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October 28, 2013

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‘He felt that gaze in his heart’!

As we look into the Face of Jesus do we allow ourselves to be looked upon by Jesus, whose gaze changes our lives? Jesus looks Matthew – a tax collector, a public sinner whose whole life was money, which he idolised – right in the eye.

“That gaze overtook him completely, it changed his life. We say he was converted. He changed his life. ‘As soon as he felt that gaze in his heart, he got up and followed him.’ This is true: Jesus’ gaze always lifts us up. It is a look that always lifts us up, and never leaves you in your place, never lets us down, never humiliates. It invites you to get up - a look that brings you to grow, to move forward, that encourages you, because [the One who looks upon you] loves you. The gaze makes you feel that He loves you. This gives the courage to follow Him: ‘And he got up and followed him.’”  [Pope Francis]

Click here to read full text – Pope Francis at Mass: the merciful gaze of Jesus - Vatican Radio, 21/9/2013.


Where to next?

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The Year of Grace and Faith is concluding but the journey continues and our relationship with our God deepens.

During the last year and a half we have been blest with abundant graces, faith is growing in each of us and we are ready to move forward as the Spirit leads. Pope Francis speaks often of what it means to be Church today. Following are some recent quotes that you may like to bring to prayer as you seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for your own journey:
May the church be the place of God’s mercy and love, where everyone can feel themselves welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live according to the good life of the Gospel. And in order to make others feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged, the church must have open doors so that all might enter. And we must go out of those doors and proclaim the Gospel.”

A welcoming people: Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage.

To be the people of God, first of all means that God doesn’t belong to any particular people, because he is the one who calls us … and this invitation is addressed to all, without distinction, because God’s mercy ‘wills everyone to be saved.’ Jesus doesn’t tell the apostles and us to form an exclusive group of elite members. Jesus says: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations.’   Pope Francis, June 12, 2013

The life of faith is a journey …

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A teenage boy told the Pope that he was trying hard to believe in God
and be faithful, but that he often struggled with doubt.  "What can you say to help me and others like me?" he asked the Pope.

The life of faith is a journey, Francis answered.
“Journeying is an art because if we're always in a hurry, we get tired and don't arrive at our journey's goal,” he said. “If we stop, we don't go forward and we also miss the goal. Journeying is precisely the art of looking toward the horizon, thinking where I want to go but also enduring the fatigue of the journey, which is sometimes difficult. … There are dark days, even days when we fail, even days when we fall … but always think of this: Don't be afraid of failures. Don't be afraid of falling. What matters in the art of journeying isn't not falling but not staying down. Get up right away and continue going forward. This is what's beautiful: This is working every day, this is journeying as humans. But also, it's bad walking alone: It's bad and boring. Walking in community, with friends, with those who love us, that helps us. It helps us to arrive precisely at that goal, that 'there where' we're supposed to arrive.”

[Acknowledgements: The above quotes by Pope Francis are taken from the Francis Chronicles and were accessed on 28 10 13 at National Catholic Reporter.

Sharing our Faith – questions to ponder

Please note this the last of the series of Sunday reflections for 2013.

November 3 – Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time – Welcoming the sinner
Gospel: Luke 19:1–10 (Zacchaeus the tax collector)
Key Passage: And Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:9–10)
Adult: During the next week, what could you do to welcome someone whom you have noticed feels excluded?
Child: Is there a child in your class or neighbourhood who is left out of games and activities? What might you do?
November 10  – Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time – The dead will rise

Gospel: Luke 20:27–38 (the resurrection of the dead)
Key Passage: Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive. (Luke 20:37–38)
Adult: How does your belief in the resurrection of the dead affect the way you live?
[You may like to revisit the Nicene Creed series #7 at                       http://www.adelaide.catholic.org.au/news-and-events/year-of-grace-and-faith/nicene-creed  ]
Child: Has someone in your family or among your friends died? Do you think about that person in heaven? What do you hope to talk about with this person?
November 17 – Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Overcoming difficulties
Gospel: Luke 21:5–19 (the cataclysm to come)
Key Passage: Jesus said, You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls. (Luke 21:17–19)
Adult: When bad things happen, how do you deal with them?
Child: Tell a story about when you worried about something that might happen?  What can help you worry less?
November 24 – Christ the King – True authority

Gospel: Luke 23:35–43 (the crucifixion; the king of the Jews)
Key Passage: For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things…
Adult: Following the example of Jesus, discuss the qualities of a good leader. In what ways are you called to exercise your authority over others?
Child: What qualities would a good leader have? Which of these are you trying to develop?

PastoralPlanning.com │ Questions of the Week for Cycle C Page 16


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