Thought for the week
Bishop Richard's Reflection for The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Bishop Richard's video podcast for The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dear brothers and sisters,
During the course of this last week, we celebrated an important feast in the life of the Church – the Conversion of St Paul. He holds a special place in the Church’s life. He is the last of the Apostles, one who recognised that he had been chosen out of time – so much later than the others, and through the experience of the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus. He is the Apostle to the Gentiles, the one who brought the Gospel message to the wider world of his own day. We might ask ourselves: without the ministry of St Paul, would we have received the Good News?
Paul shows tremendous vigour in his following of the Gospel. He is not frightened to ‘tell it as it is’ and he pays the price. He is often persecuted and, in the end, he gives his life for Christ.
With his feast day in mind, we might ask ourselves about the call to conversion that comes to each and every one of us. It is a conversion that calls us to live our lives in a particular way – the way of the Gospel, the way of the Beatitudes that we hear proclaimed in this Sunday’s Gospel.
These texts that form the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, challenge us to take a close look at our own lives. Living the Beatitudes means standing out from the crowd. The Christian should be noticed as one who upholds what is right, shows mercy and purity, who has a poverty of spirit and lives in gentleness, who is ready to embrace loss and who will be ready for persecution.
We may feel that we have a way to go before we achieve true conversion of heart, mind and life – but this is the way of the baptised and the more we embrace this way, the more we find freedom of heart in Christ and the life that He calls us to share in Him and with all around us.
With every blessing,
Bishop Richard's Reflection for 29th January 2023 - The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time