflecting upon this reading, reflect upon the promises made. You and all things came into being because of Jesus and that in him we find salvation and wholeness.

    Worry

    In Matthew’s Gospel we encounter Jesus as he teaches and promises us of God’s love.

    Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 

    Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

    “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  – Matthew 6:25-34

    Take a moment to consider the depth of Jesus’ teaching. 

    How do these promises reflect the needs in your life? What worry do you hold on to that is unnecessary? Do you believe that God knows all of your needs and what might this mean in regard to today’s concerns? What are you called to strive first for and what will be given to you by our loving God? 

    The Greatest Commandment

    During these difficult times many are drawn into daily concerns, their needs and those of the ones closest to them. Human nature pulls us strongly toward putting ourselves first in times of trial. Reflect upon Jesus’ teaching of the ‘Great Commandment’.

    When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” - Matthew 22:34-40

    Our faith is based upon love of God and of sacrifice and service for the other. Jesus taught much but offered only a named few a commandment. 

    What value is a commandment compared to a teaching or instruction? How have you lived these two commandments over the last week? What concerns have drawn you away from fulfilling this commandment over the last few days and what can you do in the future to draw closer to God and your neighbour?

    Peace

    
As the world deals with very difficult times with complex challenges and deeply troubling impacts, have faith God loves you. God will care for you. St Paul comforts us and reminds us to be “in the world not of the world” in his letter to the Philippians.

    Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:4-7

    How can you rejoice even in times of anxiety and adversity? Is there any value in worry, and in worrying are you truly trusting in God? How can you, and how often will you, pray in faith over the coming days? Will you place your attention on earthly things or God when you become anxious? If we came into being through Jesus, do you trust that he will offer you peace and that he will guard your heart?

    The promise of Jesus is truth: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matt 11:28-30)

    Be at peace, offer compassion and kindness, do not be anxious.

    Yours in Christ,

    Brendan Nicholls  Liturgy Coordinator

     

     

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