Newsletter- 3rd Week of Eastertide

Dear Parishioners

In the Gospel set for this Sunday the 3rd Sunday of Easter we hear how the Apostles eyes were opened and they recognised Jesus, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He spoke to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?” This produced a unique blessing.  Jesus opened the minds of the Apostles to the Scriptures in a new way.  These were ordinary men who were given an extraordinary gift of understanding.  It didn’t come to them as a result of long study and hard work.  Rather, it came to them as a result of their openness to Christ’s powerful action in their lives.  Jesus unlocked the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven to them.  As a result, they suddenly understood truths that could never be learned on their own. So, it is with us.  The mysteries of God are vast and wide.  They are deep and transforming.  But so often we fail to understand.  We often even fail to want to understand.  We need a special gift of the Holy Spirit to make sense of them.  And we need this gift to make sense of the many good things of God found in the Scriptures also.  

This is the Gift of Understanding.  It’s a spiritual gift that unlocks the many mysteries of life for us.  Without the Gift of Understanding, we are left on our own to try to make sense of life.  This is especially true when we are faced with hardship and suffering.  How is it, for example, that an all-powerful and all-loving God can allow the good and the innocent to suffer?  How is it that God can seem absent at times from human tragedy?  The truth is that He is not absent.  He is centrally involved in all things.  What we need to receive is an understanding of the profound and mysterious ways of God.  We need to understand the Scriptures, human suffering, human relationships, and divine action in our lives.  But this will never happen unless we allow Jesus to open our minds.  

Allowing Jesus to open our minds takes faith and surrender.  It means we believe first and understand later.  It means we trust Him even though we do not see the whole outcome.  St. Augustine once said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see. The reward of faith is to see what you believe.”  Today’s Gospel asks us to reflect upon some important questions: Am I willing to believe without seeing?  Am I willing to believe in the goodness and love of God even though life, or a particular situation in my own life does not make sense to me right now? On this Sunday we reflect upon the Gift of Understanding.  Believing in God means we believe in a person.  We believe in God even though we find ourselves often confused about circumstances.  But this gift of believing, the gift of faith, opens the door to a depth of understanding that we could never arrive at on our own.  And so, we should pray: 

God of all Truth, give me the Gift of Understanding.  Help me to know You and to understand Your actions in my life.  Help me to especially turn to You in the most troubling moments of life.  Jesus, I trust in You.”

As we look towards the week ahead let us put all that concerns us in our lives and in the world around us into the merciful and loving hands of God. As we put all our hope and trust in the one who knows our past, present and our future. 

With my prayers for you and your families this coming week,

Your parish priest and friend,

Father Jonathan


2023 23rd April– Newsletter – Download