Weekly Reflection

As part of my work as Manager, Campus Ministry for the University of Notre Dame Australia I write a weekly refection on the coming Sunday's Gospel and email it to all staff and students of the Fremantle Campus. This then is the weekly blog of those reflections, based on the Gospel readings for Sundays, as per the lectionary of the Roman Missal of Paul VI. Should these reflections find any readership whatsoever, I hope that it is edifying.
The title of my blog is taken from the English translation of Cardinal John Henry Newman's memorial epitaph, which was inscribed on his memorial plaque at the Birmingham Oratory.

Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem - Through Shadows and Images to Truth

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2 November 2014: The Feast of All Souls

Gospel Matthew 11:25-30
Moving past the abstractions and encountering the person

This week we read Jesus’ invitation to come and give our worries and our cares over to him. It is fitting as we enter into the month of November, when we dedicate our prayers to God for the souls of those who have died. The sufferings and the hardships that come with this remembering can be paralysing.
And so while this invitation is comforting for most of us at one time or another, it is an invitation that can seem rather abstract. Perhaps this was possible for the disciples when they were walking and talking with him to share their concerns and worries with the Lord, but after he had died, risen and ascended into heaven, doesn't the idea of resting in Christ become something rather abstract? How is it that he is supposed shoulder our burdens when we can’t see him?
Sure, we have the risen Christ with us today, but it’s just not the same. The risen Christ for most of us is an abstraction. He ‘died and was buried and rose again on the third day’, so we say in the creed each Sunday - but what does this mean for us? This real, human encounter with the person of Jesus, if that doesn't exist today, then it’s simply pointless. No amount of orthodoxy or morality or philosophy can bring it back if there is no encounter. The problem that we have is making the Christian proposal not just a theoretical one, but a fact of life.
How do we have this encounter? Most often we simply don’t allow ourselves to experience God because we make ourselves too busy. Our leisure time is used to immerse ourselves in a sea entertainment, in television, youtube, facebook and the like. We surround ourselves with noise and leave ourselves little to no time for silence and prayer. Often we simply aren’t comfortable in that silence as it is there where our worries and our burdens can overwhelm us. But, in fact, it is right there where Jesus says to us ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.’
How can I make time to encounter him in my day to day?

Wise words from Pope Benedict XVI
‘Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.’ (Deus Caristas Est, 1)

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