'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Oct 23, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the prophecy of Jeremiah

(Chapter 31:7-9)

“The Lord has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child; they shall return as an immense throng.”

Jeremiah is talking about the return of the Israelites from exile. But how are we to think of exiles returning today? There are almost 20 million exiles in our world now and the number is growing each year. Most are from Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Niger, the Central African Republic, and several countries in Central and South America. Many of them are women and children fleeing violence, hunger and abject poverty. Some western countries have opened their doors to the refugees others have not. It is a very complex issue, but we need to hold these people in our hearts and do what we can to change hostility toward refugees, knowing that most of us have ancestors who were also refugees.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 126)

“The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” What great things has the Lord done for you? Have you been thankful? Has it brought you joy? How do you express your joy and thanksgiving?

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Topics: Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, RENEW International, servant leadership, suffering servant

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Oct 16, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the prophecy of Isaiah

(Chapter 53:10-11)

This is the last of Isaiah’s “suffering servant” poems. Can one person take on the sufferings of a whole people, a whole nation? The Israelites thought that was possible, and we believe that Jesus is the ultimate suffering servant. He suffered and died for all of us.

What does that say about our own sufferings? To seek out suffering is, of course, not healthy. We do not need to look for suffering. It will find us. So, how should we deal with it? There are times of extreme and extended suffering. It may be very intense, and it does not seem to go away. The key is to reach out rather than turn within. A burden shared is always lighter even though it does not take away the suffering immediately. Knowing that you are heard and embraced on some level is healing. During times of deep suffering we need to find sources of life that will give us at least a little joy. And we need to know that Jesus, “the Suffering Servant,” is always with us. It is possible that our suffering, like his, may become “redemptive suffering.” Have you experienced this redemptive suffering? Has something good come out of something that was so hard? Maybe it has and maybe it will again if you go deep with the Spirit of Jesus in your suffering. It may become a source of life for you as hard as that can seem when you are in the midst of the pain.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 33)

“Lord, may your mercy be on us as we place our trust in you.” God’s mercy comes with our trust in him. He tells us repeatedly, “Do not be afraid.” Trust him.

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Topics: trust in God, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, RENEW International, servant leadership, suffering servant, trust in God's mercy

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Oct 2, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the book of Genesis

(Chapter 2:18-24)

“It is not good for man to be alone.” We are created in the image and likeness of God, and God is not a solitary beingthat is, in the sense that God is a community of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are communal beings, and the most basic community is between a man and a woman in marriage: “The two of them become one flesh.” That is truly amazing, beautiful to hear, challenging to live, but the goal of all marriages.

Still, we who are married need solitude sometimes, which is very different from loneliness. It is a time to reflect, to pray, and to just be, amid our busy lives. It can be a time of renewal of the deepest and best in us. It may not be easy to find this kind of time, but we should respect our own need and our partner’s need for this opportunity for renewal.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 128)

“Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy.” What a good reason to sing! Do you often feel the love of God in your life?

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Topics: divorce, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, marriage, RENEW International, suffering, suffering servant, Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Sep 11, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the prophecy of  Isaiah

(Chapter 50:5-9a)

Here are three powerful sentences from this reading: “The Lord God opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back.” “The Lord is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.” “See, the Lord God is my help; who will prove me wrong?’

Have you ever had the experience of God opening your ear or even your heart? Perhaps you had closed your heart to someone or to some truth, and you would not budge. But then something happened, and you had a change of heart that helped you to see another side of the person or the issue, and you moved on.

Did you ever feel rejected or even disgraced, but then someone came to your aid or your defense? Maybe God sent that person to you, because God is your help.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 116)

“I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” The line before this reads, “For he has freed my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.” This amazing insight was written hundreds of years before the coming of Jesus Christ who truly saves our souls from the ultimate death.

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Topics: Messiah, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, RENEW International, suffering servant, Suffering Messiah

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