Father Michael Barrow

From the parish of St Francis of Assisi

From the parish of St Francis of Assisi

The Blessing of Pets

The Blessing of Pets
​The Church of St. Francis of Assisi will be celebrating the Feast of St Francis on Sunday October 2nd at 3 pm. The BLESSING OF PETS will take place in the garden of the church.All are welcome - humans too!
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Rich Man - Poor Man Reflection On The Sunday Gospel With Fr. Michael Barrow, S.J.

Rich Man - Poor Man                                                                               Reflection On The Sunday Gospel With Fr. Michael Barrow, S.J.
​To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Amos 6:1,4-7 ] The people in this reading are complacent and comfortable. With such people at one end of the spectrum and Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta at the other, where do I come?&nbs...
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The Big Con Trick: Reflection on the Sunday Gospel with Fr. Michael Barrow, SJ

The Big Con Trick: Reflection on the Sunday Gospel with Fr. Michael Barrow, SJ
​To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Amos 8: 4-7] Which is more important to me: to make sure I have enough money or to make sure I am being generous? Second Reading [1 Timothy 2: 1-8] St Paul asks prayers for...
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Reflection On The Sunday Gospel: The Madness Of God By Fr. Michael Barrow, SJ

Reflection On The Sunday Gospel: The Madness Of God                                    By Fr. Michael Barrow, SJ
​To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Exodus 32: 7-11, 13-14] The Chosen People had apostatised and rejected God. Moses' reaction is to plead for them – is that my reaction when I see evil, as in the&...
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The Bible As Prayer: A Bible Month Event

The Bible As Prayer: A Bible Month Event
​Fr  Michael Barrow SJ will be leading two sessions on using the Bible as prayer on Wednesdays September 21 and 28 at 6pm in St Francis Parish Hall.  September 21: "Hearing what God is saying to my heart"September 28: "Speaking to the heart of God."Each session will contain some instruction but will be mainly ...
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Happy New Year!: A Reflection on The Sunday Gospel By Fr. Michael Barrow, J.C.

Happy New Year!: A Reflection on The Sunday Gospel By Fr. Michael Barrow, J.C.
​To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Wisdom 9:13-18b] I cannot understand the mind of God and my future is uncertain; do I trust in God's guidance and protection of my life? Second Reading [Philemon 9-10, 12-17]&nb...
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The Need To Show Off: A Reflection on The Gospel Of Luke 14:1, 7-14 By Fr. Michael Barrow, J.C.

The Need To Show Off: A Reflection on The Gospel Of               Luke 14:1, 7-14 By Fr. Michael Barrow, J.C.
​To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Ecclesiasticus 3:17-18, 20, 28-29] ​"The proud man's malady​" is wanting people to think well of him; in what ways do I suffer from it? Second Reading [Hebrews 12:18-1...
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Heaven or Hell?: Reflections On The Gospel With Fr Michael Barrow

Heaven or Hell?: Reflections On The Gospel                                    With Fr Michael Barrow
​To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Isaiah 66.18-21] God wants people from all over the world to recognise his glory. Pray today that that will happen. Second Reading [Hebrews 12.5-7, 11-13] It's easier ...
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Reflection On The Sunday Gospel With Fr. Michael Barrow: ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY INTO HEAVEN

Reflection On The Sunday Gospel With Fr. Michael Barrow: ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY INTO HEAVEN
​To prepare for Sunday Mass (the Assumption) it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Apocalypse 11:19; 12:1-6, 10] The dragon tried to destroy the child, but the child was taken straight up to God. Is there a dragon trying to destroy Christ in m...
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Are You A Good Steward?: Reflection On The Sunday Gospel With Fr. Michael Barrow, S.J.

Are You A Good Steward?: Reflection On The Sunday Gospel With Fr. Michael Barrow, S.J.
​SUNDAY READINGS To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Wisdom 18.6-9] When the Jews escaped from Egypt, they went off into the unknown trusting God. Pray for trust in God's guidance even without knowing the future.&n...
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Letter To Bishop Jason From The Vicar For Family And Youth

Letter To Bishop Jason From The Vicar For Family And Youth
Dear Bishop Jason,Our World Youth Day Pilgrims returned safely on Wednesday 3rd August. They all looked tired but joyful as they were reunited with families and friends. Mandy Fergusson who organized much of the actual travel was also on hand to welcome them home. Camille Hutchinson-Harewood and Christopher Williams from the Communicat...
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Reflections On The Sunday Gospel With Fr. Michael

Reflections On The Sunday Gospel With Fr. Michael
​SUNDAY READINGS To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Genesis 18:20-32] What do you learn about God in this story? Abraham keeps bargaining with God. How does God respond to such persistence? Second Readin...
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Reflection on the Sunday Gospel by Fr. Michael: Luke 10:38-42 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reflection on the Sunday Gospel by Fr. Michael:  Luke 10:38-42                      16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time SUNDAY READINGS To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Genesis 18:1-10] Abraham welcomed guests – and the guests were God. Am I a welcoming person or would God get t...
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Reflection on The Gospel - 15th Sunday Ordinary Time: The Good Samaritan

Reflection on The Gospel - 15th Sunday Ordinary Time:             The Good Samaritan
SUNDAY READINGS To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Deuteronomy 30:10-14] "If they had is very near to you. It is in your heart for your observance." Pause for a moment and reflect what the Lord is saying to y...
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Reflection On The Gospel with Fr. Michael 14th Sunday Ordinary Time

Reflection On The Gospel with Fr. Michael                                 14th Sunday Ordinary Time
SUNDAY READINGS To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [Isaiah 66:10-14c] "At the sight her heart will rejoice" what most of all would make my heart rejoice? Call it to mind and thank God for the gift. Second Read...
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Reflection On The Sunday Gospel

Reflection On The Sunday Gospel
​13th Sunday in Ordinary TimeSUNDAY READINGS To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings and gospel in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder. First Reading [1 Kings 19.19-21] Elisha left everything to follow the Lord. Is there anything in my life that I would not give up for the sake ...
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BE MERCIFUL AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS MERCIFUL

BE MERCIFUL AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS MERCIFUL

Why do we have to punish people? Why do we put people in prison? One obvious reason is to deter people from committing crimes. If a person’s conscience does not stop him stealing, perhaps the threat of imprisonment will stop him. Another reason could be to help the criminal himself: prison life should be so constructed that when a man is released he is a better person than when he was sentenced.  

 

But too often our motive is one of revenge. "Let him get what he deserves!" or "Eventually he’ll walk free, but my daughter is still suffering from what he did."   There's something instinctive in us to want to hurt people who have done wrong.

 

I read recently of an army general, a wonderful man greatly respected by everyone, who secretly had an affair with a beautiful young married woman and she became pregnant.   To avoid scandal he arranged for her husband, who was a soldier serving abroad, to be sent home on leave, so that when the pregnancy was revealed it would be presumed that he had fathered the child when on leave.  But the fighting was so fierce that the young soldier felt he could not abandon his mates at that point and turned down the chance of going on leave.  Afraid of the possible scandal the general then arranged for him to be sent on a particularly dangerous mission and he was killed.  The general later married the young widow.

When the truth came out, what would your reaction be?  

 

The general was, of course, King David in the Bible – and his reaction when he heard such a story (not realising that it was about himself) was the same as ours, "The man who did this deserves to die, for doing such a thing and showing no compassion."      Revenge!  Make him pay!

 

If only we could learn from the response of God, who says:

Do I take pleasure in the death of the wicked, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?

 

Why do we want to punish people?

 

 

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The Compassion of Jesus

The Compassion of Jesus

This week we celebrated the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and that is usually illustrated with the symbolic images of the Sacred Heart. But a truer image is to be found in this Sunday's gospel. When Jesus saw her he felt sorry for her.

The words he felt sorry for her is a very weak translation of the original word in the gospel which really means He was heartbroken when he saw her. The compassion of Jesus is something we do not easily understand and we often feel a bit like some of the people who said when Jesus arrived after the death of Lazarus "Could he not have prevented this man's death?"

Feeling that God is Almighty and can do anything we do not always appreciate how heartbroken Jesus is at seeing people suffer. A better image of the Sacred Heart would be Jesus standing helpless with tears running down his face. He burst into tears when he felt the pain of Martha and Mary at their brother's death, he wept at the sight of Jerusalem refusing the blessing offered by God, and when someone said 'If you want to, you can heal me', he replied 'Of course I want to'.

Compassion means sharing somebody's suffering and that always means feeling helpless. Jesus never explained suffering. But he came and shared it and like us he felt helpless. This would be a better image of the Sacred Heart, the Loving Heart of Jesus: Jesus with tears running down his face heartbroken looking at us with great love and so often feeling helpless.

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MUSIC AS A WAY OF PRAYING

MUSIC AS A WAY OF PRAYING

In January this year we had a recital in our Catholic Cathedral and also in St Francis Catholic Church which we billed as "a concert of classical cameos" sung by two brilliant sopranos.  It was deeply moving but because it was a concert it was accepted that everyone should applaud the end of each item. A number of times I was so moved and almost wanted to call out "Don’t applaud, let's just savour the moment and the movement.”

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