Bennochy Windows

Weekly Thoughts (April 2021)


Week of Monday 26th April 2021

John 10: 11-18

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.
13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Re –reading this passage, I think I like the idea of being part of a flock of sheep, even more so, belonging to Jesus’ flock.

In a time when “herd immunity” has new importance and relevance, I have come to appreciate anew, the idea of being protected, looked after. I have learnt again, to be thankful in a pandemic for seeing everyone -for a short time at least- being treated equally in terms of restrictions. I have found it oddly reassuring to be treated and vaccinated according to need rather than rank or wealth.

And having experienced lockdown, I have begun to see it might be a good thing to be part of a crowd again and to renew my acquaintance with the others in Jesus’ flock.

Prayer

Father God, thank you for sending your Son to be our Good Shepherd.
Jesus, Son of God, thank you for the privilege of knowing you as our Good Shepherd.
Holy Spirit, inspire us to listen to the voice of our Good Shepherd and be one flock, following Him. Amen.

Nancy Gilmartin

Week of Monday 19th April 2021

Luke 24: On the Road to Emmaus

13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.
14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.
15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;
16 but they were kept from recognizing him.

28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther.
29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So, he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.
31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together
34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

One aspect of the account of the Emmaus meeting with Jesus, took on a new meaning for me in our mask- wearing Covid times: I know too well now that feeling of not recognising someone you know and then suddenly realising, sometimes after they have passed, who it was!

And this year too, it made me think again of a verse of “Brother Sister let me serve you”, a favourite hymn we can’t yet sing:

“We are pilgrims on a journey.

And companions on the road”.

As followers of Jesus, we believe that sometimes, He is there when we are alone, and, at other times we recognise Him in the presence of others.

In every sense He is with us, as He was at Emmaus, on the trip of our lifetime.

Prayer

Father God, thank you for journeying with us all the days of our lives.
Jesus, Son of God, thank you for journeying with us when our need is greatest.
Holy Spirit, thank you for inspiring others to walk with us on our life’s journey Amen.

Nancy Gilmartin

Week of Monday 12th April 2021

John 20: 19-29, Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.

25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Three things stand out for me, and challenge me, in this reading.

This year, in lockdown, more than ever, the disciples hiding in an upper room, makes sense: it’s playing safe to stay away from danger, forming a bubble with people you know and trust. Going back out there, after a traumatic time, is a challenge.

Then Thomas is also playing it safe: doubting and questioning, demanding details before commitment, is less risky than trusting others blindly, even those who know you very well. Relying on others is a challenge.

Three times, Jesus says “Peace be with you”, suggesting His disciples- then and now- need a repeated message of comfort and reassurance. Now, as more than 2000 years ago, it is very tempting to give up, to use understandable fears as a reason- or excuse- to do nothing.

But Jesus’ words challenge us, remind us, that to follow him means taking risks.

Prayer

Father God forgive us when we play safe and do not respond to the challenges of your Word.
Jesus, Son of God, help us to take the risks that following you may require.
Holy Spirit, inspire us to share the Word of God with others. Amen.

Nancy Gilmartin

Week of Monday 5th April 2021

Mark 16 vv1-8: Jesus Has Risen

16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.

This reading is full of surprises, for the people of that first Easter Sunday and for us too, the people of Easter Sunday 2021.

The big problem for the women was the stone and how to roll it away...but it had already gone.
They were expecting a dead body...but they are told “Jesus of Nazareth has been raised.”
They were alarmed, terrified and amazed...but were told “Do not be alarmed.”
They were given a message for others “Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee “...but they told no one.

This is not the resurrection the women were expecting, and it is not the resurrection story we expect either.
But God is full of surprises, not easy answers: when there are problems…when life seems over… in times of terror…when the news is unexpected. And that is true today, as it was more than 2000 years ago.

Prayer

Father God, give us faith to believe, in good times and bad.
Jesus, Son of God, give us hope to go on, in good times and bad.
Holy Spirit, give us love to share with others, in good times and bad. Amen.

Nancy Gilmartin




Read our Thoughts for March 2021 ...