May 2024: Points to Ponder

Points to Ponder
May 2024

Sixth Sunday of Easter
5 May 2024

We are asked to love those who persecute us, to love those who hate us. And, because Christ gave this to us as his only commandment, we know two things: 1. that it is possible to attain even if difficult, and 2. that it should be at the forefront of all of our life, all of the time.

We expend a great deal of energy on disliking people. We use excuses to dislike people just in the same way as Christ used excuses to forgive and love people.

Yet, just as Christ forgave us, the people who persecuted him, and calls us friends, so we are asked by Jesus to call friends those whom we don’t always like. The street beggars, the people who have a different religion or a different skin colour or spoken language or culture, even those who have different ideas to ours. Much of the media – which is nowadays the shop frontage of life – tells us to seek blame. Any news story is first and foremost an exercise in blame. Yet, this is not the Christian way. Christ tells us: ‘I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.’

This is our vocation, then, that our joy may be complete by loving him, by allowing him to love us through everyone around us. Let us with our whole hearts enter into Christ’s single commandment to love one another, and ask the Holy Spirit who convinces us of the meaning and the value if the Christian way, to lead us to fullness in him.


Mount Saint Joseph Abbey


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The Ascension of the Lord
12 May 2024 • World Communications Day


All of us are called to grow together, in humanity and as humanity. We are challenged to make a qualitative leap in order to become a complex, multiethnic, pluralistic, multireligious and multicultural society. We are called to reflect carefully on the theoretical development and the practical use of these new instruments of communication and knowledge. Their great possibilities for good are accompanied by the risk of turning everything into abstract calculations that reduce individuals to data, thinking to a mechanical process, experience to isolated cases, goodness to profit, and, above all, a denial of the uniqueness of each individual and his or her story. The concreteness of reality dissolves in a flurry of statistical data.

The digital revolution can bring us greater freedom, but not if it imprisons us in models that nowadays are called ‘echo chambers’. In such cases, rather than increasing a pluralism of information, we risk finding ourselves adrift in a mire of confusion, prey to the interests of the market or of the powers that be. It is unacceptable that the use of artificial intelligence should lead to groupthink, to a gathering of unverified data, to a collective editorial dereliction of duty. The representation of reality in ‘big data’, however useful for the operation of machines, ultimately entails a substantial loss of the truth of things, hindering interpersonal communication and threatening our very humanity. Information cannot be separated from living relationships.

Pope Francis
Message for the 58th World Day of Social Communications: ‘
Artificial Intelligence and the Wisdom of the Heart:
Towards a Fully Human Communication’


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Pentecost Sunday
19 May 2024

Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into the disciples and by doing so he re-creates them. Jesus’ life-giving breath mirrors the breath of God given to human beings at the beginning of creation when God breathes life into the clay and made humans a living creation. It is because of this divine indwelling that we have the power to forgive and thus continue Jesus’ saving mission. We are the incarnation of the risen Lord in our world today. We are re-created by the Holy Spirit. The sign of this re-creation is forgiveness.

The Feast of Pentecost reminds us that there is an important connection between the gifts of peace and forgiveness and the action of the Holy Spirit. We are reminded that the Church is called to be God’s reconciling presence in the world. This reconciling presence is also to be a way of life for Christians. In situations of conflict, we are to be agents of peace and harmony among all people.

Jesus greets his disciples with the gift of peace. ‘Peace be with you,’ he says. Jesus then commissions his disciples to continue the work that he has begun: ‘As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ He breathes the Holy Spirit upon the disciples and sends them to continue his work of reconciliation through the forgiveness of sins. As we celebrate this great feast of the Church’s fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, how have we been a sign of reconciliation in our families, in our world, and among people of faith everywhere? Have we been an instrument of God’s peace to everyone we meet?



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The Most Holy Trinity
26 May 2024

God has a plan. He always had a plan. There was no time when there wasn’t a plan to create the universe, to create every living creature, to create the crowning glory of the universe; mankind. Why? Because God is pure love. Such love demands the plan. There is no hidden agenda. We are created out of this divine love solely to return this love to the Creator and in doing so to love one another. The divine circle of love, which is also the circle of the harmony of life.

Understanding the Trinity is to understand the revelation of God to us; in the form of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Understanding each of the Three Persons of the Godhead, each Person in God’s own time as He gradually reveals Himself to humanity enables us to slowly and systematically begin to understand why we are here and what kind of people we are meant to become; God’s holy people as we are reminded time and again in the Old and New Testaments.

To reveal Himself all at once in the persons of the Trinity would have been too much for humanity to assimilate, therefore God’s plan has been revealed to us over thousands of years drawing us ever closer to Himself in pure love and into His image of moral likeness. We have before us in the understanding of the Trinity all the revelation we need to have in knowing what God is and what God expects of us.

Fr Stephen Haines

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