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Homily – Cardinal John Dew – Sunday 5th March 2017

Homily Sunday 5th March 2017

“Do you renounce Satan? And all his works, and all his empty promises?’

Those words are asked at every Baptism. They are asked of everyone, not just the person being baptized or his or her parents.

“Do you renounce Satan? And all his works, and all his empty promises?’

Those words are also asked every Easter when we renew our Baptism promises…they are asked of everyone.

Those words are asked at every Confirmation ceremony, they are asked of everyone, not just those being confirmed.

We need to be reminded to renounce evil and bad things.

We don’t talk much about the Devil, Satan, the Tempter, Lucifer; but we do need to face reality and admit that the devil is real. I am not talking about some figure with horns and a pitchfork – but an eveil spirit.

Jesus faced the devil in the desert, and had to make a choice , Jesus had to choose His path… If Jesus faced evil it is clear that we too have to face evil and make good choices.

It is a fact that we are tempted or lured by a power beyond ourselves that tries to lead as away from God, away from Jesus and His Gospel.

In the first homily he delivered as Bishop of Rome Pope Francis spoke of the devil, he has continued to do so and regularly reminds us that we need to be on guard.

In that first homily he said, “ The devil is real and doesn’t want our holiness.” Then he went on to say:  “It is enough to open a newspaper and see that around us there is a presence of evil, the devil is at work. And then I would say in a loud voice “God is stronger,” do you believe that, “God is stronger?”

There is a presence of evil in our world, in our lives who tries to lure us away from God. In another homily later in the same year the Pope said “Please let us not do business with the devil – be always with Jesus, be always with Jesus.”

This Lent is the time for us to choose, to choose to be always with Jesus, to choose our own path, and to know that our path makes no sense without Jesus…so we to Tell his Truth, to Live his Life and to Walk his Way.

Jesus was lead into the wilderness by the Spirit of God, where he fasted and prayed for forty days and forty nights…… the tempter, the Devil came to him. We can be sure that if he tried Jesus out then he will also try us out too. He tempted Jesus to live a quick and easy lifestyle, tried to get Jesus to turn away from who he really was.

It happens to us all the time…something says to us:

“this will be the easy way…it doesn’t matter if I don’t help someone else today”

 “it wont really matter if I tell this lie and someone else gets blamed”

 “will it really hurt if I spread some gossip about someone else when I know it’s not true.”

 The quick and easy way is not the path to choose, because it empty and meaningless.

This happened to Jesus in the desert just after he was baptized. When he was baptized he found his real identity, his true self….He and everyone else heard the words “This is my Son, the Beloved.”

The same is said to us at our Baptism; “This is my daughter, my son the Beloved”……but the spirit of evil tries to get us to forget that and to choose another – a quick and easy path.

Lent is a time to remember who we are – the Beloved daughters and sons of God….and to be grateful for God’s choice of us.

Lent is a time – with the Spirit’s help to choose our path.

To go back to Pope Francis, in another homily in 2013 he said:
The presence of evil is on the first page of the Bible (tonight’s first reading) and the Bible ends well with the presence of the devil – with the victory of God over the devil.”

 In prayer this Lent choose your path and you and God will be the winners.

Young Church Mass Homily, Sunday 1st May 2016

Young Church Mass, Sunday 1st May 2016

One of the most famous and often quoted lines of any saint are the words of St Augustine, written roughly 1600 years ago are his words “You have made us for yourself, O God and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Those words are a bit like the  words we heard instead of the Psalm  “You are the one I want, You are the one I want.”  We can easily apply those words to God, because in actual fact we all long for God’s presence in our life, we all yearn for something – for SOMEONE – who completes our life.

Then there is another of St Augustine’s sayings: “I was looking for you outside myself and I did not find the God of my own heart.”

Both of those quotes of a saint of hundreds of years ago are very apt for tonight Young Church Mass which has the theme “Whoever loves me will keep my word.” Both of those quotes actually say the same thing that we heard in that song;  “You are the one I want, you are the one I want” it’s really what Augustine was saying hundreds of years ago. That song ended up

“When the years are showing on my face

When my heart and flesh depart this place

You’ll still be the one I want, You’ll still be the one I want…”

The theme chosen for this Mass are of course from today’s Gospel.

“If anyone loves me he or she will keep my word,

And my Father will love him /her, And we shall come to him/her

And make our home with them.”

That’s an incredible promise…..God will be at home in us, that’s what we in fact all long for, we just don’t know sometimes that it is God we are looking for.

We refer to God’s unconditional love, God’s complete acceptance of us, and that’s true, God does accept us, but it seems that Jesus is putting a condition on that tonight.

“IF anyone loves me he or she will keep my word,

And my Father will love them And we shall come to them

And make our home with them.”

The “IF” is a condition, really it is reminding us that IF we face the struggle against selfishness and self-centeredness, the thought that “life is all about me!!” then we will find inner calm and peace. The IF is telling us to think about all those things that might prevent us from living the Way of Jesus, Telling the Truth of Jesus, Walking the Way of Jesus. It’s about making Jesus the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega of our lives – and all that we say and do.

There’s another incredible promise of Jesus.

“My Father will love that person and WE will come and make our home in him or her.”

……. a little bit further on Jesus makes us another promise.

“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit – whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything……

IF we love Jesus – TRY to love him (and that’s all any of us can do) then the Spirit of God will also help us to look deep into our hearts, into our souls and minds so that we can honestly see what stops us from being the people God wants us to be. The Spirit will help us to see what prevents us from living the ways of God.

What are the ways of God?

To serve each other

To be compassionate

To live in communion with one another

Not to condemn. To make judgements –yes, but not condemn, to forgive, to show mercy.

To love enemies or those who hate us

To wash one another’s feet

This is His Way, this is the Way of God, we need Jesus and the Father to make their home in us, we need the Holy Spirit to teach us, because we cannot live the ways of God by ourselves. We need God’s Spirit and we need each other.

We all look for God, St Augustine did years ago without realising that while he was looking outside for happiness, peace and contenment, God was already living within him… “I was looking for you outside myself and I did not find the God of my own heart.”

That’s what that song told us about too. You’ll be the one I want, You’ll be the one I want….

God will live in us; Jesus has promised that IF we love him. We cannot help but love God when we know that God loved us first. God loves us first, we come to know that, THEN we respond , we look deep inside ourselves every day and ask if we are making room so that God can be at home within us, so that the Holy Spirit can live inside us and teach us.

God is the one we want, God is the One we long for, God is the One our hearts cry out for……remember: “You have made us for yourself, O God and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”