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FROM THE POPE'S LETTER
Since Baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of his Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity. To ask catechumens (adults preparing for baptism): 'Do you wish to receive Baptism?' means at the same time to ask them: 'Do you wish to become holy?' It means to set before them the radical nature of the Sermon on the Mount: 'Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect' (Matthew 5:48)
As the Council itself explained, this ideal of perfection must not be misunderstood as if it involved some kind of extraordinary existence, possible only for a few "uncommon heroes" of holiness. The ways of holiness are many, according to the vocation of each individual... The time has come to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: the whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction. Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II - Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium),# 31
Take some time of silence to reflect on these words and on the picture on the cover.
A TIME FOR SHARING YOUR FAITH:
-The doors of the tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament chapel of our Cathedral, by Ria Bancroft, show the death and resurrection of Jesus. After spending time reflecting on the picture share what the image says to you?
-As you are drawn into this image, what are your experiences of dying and rising?
-The Pope says holiness is ordinary. Name the ways you exercise holiness in your family, community and work.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Matthew 5:1-12
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
'How happy are the poor in spirit:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:
they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
they shall be called children of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'
'Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.'
Take some time of silence to reflect on these words.
LET GOD'S WORD SPEAK TO YOU:
-The Pope talks about the radical nature of the Beatitudes. Who is a person from your own life experience who has inspired you? Who is a saint that inspires you?
- How can we make the Beatitudes, these Christian attitudes, real in our lives?
- Always we are called to die and rise with Christ. Looking at each of the Beatitudes, which one do you feel you need to die in so that you might grow in holiness?
CLOSING PRAYER - Prayer of St Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying
that we are born to eternal life.
Produced by the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch
for the Centennial of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
Please feel free to reproduce.