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Feast of the Ascension, Year A – 2023

The anecdote is well known of the space exploration of a Russian cosmonaut.
Returning to earth he said with deep conviction and absolute certainty:
“There is no God – I’ve been up there, and I didn’t see any sign of God!”

No wonder, could we reply, because God is NOT ‘up there’!
Of course, in the past, many people have been instructed in this way.
Preachers, and teachers of religion, would point to the sky when they mentioned God.
This familiar gesture towards the clouds was meant to describe ‘another world’.
Nowadays it is sometimes referred to as ‘another dimension’.

We celebrate today the feast of the Ascension.
The gospel text of our celebration (Matthew 28:16-20) is very short and does not describe what happened to Jesus on that day.
The other gospel writers – Mark and Luke – add something to the text of Matthew, telling us:

“The Lord Jesus… was taken up to heaven”.  (Mark 16:19)
“As he (Jesus) blessed them, he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven”.  (Luke 24:51)

What the apostles see is Jesus going up and disappearing in the clouds.
This description given to us refers to the experience of Jesus’ friends:
Jesus has left them… for good – this is what they are meant to understand.
He will no longer appear to them from time to time as he has been doing since he came back to life.

They are not to imagine that Jesus is hiding behind a cloud!
What they are to believe is what he has told them on the eve of his death:

“In a short time, the world will no longer see me: but you will see me…
On that day, you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.”   (John 14:19-20)

The Ascension is the beginning of “that day”…
The day when we celebrate NOT a departure but a new way of being present!

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


Source: Image: pexels (Nikita)


4th Sunday of Lent, Year A – 2023

From the very beginning, human beings have wanted to be like God (Genesis 3:5).
But it is only gradually that we learn the way to become like him.
One thing we especially need to learn is: TO SEE AS GOD SEES.

This is the message of today’s 1st reading (1 Samuel 16:1,6-7,10-13):
“God does not see as man sees;
man looks at appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
People looking at others can be attracted by beauty.
They can be fascinated by skill.
They can be interested in wealth.
People can be put off by infirmity.
They can be disappointed by weakness.
They can be misled by timidity.

But these are simply attributes that are not the person himself, or herself.
What defines a human being is something much deeper.

The thoughts and the intentions.
The values and the beliefs.
The actions and the reactions.
The interventions to help.
The intercession to free another.
The mediation to bring peace.
And so much more…

God sees all this and more…
And he invites us to look also at all that is hidden in the… more.

Then, we will avoid:
          the hasty judgements,
          the unfair criticisms,
          the wrongful accusations,
          the mistaken condemnations.

All that leads to misunderstanding, hostility, conflict, enmity, war –
this can be prevented, or at least alleviated, if we only… SEE.
SEE the good will and the efforts of others…

If we only learn, from day to day, to see as God sees…
Note: In the following video, Laiju Panikassery personifies the Man born-blind and tells us of his meeting with the Man of Nazareth:

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


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23rd Sunday of Year C – 2022

We could say that the 1st reading of this Sunday (Wisdom 9:13-18) and the gospel (Luke 14:25-33) show us how to become wise.
They teach us to SEE and to FORESEE.

The first text tells us to
“discern what the Lord wills.”

While the gospel warns us that we should look ahead and plan for what we want to achieve –
whatever be our aim, we must prepare for what is ahead:
“sit down and estimate… consider” what is involved in our venture.

Of course, this concerns more than our daily activities – the construction of a building, or waging a war, are only two examples.
The words of Jesus go on to make it clear that he speaks of our lives as followers of his.

To ‘take up our cross’ will mean different things at different moments of our lives.
But it will involve being detached of certain things and people,
and being attached, committed, wholeheartedly to Christ and the way of life shown in the gospel.

That’s all – ALL of ourselves given to ALL that Christ asks of us!


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


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Easter Sunday, Year C – 2022

A stone rolled away…
A corpse… missing…
“Strips of linen lying there”…
Cloth wrapping the body “still lying in its place”…
All these are seen, noted, but…

No body lying there, NOBODY present!
Yet, the gospel text tells us that when John had witnessed this scene,

“He saw and believed.”  (John 20:1-9)
Daily events…
Regular meetings…
Occasional encounters…
Ordinary situations…
Unexpected happenings…
Unusual occasions…
Overheard conversations…
Surprising details…

Which of these?
All of these?
At times… sometimes… could be… will bethe signs that could lead us
to make the personal experience that John made.
We will see and believe.

We will NOT see any body – not ANYBODY – but we will perceive a presence.
We will recognize the Risen Lord with us as surely as he was 21 centuries ago!


Note: And another reflection, on a different theme, is available in French at:


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2nd Sunday of Easter, Year A – 2020

If we are to believe something, it must be credible.
If we are to believe someone, the person must be reliable.
One should not be naive, or gullible.
Faith demands some… requirements, does it not?

This is human logic, based on experience some will pretend.
The gospel text of this Sunday gives us to meet Thomas (Jn.20:19-31)
who seems to follow precisely this human logic.

Before agreeing to what the other apostles claim, he has to check it out!
Before accepting that Jesus is alive, he must see for himself – see and touch.
He wants to make sure…
So, he states very clearly, and in detail, his requirements… so that he can believe.

Putting requirements to… God!
Making sure that… God is what he says he is!
Is this not the attitude of some of us?

And the wonderful thing is that God does not scoff at our childish demands.
He does not walk away from us, or brush aside these requirements of ours.

He takes us where we are to lead us to where he wants us to be!
This is our God!

Note: A presentation of the gospel scene is offered in a video at:
Another reflection is available in French on a different theme at:

Source: Image:

2nd Sunday of Year A – 2020


This is the invitation addressed to us in today’s gospel text (Jn.1:29-34).
In only 5 verses, the words ‘look’ and ‘see’ are used 4 times – the message is rather obvious!

Seeing… our eyes are constantly busy with this activity.
Countless things pass before our eyes every minute of the day, unless we close our eyes, of course.
But do we really see them?
If asked about the colour of the car that just passed, or the name of the building in large letters before us,
we may be taken aback and ask ourselves…
We just did not see this.

Looking is more than simply seeing, it asks for attention. 
We need to focus, to concentrate and ‘take in’ the vision of what our eyes perceive.
The photo we look at is perhaps not clear, the landscape before us may be misty:
perhaps we need to look more closely, to adjust to what we see so as to… recognize the picture.

To recognize is even more demanding, it requires a deeper perception still.
This is perhaps the difference between ‘sight’ and ‘insight’…

In today’s gospel scene, John the Baptist invites his disciples to do precisely this:
to recognize Jesus, recognize him for who he truly is.

And this invitation is addressed to us as well . . . 

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


Source: Images:








34th Sunday of the Year A – Feast of Christ the King

It is interesting to note that, on this feast of Christ the King, the first and the 3rd readings do not speak of a king or a kingdom.

The 2nd reading of Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor.15:20-26.28) has a short reference to this theme when it speaks of the resurrection at the end of time when Christ will “hand over the kingdom to God the Father.”
We are told that this kingdom will be that of “those who belong to him.”

This is possibly where we can find the link with the gospel text: how are we to belong to Christ?
It is clearly spelled out in the text of Matthew: it is by welcoming Christ who came our way under the guise of the needy of all kinds.
If we have been able to recognize him in the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the sick, those in prison – all those in need of compassion and assistance, then we will find a place reserved for us in God’s home.

It is demanding indeed:
not to turn away,
not to pass by,
not to do as if we had not seen –
but precisely to SEE, and to RECOGNIZE, and to CARE.

We are busy people,
we have so many commitments and so little time,
so much to do and so little free spaces in our agenda,
so many engagements already and so few hours to spare for what is not listed in our ‘to do list’…

Perhaps, in our daily planning, it may be wise to leave a line for the unexpected encounter of some people – the very ones listed in Matthew 25:31-46…


15th Sunday of the Year, A

The words we use can express different levels of meaning.
Some words go deeper than others, we know it.

To get a glimpse of something or to catch sight of someone, is different from truly looking at the thing or the person.
Looking at a scene, staring at somebody, this too is different.

Seeing itself is also different from perceiving which implies something more…
And we all know that we may be looking… without seeing!…

This reflection came to me as a few words of today’s gospel caught my attention (15th Sunday of Year A – Mt.13:1-23).

A single line suddenly caught my sight.
It is the one which gives Jesus words as he says:

“Happy are your eyes because they see.” (v.16)


I stopped reading, there and then I paused…
I paused and… I asked myself whether this ‘beatitude’ is mine!

My questioning led me to ask whether I truly see the sights, the scenes, the situations of my daily life, as God would want me to…

More still, do I perceive there God’s presence?
Do I discern God’s message?

Perhaps much of life is about SEEING… as God sees!…

Source: Images: Dissolve, Masterfile, goodtherapy,org, Masterfile

4th Sunday of Lent, Year A

Strange things happen among us, people.
Something good can be done for someone and the person who benefits from the good deed is penalized for it!
It should not surprise us – this is what happened already in the time of Jesus.
We see it in today’s gospel on this 4th Sunday of Lent, Year A (Jn.9:1-41).

Jesus has cured a man who had been born blind and the religious leaders give this fortunate man – (or, unfortunate?) –
a hard time indeed.
Questions upon questions to him, to his parents, back to him again – evidently trying to find Jesus somehow guilty.
Unable to have the man say anything that would enable them to reach such a verdict, “They drove him away…”

They cannot SEE the good.
They cannot accept the evidence.
They push aside what is plain and clear.
They cannot face the truth.
They blind themselves in the most obvious way.

Why? Why such an attitude? What this kind of reaction?
But the next question is… Can this not be found in… us?
We may ‘drive away’ a memory… too painful to face.
We may ‘drive away’ a remark… unpleasant to acknowledge.
We may ‘drive away’ a warning… that would call for a decision.
We may ‘drive away’ a piece of advice… that would ask for a change of attitude.
We may ‘drive away’ some information… that invites me to do something.
So, we do as if the truth were not the truth!

We may fell afraid, ashamed, incompetent, powerful, not equal to a situation.
So, we hide, we pretend, we escape.
We literally ‘drive away’ what is plain to SEE but which threatens us.

LENT may be precisely that: the time to make special efforts to SEE.
And to pray for, yes, vision AND insight!

See also:
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