Hands forming a Cross,
Image by Louis Louro (born 1965),
Digital Photograph,
Created in 2016
© Louis Louro Artist

Hands forming a Cross,
Image by Louis Louro (born 1965),
Digital Photograph,
Created in 2016
© Louis Louro Artist

Gospel of 18 April 2024

Whoever believes has eternal life

John 6:44-51

Jesus said, 'No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.

I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.'

Reflection on the Photograph

In today's gospel reading, Jesus makes the striking statement, ‘Everybody who believes in me has eternal life’. He does not say, ‘will have eternal life’, but ‘HAS eternal life’. We would normally think of eternal life as beginning after death, after our earthly life is completed. The gospel reading suggests that eternal life is somehow accessible to us here and now, during this earthly life.

Eternal life in the gospel of John is understood as a life of communion with Jesus, the source of true life. Such a life of communion with the Lord can be experienced here and now by all those who believe in him. In so far as we are in communion with each other, we will be in communion with the Lord. Hands joined together, like in our artwork today. United around the cross, united around the Resurrection.

We traditionally use the term ‘holy communion’ to refer to the Eucharist. We recognize that in and through the Eucharist we enter into communion with the Lord, and with each other, in a special way. Because it is a time of communion with the Lord, the church has always understood the Eucharist as the anticipation of eternal life. In this moment of communion, heaven comes to earth and eternal life bursts open into this earthly life.

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Elizabeth Siqueiros
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Elizabeth Siqueiros
1 month ago

I love the art really artistic thanks!

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
1 month ago

The good news about this is he doesn’t say if you don’t believe in me you won’t have eternal life.

Pk
Member
Pk
1 month ago

Good morning, I have always thought of eternal life is to be experienced after death. Thank you Father fo
pointing out that word, has. Learn something new everyday!
I was also disappointed about the lack of skin tones in the photo. But understand it is digital and only one set of
hands. That’s the thing with photographs, never sure if they have been “doctored “.
Enjoy your observations of art and wish you all a fantastic day🌷

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago

Very strong and very radical today’s reflection of the P.P:
Another reflection, on another quote: “No one can come to me but the Father brings him”: Faith is not a conquest, it is a gift. Christians are no better than believers in other religious denominations or non-believers. We have received a gift. But being baptized or raised in a Christian environment does not mean that we already have a “insurance” faith. In a plural world like ours, we Christians must update our faith, ask ourselves questions, dialogue with everyone, share sorrows and joys, learn from everyone and pray for a life in full.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

👍 Good to read, Elvira, that we, even though sinners like everyone else, have a great and unperishable gift. Here the sun is really shining and we have two lots of visitors, so a happy day. A happy day to you, too, and to all at CA.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

I hope you enjoy the company and the sun 🌺🌞

Will Howard
Member
Will Howard
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

BEAUTIFUL Elvira
AND …. can I push this ‘plurality of Faith’ a little further, into the domain of ‘Christ’s FLESH being the Life of the World’?

Padre P. true to his Priestly call has pushed this idea straight into the Eucharist. But keeping with the Cross motif, can we push God’s ‘IN-ness’/here&now-ness, through the Sacrament of ‘two becoming One Flesh’, into the Eucharist … through the Cross.

(You’ll have to forgive me … these Post Easter “John Cp 6” readings, comprised the core of my thesis work in Seminary)

As I looked at Louro’s work today … my imagination gets the better of me;

I imagined a group of young people out for a picnic, on a perfectly clear blue spring day – with a Priest friend in tow. And maybe the event is even premeditated.

Before laying out the basket, the Priest offers Mass on the picnic table. As he’s clearing the one feast and stowing his vestments, Alfey grabs young Sarah by the hand … in preparation for the next feast.

They are longtime deep lovers in the group – almost embarrassingly so. Let’s say he comes from dyed-in-the-wool Protestant English aristocracy, she from Jewish Ethiopian ancestry mixed with London Hasidic Jewry. …They met in Catechism class a few years ago.

Leading her over to the cleared table – giving a nod to his companions- he lays down facing up on the rough boards, and bid her to lay likewise on top of him.
“WHATTTTTT! You’re crazy Alfy!!!”
But with accompanying cheers, jeers and prompts from everyone, she finally capitulates and climbs up – Alfy feigning pain and great destress under the weight.

So arranged he reaches up and around her with his two hand against the sky. Immediately, their friends arrange their hands as rehearsed …waiting for Sarah to fit her hands up to fill in the bottom section of the cross.

Then, with her black afro hair padding up against his face, intoxicating his senses with the raw aroma of cherub and Seraphim, he whispers in her ear, “marry me”.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Will Howard

Your photo is lovely Father. I have it as my desktop now!

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Will Howard

Dear P. Will, I like your post and the photo….. They bring to my memory outdoor Eucharistic, meetings of adolescence and youth…. unforgettable moments 🍷🥮 🌼🌼

Last edited 1 month ago by Elvira
Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago

I feel overwhelmed by today’s gospel, and have nothing to add.
Just to say had a quick look at Louro’s work, he’s a Portuguese artist specialising in comic books and photography. This photograph doesn’t seem typical of his work, which generally speaking is very quirky. It’s a surprise to see only white hands, especially from a Portuguese, whose country, and especially towns and cities, have a sizeable minority population from their former African colonies. A gently enjoyable photo, especially with the background of heavenly blue.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

✋🏻🤚🏻… those hands…Are they all the same, are they the same?

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Looking closely, I think you’re right, so it’s a digital production, perhaps? Rather disappointing, if it loses the meaning I thought it carried, of unity.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 month ago

I don’t know if I can comment amymore. It seemsI have nothing to add to this incredible gospel or to Father Patrick’s commentary. Maybe I will revert to being a lurker, which I was four years ago when this beautiful image was shared before.

Maybe the Lord is telling me I have better things to do. Life is change.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

I know what you mean SfG. No need to feel guilty if you just decide to lurk – as you say, life is about change and new directions.
You are in the midst of a period of mourning too.
With blessings x

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 month ago

Thank you Patricia- I am really hearing that my ‘space’ here is closing up and now I have to find that grace elsewhere. I will continue to check in especially to read the Gospel, but only comment when I feel I have something to give again.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

The duel needs your time….

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

I’m sure I’ll miss you…. I hope you come back…

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

I will still be around Elvira but I feel I have less and less to say. I will continue to read your wise words though…!

George K
Member
George K
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

This is today’s Steven Charleston’s message..

Do you have your emergency memory with you? You never want to travel without it. If anything takes a wrong turn in your life, if things seem grim and getting grimmer, then break out your spiritual first aid kit and remember what it was like when you first became aware of the Spirit. Not just as a supernatural idea, but as a close and abiding presence, a living being with whom you can connect and on whom you can rely. Don’t leave home without it.

This is today’s George K’s message to SFG…Do what you think is best for you. Please know you will be missed if you decide to leave. Please know you will be appreciated if you decide to stay. Please know that whichever choice you make, you will be loved.

Last edited 1 month ago by George K
spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 month ago
Reply to  George K

These are lovely words George and I thank you for them, and for the shared message which resonates with me. I cannot keep going round and round in circles- my journey is more dynamic than that. I won’t be leaving- just reading until I find something useful to contribute.

George K
Member
George K
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

SFG, you wrote: “I won’t be leaving- just reading until I find something useful to contribute.”

Judging from your previous usefulness, we’ll be hearing from you quite frequently. Hallelujah!

About going round and round in circles, I view my life journey as an upward spiral bringing me increased spiritual awareness.

Carol Heise
Member
Carol Heise
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Dear Janey…thank you for always being here. I never once thought you were an attention getter, but were only looking for help and understanding from others who believed. The Lord always moves us forward to other places and other times. He is with you.

Will Howard
Member
Will Howard
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Sorry SFG … I didn’t get around to sending the pic I promised for your brother’s Mass – until late.

IMG_7915
spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 month ago
Reply to  Will Howard

Will this is wonderful to see!

Straight away I see the wood on wood, the wood of those lovely trees against the blue sky, expressing the Father and the Son in a timeless frame. The Spirit is there too for me, in the bird song that is silent, in the breeze I cannot feel.

Then the water, that glorious livng water that quenches every thirst- mingled too with the wine and the bread and the light from the candle.

And the motor-bike, static but soon to be unleashed,roaring on that road ahead for us all!

I have saved this image so that I can look at it often and be thankful for so many good things, including my fellow travellers on CA.

God bless you in your staying and goings.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Did you see Father Will’s photo for you SFG?

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Thankyou Janey- your wise and understanding words really resound with me. If we are to make this journey then we have to sometimes leave our fellow travellers behind. For me, as I suspect it is for you, it is into further exploring the depths. I also don’t want to say unkind things. I am not at all sad. Infact, I am excited by the changes happening but if I can no longer communicate that here then the space will be found elsewhere.

Monica Doyle
Member
Monica Doyle
1 month ago

I love both images presented to us today…God the Father, drawing us in unbeknownst to ourselves!!! Then the amazing “hands on” cross.. very powerful.. Thank you all 🌻

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

A week in Sicily

Saturday
Catania – a small Sicilian city with a small airport which was such a relief after the horrors of the huge Spanish airports of Barcelona and Alicante which we are used to. Nearly three hours in the Easyjet plane however.
Soon we are trendily heading off towards Syracuse in our rented Audi which was most comfortable. We stop for lunch at a petrol station as we’ve been up for so long and we have a nice meal of roasted vegetables and meat. We’re not vegans!
We are staying on an old olive farming estate which has been converted into very pleasant accommodation for rich northern European holiday makers like is. The large swimming pool is just too 🥶. We chill out for the rest of the day although the peace is somewhat disturbed by a group of German lesbians disporting themselves amongst the lemon trees. How many lemons are harvested in Sicily every Spring and Autumn? One hell of a lot and they are marketed here as rather a luxury – ‘Sicilian lemons’ at Waitrose, not your normal Spanish or Israeli ones….

Sunday
Excitement today as we are going to 10:30 Mass in the glorious baroque cathedral of Noto. This small city was completely demolished by the great Sicilian earthquake of 1693 which killed 60,000 people including most of the population of Catania. But this terrible event had a silver lining afterwards when many cities were rebuilt in the last great flowering of European baroque. The streetscape in Noto is very beautiful as this splendid piece of town planning and building is of a lovely honey coloured sandstone which is so warm and mellow that it makes you glad to be alive! It’s a UNESCO heritage site which I always find a bit annoying – haven’t UN employees got better things to do than drift around the world saying “Ooh that’s nice”. Well thank for your endorsement but we already knew that! Lol!

While attempting to communicate with the ‘Confraternita dei Cappuccinelli’ (not a brotherhood of coffee baristas but the third order of Franciscans 😂) we are encouraged to return in the evening to watch the procession of Christo Risorto and Maria S.S. della Pace. We were so glad that we came back as we were treated to an excellent display of urban religious fervour with not a single other Brit in town!
After the band had played away into the distance, and the virgin had finished waving at us! (there was a guy under the float moving her arms about in the most friendly manner!) we were about to head home when there were some huge explosions as a big firework display kicked off. A great evening and I was moved to donate E20 to the confraternity’s funds.

Monday
We thought Noto merited another day’s visiting. We went round a load of churches and noble palazzos. Sicily for a long time was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies with the king residing in Naples and an aristocracy which owned large estates with palazzos in the big towns. These are elegant eighteenth century houses with interconnecting rooms. There is a beautiful little theatre/opera house seating three hundred and ten! Bellini’s Norma was written in Catania and a tasty pasta dish is named after the heroine.
Pizza for lunch but we were unable to have our favourite topping – pineapple! They should learn from British Dominos pizzas!

Tuesday
We devote today to the ancient city of Syracuse. Marianne walks for several kilometres which is a great achievement after all her difficulties.
The cathedral is dedicated to St Lucy who is the patron saint of the city. There are lots of pairs of eyes represented on the walls as some accounts of her martyrdom refer to them being put out. The columns of an ancient Greek temple are incorporated into the walls of the building. We then go over the bridge to the island of Ortiga to admire the fish market and to eat arancini (deep fried rice balls with a variety of fillings) and canolli (sweet pastry goodies). These are Sicilian specialities and very good they are too. The food generally is excellent on this island.

Wednesday
Frances has an ear infection so we head to the nearby hospital where she is seen quickly, efficiently and freely! What a contrast to our hospitals. Padre Pio is the inspiration of the hospital and there is a big statue of him at the front with bunches of flowers and rosaries around his feet.
We chill out in the grounds of our Agriturismo while Frances bicycles down to the sea. I read a whole Graham Greene story.

Thursday
Today is an exciting day as we are going to take the little train that makes a loop around Mt Etna, one of the ten biggest volcanoes in the world. She has been blowing smoke rings recently but has stopped doing that for us. An ancient Greek sage said the gases coming out of the crater were thick enough to support the weight of a man and he was going to prove it by gliding over to the other side. I needn’t tell you what happened to him!
We did not make the train as a member of our party was late rising! That and the Catania traffic made us miss it. Driving in Sicily is most stressful with tailgating a national pastime.
So as not to waste our day we decide to drive across country to Ragusa which is another rebuilt city. This involves going well off the regular tracks through the towns of Vizzini and Monterosso Almo. There is a sinister atmosphere in both places which I won’t elaborate on even though they are preparing their patronal festivals. The churches are lovely.
As we approach Ragusa, Marianne and Frances indulge in retail therapy in a mountain village while I repair to the bar and refresh myself with a Birra Moretti. It is served by the most beautiful blonde barmaid who must be descended from the Normans.
We were too late for Ragusa.

Friday
Today we are in plenty of time for the little CircumEtna train which turns out to be something of a disappointment. There are lots of commuters and endless suburbs while we listen to the lubricious conductor chat up all the young women on the train. After walking around the little town near the top of the mountain we manage to miss the train returning to Catania. The slow bus going back is much more fun than the train.

Saturday
Our flight is late in the day so we go down to the beach in our village. This is a most civilised little resort with great seafood restaurants.
The flight back is tiresome with vegan yoga people telling everyone that they are vegan and super healthy. Yawn, yawn!!🥱

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

You’ve showed us most enjoyably the joys and some of the drawbacks of your trip, and the considerable attractions of place. Noto sounds gorgeous, & how happily unexpected the evening procession. Loved that you were “too late for Ragusa” – did it shut its gates on you?! 🤭 – presume you meant in terms of daylight… Well worth the publication, Chazbo, thank you from an ex-traveller.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Thank you for your kind comments Noelle. By the time we reached Ragusa all the churches and other buildings were closed but we had seen the unwelcoming hillside towns. What secrets are they hiding….?

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

The thing that dare not say its name, but features quite heavily in Inspector Montalbano??

Last edited 1 month ago by Noelle Clemens
Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Yes!! But I’m not typing the word!!

marleen de vlieghere
Member
marleen de vlieghere
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Thank you! I appreciate your daily comments too, Chazbo!!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

Thank you Marleen. There seems to be a fair bit of sadness about on CA this morning?

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

I know the island well, so appreciated your travelogue reminders 😊
You said before your travelling days were over – clearly not! Good.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

As you can see Patricia we limited ourselves to a very small section of the island. There’s an awful lot more to see.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Great summary. I really like the pace of the trip…, miss a train, get up late …. It is very pleasant to travel like this, without haste, enjoying the moment…
Thank you very much…. ¡¡This is a place where we share the joy of living!!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Thank you Elvira. If you like to write it’s nice to have people reading your output and commenting upon it. 😀

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

It’s interesting to read what you write. I like the way you write, I think it “hooks” (engancha). I have to do “a writing workshop” (taller de escritura), I would like to know how to write. My husband is researching the history of his family… It would be very interesting to write it in a fictional way (como una novela) to leave it as a will to the children and grandchildren..

Last edited 1 month ago by Elvira
Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Yes that would be fun for the two of you. My advice when writing my little accounts is to try and find a different angle on events, look out the unusual and maybe embellish a little. A factual account just setting out a series of events is not interesting.

Look at SFG – she writes in a direct and engaging way.
Plunge straight in – you must know the opening line of Don Quixote – ‘En un lugar de la Mancha…’ Immediately we are interested.
The start of David Copperfield by our great Charles Dickens ‘Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life….’

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

It is interesting your point of view…. that what you write is attractive … The stories of the ancestors are often surprising: Reality surpasses fiction always…
There is another beginning of the book, appropriate for family memories:«All happy families resemble each other; but every unhappy family is in its own way» Ana Karenina. León Tostoi

Last edited 1 month ago by Elvira
Mary Worthington
Member
Mary Worthington
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Thank you so much for sharing your travels!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Hear, hear!

Polly French
Member
Polly French
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Thank you Chazbo for sharing your travels with us and letting us get to know you. I will read all later!

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