33rd Sunday in Ordinary time

‘Paradise’ is no more. The town in California, ravaged by the recent wildfires, looks like a post-apocalyptic ghost town. The disaster hit so suddenly that many of the town’s residents were only saved by the skin of their teeth; many didn’t make it and died where they were. Sadly, it is the latest, but not a one-off tragic event on such a massive scale. Less than a couple of months ago a deadly tsunami hit Indonesia, leaving behind damaged property, settlements razed to the ground and over a thousand dead. You might also remember the deadly floods in the Indian state of Kerala, as well as many other natural disasters around the world. Each of them left behind a trail of material, physical and mental devastation. Each of those tragic events has been the end of the world for the affected as they knew it.

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Scottish Interfaith Week – 11-18 November 2018

Our religious traditions are diverse. But our differences are not the cause of conflict and dispute, or a cold distance between us… We believe and hope in a fraternal world. We desire that men and women of different religions may everywhere gather and promote harmony…  Our future consists in living together. (Pope Francis, Assisi Sept. 2016) Continue reading “Scottish Interfaith Week – 11-18 November 2018”

31st Sunday in Ordinary time

Perhaps you may be familiar with a version of the quip: ‘Two Jews have three opinions…’ Ostensibly it smacks of a negative remark that labels the Jews as quarrelsome. In fact, the quip is a source of pride for many Jewish people as it describes their mindset and attitude towards Truth with a capital T. The quip has a second line, which is usually missing in popular usage. The whole sentence goes more or less like this: ‘Two Jews have three opinions, all of which have merit.’ Rabbi Rick Sherwin explains that ‘The statement is based on an ancient Jewish text that conveys a serious lesson: consider another’s perspective not as right or wrong, but as offering merit, whether you agree with it or not. Ultimately, it is a statement of respect.’

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30th Sunday in Ordinary time

I was about twelve years old when it became blindingly obvious that my eyesight wasn’t as sharp as I wanted. A standard eye-test confirmed the obvious and the sentence was passed: life behind glass. Or – to be more precise – behind correction glasses. Nowadays glasses seem to be quite fashionable amongst young people. But for me, at that time, the newly acquired accessory was a devastating blow to my self-esteem. For many years thereafter, I was desperate to get rid of glasses. Instead, I have become more and more dependent upon them and, as you can clearly see, I remain bespectacled.

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28th Sunday in Ordinary time

Money can’t buy happiness, but neither can poverty. This rather catchy phrase by a German-born teacher and academic, Leo Rosten, has a ring of truth about it. But it also goes against today’s gospel, where Jesus gives a jaw-dropping piece of advice to a wealthy man: ‘Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; then come, follow me.’ The man is gobsmacked by Jesus’ proposal and departs, prompting Jesus to comment publicly: ‘It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ So, essentially, it seems that we are all doomed, damned and condemned unless each one of us makes ourselves as poor as a church mouse. No, I’m not going to tell you that giving all your money to me is the perfect solution to finding happiness!

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