Peter Gallagher SJ

C10th icon of the Baptism of the Lord by Lawrence OP via Flickr
Console my people, console them, says your God.  This line, Isaiah chapter 40, verse 1 captures something very central about our faith.  Comfort ye my people is the King James’ version. That translation of the verse appears at the very beginning of Handel’s Messiah. The coming of Christ is a consolation to us.  Our Saviour’s work among us is a comfort. Console my people, comfort them, says your God.  On the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we understand this comfort and...
Credit Lawrence OP
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. On the Sunday before Christmas we are all of us hoping to be filled with the Holy Spirit. What is the Spirit saying to us as we enter the last week of Advent in the year of Our Lord 2018?  The Spirit is urging us, moving us, to recognise our Saviour who is about to be born.  With the help of the Holy Ghost we are to know the One who has been so long promised, so long looked forward to, yet who can somehow, even by his friends, be missed,...
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 rosy-...
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...

Pages