Peter Gallagher SJ

Credit Blake Richard Verdoorn via Unsplash
Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey often describes the dawn as ‘rosy-fingered’. The poet is identifying with that epithet a moment just before the dawn.  There is, in those few minutes, as yet, not even a little light.  The darkness is still impenetrable.  But away on the horizon there is a line of redness.  There is still no daylight: just a thin sliver of glowing.  It is this rose-coloured glow which is celebrated in the vestments of today, Gaudete Sunday. On the...
Man looking out Credit JD Mason
At the beginning of Advent we understand our preparations for the coming of Christ as, above all, our making ready for the second coming of the Lord at the end of time. Praying with Jesus at this Mass we look forward to his second coming and offer…in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice. The loving judge will return to bring us into the presence of God. We resolve to run forth to meet Him with righteous deeds at his coming, so that gathered at his right hand we may be worthy to possess...
The Sacred Heart of Jesus by Stephen B Whatley
Jesus Christ...the ruler of the kings of the earth, loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood and made us a line of kings, priests to serve his God and Father. That Jesus has authority over all earthly rulers, whether they acknowledge it or not, is important to us, His disciples.  We have accepted the kingship of Christ over our life.  In one way that acceptance is a matter signed, sealed and delivered some time ago when we were baptised.  For most of us, however...
Crowds gathering
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven.     Saint Mark invites us to think about the end of the world.  He offers us a vision of ‘a gathering together’.  There is great encouragement for us in this not only to hope that we are among the chosen but that we will be part of this final gathering from...
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
The imitation of Christ is our mission.  To be like Jesus is the task he has given us in the world: the cup that I must drink, you shall drink.    This imitation is much more than copying or mimicry.  To be like the One who came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many is to become him. It is to live in his life.  The imitation of Christ is feasible for us.  This is not an aspiration to be like someone who is so different from us, so far above us,...
Padre Pio used with permission
The 23rd of September is the Feast of Padre Pio, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. He died fifty years ago on this day in 1968.  For fifty years before that, Padre Pio bore on his body, the stigmata. The stigmata are the marks of the sufferings of Christ. The five precious wounds are the holes in the feet, in the hands and in the side. The stigmata are the marks of the nails and of the centurion’s spear.  The strange miracle of the stigmata, which seems like the very opposite of healing, was...
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
The Sixth Station of the Cross: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.  An act of kindness on the road to the crucifixion leaves a physical memorial: an image of the face of Jesus is vividly impressed on a towel or veil.  The name Veronica is sometimes said to mean ‘true icon’, ‘true image’ although it could also be a form of Berenice. True images of Jesus Christ can be imprinted by compassion.  Acts of tenderness towards those who are suffering are icons of the loving kindness...
Photo by N R on Unsplash
Pure unspoilt religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.  The pure version of our faith, according to St James, is all about two aspects of our relation to other people: first, we are to help them in their need, and, second, we are not to be corrupted by them.  The demand that we help people is challenging, it calls out of us love, charity, compassion, when perhaps we are...
Madonna della Cintola from Wikimedia Commons
Old paintings of Saint Thomas the Apostle sometimes show him carrying a belt.  According to pious legend the doubting of Thomas extended to the Assumption of Our Lady.  He had been convinced of the Resurrection when the Risen Lord appeared to him and allowed him to inspect on his body the traces of the crucifixion.  My Lord and My God said Thomas when he believed.    He was again away from the group of apostles who witnessed the Assumption. Once more,  it is...
A bucket load of fish Photo by Zeshalyn Capindo on Unsplash
In The Tempest, Prospero is worried lest too light winning Make the prize light 1. Jesus feeds the people with a food which is a very valuable prize and which is not lightly won. Jesus asks: Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat? He only said this to test Philip. He himself knew exactly what he was going to do. The Lord knows that all will be well. Nevertheless for Philip, and probably for us, the searching question from Jesus, puts us on our mettle. What are we to say to him...

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