Sunday’s Second Reading (Galatians 3:26-29):
‘You are, all of you, sons of God
through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed
yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek,
slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Merely
by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was
This Sunday’s second reading reveals a teaching that is
fundamental to the Christian life, that of unity.
Some people may well believe that there is some sort of war
of words brewing between Pope Francis and the outspoken Republican Presidential
hopeful Donald Trump. Trump hasn’t shied
away from criticising the pope’s recent visit to Mexico, suggesting that the
pope doesn’t appreciate the problems of an open border between the United
States and Mexico. He has also claimed
that the pontiff is becoming a “political person”.
What Trump doesn’t appreciate is that, while the pope may
not appreciate the perceived difficulties Trump has with the lack of a concrete
wall between Mexico and the US, he does appreciate the need for unity over
division, even when this means we may lose a little as a result.
Pope Benedict at the University of Regensburg
When Pope Benedict started speaking at the University of Regensburg in 2006 there was little clue as to the controversy that was about to unfold. The pope would use the lecture to respond sternly to increasing instances of violence by Islamic extremists across the globe, a move that many westerners felt most uncomfortable with.
While I would not wish to delve into the intricacies of Pope Benedict’s lecture, his fundamental message with regard to Islam is that, unlike Christianity, Islam (or at least some of its members) does not appear to link God to reason.
The pope received several standing ovations in Congress
Pope Francis, in his historic address to US Congress, has urged the world to follow Christ’s Commandment of love. The pope used the opportunity to tackle critical issues such as the dignity of human life, the death penalty and the refugee crisis. He also addressed recent attacks on marriage and family life, and his concerns that the very basis of the family and marriage is being called into question.
Here are the main quotes from the pope’s address to USC ongress this afternoon:
Martin McGuinness greets Queen Elizabeth II
There have been incredible images coming from Galway, Ireland today as Queen Elizabeth II and her son Prince Charles met with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.
The parties shook hands and exchanged words in a unique and groundbreaking encounter that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
This is what can happen when we allow Christ's love to reign in our hearts. We suddenly embrace the ability to forgive, to break down barriers and overcome division.
Pope Francis has condemned gossip on numerous occasions
“I tell you, on the day of judgement you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned”
Matthew 12: 36
More than any other Pope in the past, Pope Francis warns us frequently to guard against gossip. He has talked of how gossip is a powerful tool of the devil and has even admitted to being tempted to gossip himself. He states: "It begins this way, discreetly, like a trickle of water.
Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 1:21-28):
‘Jesus and his followers went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.
In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet!