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Lent retreat: Home thoughts from the Bible

This year’s Lent retreat is provided by Dr Kevin Hargaden, social justice theologian with the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. Motivated by the current housing crisis in Ireland, Kevin has taken as the theme of his retreat reflections the subject of home and homelessness as they are treated in the Bible. In his seven reflections, one per week, he will follow the story of Scripture from Genesis to Revelations, considering such matters as exile, eviction, migration, captivity, and homecoming. Pat Coyle, director of Irish Jesuit Communications, interviews Kevin about his reflections here »

Lent 2018: Week after Lent: The Displacement of Home

Read 1 Peter 2:4-12 When did secularity become ascendant in Ireland? Was it when pubs were allowed to be opened on Sunday in Northern Ireland, which only happened in 1989? Or was it when contraception was allowed to be sold in the Republic back in 1978? Was it when RTE’s first television broadcast began in 1961? Or was it the ...

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Lent 2018: Week 7 – The captive God

Read Matthew 27:11-26 Throughout Lent, we have considered the complex meaning of “home” in the Scriptures. Home is both a thing to be treasured – a destination longed for by the pilgrimaging people of Exodus – and a thing to be forsaken – as Abram is compelled to walk away from one home in search of another. Our collective mythical ...

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Lent 2018: Week 6 – The wandering God

Read: Luke 15:11-32 The parable we consider this week is perhaps, along with the Good Samaritan, the best-known and most-loved of all Jesus’ divine yarns. There is, of course, no mention of the word “prodigal” anywhere in the tale. In fact, the earliest existing report of such a title came in the commentaries of St. Jerome (347-420), who, perceptively, talks ...

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Lent 2018: Week 5 – The refugee God

Read: Matthew 2:13-18 How rare it is that in the midst of the crass consumerism and sentimental spirituality that is modern Christmas that we reflect on the first people invited to visit the Messiah? The shepherds, bearing the smell of their sheep and filthy from the mountains, were impoverished, illiterate, and disrespected in their society. They are the first to ...

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Lent 2018: Week 4 – The shock of exile

Read Psalm 137 and Jeremiah 30:12-17 While “exodus” is a central motif by which to make sense of the entire Scriptures, “exile” plays a similarly large role. In exodus, the people of Israel leave captivity in search of home. In exile, the people of Israel were driven out of home, into captivity. Throughout these Lenten reflections, what we are doing ...

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Lent 2018: Week 3 – The hope of home

Read Joshua 3:7-17 Abram was called out of Ur and on that pilgrimage he received a new name (Abraham) and a lineage. But the children of Isaac and Jacob found themselves in Egypt, where, in time, they ended up as slaves, toiling under the sun, spending their lives building vast monuments to death. The search for home sometimes leaves us ...

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Lent 2018: Week 2 – The risk of leaving our father’s home

Read Genesis 12 The reader cannot fail to note the decisive break between the end of Genesis chapter 11, where we come to the end of the story about Babel with a family tree, and Genesis chapter 12, where a new character is introduced. God makes his presence known to Abram, a pagan who lived with his father Terah, in ...

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Lent 2018: Week 1 – The first eviction

Read Genesis 1-3 Let us begin at the beginning. To do that – to read Genesis 1-3 again at the start of Lent – we must begin by putting aside the tragi-comic, modern readings of these chapters. While Christians have good reasons to study and marvel at the discoveries of cosmologists about the start of the universe and biologists about ...

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Home thoughts from the Bible: Introduction

The story the bible tells begins with the making of home. Scholars often note how Genesis 1 and 2 depict God crafting an ordered universe out of chaos as a sort of palace garden, a place where he can dwell in harmony with his creatures. The story of the bible ends with the making of home. Scholars often note how ...

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