Culture and Society

Quote by Muhammad Ali
“People from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.” [Luke 13.29]When I was at College, I had a friend Peter who is a Catholic and he shared a house with a Muslim called Abdul. They were both very religious people, each in his own way but, despite their differences, they got on very well. And it wasn’t until they had been staying together about six weeks that they had a really big argument about religion. Neither...
Credit Matt Lee via Unsplash
This month, Pope Francis has asked us to join him in a prayer for, and about, sports – that sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world. Do we ever think about sports as a topic for our prayer? Maybe, only when our favourite team is about to participate in a big match or prestigious tournament! Maybe the only time we ever might link our prayer and whatever sport we follow, or play, is at that moment, and it’s...
Boat in a storm by Jean-Pierre Brungs
Prayer is an important part of life for many of the residents of the detention centre that Fr Harry Elias visits. He shares one reflection which offers them solace and hope.I am ever amazed at the strong faith I find in the detainees that I visit, at least in those with whom I speak and those who come to church. A great number of them are Pentecostals from Africa and often their sole reading is the bible. I am thankful for this common ground between us, as I can capture their attention quite...
Community of hands outreaching
“It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her.”Gospels mean many things to different people, but what I think Jesus means in this Sunday's Gospel () is that all of us – each and every one of us - have a part to play in building God’s Kingdom. And it is not to be taken from us. So, when I read this passage I think of something that happened to me in school that made me think more deeply about fairness and justice, about what it is to be a...
Polling Station by Elliott Stallion on unsplash.com
About 20 years ago, there was a terrible famine in East Africa. I’m sure that anyone over 30 will remember it. When television pictures were shown around the world of thousands of sick and starving men, women and children crowded into refugee camps, there was a global public outcry that, in this day and age, the rest of the world could permit over a million people to starve to death. Many people said: “somebody should do something.” A very few said: “I must do something...
Photo by João Silas on unsplash
I wonder if you have been enjoying the football.I happen to know a former professional footballer, now sadly fallen on harder times. He often likes to say that the worst player is better than the best commentator. And he tells a story of a footballer waiting to take the first penalty of a penalty shoot-out in a cup final. The player is visibly exhausted after full time and extra time and obviously nervous as he approaches the ball.High up in the gantry, the commentator remarks, “I wouldn...
Statue by Kathe Kollwitz: parents in mourning
“God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself,not holding people’s faults against them,and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled.”2 Corinthians 5:19A century ago Europe was in the middle of one of the bloodiest wars in its history, with a line of trenches that ran from the English Channel to the border of Switzerland: that line was the ‘Western Front’ that marked out the edges of a conflict that scythed also across the northern, southern...
Homeless men asleep on church benches
“Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”My worlds of priesthood and medicine don’t often collide, but just and again it happens – usually it’s funny; sometimes it’s sad; just now and again it’s inspiring.Just recently, I came across in this very Church one of my patients who, he wouldn’t mind my saying, is homeless and has quite a lot of both physical and mental health problems. And it...
Thatched_roof_houses_in_Guyana
“I tell you that her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love.”The best – the very best - church leader I have ever known is not a priest, or a nun, or indeed any other kind of “professional” religious. He is an Amerindian lay church leader and he works in a Church community in a little village in the Amazon, many thousands of miles away from here. Perhaps I should explain: in the Rupununi, there are about 30,000...
As students all over the world enter exam season – are we putting them under too much stress?  Exams and anxiety go hand in hand, we all want to do well when we face a test. Jesus’ ultimate test was when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane and we are told that he sweated blood as he prayed before his arrest.  This is no exaggeration – sweating blood  is a medically acknowledged phenomenon, Hematohidrosis, that has been observed in times of great stress....

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