Fr Peter Gallagher SJ

Give back to God what belongs to him [1].  Let the taxes owed to the Roman emperor be paid to him.  Return to God what belongs to him.  Which of God’s possessions should be given back to him?  Do we not belong to God and should we not go back to him?  He has made us.  We seek him. We are on a path which will bring us into his presence. One day we will return to him definitively.  There are already many opportunities to give back to God what belongs to him....
Put on Jesus Christ [1].To ‘put him on’ is to allow him to take over completely. Jesus is worn for best and he is also working clothes.  He is not a coat to be put on or taken off according to the weather or for an occasion. To wear him is to be possessed by him.  Allowing the Lord to be in charge of us is the best thing we can do.  His take-over of our life is worthy of extravagant celebration.  I have my banquet all prepared [2].  To ‘put on Christ’ changes...
He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and will lease the vineyard to other tenants [1].We are the new tenants to whom the Lord now entrusts his property.  He has expelled our wicked predecessors who would not welcome his messengers or listen to his word and who put to death his Son.  We are making a fresh start.  Hope and joy accompanies a new beginning.  This is the Lord’s doing and it is wonderful to see? [2]  The new team is being trusted to do better. For...
Part of our saying ‘yes’ to God, our doing his will, is our penitent acknowledgement that we have often said and done the opposite. We first said ‘no’. Only later did we begin to do and say ‘yes’. Deeds are more important than words.  All the better, however, to achieve coherence between what we say and what we do.  We desire to do what God wants and do so wholeheartedly, even joyfully.  Our seeking God’s will extends to endeavouring not only to obeying his commands but also to...
Why have you been standing here idle all day?[1]We are most of us slow to learn to love God.  Examining our life, we realise that we have focused on many other things before trying to give the central place to God.   Late have I loved thee [2] prayed Augustine, expressing a regret about this tardiness.   The landowner’s phrase, standing here idle all day, could seem less apt.  We have been busy with other things, some of them important.  Yes, we have come late...
Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you? [1]The parable shares with us no reply from the unforgiving servant.  Silent, he is handed over to the torturers [2].   What could he say?  Forgiven a great deal himself, he refused forgiveness to one who owed him a comparative trifle.  Decency, justice and sweet reason seemed to mean nothing to him.   He had asked for mercy and received it abundantly but could not show it...
There is no need for them to go [1].  With these words the Lord responds to the suggestion of the disciples: send the people away [2]. Forgetful of the power of Christ, his followers are tempted to think that there is no way of truly helping those who are seeking the sustenance which only he can give. Sending such seekers away seems prudent and modest.  Let them fend for themselves, while there is still time. Foraging alone they will not be in competition with everyone else....
By turning everything to their good, God cooperates with those who love him, with all those that he has called according to his purpose [1].   Our trust that the providence of God will ensure that everything will work out well in the end is linked to our deep desire to love God.   Let your love come to me and I shall live [2]. Our hope that all will turn out for the good is part of our devotion to God.  He has loved us: we long to love him back. He has created us and...
We are trying to please God.  With his help, we do as he asks.  That which we know is displeasing to him, we try to avoid.  Pleasing our creator is a lifelong task and engages our whole being. There is no god, other than you, who cares for everything [1].  There is sometimes a difficulty in giving proper weight to the Lord’s caring about all that happens.  Our remembrance of the steady divine concern is often quite dim.  However, every once in a while, our urgent...
The word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do [1]. Are we struck by the efficiency of God?  His word is effective.  The divine will is expressed and it is put into practice.  God commands: his creatures obey.  Guiltily we acknowledge that we, part of his creation, have not been consistently cooperative. We have heard the word and not done it.  Their ears are dull of hearing, and...

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