Friday, February 18, 2022

Like the Wind in Our Sails || Fabruary 20th 2022 || Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C

 How are we supposed to live with our enemies?

In this Sunday’s liturgy of the word, the Lord Jesus says to each one of us, “Love your enemies”.

Do we have enemies in our lives? Have you been wronged or mistreated or humiliated or plotted against by your enemies? Did you offend someone you have apologized to and the apology was not accepted? Have you angered someone who has set himself against you? Do you have a family or a community member who has a grudge against you? What do you feel inside yourself? Vengeance? A desire to punish or bring them down? Are you boiling emotionally inside yourself about your enemies?

We noticed how the truckers in Ottawa city have made the lives of the residents difficult and unpleasant because of their yelling and noise during the nights. We all have people whose lives have made our lives difficult and we think that our lives would be much better if they had never been born. These enemies, who are the cause of our vengeful feelings, are the people we are called to love.

How are we supposed to live with our enemies? Jesus tells us that you love your enemies by doing good to those who hate you, by blessing those who curse you and by praying for those who abuse you. We are supposed to “agape” our enemies, not to love them romantically as you love a “chum” or a blonde, or in a brotherly way, as we love our family members.

We are supposed to live with our enemies by being concerned about their interests and well-being. You do good to your enemies because you love God, the one who care about them and their well-being.

The Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is based on what you would want others to do to you while on the contrary “love your enemies” is based on the way God deals with us as demonstrated in the life of Jesus himself.

The Lord is not asking too much of us. He is only telling us to be forgiving so we can receive forgiveness. In the Gospel of Luke, which we heard today, we are told “to be merciful, just as our heavenly Father is merciful.” Our goal as followers of Christ is to act in the same way God acts, which is to be merciful to everyone, even to our enemies.

Befriend your enemies as David did with King Saul. He had the opportunity to kill Saul who sought his life. Yet, he refused. Instead, David took Saul's water jar and spear to prove he was the best person. He was merciful. By doing this he changed the heart of Saul. Then Saul said to David, Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them. He started seeing the positive in David, being concerned about his well-being and made him great.

So what Jesus is asking us is difficult, but it’s not impossible, and it’s vital, too. Let us break the wall around our hearts, and love our enemies by doing good to them and make them great.

Jean-Paul Omombo

Friday, February 11, 2022

Like the Wind in our Sails || Sixth Sunday of the Ordinary Time - Year C

Reading I : Jer 17:5-8 Responsorial  Psalm : Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6                            Reading II : 1 Cor 15:12, 16-20                                       Gospel : Lk 6:17, 20-26

Alleluia, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad;
your reward will be great in heaven.
Alleluia, alleluia. (Lk 6, 23)

Reading this Sunday's Gospel, I remember what God said to Israel in Dt 20.15.19: “Look! I put before you today life and happiness (blessing), or else death and misfortune (curse). Choose life..." It is exactly the same choice Jesus invites us to make by successively presenting to us four attitudes of happiness (Beatitudes) and four attitudes of unhappiness. And it should be noted that the 1st reading (“Cursed be the man…” and “Blessed be the man…”) and the Psalm (“Happy is the man…” and “Such is not the fate of wicked”) are situated in the same logic of invitation to choose life, happiness, blessing. 

I find it very comforting that Jesus cares about our happiness by taking into account the least aspects of our life, namely: our material situation (“Blessed are you, poor people…”); our basic/most basic needs (“Happy are you who are hungry now…”); our feelings/emotions (“Happy are you who are crying now…”); of our relationships with others (“Happy are you when men hate you…”). I find it very encouraging to know that I can still be happy, even in the midst of these various difficult situations seemingly at odds with happiness. But how is this possible? Let's look at the last two beatitudes to get an idea. 

"Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh." A priori, it is certainly not good to be in affliction and to make tears and sadness a Beatitude. But this Beatitude reminds me of these words from a parable of Jesus as a reproach to his contemporaries: “We played the flute, and you did not dance. We sang songs of mourning, and you did not cry. Instead of dancing to the sound of the flute, Jesus' contemporaries wept instead; and instead of crying to songs of mourning, they danced instead. I understand that not all the joys we experience are necessarily positive or constructive. On the other hand, even if the feeling of sadness is often destructive, a certain form of sadness can be fulfilling because it is motivated by solidarity, by compassion, by empathy, by charity. 

“Happy are you when men hate you and exclude you…”. Yes, I recognize that it is very painful and very depressing to see oneself rejected by others because of one's convictions. But the most serious and destructive rejection we can experience is self-rejection by ourselves, that is, when we come to deny our convictions in order to be accepted by others. Jesus wants to tell us that harmony with ourselves is much more important than harmony with others in leading us to happiness. Harmony with others must be built on the rock of harmony with oneself; otherwise, harmony with others is only artificial and cannot lead us to real fulfillment and happiness. Let us first seek harmony with ourselves and God, and harmony with others will be given to us as well. 

 Thank you, Lord, for showing us the true path to happiness. 


Friday, February 4, 2022

Fratelli Tutti - Chapter I

Ms. Nicole Fortier-Courcy is an associate of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in Gatineau. She has prepared a series of short reflections that provide an overview of “Fratelli Tutti,” Pope Francis’s encyclical on fraternity and social friendship. Today, she presents us the first chapter.

Chapter I— The shadows of a closed world

What a joy for the associates of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary is this encyclical from Pope Francis! I know I’m repeating myself, but I can’t resist.

Before he presents us with his dream that we have all become brothers and sisters in humanity, Pope Francis draws our attention to the manifestations of the lack of fraternity in the world, what he calls “the shadows of a closed world.” Courageously, he devotes the first chapter of this letter to this theme (#9 to 56). This is what I want to discuss with you in this reflection.

What are these shadows? The pope presents us with “certain trends in our world that hinder the development of universal fraternity” (#9). He says that these trends are “lacking a plan for everyone” (! 15), that they lead to “at absence of human dignity on the borders” of our countries (#37 to 42).

Where Saint Francis of Assisi favoured an approach “without borders” to “embrace everyone” (#3), today the “opening up to the world” is monopolized by economy and finance (#12). This trend towards globalization favours the identity of the strongest to the detriment of the weakest and the poorest, quite the opposite of what the saint wanted.

We face a globalization of marginalization (#18–22). “What is thrown away are not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves,” (#19) writes the pope, citing among other examples how children are increasingly affected by poverty (#29); how the elderly are abandoned to their loneliness (#19); how people are reduced to unemployment, resulting from an obsession with reducing labour costs (#20); how migrants, victims of “unscrupulous traffickers” (#38), mafia groups, drug and arms cartels, are exposed to racism and, still today, slavery. Human trafficking has reappeared; human beings are kidnapped for organ trafficking; women suffer from situations of exclusion, mistreatment and violence (#23). “Many forms of injustice persist, fed … by a profit-based economic model,” (#22) without forgetting the injustice due to the absence of an equitable distribution of natural resources (#29).

The pope also speaks of the illusion of communication (#42–50). He questions digital media with their “risk of addiction, isolation and a gradual loss of contact with concrete reality” (# 43). He denounces false information, fake news, networks of verbal violence on the Internet and through various forums (#45). He warns Christians that they are not exempt from all this (#39 and 46).

One might be discouraged after reading this first chapter. However, as a French Lenten hymn says, “Let us not to be overwhelmed by the shadows.” Pope Francis does not leave us in desolation: he promises to present many paths of hope in the following chapters. The Pope himself works in this direction. In spite of all the possible risks, he visited Iraq from March 5 to 8, 2021 with the pilgrimage motto: “You are all brothers.” He invites us to walk in this same hope.

What is my hope? What does “opening up to the world” mean to me?

By carefully observing my living environment, I ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten me. Do I recognize these vicissitudes that the Holy Father denounces?

I try to identify one or two of them. What would Jesus do in my place? I discuss it with people around me. Alone or with a group, I choose and enact one or more concrete actions to counter them.

Does the expression “outward-bound Church” now make sense to me?

Nicole Fortier-Courcy, afmm (Gatineau group)

Like the wind in our sails || Fabruary 6th 2022 : Ve Sunday of the Ordinary time - Year C

5th sunday of the ordinary time

Fabruary 6th 20226

Reflection about the Gospel of Luck 5, 1-11

 « Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men» (Luc 5, 10)

Nowadays, we are all bombarded with advertisements or offers that invite us to buy a product, to join a club or an organization, etc. From experience, we have developed a mechanism of protection that make us cautious and then lead us to ask ourselves this question: “What is the ‘trap’ in this call to buy, to join, to follow…?”. The talkers, the sellers of dreams, the proponents of miracle solutions are constantly on the lookout for our attention.

Peter and his fishing companions, James and John, are not idle men waiting for time to pass. They work to live and are probably responsible for their families. Nice talkers, interesting men, they certainly see them every day, but they are happy with their situation and are cautious. If Peter lets Jesus get into his boat and agrees to move away from the shore so that the people present can all see him and listen to him, it is because Jesus inspires confidence in them by his behavior and his words. When a person presents himself well and makes intelligent remarks, we are, like Peter, James and John, naturally inclined to give him the chance to tell them something.

The words of Jesus at this time are not revealed to us in the Gospel of Luke. However, the rest of the story reveals two things to us: on the one hand, Peter and his companions did not bring him back to shore saying to him: “You are wasting our time! “Or” you talk nonsense! ". On the other hand, they agree to go back to fishing as Jesus asks because he has won their trust by the way he behaves and by the interest his words arouse. Once trust is established, Jesus then reveals to them, by means of a miraculous catch, a second call: the commitment to follow him and to carry out a great mission.

 Peter, James and John are then ready to go further than trust because they have also witnessed the power that dwells in Jesus and his respect for their abilities. They then realize that if Jesus is capable of making extraordinary fishers out of them, he is also capable of making them fishers capable of finding those men and women who need to meet Jesus, to hear his words and let his saving power work in them. Jesus then brings them the last argument so that they answer without hesitation: “Do not be afraid” he will say to Peter and his companions. Today, the call of Jesus is still relevant. His way of doing things has not changed. He asks us to welcome him with confidence, to listen with openness to his words and to let him carry out, without fear while using our skills, his great project for the Church.

Charles Fournier, s.m.


  A sixth wave of COVID , the crisis of climate change, renewed inflation, the war in Ukraine: we have so many reasons to feel discouraged ...