Peter Gallagher SJ

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For Pentecost Sunday, Peter Gallagher SJ reflects on the power of language and how the Holy Spirit assists our communications.Learning a new language is laborious for most of us. In a world in which people move around a great deal and have to function well in cultures strange to them, there is plenty of such labour. Acquiring competence in a language may be no mere decorative accomplishment but necessary for survival.The account in the Acts of the Apostles of the first Christian Pentecost makes...
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As we walk towards Pentecost, we are longing to see into heaven, like Stephen. Peter Gallagher SJ invites us to be contemplatives gazing into heaven, but remember also we are active disciples of Christ. Of all the times of waiting and preparation in the Church, the novena of the Holy Spirit, between the Ascension and the day of Pentecost, is surely the gentlest. Lent can be hard work.  Even Advent, during which we sometimes anticipate Christmas too precipitately, can seem wintry and...
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On the Feast of the Ascension, Peter Gallagher reflects on the feeling of separation of the discipleship and on the mission Jesus leaves us as He rises to the Father.   Now as Jesus blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven. Blushingly, we own up to having often distanced ourselves from Jesus. As sinners, we frequently separate ourselves from him. In an unsatisfactory way, it seems almost normal that we sometimes glide away from our Saviour. However, that...
Starting from a text by Chesterton, Peter Gallagher SJ explains us how Our Lady's love, although not comforting, strengthen us in our daily battles.         At the end of the first book of Chesterton’s Ballad of the White Horse, Our Lady appears to King Alfred to encourage him in his seemingly hopeless struggle against the invaders of Wessex. She says:I tell you naught for your comfort,Yea, naught for your desire,Save that the sky grows darker...
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On Good Shepherd Sunday Peter Gallagher SJ describes how it is impossible to trick our loving Father.           No one can steal from the Father: The Father and I are one.  Good Shepherd Sunday reminds us that Jesus Christ protects us from predators.  Jesus, the good shepherd, guards the flock against livestock-thieves.  No one can steal from the Father: The Father and I are one.  Who are the enemies who might steal the...
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Peter Gallagher SJ reflects on renewal, the one-hundred and fifty-three fishes, and the community.      May your people exult forever in renewed youthfulness of spirit. This prayer from the collect of the Mass for the third Sunday of Easter echoes a phrase in the psalms: I will go in to the altar of God: to God who gives joy to my youth. What a good attitude with which to approach our worship. We serve God joyfully, drawing on strength which he gives us. What do we...
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For Divine Mercy Sunday, Peter Gallagher SJ reflects on what was once called the Mass ‘in which the white robes are hung up.’    A protection against forgetfulnessIn the early Church, on the Sunday after Easter, those who had been baptised the previous week returned to normal clothes, having worn for a week the white garments in which they had been christened. The celebration on this day was called the Mass ‘in which the white robes are hung up.’  The theme for the...
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Peter Gallagher SJ shares the Easter joy behind the emptiness of the tomb.          At first Mary of Magdala is annoyed at what has happened. They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have put him. We can share her irritation.  Our friend Jesus has been taken from us and there is no proper explanation. Uneasily we acknowledge our own part in what has happened. For the Son of God’s suffering and death we feel...
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A Homily from Peter Gallagher for the Solemn Commem- oration of the Lord’s Passion.          All depart in silence. This is the rubric in the missal, for the end of the solemn commemoration of the Lord’s Passion.  All depart in silence. There is nothing more to say. We are surrounded by the silence of death. We wait, hoping for the Resurrection, but, very quietly, subdued, considering carefully what has happened.  There is no...
Altar of repose
Homily from Peter Gallagher SJ for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.         At the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday, the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession to the altar of repose. Guarded overnight on that altar are the consecrated hosts which will be consumed on Good Friday at the solemn commemoration of the Lord’s passion. Is ‘repose’, however, a misnomer?  The vigil recalls the garden of Gethsemane. Here Jesus...

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