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Feast of the Holy Family, Year B – 2023-2024

Today’s celebration is familiar to us, Christians.
When the expression ‘Holy Family’ is pronounced, a picture comes immediately to our minds –that of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

But when the single word ‘family’ is spoken, it evokes pictures of all kinds. Nowadays, this singular word is often used with other words bringing to mind different meanings…
What used to be known as the ‘nuclear’ family has gone through changes…
We hear of ‘broken families’, of ‘blended families’, of ‘single parent families’…

The question arises: ‘What really makes up a family?’
Different people will give you answers that vary.

Perhaps, one definition that could be acceptable to all is this one:
A family is made up of people who are together for one another’.

Another question follows: ‘What really makes up a HOLY FAMILY?’
Before giving an answer, many will pause and wonder…
Wonder and ask themselves if every family can be a HOLY FAMILY…

It is good to remind ourselves that holiness is not something of our own making.
Holiness is not something that we achieve by ourselves.
Holiness is God making us ever more like himself.

We have learnt that, at creation, God made us in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27).
But through the years, we may have spoiled his image, damaged our likeness to him.

God never gives up on us, he continues his work bringing us to holiness from day to day.
He is ready to do this in our families, of whatever definition, if we only welcome him ‘home’…

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at:


Source: Images:  (Alberto Casseta, Tyler Nix)




World Refugee Day – 20 June 2023

2023 Theme: Hope Away from Home

World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on June 20 and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.


Every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror. There are several types of forcibly displaced persons:


A refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country owing to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”, according to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. Many refugees are in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters.

Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers say they are refugees and have fled their homes as refugees do, but their claim to refugee status is not yet definitively evaluated in the country to which they fled.

Internally Displaced Persons

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are people who have not crossed an international border but have moved to a different region than the one they call home within their own country.

Stateless Persons

Stateless persons do not have a recognized nationality and do not belong to any country.

Statelessness situations are usually caused by discrimination against certain groups. Their lack of identification — a citizenship certificate — can exclude them from access to important government services, including health care, education or employment.


Returnees are former refugees who return to their own countries or regions of origin after time in exile. Returnees need continuous support and reintegration assistance to ensure that they can rebuild their lives at home.

UN Action

1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol

Refugees are among the most vulnerable people in the world. The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol help protect them. They are the only global legal instruments explicitly covering the most important aspects of a refugee’s life. According to their provisions, refugees deserve, as a minimum, the same standards of treatment enjoyed by other foreign nationals in a given country and, in many cases, the same treatment as nationals.

The 1951 Convention contains a number of rights and also highlights the obligations of refugees towards their host country. The cornerstone of the 1951 Convention is the principle of non-refoulement. According to this principle, a refugee should not be returned to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom. This protection may not be claimed by refugees who are reasonably regarded as a danger to the security of the country, or having been convicted of a particularly serious crime, are considered a danger to the community.

The rights contained in the 1951 Convention include:

  • The right not to be expelled, except under certain, strictly defined conditions;
  • The right not to be punished for illegal entry into the territory of a contracting State;
  • The right to work;
  • The right to housing;
  • The right to education;
  • The right to public relief and assistance;
  • The right to freedom of religion;
  • The right to access the courts;
  • The right to freedom of movement within the territory;
  • The right to be issued identity and travel documents.

Some basic rights, including the right to be protected from refoulement, apply to all refugees. A refugee becomes entitled to other rights the longer they remain in the host country, which is based on the recognition that the longer they remain as refugees, the more rights they need.


Source: Text:    Image:

5th Sunday of Easter, Year A – 2023

Someone may have chosen to live in a luxury apartment.
Another person has found the ideal family house.
Yet another has bought a summer residence.
A friendly shack is reserved for sport activities for still another.

All these locations serve as some kind of residence where rooms are available.
Yet often the people who own, or rent, these places do not seem to enjoy fully the time they spend there.
Is it not true that may of us experience some kind of restlessness wherever we may find ourselves?
We had thought we would be fully happy at the cottage, or condo, we have acquired, but…
Somehow it seems that something is missing.

This is possibly the result of… being human!
Full happiness, total satisfaction, seem to elude us.
Most times we experience some kind of unease…
We long for something else, for more…

In today’s gospel, Jesus tells his friends that he is going to prepare a place for them (John 14:1-12).
They are unaware of what he means and they ask themselves where he is going.

Our own reaction may be quite similar whenever we think of what lies ahead…
Ahead at the end of our lives here on earth…
Because there are moments when we think of this… trying to imagine what is awaiting us.

In simple words, we could say that what is waiting for us, what Jesus has prepared for us, is our real HOME.
A place of complete happiness, where pain, anxiety, misfortune, have disappeared.
Satisfaction and serenity will be ours for ever.

Perhaps we could add that a foretaste of this is already offered to us if…
If we make God ‘at home’ with us.

Jesus has said:
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word,
And my Father will love him,
And we shall come to him
And make our home with him.”     (John 14:23)

It is as simple as this… if…


Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at:


Source: Images:   (Pixabay,   Kelly,  Jack Redgate,   Bianca)


7th Sunday of Year A – 2023

Reading the word of God in the Bible, one can experience all kinds of feelings:

joy and consolation,
hope and anticipation,
wonder and questioning,
regret, perhaps… or helplessness?…

But there are times when the feeling is one of surprise – total and unexpected amazement!
The first lines of today’s 2nd reading can awaken such a reaction.
Writing to the Corinthians, Paul somehow admonishes them in these words (1 Corinthians 3:16-23):

“Didn’t you realize that you were God’s temple,
and that the Spirit of God was living among you…
The temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.”

These words are truly astonishing.
Just pause for a moment and ask yourself:
If, one day, someone came to you and asked you that very question:
‘Do you realize that YOU are God’s temple’, how would you answer?

I think that, faced with this situation, many people would be taken aback,
possibly unable – or unwilling – to answer!
How many of us, Christians, ARE AWARE of this reality?

A temple is seen as a sacred building since it is the location where worship happens.
It is considered to be a place for ritual celebrations.
In other words: it is reserved for activities related to God.

But, on the eve of his death, Jesus told his apostles (John 14:23):

“If anyone loves me, he(she), will keep my word,
my Father will love him(her),
and we shall come to him(her),
and make our home with him(her).”

With the word ‘home’, Jesus meant more than a building, or a simple location.
Obviously, he had in mind something that goes beyond wood or bricks.
Jesus was speaking of a relationship.

This is what we are called to: a relationship of close proximity with God.

Something amazing, yes, but more still:
something absolutely wonderful that needs to be discovered anew – and lived – day after day…


Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at:


Source: Image: Scripture Images


Nativity of the Lord, Year C – 2021

Someone telling a group of friends that he, or she, has received some good news would set their minds thinking.
Their curiosity would lead them to try and guess what this piece of good news can be…
A promotion? Winning the lotto? Going on holidays?
Perhaps the visit of a loved one? Or, maybe, expecting a child?
If after a few moments enjoying the friends’ guessing, the person said:

“God has come to us, yes, he’s come to our home,” –
the reaction of the group would probably be one of silent… amazement!
The friends would be utterly bewildered…
GOD, GOD has gone to his/her home!

If these words were said, not in a joking fashion but as a statement of deep faith,
it might be an incentive for the listeners to become aware that…
the same thing could be true for them, the same good news!

In fact, this is precisely the message of the gospel on the feast of the Nativity (Luke 2:1-14).
The angel appearing to the shepherds tells them:

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.”
Good news, great joy, and for everyone!

Those more discrete among us may not like to say openly:
“God has come to our home”,
and it may not be necessary to voice the words.

But what is necessary, what is essential, for Christmas to be truly Christmas is
to realize it deeply and…
to allow God to be at home with us!


Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:


Source: Image:

31st Sunday of Year B – 2021

Today’s gospel text (Mark 12:28-34) ends with a sentence that is most hopeful:

“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

Who would not want to be told these words?
It is truly reassuring to believe that we are not far from God.
Is it not what we want: to get closer to God, day by day?

But what if it were God who draws closer to us?
This is, in fact, what Jesus says in a text from John’s gospel –
the verse that is given to us as the response (Alleluia) to the 2nd reading:

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our home with him (John 14:23).

It is a question of… love, yes, the very love that the 1st reading and the gospel are telling us about.

And keeping the word of Jesus, this is the way of loving he expects from us.
Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:

Source: Image: Honest Talk with God

2nd Sunday of Year B – 2021

The conversations we have among ourselves take on different aspects.
We can exchange information, relate events that have taken place or, on a lighter note, crack a joke!
Questions are also very much part of our daily interaction with people.
Questions of different kinds and about many topics.

In today’s gospel text (Jn.1:35-42), we witness some questioning addressed to the one known as the Man of Nazareth.
We see two men approaching Jesus and asking him a question –
a very simple question, one that we, ourselves, sometimes ask from people we meet:

“Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 
I pause and ask myself whether I ever asked Jesus this question…
I suppose that I presume that I know… I know that he is everywhere,
perhaps especially in heaven (whatever definition we may give to this term).
Some people may add that he is really present in the Eucharist, but… is this… all?

I suddenly recall that on the eve of his death, Jesus told his apostles:

“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.
My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (Jn.14:23)
Could it be that Jesus is staying much closer ‘home’ than we think?
Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at:

Source: Image:

6th Sunday of Easter, Year C – 2019

A mansion, a cottage, or even a log cabin – all of them can protect us from extreme cold or suffocating heat.
The structure may be of metal, cement, or wood, any type of habitation will provide us with some kind of shelter.
We can think of an apartment, a house, a residence – we need such a place to live in.

But… most of us hope for more… we want some decent place to live, yes, but we also want to live happily.
And for this, what we really need is… a HOME.
We are aware that rare timber, or original stones, cannot make a home.
What makes of a house a ‘home’ is the atmosphere, the ambiance, the ‘feeling-good’ sensation.

We know it from experience: what truly creates a home is the relationship of the people living there.
The easy-going, smooth, respectful, sensitive attitudes of the members of the group are the building blocks of a home.

What if it is… God who makes a home?!
A surprising thought, even astonishing… but this is what today’s gospel tells us (Jn.14:23-29).
The text says:

“We shall come and make our home with him”. (v.23)
Saying this, Jesus speaks of the person who keeps his word.
He assures us that his Father and himself will come to stay with such a person.
They will make their ‘home’ with such a person.

I find it absolutely amazing, it is so extraordinary that it is beyond our imagining.
Many will inquire about… the possibility of this: how can this be?
I admit readily that I know nothing of the… ‘logistics’ of it, but I am absolutely convinced that it is so.
The Holy Spirit can make it so!

Only one thing could prevent it… our refusal, our closing the ‘door’ of ourselves.
This would be a tragedy… but God would keep waiting… he always does!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:


Source: Images:

10th Sunday of the Year B

It is this time of the year when you can see moving vans on many streets around.
People are moving, changing residence, going to another area.
Some may regret the departure, others may be keen to start in a new location.

Whatever the type of accommodation, an ordinary flat, a posh house, or even log cabin,
probably, what people want is that the new place be truly a HOME.
And, of course, a true HOME is meant to provide comfort, security, enjoyment

The 2nd reading of this Sunday (2 Cor.4:13 – 5:1) ends precisely with the evocation of… moving homes!
The last verse says:

We are well aware that when the tent that houses us on earth is folded up,
there is a house for us from God,
not made by human hands but everlasting, in the heavens.”
So, all of us are meant to move one day and… to move for good!
We have been told that our permanent home is not here on earth (He.13:14) –
we know it: we should see ourselves as… pilgrims – people on the move.

But it is not easy to consider ourselves as people on the way to another place –
even if the new HOME has been prepared by God himself.
In fact, writing to the Corinthians, Paul is only echoing the words of Jesus on the eve of his death:

“There are many rooms, in my Father’s house…
I am going now to prepare a place for you,
and after I have prepared you a place
I shall return to take you with me…” (Jn.14:2-3)
We can be assured that we will find there all the comfort, security and enjoyment we can dream of.
But, we have to let go – let go of the house which is ours just now…
This human life, here and now, so familiar and… perhaps so ‘cosy’…
The letting go is the difficult part…
It means leaving behind the familiar and moving into the unknown.

But we are expected, the place is ready and…
There is no rent to pay, no mortgage to save for, no insurance to see to.
All has been taken care of for us, promised long ago:
“I shall return to take you with me
So that where I am you may be too…”

Note: Another reflection is available in French on a different theme at:!

Source : Images :

4th Sunday of Advent, Year A

At one time or another, you may have found yourself in this situation: as you approach the house or a person you intend to visit, you detect a movement at the window: a curtain is pulled slightly and you can recognize the person you hope to meet.

You ring the bell, or knock at the door but… no answer. You try again, but again your ringing or knocking obtains no reply. Yet, the person is there, no doubt about it. You may feel disappointed, even annoyed. You may ask yourself questions…

I believe the Lord knows from experience how this feels.At one time or another, you may have found yourself in this situation: as you approach the house or a person you intend to visit, you detect a movement at the window: a curtain is pulled slightly and you can recognize the person you hope to meet.

I believe the Lord knows from experience how this feels.
For him, it started over 2,000 years ago when people would not open their door for his mother to give birth to him – “There was no place for them at the inn….” (Lk.2:8).
Later on, some people would not even allow him to pass through their village… (Lk.9:54).

And this experience may repeat itself for him in our own time when people – when we – do not open the door of our lives to him…
He knocks and may keep on knocking, but… he is still standing at the door, waiting… waiting for us.
We say that Advent time is a period of waiting – could it be that it is so for Him too?…

The response to the Psalm (Ps.97) of this Sunday (4th Advent, year A) says: “Let the Lord enter…”
Simply this: to allow him to come in, to welcome him to share our day-to-day experiences.
We know that his name is “God-with-us”, this is what he wants to be for each one of us.

When welcoming people to their homes, people often say: “Come in, come in, make yourself at home!”
Perhaps these are the very words the Lord is waiting to hear from us…
‘Welcome, Lord, make yourself at home!’
This could be the best Christmas prayer we can make!

Source: Image: Pinterest