20th October – Memorial of Our Lady.

medjThis is the Medjugorje Message of Oct 2nd.

our lady queen of peaceDear children, I am calling you to be courageous and to not grow weary, because even the smallest good—the smallest sign of love—conquers evil which is all the more visible. My children, listen to me so that good may overcome, so that you may come to know the love of my Son. This is the greatest happiness—the hands of my Son that embrace, of Him who loves the soul, of Him who has given Himself for you and is always giving Himself anew in the Eucharist, of Him who has the words of eternal life. To come to know His love, to follow in His footsteps, means to have a wealth of spirituality. This is the wealth which gives good feelings and sees love and goodness everywhere.

Apostles of my love, my children, be like the rays of the sun which with the warmth of my Son’s love warm everyone around them. My children, the world needs apostles of love; the world needs much prayer, but prayer spoken with the heart and the soul and not only pronounced with the lips. My children, long for holiness but in humility, in the humility which permits my Son to do that which He desires through you.

My children, your prayers, your words, thoughts and actions—all of this either opens or closes the doors to the Kingdom of Heaven for you. My Son showed you the way and gave you hope, and I am consoling and encouraging you because, my children, I had come to know pain, but I had faith and hope. Now I have the reward of life in the Kingdom of my Son. Therefore, listen to me, have courage and do not grow weary. ”

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19th October.

Br. Dave Brokke, SOLT shares with us a reflection for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. He speaks of the personal call to live a more radical life for Christ and encourages us to listen to how God is calling each of us.

18th October – Feast of St Luke, Evangelist.

The big shock of today was the sudden death of the parish priest Fr Seamus Gallagher. It was a privilege to give him the Last Rites and offer the prayers for the Commendation of the Dead. Please keep him in your prayers. May he rest in peace.

Fr Seamus Gallagher

The following is the gospel for St Luke, evangelist, followed by commentary from the Bishops’ Conference website.

St_LukeGOSPEL

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke     10:1-9
The harvest is rich but the labourers are few.

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house.

Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you”.

The Gospel of the Lord.

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Gospel Reflection      
18 Oct     Saint Luke, evangelist             Luke 10:1-9

The gospel of Luke, whose feast we celebrate today, could be termed the gospel of mercy. Luke portrays Jesus as the face of God’s mercy, which is one of Pope Francis’ favourite ways of referring to Jesus. Some of the most memorable passages of mercy are only to be found in Luke’s gospel, such as the story of the sinful woman anointing the feet of Jesus, the parable of the prodigal son, the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, the meeting of Jesus and Zacchaeus, the dialogue between the good thief and Jesus on the cross. It is above all in Luke that Jesus is portrayed as revealing the hospitable love of God to the broken in spirit or body. A symbol has traditionally been associated with each of the four gospels. The symbol of Luke’s gospel is the ox. This is an animal that is capable of carrying heavy burdens. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus takes upon himself the burdens of others, especially the burden of sin which weighs heavily on a person’s spirit. There is a saying of Jesus in Luke which is unique to this gospel and which sums up Luke’s portrait of Jesus, ‘the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost’. Today’s gospel reading is also unique to Luke. It is only this gospel who gives us this passage of Jesus sending out seventy two as labourers in God’s harvest to proclaim in word and deed the message of the kingdom, the message of God’s merciful and hospitable love. We all belong among that large group of seventy two. If Jesus is the face of God’s merciful love, he sends us all out to reveal something of that same face of God’s mercy to all those we encounter in life.

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17th

Moneñor-Romero-fallecido-IMartyrs like today’s St Ignatius of Antioch demonstrate the highest level of commitment to Jesus and his gospel. Last Sunday saw the canonisation of another martyr St Oscar Romero whose commitment was to the poor, the ‘least of these my brethren’ (Matt 25:40). Here is a link to a 9 minute BBC documentary on his life. (Note the negative / biased slant given to the category ‘conservative’ therein.)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3cswsg1

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If you are interested in the conclusion of the ‘gay cake’ controversy in Northern Ireland, visit this link: https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Ashers-gay-cake-case-Thank-God-that-justice-has-finally-been-served?utm_source=Premier%20Christian%20Media&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=9943337_Ignite%2016%2F10%2F18&utm_content=Ashers%20Mildred&dm_i=16DQ,5X4BT,619ASW,N6295,1

 

16th October – St Margaret Mary Alacoque.

sacred heart pictureToday we celebrate the memorial of the mystic St Margaret Mary Alacoque (+1690) to whom Jesus revealed his love for the world. This would become known as devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and has had a profound impact on Catholic spirituality of the last few centuries.

A primary request of Our Lord was that we would receive him in Holy Communion with great devotion (particularly on first Fridays of the month). In this way we would make reparation for the lukewarmness and ingratitude of so many.

One lesser known aspect of this devotion is Jesus’ desire that we spend time each Thursday evening accompanying him in his agony in the Garden of Gethsemanae. To this end St Margaret Mary promoted a Holy Hour from 11pm til Midnight. A mini version of this would be to pray a decade of the Rosary whilst meditating on Jesus’ agony and temptation in the Garden.

In her last illness she refused all pain alleviation, repeating frequently: “What have I in heaven and what do I desire on earth, but Thee alone, O my God”, and died pronouncing the Holy Name of Jesus.

 

15th October – St Teresa of Avila.

Jesus Lost-and-foundAt Mass this morning I presented this excerpt from the writings of St Teresa. Read it prayerfully yourself and give it a few minutes reflection. One of the most important means to knowing Jesus in this way is to be generous with our daily prayer time (and periods of Eucharistic adoration if possible).

“If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend… All blessings come to us through our Lord… Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near.”

 

14th October – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Recently I had a visit from Br Martin McGough (whom I introduced to SOLT back in the early 2000s) and his mother Monica. Here is a photo of Br Martin and myself taken yesterday evening in the chapel plus other images from Monica.

Br Martin 1IMG-20170907-WA0000

2-feet-of-snow.jpgHere is my homily for this weekend followed by the gospel.

Once upon a time there was a man who died and went up to the pearly gates. He met St Peter who said “Stand over here ‘til I check to see that your name is in the Book of Life [where the names of the saved are registered].” The man with no little anxiety waited while St Peter went looking through the Book. After a considerable time and towards the end of the Book, St Peter looked up and said “Yes, I found you. Please come in.” The gates opened and the man overjoyed, walked through.

On the other side he was met by an angel who said he would bring him to his destination. They walked down a beautiful boulevard, paved with gold and with trees and green lawn on each side. Soon they came to an enormous mansion of the same grandeur as Buckingham Palace. The man recognised Mary and Joseph on one of the balconies. Further on he saw a group of 13 mansions, slightly smaller and not unlike Aras an Uachtarain, the residence of the Irish President. These were the residences of the 12 Apostles and of course the thirteenth, St Paul. Further on he saw another great quantity of mansions, again somewhat smaller, like the local 5 star Lough Eske hotel. These were occupied by such saints as St Mary Magdalen, St Francis of Assisi, St Patrick, St Anthony, St Bridget, St Columbcille, Padre Pio, etc. As they moved along the houses became smaller and less grand but still very attractive. Eventually they moved through a region of housing estates followed by a larger region of apartment blocks.

After this they moved out into the countryside which eventually led into woodland. When they passed out of the woodland they were in a massive tent city which spread out further than the eye could see in all directions. Distributed throughout  this tent city were dining halls and shower / toilet cubicles. The man was led by the angel to a tent, nice – roomy and of good construction – who said “This will be your home.”

The man was shocked and upset in equal measure: “What do you mean?! I never did anything wrong in my whole life. I always kept the Commandments; I believed in Jesus; I never killed or harmed anybody; I never committed adultery or any other impurity; I rarely told lies; I never stole; I never consulted fortune tellers or took God’s name in vain. Why am I not in one of those mansions we saw earlier or even in one of the apartments?”

The angel replied: “True, you never did much that was bad but you never did much that was good either. You did the minimum required as a Christian but never exerted yourself for the love of God or neighbour. It is the good that you do on earth and give to God that determines your treasure in heaven. This tent represents what you offered to God throughout your life.”

This man I’ve been describing is like the man in today’s gospel who kept the rules, didn’t do anything wrong but is attached to his wealth and isn’t very generous.

It really is a gift from Jesus that our good deeds on earth can be offered to him so that it will truly benefit us for eternity. Charity begins at home. We have many opportunities to practice generosity to children and parents in their time of need. After that there is the poor in our own locality and further away. In this way we can grow our tent to a mansion over a lifetime. We need to constantly remember that all our resources – health, money and possessions – in the first place are gifts from God. When we offer back to God the fruits of our lives, we are acknowledging him as the source of all our blessings.

What good will our wealth be when die? So much better to have invested it in the heavenly treasury!

We are free to practice generosity to the poor in any way that we see fit. My favourite charities are the foreign missions; the pro-life movement who are advocates for unwanted babies who have lost their right to life; and the groups fighting crippling poverty in the third world.

In summary: We can all accumulate treasure in heaven by living generous lives and particularly by giving to the poor and needy.

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GOSPEL 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark       10:17-30
Go and sell everything you own and follow me.

Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’ And he said to him, ‘Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.’ Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.Jesus above all

Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were astounded by these words, but Jesus insisted, ‘My children,’ he said to them, ‘how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were more astonished than ever. ‘In that case’ they said to one another ‘who can be saved?’ Jesus gazed at them. ‘For men’ he said ‘it is impossible, but not for God: because everything is possible for God.’

Peter took this up. ‘What about us?’ he asked him. ‘We have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land – not without persecutions – now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.’

The Gospel of the Lord.