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Monday, March 27, 2017

Articles related to Sunday Reflection


Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 26 March 2017
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 26 March 2017

Because of modern medicine and health-care many of us can rejoice that we have relatively good eyesight. Compared to generations before us, problems like cataracts, that in some countries are an unremitting problem for many without adequate access to good surgery, can, if provision is found, now be cured by a small routine operation! Yet we also have many whose condition makes it

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 19  March 2017
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 19 March 2017

Water has such powerful connections with human beings; it forms part of our world and ourselves. Too much or too little is incredibly destructive for life. Some of us, as in the UK, live on an island, surrounded by sea. On land, rivers streams, books and becks irrigate and nourish the earth. I have very strong memories of childhood summers spent with our French relations in the Jura, France, a landscape of river springs

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 March 2017
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 March 2017

I keep forgetting to look at the ending of Matthew's story about the Temptation of Jesus; this is of course because I get caught up trying to work out just how the 'Devil' is tempting him! So I wanted to enter the story by another route just to see if I can discover something new for myself. That last sentence; 'Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him' (Mt 4:11) seems to me to be highly significant. Maybe I am being fanciful, but isn't it a sign that whatever

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 26 February 2017
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 26 February 2017

There is a theme of consolation running through our readings, it's not explicitly stated but it's there and may help us at a time when huge shifts seem to be taking place all over our world. People do feel uncertain; puzzled perhaps because virtues like honesty, truthfulness, generosity and kindness rarely feature in the success stories of our public figures, for powerful personalities are not noted for their tenderness to others. Perhaps that's why Pope Francis catches imaginations as he has that touch of

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 19 February 2017
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 19 February 2017

I've always loved that silly little quote by Charles Bowen:


"The rain it raineth on the just

And also on the unjust fella;

But chiefly on the just, because

The unjust hath the just's umbrella."

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 February 2017
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 February 2017

Perhaps it's just that time of year, here in the UK, where the winter grey and somber makes our days seem heavy. Spring is not yet come, nor are there many signs of its impending birth. It's a time of brooding and waiting, there is also a sense of anxious expectation in the air, when will the days get warmer, the light brighten and the banks of spring growth appear, will a deep frost or winter snow come again in February and March? On a wider scale uncertainties in the political arena give us a greater sense of uncertainty, what is going to happen, how will events in other countries and our own affect us

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 29th  January 2017
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 29th January 2017

Pauls words to the community at Corinth can be particularly haunting and have some deep resonances for us , give the situation of a world straining at so many points of conflict and stress, tectonic plates not only of the natural world but of human desire to interfere in our world order, shown by our own interference in the political and physical order of the world. But let's listen again to Paul: "God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, 
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, 


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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 22 January 2017
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 22 January 2017

"Is Christ divided? Who was crucified for you? In whose name were you baptized?' Three of the questions Paul puts to the Corinthians, but they are just as appropriate for each one of us, the more so when we start looking at the way Christianity itself has been fragmented over time! In the week of Christian Unity it is time we let go of our spiritual baggage and travel light, responding to the ever-present call of Jesus to follow him. However we need to remind ourselves just what road it is that Jesus calls us to travel! It's not some vague spiritual journey,

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15th January 2017
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15th January 2017

One of the wisest things that my old mentor and colleague Fr Kevin Donovan SJ used to say to me about liturgy you had to 'work at it. That's of course what the root of the word hints at, the work of the people of God. Our faith is like that, it's not a complete product that we finally accept at Confirmation, rather it's work in progress. I guess that is what John the Baptist hints at when he talks about Jesus as the one revealed to him bit by bit, though he is related to Jesus that doesn't give him the total insight into who he is.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -18th December 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -18th December 2016

I've never liked meetings; a lot of it has to do with needing to think issues through. I don't have that spontaneous gift of leaping in to give an opinion or comment on what is being discussed. I much prefer to examine what has been said and then look at the consequences. So in many ways I'm not a good committee person, but occasionally the need to resist any attempt to make an immediate decision and think it over is the right one. I keep reminding myself that there is not one way of seeing things, but many different approaches and they all matter.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 27 November 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 27 November 2016

Do you believe that Jesus will come again in glory at the end of time? I heard somebody discussing that, or rather overheard them, on a train journey recently. It was a surprise, but not a bad one, to hear this theology expressed in such a public venue, but why not? It's a fascinating topic, one that some theologians and church people don't really like examining too often because it doesn't fit in with a neat and tidy expression of death and resurrection. Yet the coming again of Christ at the end of time is something rooted in our belief system, in the Apostles Creed we say:

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 6 November 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 6 November 2016

We get off lightly with the selected passage of 2 Maccabees 7. The full story of the Mother and her seven sons is pretty horrific, the tortures they undergo are appalling, as each one is being killed the rest have to watch and listen, each giving praise to God and proclaiming hope in eternal life! Before the seventh dies the Mother speaks, urging him to keep strong in his faith and not be afraid: 'Give up your life willingly and prove yourself worthy of your brothers, so that by God's mercy I may receive you back with them at the resurrection'. (2 MC 24) It is a remarkable story of fidelity and hope in the face of

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - October 30 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - October 30 2016

Sometimes I really have to stop myself being critical about things, it can become a mild disease, what starts out being 'constructive', pointing out something that's not quite right in order to try and turn it round, may, if not kept in check, suddenly turn into a litany of woes and gripes. We all do it at some time or another. I suppose I'm very like the fickle crowd we so often find in the Gospels, happy at first to see Jesus and supportive when he does something good for somebody, but then moans and grumbles about what has happened because it doesn't fit in with my version of the world.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 23 October 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 23 October 2016

We all have our favourite prayers, being somebody whose ability to remember word perfectly is very limited I prefer short prayers and perhaps the one that really engages me more than any other is that simple phrase, Lord have mercy, Kyrie eleison. A few years ago I took part in a BBC Radio 4 Programme that looked at the musical setting of the Kyrie in Faure's Requiem. My task was to look at what those words actually meant. I really enjoyed being part of that broadcast and found that what I researched has made a far deeper impact on me because it changed my perception of

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 16 October 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 16 October 2016

I sometimes feel like that persistent widow in Luke's story, her anger towards the unjust judge is real, but I admire her bravery. It's not easy to face powerful people and challenge them; too often their position protects them from too much scrutiny. It occurs in all walks of life and unfortunately it's there in the Church as well! In this story the Widow, who let's face it has nothing to lose as she's bottom of the social heap, with apparently no relatives, friends or supporters to help her,

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 October 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 October 2016

Though we might not see lepers on our streets, for antibiotics have alleviated this terrible disease in many areas of the world, it still exists. The stigma applied to those who suffered from it was very exaggerated; ancient communities struggling with the disease, thought it was a punishment from God and isolated those who showed symptoms of it from normal society. We now understand it as a curable infectious disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae, which predominantly affects the skin and superficial nerves.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 October 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2 October 2016

It has become quite common to describe people as 'a person of faith' as somebody connected to a religious tradition, in contrast those who either don't profess any religious affiliation or belief, or who won't bracket themselves in such a manner. I have a number of friends who simply describe themselves as 'spiritual'. I have to be honest and say that I don't quite understand their use of the term, spiritual, spirituality is connected with the inner search for meaning or the Divine, lived out in a particular way, for example, Benedictine,

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - September 25th 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - September 25th 2016

We don't have to travel very far to see the contrasts of poverty and excessive luxury, its all around us especially in the urban areas and cities of our world. In London for instance, just underneath the recently built and grotesquely expensive Hyde Park flats (some unoccupied because their rich owners use them as investments) the poor can be found. In the underpasses or on the grassy spaces they lie, homes of cardboard and ragged sleeping bags. Some are transient, wandering from place to place, others have fallen between the cracks of society to

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 18th September 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 18th September 2016

I imagine every one of us has faced the challenge of being asked to tell the truth in a situation that is both complex and difficult. It may be that speaking the whole truth about a situation will destroy reputations and lives. I'm not being fanciful, just think what happens when we discover people haven't been honest in their dealings with others, leading double lives perhaps? Suddenly a world that seemed happy and normal collapses! At that point, when we know something and realize we are being called to bear witness, what do we do? The old adage

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbon - 11 September 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbon - 11 September 2016

For those of us who saw it on television as it happened, or who might have been close to the Twin Towers in Manhattan on September 11th 2001, this day will forever be a day etched into memory! Yet, in the midst of the horror and pain still present in people's lives, the aftermath of that day has been remarkable in other ways. From it flowed creativity and compassion, forgiveness and love, poems and writings, stories and images, all part of the human capacity to find meaning in a place of no meaning, to bring forth from chaos something

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 4 September 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 4 September 2016

Once upon a time my holidays had a different quality, they allowed a rest and detachment from everyday life, but foolishly I take my mobile phone with me, which means that decisions and questions from work and church keep intruding, eating into what should have been a time of respite. It's my own fault, but it's also the way we have allowed the media easy and frequent access into our intimate lives. Is this a good thing? I'm not at all sure, but I have decided to restrict my use of phone, emails and media a lot more after the intrusions of this summer!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28th August 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28th August 2016

Time and time again the teachings of Jesus challenge me deeply! One of the interesting things about our life lived in God's companionship is how often it happens, that when we think we have got to the right place, feel as though something has at last been achieved, another new lesson from life comes along and we learn again! I know that we can half understand that life isn't perfect and half know that whatever we might do is never going to be fully complete, but it can be rather annoying at times!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - The Assumption of Our Lady Saint Mary
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - The Assumption of Our Lady Saint Mary

For several weeks I've been busy on my Oxford University Department's Summer Schools. We've just finished the last, the Theology School, which runs for two weeks and is held at Christ Church. It's a wonderful occasion, hard work for the students in their seminars, but equally hard for the team that supports them. I work as Pastoral Director with the Academic Director, my friend, colleague and fellow canon, Angela Tilby. It's a great atmosphere with people from different countries and Christian backgrounds,

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 7 August 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 7 August 2016

There is a wonderful phrase in the letter to the Hebrews; 'Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen. (Heb: 11.1). The author of this letter uses this phrase as an example of a type of faith, in this case Abraham, which does not demand evidence or proof of the existence of God, but instead builds on a deeper, inner, relationship of trust that Abraham has discovered with God. This intimacy produces for those who open themselves to Gods presence, the gift of hope, so that hope becomes one of the all-encompassing aspects of our

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 31st July 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 31st July 2016

As I get older I have noticed a change in me that I hadn't thought possible at one point in my life. Maybe my mother's death has helped me to move because it's a gradual stripping away, inside myself, of deep attachment to those small articles and treasures of life that make up our store of memories, hopes and enjoyments. It's been a strange experience. I still love and appreciate my icons and other artifacts and I've no intention of getting rid of them, but I'm now more aware that they are only for my use for a time. Why? Well because like the rich

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 24 July 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 24 July 2016

Here in the UK we have had a real week of summer, but also one charged with uncertainty and change from the media obsession with Brexit to the drama in Turkey, the dope scandal engulfing Russian athletes, the aftermath of Nice in France. Hidden below the radar are other things, the dreadful bombings and destruction of Aleppo, the plight of migrant peoples, the destruction of animal species and environment by us humans, or the deep dark unknown stories of countries like North Korea. These are what we might call the 'dark side' of

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 17 July 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 17 July 2016

My friends often tease me by saying that I only work in term time and on Sundays so I've plenty of holidays. That's not even partially true, in the months of July and August I teach and direct some of my Department's Oxford University Summer Schools. All great fun as well as enormously hard work! It's a wonderful experience meeting and connecting with so many people from all over the world. Besides the excitement of learning, people forge good friendships and this, I think, is one of the most important parts of what we do!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 July 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 July 2016

As somebody who is part of ordained ministry, I have to continually remind myself that whatever I may think, no matter how hard I may convince myself otherwise, I and others like me are symbols of authority, power and a dose of privilege. That's why parables like the one about the Good Samaritan are necessary reading and reflection for ministry, there we see in the action of the Levite, no doubt convinced that he is following the law of non pollution and perhaps avoiding a trap by robbers, a shadowy reflection of ourselves. I know that as a priest there will

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Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 3rd July 2016
Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 3rd July 2016

After a tumultuous week in UK politics one could be forgiven for wanting to seek some solace and reassurance in the scriptures, but I'm afraid what we get in Luke's account of the sending of disciples ( Lk 10: 1-20)is yet more uncertainty. Jesus does not give any ready made answers, nor does he seek to comfort those he sends, instead he reminds us all that ministry and mission as disciples will not be plain sailing: 'Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.' The mission is clear; we are to proclaim the God's Kingdom! Some may accept

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 26 June 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 26 June 2016

Given that those of us in the UK have been part of a seismic shift in the political direction of our country, how do these words of Jesus, quoted by Luke, seem to you? Jesus said: "No one who sets a hand to the plough 
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God." I guess some of you reading this will feel that the earth you know and understand has shifted its axis, some will be fearful, some resentful, others hopeful, the uncertain waters ahead cannot be fathomed as of yet!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 19th  June 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 19th June 2016

Paul's words to the Galatians 'you are all one in Christ Jesus' are stunning in their universality for anyone who is a follower of Christ. They call us to sweep away all divisions, for our common baptism into Christ's life, our faith in Christ Jesus make us all children of God through him. Now, I hear those words, I preach about them, but if I dig deep into the recesses of my heart and soul do I actually believe them? I certainly don't live by them because due to all kinds of reasons my prejudices get in the way of my judgment, sometimes I am not even fully aware of them.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 12th June 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 12th June 2016

Whilst I was musing on what to share with you, I kept turning to the Gospel (Luke 7: 36-8:3) and reflected on the different mention of women in the ministry and life of Jesus. Jesus visits to Simon the Pharisee's home to share a meal. Though Simon is a perceptive and religious man, for some unaccountable reason he neglects the basic tenet of hospitality to guests, Jesus' feet remain unwashed, nor given the welcome kiss or anointed with scented oil. Instead we have the extraordinary scene of a wealthy woman, washing the unwashed feet with her tears of repentance,

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5th June 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5th June 2016

One of the lessons I learnt from a wise spiritual father is that God's mercy is certainly not like mine; it is unconditional in its compassion. When we fall out with friends or family, situations can get worse because though we go through the motions of forgiveness, we cannot let go of a grievance, real or imagined. This can make us childishly jealous, resentful and angry, raking up the past to get at one another, often by pointing out how ungrateful people are a towards us! Saint John Climacus wrote: "Some people with a hot temper do not worry about it

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - Corpus Christi
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - Corpus Christi

One of the interesting things about being a member of an Eastern Catholic community is that some of the theological and doctrinal nuances of my childhood and growing up in the faith of the Latin Rite have had to expand and shift. Corpus Christi is one of these occasions! I remember well, as many of you do, the day I made my first communion and all the preparation that went with it. Thinking back I recognise that emotionally and spiritually I caught that scholastic theology of Real Presence, for me as a child, Jesus was present in the holy Eucharist,

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Trinity Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  May 22nd 2016
Trinity Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - May 22nd 2016

How do you communicate God to others? How do you find God yourself? Those are two questions I often ask myself. I've never found the Christian view of God as Trinity an impossible conundrum, maybe because I was helped to approach it by a wise old monk who used the expressions of prayer and worship to show me a theology of relationship and connection that we glimpse through a symbolic world. How can I describe God as an eternal presence beyond and outside of my life yet recognize in Jesus the generosity of God living, pitching his tent

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 15 May 2016  - Pentecost
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 15 May 2016 - Pentecost

What does Pentecost mean to you? I've asked myself that question over the past ten days, trying to see put myself in that upper room with the disciples. What I begin to understand is the stark reality that these people were frightened, closed in, yes psychologically and literally, not wanting to face the outside world and fearful of it, and yet the command of their Lord was to 'go out' to the ends of the earth and proclaim the Good News'! So often in the Gospels Jesus tell his followers not to be afraid, to trust and follow him, yet even after

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  1 May 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 1 May 2016

It's good to know a bit of church history, not only does it give us all kinds of surprises, but sometimes the past, if it is understood correctly, can act as an antidote to some of the unsubstantiated statements that good people produce when they think they are right and want to prove their point, especially about matters of faith. You all know the kind of thing I mean and I am sure all of us have fallen into the trap of thinking or saying, 'it's always been done this way in the church, so we can't change'. I'm not knocking anybody but it seems to me that a little historical humility doesn't come amiss from time to time.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 24th April 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 24th April 2016

I read on one of those church blogs a recent comment about those of us priests trained in the 70's who had deviated from the faith because we had adopted worldly positions. It was unclear just what these worldly positions were, but the inference was obvious (the blogger was a younger priest), we (because I was trained then and ordained in 1979 we are yesterday's message). I don't normally spend much time looking at this stuff, its simply opinion, but it's amazing just how many people think they have a divine right on their

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Sunday Reflection with Canon Pat Browne - Doubt and Faith
Sunday Reflection with Canon Pat Browne - Doubt and Faith

A man returned to his car in the parking lot of a supermarket, to discover that the side had been badly dented by some other car. Naturally, he was very upset. He was somewhat relieved, however, to see that there was a note under one of the wipers. At least, whoever was responsible had owned up, and there was a chance that the other person's insurance would take care of the damage. He opened the piece of paper, and it read:

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 13th March 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 13th March 2016

In his homily on the woman taken in adultery (Jn 8:1-11), Augustine gives us an enduring image of two figures, the woman and Jesus left alone after the confrontation with the Scribes and Pharisees: 'The two were left alone, the wretched woman and Mercy.' That poignant phrase, more hauntingly evocative in the Latin, misera et misericordia dramatically frames our own position with Jesus, for in our Christian life, in those moments alone with him, we too can only be like the unknown women, aware of the gaps in the goodness of

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 6 March 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 6 March 2016

We can approach Luke's parable of the prodigal son from several angles, the dominant theme of the merciful father or perhaps the reckless abandon and subsequent contrition of the younger son, but it's not often that we focus on the elder child and somehow see his place as central to the story. It is not a straightforward parable, the demand of the younger son for 'his' inheritance, which he has no real right to demand as the father is far from dead and his older brother is very much alive, hints (at least to me) of a manipulative character who knows

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 28th February 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 28th February 2016

It's easy to slip into that old religious trap of equating bad things as the consequence of sin and good things as a blessing and reward from God. You hear this view used as an argument against religion from those who see religious faith as a negative influence and force in life. They turn it round to ask, how can God allow suffering, if God is good then why war, famine and disease? The important thing about Jesus is that he pushes us away from this type of debate and instead focuses on the utter graciousness and mercy of God in these good and bad

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 21st  February 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 21st February 2016

I've long been drawn to the Transfiguration, through the wonderful icons of the feast, through the Gospel stories of it, but also into the mystery which it represents! Time and time again I've entered the reading prayerfully thinking I knew about it only to discover something new and something half understood. This Gospel comes after Peter's great confession of Jesus as Messiah and divine one; it's the culmination of Jesus' ministry and the prelude to his death. We glimpse salvation on the mountain only to come down to the valley of the shadow of death and gaze at the unfolding drama of Christ's passion and death!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 14th February 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 14th February 2016

First Sunday in Lent 2016 - There is no doubt that our Eastern Christians take the Great Lent fast far more seriously than many of those in western Christian traditions. Many Catholics and other Christians still retain the tradition of eating fish on Friday and instinctively recognise that there are days of fasting and abstinence as well as the Eucharistic fast, but I wonder how many realise the significance of fasting as a positive experience rather than an avoidance of certain foodstuffs?

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 7th February 2016

I'm a visual person, so it is easy for me to conjure up images for things. I don't find the symbols and iconography of our Christian faith difficult - I might not appreciate certain styles - but the reading from Isaiah 6 where he tries to describe his vision of God isn't something I have any problems with at all. In fact it is quite a powerful set of images, the Lord on a high throne, seraphs with six wings, smoke, the noise of the chants and tremors, the hissing, burning coal which the seraph places on Isaiah's lips as a sign of forgiveness.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 31st January 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 31st January 2016

Far from winning universal approval for what he did and taught, the ministry of Jesus is peppered with difficult situations and outright hostility at times. In Luke 4 we find him about to be thrown off the edge of a cliff by an angry crowd, and all because he spoke and lived the truth! What they heard him say they did not like! This something we all deal with in the course of our lives, at times truthful people are not the most popular friends to have, especially with those of us who want things covered up or would prefer an easy passage through life.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 24 January 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 24 January 2016

Luke opens Jesus' ministry and mission with that famous scripture reading from and sermon in the synagogue at Nazara. We know these words so well and in this year of mercy they call us back to our basic vocation as disciples of the Lord. But though the words of Jesus at first found favour with people, as he expounded on his theme they were also disturbed and annoyed. Is that good? Yes I think so. We do need to be challenged for the Word of the Lord and the work of the Spirit is not about maintaining the status quo but about change, renewal, healing, forgiveness and

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 17 January 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 17 January 2016

One poetic phrase can often sum up a whole story and for me the 17th Century poet, Richard Crashaw's famous quote about the miracle at Cana just does that: 'The conscious water saw its God and blushed!" Straight away Crashaw points to Jesus as somebody intimate with creation, active and involved in it, the creative word of God who blesses and transforms. It's a very deep theological insight into the connection between the material world and incarnate Lord and hints at the abundant grace God pours on us that can change our lives from water into wine!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10th January 2016
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10th January 2016

This great feast, which the East celebrates on January 6th, is called the Theophany, that is the manifestation or appearance of God. Though the immediate focus is on the baptism of the Lord Jesus, quite rightly this title refers to the appearance of the Trinity, for above all, the baptism of Jesus reveals Him as he is, true God and true human, second person of the Trinity. I'm going to use the traditional Byzantine Icon of the Baptism to help us grasp some of the theological and spiritual treasures in this feast, not for any other purpose than to shed light on our own sacramental

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15th November 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15th November 2015

The terrible events in Paris on Friday night will have disturbed many and brought a profound sense of unease into may people's lives. It will seem today, as if we were not already aware, that there is no place we can truly call safe from violence and pain. Daniel mentions a time of great distress, the more imaginative of us might link it to what is going on in our world, but if you focus on the second section of the passage another image appears, this is also a time of great awakening where goodness triumphs in the lives of those who have been virtuous, it will shine as brightly as stars for all

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 1st  November - All Saints
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 1st November - All Saints

All Saints and All Souls are a diptych, that is two haves of a whole, one proclaims with joy the vision of God and the Kingdom, the other that unknown element of deep humility where we acknowledge our hope in the saving power of the Lord. The feast of All Saints is ours too, because our Christian vocation is simply a call to holiness, which, if you'll excuse the analogy, is a call to real 'wholeness'. The Holy Spirit builds up the community of God's Kingdom by enabling us to follow the Gospel way, loving God and our neighbour, by helping us seek the living risen Christ, who is our true compass in this life,

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 18 October  2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 18 October 2015

Church historians debate the significance of Constantine's acceptance of Christianity as a legitimate religion from 313 onwards. It is true that without his support the story of our faith may have been very different indeed, but the gradual inclusion of Christians in society led to a great expansion of their faith throughout Europe, the Middle East and other territories. When the Roman Empire eventually collapsed, the Church remained as a stable force and achieved much through expansion and missionary endeavor.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 27 September 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 27 September 2015

One of the good things about being a priest serving one of our immigrant Eastern Catholic communities is that there just isn't the money to provide a full stipend, so in time honoured fashion I earn my daily bread in academic life as a theologian. This allows me to work in ways that I would never have thought possible years ago and it has been part of my secondary vocation to the cause of ecumenism. One delight is helping teach the many men who are training for the permanent diaconate

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Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons:  6 September 2015
Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons: 6 September 2015

Anxiety is not a good thing for any of us, it disturbs us, niggles us, makes inroads into our peace of mind and can, if bad, really mess us up! All my life that little anxious streak has emerged at all kinds of odd times to wreck my peace and equanimity. It's no use saying to an anxious person, 'it will be alright', rather what they need to hear is the forceful and strong words of Isaiah: 'Courage! Do not be afraid', as the prophet rightly knows, the voice giving us that advice is not based on human reason or support, but on one thing alone that is beyond anxiety, the being who is the source of all rest, love

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Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 30th August 2015
Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 30th August 2015

Too many people seem to know exactly what God thinks or Jesus taught. I wouldn't dare presume to claim I know this at all and it amazes me how often 'god people' use this type of argument to get at others, especially those with differing viewpoints. We seem to be getting a taste of this in the run up to the Synod of the Family, people writing to the Pope to ask him to affirm Church teaching on marriage and divorce and not allow the type of discussion that others actually want.

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Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 23rd August 2015
Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 23rd August 2015

Like me, do you wonder why some people are drawn to religious faith and others shy away from engagement with religion or actively reject it? It's interesting to note that even amongst our own family members there may be those who seem hostile or indifferent to faith whist others embrace the journey and engage in the exciting journey of discipleship with Jesus. But that means to take risks, the journey is one of growth, discovering new things about ourselves, others and God.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 25 July 2015

Pictures of hungry starving people are always disturbing. Those of us who live in an affluent society cannot begin to comprehend what it must be like to have little hope of food or water. It is to their credit that so many people act according to conscience and with compassion to support charities and aid agencies that help alleviate situations of extreme deprivation. Some of us will help in an active way by becoming involved in these situations.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 18 July 2015

We haven't had a true shepherd in my Oxfordshire village for many years, but some people remember the last one and tell tales of what he did and how he really understood the sheep. These are good country tales, laced with realism and humour a reminder that we need to spend a bit more time learning about our countryside...

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 12 July 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 12 July 2015

Where are the prophets of today? I was asked that question by an international group of students this week when we were studying the great Anglo-Saxon Saints of England, and comparing their missionary expansion with our own situation. I recommend that period for anybody interested in different models of the Church, it had a flexibility about it, different forms of ministry, some great women ruled double communities and (despite not being ordained) acted as religious leaders, some we can call the founders of local churches like my own Frideswide of Oxford, these people were the prophets, bringing Christ to

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 July 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 July 2015

Something that has been very helpful in my own faith life has been the gradual realization that it is in our weakness we find our true strength, discovering how humility is not an empty virtue but something we learn, work at, and put into practice. It took me a very long time, with quite a few knocks, to understand that this 'weakness' is simply what Jesus did in 'emptying' himself out for us, it is part of his call to 'follow him'! But humility gets a bad press and isn't fashionable in our present society, often because we really get it so wrong, seeing it in negative terms rather than a positive way of being.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Feast of SS Peter and Paul
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Feast of SS Peter and Paul

We don't know when Peter or Paul came to Rome, but deep rooted Christian family tradition places their imprisonment and deaths there. Archeological evidence suggests that a cult of both saints was early established, and certainly by the second century they were both venerated in the city of Rome. The fact that these two Apostles are together commemorated at a pre-eminent liturgical feast, observed in both East and West, reminds us that the liturgical life of the Church honours them as part of the foundations of the Church of Christ. This feast (as is that of St Andrew) is also truly ecumenical especially

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 21st June 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 21st June 2015

The sights and sounds of boats in harbours is something that fills my imagination and has been a life-long interest. I love Cornwall and its coastline so many of my images come from there, but any harbour is a magical place. The sea is obviously in my blood, but I know that beautiful as it might be, like all water places it has to be respected and feared as well. Jesus loves the waters too, some of the greatest images of him are settings by the sea and of course, many of his first followers were fisher-folk.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 14th  June 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 14th June 2015

Jesus was somebody totally tuned in to the world about him, his perception of nature is acute and he often uses his insights in parables like the comparison of the Kingdom with the mustard seed that grows from a small plant to a tree hosting birds that rest and nest. It is obvious that he loves the natural world and has a care for it, something that the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been urging us to do for a very long time, that is take care of the environment, of living things and world. Pope Francis is just about to issue his encyclical 'Laudato si' that will commit us to

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Corpus Christi  -  7th June 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Corpus Christi - 7th June 2015

I find it fascinating that this feast is one that has no direct link with the Eastern Church at all and is a reflection of developing medieval piety in the Roman tradition at one period of history. The ancient Church in both East and West has always had high theology of the Eucharistic elements, both traditions regard them as the Body and Blood of the Lord present in the form of bread and wine and both acknowledge that the primary purpose of the Holy Eucharist is for the fulfillment of the Lord's command to 'take this and eat', 'take this and drink' and 'do this in memory of me!'

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Trinity Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
Trinity Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons

'Mend your ways, encourage one another' says Paul to the Corinthians. It's a nice exhortation because it balances the deep understanding of our imperfect nature, always in need of mending, with a command of the best kind, to share the route of life with all that it contains together rather than alone. Perhaps that is what the Trinity means, that the Triune God of Creator, Redeemer and the blowing, powerful hidden and unseen Spirit is all about mending the fabric of life, now in ways that draw people together rather than isolate, and in the future when we finally come together and experience

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Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - Pentecost
Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - Pentecost

As one who serves an Eastern Catholic community that was born in the Church of Antioch, older perhaps than the Church of Rome, the first served by Peter, and where Paul received Christ, the feast of Pentecost brings a deep and abiding sense that whatever happens, whatever tragedies are playing out in the world around us, the Spirit is still actively at work amongst us. The signs are there to see even in the great suffering of faithful in the Middle East and elsewhere.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons  - 10 May 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 May 2015

What a week we have had in the UK, the run up to election day on Thursday 7th may seemed endless and the electorate strangely quiescent in parts of England (not so in Scotland) but what a result, it looks as though politics over here is going to be a very different ball game from now on. However politics isn't everything and we know how such systems can corrupt people, being close to great power gives to people a heady mix of things and can blind them to the realities of daily life. As if to keep us on track, whether we are in the UK or elsewhere, other events bring a sense of balance.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons  -  26th April 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 26th April 2015

Where I live, ten miles outside Oxford, the fields are full of lambs and sheep, you can hear the bleating of the little ones seeking out their mothers and the reassuring answers. It's always been part of my conscious life and goes with bluebells and apple blossom, yellow rape seed and the greening of hedgerow and tree. There are still deer, rabbits and hares to be seen in the Blenheim Estate fields, red kites hovering over carrion and the cawing of the full rookeries. The Cycle of our spring time new life is well on its way. We used to have proper ancient style shepherds, but because of the way our sheep are

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons  - 19  April 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 19 April 2015

Do you sometimes wonder if we don't make faith a bit too difficult for ourselves? I do! It's amazing how often I seem to get caught up in making detailed explanations of the scriptures or some slightly complicated aspect of church teaching. I know that doctrine is important, don't get me wrong, As a theologian I am very aware of the many years I have spent studying and learning the things of God in order to help both students and my parishioners get a grip on their faith. What we need are theologians of deep practical faith who can talk about these things as Jesus did, in simple ways that carry the weight of great knowledge.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons  - 12 April 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 12 April 2015

As one of the unfortunates struck down by this present bout of 'flu, I've had an interesting time during this week of Easter joy, for a start I've been so out of it joy hasn't been on the horizon, I've felt too rotten to even care. I'm not alone there are plenty of others suffering as well, but I've also had the kindnesses of neighbours and relatives who brought me soup, checked up that I was ok and in bed and generally looked after my basic needs when I couldn't, much like those early Christians in Acts 4 where the community had a common heart and mind, looking out for each other!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons  - 15  February 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 15 February 2015

Let’s start with Paul’s exhortation to us in 1 Corinthians, it’s a reminder of what we should be, especially as Lent begins for many of us this week, (I say many, because some of our Eastern Christians follow a slightly different calendar and so start on the 23rd February). It’s a simple mantra: imitate good models of faith, give glory to God by what we do and say and pray. Don’t be offensive, try to be pleasant; don’t be selfish, think of others! Easy? No, it’s a tough call!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons  -  25 January 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 25 January 2015

Listening to the reading from the Prophet Jonah we cannot fail to be moved! God saw the sorrow and repentance of the people of Nineveh, and spared them in this story. Today IS ignored the cries of the people in Mosul and destroyed the existence of the Christian community! The irony cannot be lost on us; now people claiming to do this in God’s a name are destroying Mosul/Nineveh! But in Jonah’s story the big difference it is about coming together not rending asunder.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - The Epiphany 4th January
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - The Epiphany 4th January

Of all the nativity festivals, the Epiphany is perhaps the most colourful and yet, at least in Anglo-Saxon cultures, the most neglected, it is really eclipsed by the earlier Christmas feasts and the celebration of the New Year, it is the full stop at the end of the holidays! Here’s our chance to reclaim this feast as a purely religious festival. One idea might be to make it a day of hospitality, welcome and ecumenism. The readings for the feast point out that the ‘Magi’ represent the world beyond faith confines, beyond our denominational securities.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  28th December 2014 - Feast of the Holy Family
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 28th December 2014 - Feast of the Holy Family

I was trawling though writings and sermons about the Holy Family, partly out of interest but mainly curiosity and what I found was, as one might expect, a pretty hefty statement about the wonderful influence of Joseph and Mary on Jesus - the inference being that somehow they lived a domestic life rather akin to the ‘best’ model of what one might call the official ‘Christian’ life, one of harmony, loving synchronicity between husband and wife, obedience from children who are brought up in a ‘safe’ environment!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons:  Feast of Christ the King
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Feast of Christ the King

... For me the Lord Jesus is not a ‘ruler’ of mind and heart, he does not possess me as a chattel or subject, rather Christ is the one I seek to love and follow. He is the prototype, we are the icon of him, reflecting his love and presence through our lives. It’s wise to remember that Jesus pointed out his kingdom was not of this world, in those hours where he was mocked and reviled before his death on the cross. This type of ‘King’ is a servant and friend, one whose role is to be totally with others in all situations, who will welcome us as friends in his Kingdom.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons:  16 November 2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: 16 November 2014

Do you get annoyed by certain passages of scripture? Take the ‘perfect wife’ image from Proverbs, no doubt suitable in its historical context, but how many of us agree with that passive , dependent image? Try this, substitute perfect ‘husband’, ‘partner’ or ‘friend’ for wife, change the occupation a bit and then see how it feels to you! It doesn’t rest easy does it? Never mind, it does its job, shakes us up to actually think about several things, firstly of partnership between people, is there ever a ‘perfect person’? Well no, because its a work in progress!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 November 2014 (i)  Dedication of  Lateran Basilica
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 November 2014 (i) Dedication of Lateran Basilica

Why on earth does the Roman Church celebrate the Dedication of the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Rome, the Lateran Basilica? The fact it replaces the Sunday cycle hints that it is not just a feast concerning a building. It must have another meaning which links it to a celebration of Christ! The readings for the feast hint at this image of a building that is a place of holiness because it connects people with God, moving us away from seeing the building as important in itself no matter how beautiful or ancient it might be!

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  27  July 2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 27 July 2014

Aspects of our contemporary society in the west are fixated on wealth, status, celebrity. It occurs in almost every group especially those with power attached to their work, such as police, medics, the legal profession, politicians, celebrities, academics, and yes, the Church.  Now we know the Church isn’t community of saints, conversion of life is a continual call of the Gospel and we deal with a mixed bunch of people across all continents and islands.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - Corpus Christi 22 June  2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - Corpus Christi 22 June 2014

We all need to look carefully at the readings chosen for this feast. None of them define the Eucharist in theological terms, it is true that Paul in I Cor 10 talks about the Lord’s body and blood, and John 6: 51-58 has Jesus teaching about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, but the context is, as the sequence tells us, in the sharing and partaking of that food. It is about the one thing we need in order to have life and it is food for our journey!  Maybe the desert context of Deuteronomy can help us move a little further into the mystery

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - Feast of Pentecost  2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - Feast of Pentecost 2014

A number of thoughts swirl around my mind at the moment, perhaps it’s the prompting of the Spirit for in recent days I have found a new focus, one little expected, suddenly moving me into action to try and shine a light on the need for new directions, to help change one small area of our national life. You’ll find mention of Stephen Sutton in a number of my recent reflections. He stands for so many other unsung people, young and old who, responding to the Spirit’s gifts in their lives, do what we ought to, reach out in care, love and concern and get on 

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 4 May 2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 4 May 2014
Journeying is something the human family do a lot of, whether it is simply commuting to work near our homes, straightforward local travels or the adventure of long distance, but as I write this from the setting of the Indiana spring sunshine (later than ours in GB), I am very aware that wherever we go, whatever we do, though places may be very different, people are remarkably similar. We make connections and friends wherever we go, but perhaps especially so with those who belong to the same faith family as ourselves! Luke’s story
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 26 January 2014
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons 26 January 2014
Despite it still being the middle of British Winter those of us used to the grey dismal days may find a slight shift in the quality of the light, it’s not much and may even be fanciful imaginings, but once we move into `January’ there is a real sense that the daylight hours are lengthening, light is coming again! For us, Isaiah’s words ring true, gloom is dispelled, a yoke of heaviness is lifted from those who suffer in this season, new light is dawning. I hope you are one of those people who can link the dawn and dark to these passages of scripture,
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons -  6 October 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 6 October 2013
Maybe I am getting old but tend to think that some of the behavioural problems we discover in our own society stems from the gap between our identity as members of a community and our understanding of our role as individuals, what we think we should be and who we actually are. Andy Warhol’s visionary statement about everyone having their 15 minutes of fame does seem to affect a lot of people who think that they are in a real sense ‘special ’. Celebrity culture doesn’t help either; we are lulled into a false sense of the ease of achieving fame and wealth.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 22 September 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 22 September 2013
It is extraordinary how images from scripture can suddenly start haunting you. I find that because of my long monastic soaking in lectio divina’, letting the Word speak to ones heart and soul. In the passage from Luke about the unjust steward, I began to see that his behaviour was not the essential focus of my reflection, rather it was the attitude of his master. For me and I hope you, Jesus points out yet again that nothing is ever black and white in human life, positive things can emerge from bad situations, nothing in the end is ever lost.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 4 August 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 4 August 2013
‘All is vanity’ says the Preacher. Those words have figured in so many old sermons and prayer books about the spiritual life . ’Look for the things in heaven' says St Paul in his letter to the Colossians, ‘not on the things of earth!’. Frankly I disagree with that perception, because they start with a negative premise, that somehow this earth isn’t the ‘real thing’. Well maybe earth isn’t the New Jerusalem or the Heavenly City, but as Jesus says so often, the Kingdom of God is to be found in and on it!
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 June 2013
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 June 2013
The first reading and gospel talk about the return to life of a widow’s son through God’s response to heartfelt prayer. We can read into this a number of things, the plight of the widow and orphan as marginalized people, but nevertheless the little ones so beloved of God, ignored by normal society it is only through recourse to God and those who are God’s disciples that provides the answer to what might have been a calamity, death and poverty. Then there is the deep reminder to the rest of us that it is in God’s gracious love we find our answers, it is the prayer of the psalmist,
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 22 July 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 22 July 2012
Every society has strengths and weaknesses. Across the world, millions of people live in peasant societies. They grow their own food, they live in small communities, they probably barter rather than spend cash, of which they have little. Societies like this are closely-knit. That is their strength. However, in a peasant society, time is circular. The rhythm of the year is unchanging. Peasants do not expect things to be different for their children or their grandchildren. Life is a repetition. At the time of Jesus, the land of Palestine was in
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Sunday Reflection: 15 July 2012
THERE IS NO SUNDAY REFLECTION TODAY AS FR TERRY TASTARD IS UNWELL.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ - 13 May 2012
Sunday Reflection with Fr Paul O'Reilly SJ - 13 May 2012
When I was at College, I had a friend Peter who is a good 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 of them can
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 26 June 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 26 June 2011
Oppressive governments go to great lengths to suppress ideas.  Who would have thought that the Chinese government would feel threatened by an artist?  But Ai Weiwei has just been released after three months imprisonment for speaking frankly about his own country.  He believes that a steep price has been paid for China’s frantic economic growth.  Its people, he said, ‘walk like ghosts on the ever-widening streets,
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 6 March 2011
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 6 March 2011
There used to be an English religion called gardenolatry.  You still come across it occasionally.  You know, people who say, ‘I don’t need to go to church.  I can pray to God in my garden.’  I have my doubts as to whether people who say this actually do pray.  Perhaps they do. But of course it misses the point.  We go to church not only to pray to God but also to receive the sacraments and to be strengthened by the presence of others.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 6 February 2011
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 6 February 2011
Salt is a marvellous ingredient, when judiciously used.  It seems to bring out the best in all the other flavours.  We have all had the experience of tasting a stew or a soup without salt and finding it bland.  A touch of salt and hey presto!  Everything else in the mix can be tasted as well.  So when Jesus uses the image of salt to describe Christians, it could be seen as an enabling role. 
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Sunday Reflection with Father Paul O'Reilly SJ - 28 November 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Paul O'Reilly SJ - 28 November 2010
When I was about twelve, I went to a military pageant. This was a show put on by the local regiment of the Army called the “Blues and Royals”. And it was a very special display because it was being attended by the Queen. And so the entire regiment had been got up to stand on parade in order to welcome Her Magesty.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 5 September 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 5 September 2010
Today’s difficult gospel, with its language of hating, seems so untypical of Jesus.  What does he mean?  It is one thing to admit candidly that you are a sinner.  It something else again to hate your family and yourself.  Today, with our knowledge of psychology, we are rightly cautious about such hatred, which can result in depression, a sense of worthlessness, insecurity and even self-harm.  So what could Jesus mean?
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 27 June 2010
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 27 June 2010
There are all kinds of expressions that we use to indicate a fundamental and irrevocable choice.  We say of people that they burned their bridges (or their boats).  They nailed their colours to the mast, or crossed the Rubicon. These and other expressions tell us that there are times in life when there will be no going back.  There are times when life will ask of us a resolute commitment, even if it combines both courage and fear.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 16 May 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 16 May 2010
Some countries have wonderful citizenship ceremonies when their new citizens are sworn in.  I have always been impressed by pictures I have seen of these ceremonies in the USA.  One of the remarkable features is the cross-section of people who become new Americans:  some young, some old, people from many races and backgrounds.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 28 February 2010
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 28 February 2010
The reading from Genesis (15.5-12, 17-18) is ancient and mysterious. It describes some ritual that took place at the dawn of human memory, perhaps three thousand years or more ago. Its original meaning is far from certain, but two things seem clear: it is about the gift of children, and the gift of land.
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Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 14 February 2010
Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 14 February 2010
When Biblical scholars look at the Beatitudes (Luke 6.17, 20-26) they are struck by the similarity between Jesus and Moses. Moses assembled the Hebrew people and delivered the Law, summarised in what we now call the Ten Commandments. This became a way of life for the people.  Jesus, too summons his flock around them, not twelve tribes this time but twelve
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 11 October 2009
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 11 October 2009
There is something enormously moving about the young man who runs up to Jesus (Mk 10.17-30).  In fact, let’s begin with that fact:  he runs to seize this chance of meeting Christ.  This is someone who is genuinely eager to learn.  Second, this is a seeker:  What must I do?  he asks.  You can almost sense the energy in him.
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SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 21  September 2009
SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 21 September 2009
The twentieth century is now behind us.  What horrors it contained.  The First World War.  The Second World War.  The Holocaust.  Apartheid.  The Siege of Sarajevo.  The Rwanda massacres.  It was a century of progress and also of callous inhumanity.  We tend to focus on the good and on the progress.  The horror side of it is too ghastly to contemplate.  But I have been made to think again by the readings for this weekend and by the parish book club.
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SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 21  September 2009
SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 21 September 2009
The twentieth century is now behind us.  What horrors it contained.  The First World War.  The Second World War.  The Holocaust.  Apartheid.  The Siege of Sarajevo.  The Rwanda massacres.  It was a century of progress and also of callous inhumanity.  We tend to focus on the good and on the progress.  The horror side of it is too ghastly to contemplate.  But I have been made to think again by the readings for this weekend and by the parish book club.
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SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 6 September  2009
SUNDAY REFLECTION WITH FR TERRY TASTARD - 6 September 2009
One of the signs that Nazi Germany was going down a poisonous road was the campaign to rid the country of its disabled citizens.  They were deemed to be a 'drain' on resources.  In addition they were considered to be of poor genetic stock, which eugenicists wanted to be neutralised.
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Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 19 July 2009
Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard - 19 July 2009
I remember seeing on TV a true story from World War II that moved me deeply.  In 1940 a German soldier stationed in Normandy had fallen in love with a local French girl.  He loved her dearly, and always behaved honourably towards her.
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12 July 2009 - Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard
12 July 2009 - Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard
 No one likes to be vulnerable.  We have erected careful systems to make sure that we are not vulnerable.  As individuals, we take out insurance policies.  As nations, we devise social security schemes.  Or to give a different type of example, we invest in security systems for our homes and offices;
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Sunday 12 July - Fr Terry Tastard
No one likes to be vulnerable.  We have erected careful systems to make sure that we are not vulnerable.  As individuals, we take out insurance policies.  As nations, we devise social security schemes.  Or to give a different type of example, we invest in security systems for our homes and offices;
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26 April 2009 - Fr Terry Tastard

Bono, the well known singer from U2, has written about easter in the New York Times. I found his meditation thought- provoking.

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7 September 2008 - Fr Terry Tastard
'Give us true freedom'. That is what we ask God in today's opening prayer. What is true freedom? We can think of it as freedom from and freedom for.
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