in the room

Apr 16, 2023

.

“The doors were closed
in the room where the disciples were…
Jesus came and stood among them.
He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’”
John 20

Today’s reflection marks the end of the FFF Lent-to-Easter daily email posts. Thank you for your company on this journey.

While these daily posts (for those who have signed up for the Lent / Advent reflections at this link) will take a break until Advent, those who have signed up to receive every post or regular posts at this link will continue to receive a couple of emails each week.

You might take a moment now to visit this page now to check your email preferences.

During retreat this week I found myself pondering just how difficult it is for me to accept that God, in Jesus, is really alive-with-me today.

Instead, following the Old Testament method, I can easily believe in a God who waits at a distance ready to reward my good behaviour and to support my efforts.

Such a distant God can be an attractive focus: a God who awaits my invitation, who supports my efforts and who is prepared to work at my command and under my control within a world view which is my own comfortable construction.

Certainly God will often respect my boundaries politely awaiting my instructions.

Too often this is the God I want.

But this is not the God I need.

Instead my deepest longing is for a God who is incarnate (literally fleshy) and who in Jesus breaks through my closed doors to stand with me and for me,  bringing me the peace which is beyond my miserably inadequate dreams.

Thanks be to God Jesus is the God who is both the vulnerable and powerless baby mewling in his mother’s arms AND the mature adult who turns over tables and boldly and fearlessly breaks into my life motivated by the desperation of His personal and intimate love for me.

A friend commented to me recently, when i want to make God laugh I tell him my plans and programmes.

This does not mean that I do nothing. Instead my activity is not my initiative but my response in which I allow the divinely sown seed of desire for Jesus to germinate within me into an often painful wound of desire for him.

In this desire I realise anew that my joys and hopes, my griefs and anxieties, my sufferings and rejoicings are my bodily experience of his prescient activity in my life.

I can even say that my personal burdens and sufferings are the tangible and everyday way that I feel his flesh becoming my flesh since in my tough times I realise my inadequacy and call out for the presence of the ultimate other.

This is the beginning point of my salvation, or in the words of recovery, this is the first step of acknowledging my powerlessness and the unmanageability of my life with St Paul discovering that I find myself not doing what I decide to do and doing the very things I decide not to do.  Romans 7:15

And this is what I love most about the gospel encounters with Jesus after the resurrection. All of the disciples’ well-intentioned programmes for building the kingdom had failed precisely because they had not understood that the kingdom of Jesus is not of this world and therefore cannot be measured in earthly units of achievement or on worldly scales of success.

Jesus began his life on earth as a baby and by choosing the humblest path of all, even to death by crucifixion, brought salvation to all.

Very quickly in our success-driven lives we work to become who we want to be.

Then as I mature in faith I am able to hear the call to acknowledge that my health and happiness is found when I like a baby collapse into his divine and eternal embrace of love.

Without a doubt at the death of Jesus his closest followers were stricken with guilt and shame for their abandonment of their saviour. Yet, and this is the most surprising sign of all, after his resurrection he seeks them out, finding them back at their old occupations on the lake or in the tax office or walking away on the road. They try to convince him of their unworthiness, and he agrees with them and laughs at them then laughs with them as they realise that the mission they were created for is not their little missions of buildings and numbers and social prestige but HIS mission of love.

I am very grateful to have your company on this journey. The Food For Faith community of subscribers, now spread across the world, has become my parish.  I am happy to meet with small groups by Zoom, perhaps for a 30 minute reflection together. In recent months I have also been invited to lead school and parish missions and retreats, for an hour or two or three or four days. (even including Sunday Mass supply if your priest needs a break). Contact me to discuss possibilities. john@fff.org.nz

In friendship with Christ

Signature of Fr John O'Connor

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

Ref: Fall in Love Prayer

+++

FFF IN THE CAFE… Send your name and the name of a cafe or bar to john@fff.org.nz Scribble FFF on a table napkin, take a seat and wait.

DROP IN FOR A CHAT:

Monday 17 April 2023 
11.00am at The Cafe at Harrisons, 23 Peka Peka Rd. Waikanae Beach. Catherine.

Sunday 23 April 2023 
11.00am at The Bakehouse 74 Main Street, Fairlie.  (Directions) Fr. Tien Cao.

Thursday 27 April 2023
10.30am at Zest Cafe Greeton 187 Chadwick Rd, Tauranga. (Directions) Frances

Monday 1 May 2023 (and every Monday)
10.00am at Moko in the Bush Inn Centre Christchurch (Directions) Trish

Thursday 4 May 2023
11.00am at Rata Cafe in Zealandia, 53 Waiapu Rd, Karori, Wellington. (Directions)  Catherine

Wednesday 10 May 2023 (and second Wednesday of every month)
10.30am at Zenders 44 Hopkins Road, Newstead, Hamilton (Directions). Christina

8 Comments

  1. Thanks Fr.John for your daily Lent/Easter refecctions. A good way to start each day. Blessings

    Reply
  2. I thank you & Bless you Fr.John for your reflections. They have truly made me think about my life & inspired me and sad that I will miss these reflections until Advent.

    Reply
  3. I have appreciated your amazing company on this inspiring journey through Lent.
    Thanks you for your gentle encouragement and sharing.
    I like the Fall in Love prayer.
    God is with you

    Reply
  4. I like the prayer. Thank you John for all the work you put in to bring these reflections to us. I appreciate the variety & simplicity of your words that are so encouraging. May you be blessed abundantly in your mission

    Reply
  5. Thank you. Father John for your guiding reflections through this Lenten period. I think for me you saved the best till last with the quote from St Paul Romans 7:15.
    I look forward; not wishing to rush time away, to your Advent reflections.
    May God bless you in all you do!
    Fred

    Reply
  6. Thanks to all who have contributed in every way. Thanks Fr John for the prayer. Blessings on your ministry. As someone else has said earlier: oremus!

    Reply
  7. Sincere thanks For John for your spirit inspired words that nourish on such a deep level. Keeping you in my prayers as you continue on this powerful mission God has called you to fulfil. Your reflections and those who contribute to Homily Studio are truly wonderful. May God continue to bless you abundantly.

    Reply
  8. Thanks much, Fr. John! Happy Easter everyone! We are Easter men and women and Alleluia is our song! Our prayers always and cheers!

    Reply

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